Monday, May 22, 2017

Thy Will Be Done





For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven 
is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 12:50


I don't know about you, but on this Pilgrim walk, I have struggled with truly knowing the will of God, especially when it comes to matters of prayer.  

For those I intercede for, I believe God's will to be my desired answers to the very prayers I am praying; believing big that God will do a mighty work in the situation whether it be healing, provision or redemption.

When If I pray for myself, often I feel that God's will is not the answer I am hoping for.  Instead, I  expect the answer to be one of painful pruning.  

I am ashamed to admit that I can fear God's will, but I am just being brutally honest here...

Yet if I were to write how many times the Lord did indeed give me the desires of my  heart, I could write a large volume book.  I have been in awe at how the Lord has answered prayers regarding my hopes and desires so specifically, and many times above and beyond what I could have hoped or imagined.

But heres the thing, the most joy-filled answers to prayer I have received indeed came through painful pruning.  

I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed
My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,
Since these rich gifts Thy bounty has bestowed
Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;
Giver of good, so answer each request
With Thine own giving, better than my best.
--Annie Johnson Flint

As for God, his way is perfect. 
Psalm 18:30

No matter how painful the circumstances of our Pilgrim walk might be, we have a God whose will for our lives begins and ends with Love.


For this is the will of my Father, 
that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, 
and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:40

And every day in between...

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11


From my own experience and in talking with others, I have found that, especially with life's big decisions, such as choosing a spouse, buying a house, or job decisions, many can struggle with truly knowing the will of God...

Do not be conformed to this world, 
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, 
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, 
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

It is through God's living Word that our minds are renewed and transformed to be like Christ and to thereby know the will of God...

By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
2 Peter 1:4

I remember many years ago, when I still attended the Catholic church, the priest held up the Bible and said, this Holy book contains,  Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  He went on to say that everything we needed to know about life, living and living for God were contained within the pages of God's Holy Word, and that these Words of Life would prepare us for Eternal Life, in the Kingdom of God, in the presence of Jesus...

I delight to do your will, O my God; 
your law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40:8

There are several Bible verses that give very specific instructions about the will of God in a Believers life...

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand 
what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, 
be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-20


It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: 
that you should avoid sexual immorality;
1 Thessalonians 4:3

For it is God’s will that by doing good 
you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
1 Peter 2:15

give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18


 As a chronic complainer, I was quite convicted by the mention not once, but twice, that God's will for me/us is to give thanks in all circumstances.

This seems like the perfect way to start truly living and seeking God's will for my life, by being grateful in ALL circumstances, knowing that...

the will of God has placed me here, 
have no fear...


Let us pray for an understanding of God's will in our own lives...

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! 
Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psalm 143:10

And for an understanding of God's will for our brothers and sisters in the Lord...

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, 
asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will
 in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Colossians 1:9


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

Monday, May 15, 2017

First Comes Love, Then Comes...




Recently, I rediscovered Joey & Rory, a country duo who had a few chart topping songs years go.  At that time,  I liked a couple of their songs, but that was the extent of my knowledge about this husband and wife team.

A few years ago,  news broke that Joey had been diagnosed with cervical cancer.  She ultimately lost her battle with cancer in March 2016...

I only really got to know Joey and her husband Rory after she died...  Not because I met them, although it sure felt like I had, but through watching the movie, To Joey with Love, which chronicled their lives while on sabbatical from concert tours - lives lived on their farm in Tennessee. You see, years before Joey was diagnosed with cancer, she suggested that her husband document their lives through video, and she encouraged him to write a blog which they ended up calling This Life I Live, because she and Rory always believed that God would  give them a great story" and He did...

A story which  included great joys and immense trials...

The joy of giving birth to their first child, a precious baby girl, who they named Indiana after her Momma's home state, but following the home birth, Joey was rushed to the hospital requiring emergency surgery.  As Joey recovered from that surgery, they learned that Indiana had Down's Syndrome.  Then, at Joey's six week postpartum check-up, cervical cancer was discovered after which she began chemotherapy.  The doctors were hopeful, and Joey and Rory's faith was strong...

Life resumed to normalcy on the farm until Joey started feel unwell at which time it was discovered that her cancer had spread.  Aggressive cancer treatment was started, but to no avail - more cancer was discovered.  It was at that time, Joey made the decision to stop all treatments and to go back to the farm to live out the rest of her days...

To Joey with Love tells the story of incredible peace in the midst of immense trial, and of a great faith and a love for Jesus that never wavered...

I was so struck by the peace and joy that seemed to emanate from Joey's face before the cancer diagnosis, and to me, even more so AFTER the cancer diagnosis.

She loved the Lord Jesus so much and to watch her sing her favorite hymns was truly a joy to behold.  I found it interesting that all of her favorite hymns, hymns she loved since childhood, were about the joys of one day being in Heaven, and about the peace that is found in Christ in the midst of fiery trials.  

Joey lived a life of obedience to Christ, and her life showed that obedience through her selfless, loving spirit to all those she interacted with.

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, 
but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and 
will be with us forever:, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father
 and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.  And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.  And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.    
2 John 1-6

It wasn't until I read the Scripture verse above and reflected upon Joey's life that I made the connection between loving one another and subsequent peace.  We love because He first loved us, and that is the Truth that is within us.  And certainly the Truth that Joey lived out with such grace, peace and joy.

What did Jesus say the greatest commandments were?   Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

I believe a majority of our sin is wrapped up in self.  And when we are only loving self, we certainly aren't loving God or loving others, and have violated the two greatest commandments. 

If we were to go through and list the common sins of man, we would see that they are all wrapped up in our own selfish desires.  Desires that we think will make us happy, but ultimately steal our peace and joy.

Rory recently shared a blog post about his dear neighbor Jan, who watched his daughter Indiana while he went on a trip to Washington D.C. for a Grammy event {which is a whole other amazing story of how Joey's legacy is living on...}.  Rory said when he returned, Jan presented him with a beautiful portfolio of precious Easter pictures of Indiana complete with little yellow ducklings, rabbits, and of course a princess dress.  Your face will ache from smiling as you see those pictures which can be found here.  

But there was a short paragraph within that blog post entitled, The Easter Gift, that effected me profoundly, a story about this sweet neighbor Jan and what had inspired her to give such a beautiful gift to Rory...

"Jan told me a story that I think she wouldn't mind me sharing...  

Jan said that, inspired by the bus trip to Indiana to say goodbye to Joey in the fall of 2015, and Joey's love and selflessness... she decided to start doing one good deed for someone every day.  And so she has.  Every single day.  She started last Easter and she's still doing it.  She said that sometimes she does something small for someone (or a few small things for a few people), and sometimes it's something big.  But by the end of each day, she makes sure that she has 'given' herself to someone else, with no expectation of ever being paid back.  

My favorite part of the story though is how much she said that it has changed her.  She explained that even though she may be the one trying to bless others each day, the blessing has actually become all hers.  Everything about her life has changed since last Easter, she said... there is a new joy and an excitement to her life that wasn't there before.  And you can see it when you're around her." 

And the legacy of Joey's selfless love for others lives on through another person...

What an amazing testimony of the effect Joey's life, lived wholly for Christ, in the love of Christ, to show Christ's love to others, had on another.

I was convicted and challenged by Jan's desire to "give herself" to someone each day with no expectation of ever being paid back.  Now that is Calvary Love.

No expectation of ever being paid back...  But God, in His abounding Grace, blesses us with His peace as we obey His commands to love one another.

I've written about my battle with anxiety often.  You can read my most recent post about it here.  Yet the Lord continues to teach me more and more about overcoming anxiety through the Truth of His Word.

He taught me today that when I love others, with a Calvary Love, I will experience His peace.

Some of you may be thinking, like I did, "but I do give every day until I feel like I have no more to give.  I'm exhausted and stressed and anxious from constantly giving, giving, giving.  I am anything but peaceful!"

But it is in that very statement that we can see that this is not Calvary Love.  If we were to read between the lines, we would see that in our giving, giving, giving, we are ultimately desiring to be recognized and appreciated which causes our frustration and dare I say exasperation.

In order to share Calvary Love, and experience true peace as a result, we need to take the focus off of ourselves and place it on the Lord Jesus, who knew more than we ever will what it meant to be rejected and despised, and certainly under-appreciated which is an understatement!

He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:3-4


Of all the apostles, the Apostle Peter is the closest to my heart.  It was the story about his anxiety when he stepped out of the boat to walk toward Jesus on the water that the Lord used to minister to my anxious heart which ultimately drew me to Himself. You can read my testimony here.

In the following verse, shared by Peter, I was recently struck by the exhortation to be diligent to be found at peace... 

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, 
be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
2 Peter 3:14


"At peace", does not mean the circumstances of our lives are peaceful, as in the example of Joey who was facing death square in the face.  But despite the terminal diagnosis, Joey still radiated the peace of Christ, because Christ abided within her.  Her heart and mind were stayed on loving God and loving others, continuing to walk in obedience until her dying day.

 Those of us who are in Christ Jesus can experience that same peace.  When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior He came to abide with us.  With Christ living within us, we can experience the peace that surpasses all understanding as we purpose to live our lives loving God and loving others, so that when He returns, we will be found without spot or blemish and at peace...


I have truly been inspired by Joey & Rory's story.  One that continues to unfold, even though Joey has gone on to Glory.   Their blog, This Life I Live, exemplifies lives lived for Christ.   You will be incredibly blessed to visit there.

I also highly recommend the DVD, To Joey with Love.  It is powerfully moving and will bless you immensely.

I've also already downloaded to my Kindle, This Life I Live,  a book that shares Joey and Rory's entire story.  I'm looking forward to reading it this summer, and I know that I will be blessed by it.

I'll leave you with one of Joey's favorite hymns which is a beautifully poignant song called Suppertime.  

"Suppertime"

Many years ago in days of childhood
I used to play till evenin' shadows come
Then windin' down an old familiar pathway
I heard my mother call at set of sun.

Come home, come home it's suppertime
The shadows lengthen fast
Come home, come home it's suppertime
We're going home at last.

In visions now I see her standin' yonder
her familiar voice I hear once more.
She said the banquet table's ready up in Heaven
Its suppertime upon the golden shore.

Come home, come home its suppertime.
The shadows lengthen fast
Come home, come home its suppertime
We're going home at last.
Child you're going home at last.
IRA F. STANPHILL

May your hearts be blessed to see and hear Joey singing this very song...



And may the peace of Christ rule in your hearts as you love God and love others.



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

Monday, May 8, 2017

Open My Eyes That I May See




Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, 
for He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.
1 John 4:4


Years ago, when my children were 9 & 5, I was struck with a debilitating illness that not only effected me physically, but mentally as well, as I suffered with extreme anxiety.  You can read more about that journey here.

For those of you who suffer with debilitating anxiety, you know what can happen when a situation arises where you are required to spend many days at home, when you are finally able to leave the house, you develop an agoraphobia of sorts, and fear grips you just at the very thought of leaving the protection of your four walls.  This indeed happened to me after I had spent six weeks essentially bed-ridden, already having suffered with incredible anxiety.

Even though my physical body had healed, my mental state still had a ways to go...

In an effort to overcome my anxiety, I would purposefully exercise trust in the Lord, and every morning take the kids for a ride in the car around 8:30 a.m. when Chuck Swindoll was sharing a sermon on our local Christian radio station.  It was comforting to listen to the Word as I drove.  Each day, I would drive a little bit farther away from my home with my mind stayed on the Word of the Lord coming through my radio...

As time went on, there were random obligations that came up, where I would need to venture out alone.  It was then that I clung to my life verse for dear life.

Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, 
for the Lord your God goes with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

I still remember driving away from my home, heading up the hill toward the main road in our town, and willing myself to envision Jesus sitting right next to me.  It was a comforting exercise, but I was still depending on myself to abide with Him rather than trusting and believing that His presence was already with me...



I was recently listening to Charles Stanley and was intrigued by a book he mentioned by J. Hudson Taylor called the Spiritual Secret.  He specifically focused on the chapter called "The Exchanged Life", excerpts of which I have shared below...

  I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation––but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me...

...I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, had thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed "present with me," but how to perform I found not...

...I knew I was powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength. Sometimes I almost believed that He would keep and uphold me; but on looking back in the evening––alas! There was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God...

...I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word. . . . 
I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?
But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."...

As I read, I saw it all! "If we believe not, he abideth faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed)! That He had said, "I will never leave thee."...

..."Ah, there is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to abide with me––never to leave me, never to fail me?" And, . . . He never will...

...As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of Him! I saw not only that Jesus will ever leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine is not the root merely, but all––root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is
 not that alone––He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than 
we have ever dreamed, wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding too may be enlightened, that you may know
 and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ...

...The sweetest part, . . . is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. . . . So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trials, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me...

...And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! . . . I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead and buried with Christ––ay, and risen too! And now Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

As I finished reading the Exchanged Life for myself, I felt such joy and relief as I identified with the emotions that were expressed, and found encouragement to do away with my modus operandi, and just rest...  rest in Christ Jesus, the keeper of my soul...

I was especially encouraged by the Truth that I no longer have reason to be anxious about anything when I realize that my Heavenly Father is able to carry out His will and His will is mine.  When I wholly accept that Truth, no matter what situation He places me in, I will know that His grace is sufficient for me.  

When I see EVERYTHING that touches my life as God's will and accept that will as mine, I will experience peace in sickness or trial; gratitude in frustration; calmness in turmoil, and a loving spirit when wronged. 

Allowing God's will to abide in me will bring about the right response to all situations that touch my life, good or bad.  

I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I realized how much I had been striving rather than resting in God's presence that already resides in me.

However, it will be important for me to see EVERYTHING that happens in my day through the filter of God's will, and that will take discipline on my part since I have been operating in Karen's will for years!    

 I confess there are times that I have been afraid of God's will, especially if I thought it would mean pain, but I recently read the following passage from 2 Kings chapter 6 and found encouragement to pray big that the Lord would help me to see His will, no matter how it plays out, as His protection and preservation, leading me to victory in Jesus.

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. 19 And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” 22 He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23 So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.
2 Kings 6:8-23


"This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one another, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see”; for the world all around us, as well as around the prophet, is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls."  --  Hannah Whitall Smith


May we all be aware of Christ's abiding presence, and allow His Spirit to bring every situation, throughout the day, into the light of His will, and may the Lord open our eyes to see - see God's chariots ready to carry us in victory through Christ Jesus.



Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Refrain
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belov├Ęd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

 Jean S. Pigott


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

Monday, May 1, 2017

Boomerang Prayers





Years ago, when my husband pastored a church, we held a spring break Vacation Bible School.   My husband and I along with the education committee felt it would be a unique opportunity to hold VBS during spring break when children and their families are not usually away on vacation, which can be an issue with the typical summer VBS.  This was the first VBS ever held by our small country church.

I volunteered to head up VBS which was a challenge since our congregation had more than a few vocal doubters regarding funding and whether children would even show up at all.  In their defense, we did not have younger families who attended our church, and I could see the leap of faith it would take for some who were wondering where these children would come from!

Using the organizational gifts the Lord graciously gave me, I came up with a schedule for the VBS planning meetings as well as a list of tasks.  The meetings were well-attended and some joked about the abundance of hand-outs I had which outlined jobs to be completed and timelines to be met.

Someone had commented on what a good delegator I was, and I realized, gee, I guess I am!  lol.  I wasn't sure if that was a compliment though.  I was afraid I was coming across more like a dictator because I was working with a "tough" crowd...

During the meetings, the doubters kept doubting.  My mantra became, "Just wait to see what the Lord will do!"  I even came up with a drawing of a thermometer with hash marks enumerating funds to be raised up to the amount we needed, and placed it at the back of the church.  As the funds came in, I would color in the thermometer.

I prayed and committed VBS to the Lord, and trusted Him to act and glorify Himself.   I believed that He would show the congregation all that He would do.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in Him, and He will act.
Psalm 37:5


And boy did He act!!  

First of all, our little congregation, and even the naysayers, came up big, with wonderful artistic and creative talent, to make one of the prettiest VBS backdrops I had ever seen!!  Complete with a pond scene and actual row boat to go along with the theme.

Secondly, the thermometer burst through the top!!  We raised more money than was needed!

And most importantly, the Lord drew to our little congregation's VBS, 20 children!!  Twenty children who heard the Gospel proclaimed every day!  

I still get chills thinking about what I was up against as far as negativity and how the Lord redeemed it all.  He indeed glorified Himself by showing a doubting congregation what He will do when something is committed to Him!

But here's the thing, I've realized recently, that I had put the above verse in a box.  For some reason, I had decided that this promise was only for an activity or a work that I was about to do or be involved in.   Now maybe I'm the ONLY one who had restricted this verse, and my recent AHH HAA moment will be to you a "you didn't know all that this verse applies to already Karen??" moment.  lol.

I have since taken Psalm 37:5 out of the box and embraced the fullness of all this verse promises.

Actually, when you read the verse in its fuller context, even my first idea about the promise,  although I believe still applies, is not the full rendering of what the intent of "committing your way" implies.

...He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
   and your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:6

These verses together promise the victory we can have over our struggle against sin.  It doesn't mean we won't ever sin again, but if we start our day, every day, committing our way to the Lord, we can trust that HE WILL ACT and bring forth our righteousness as the light.

What does it mean to commit...

Merriam Webster's definition of commit

 :  to put into charge or trust :  entrust

By committing our way to Christ every day, we are putting Him in charge of our thoughts and our steps; recommitting daily that He is indeed the Lord of our lives, and as a result, our words and actions will show that the mind of Christ is working through us.

The opposite of putting God in charge of our lives is when we try to control our lives...

English Oxford Living Dictionary's definition of control

:  The power to influence or direct people's behaviour or the course of events.

When I  described my role leading VBS, the Lord used my influence to help direct people's behaviour toward trusting Him with the outcome of VBS.  A healthy form of control.

Unfortunately, that may be the only time I enacted a healthy form of control.  I confess that most of the time I am looking to control people's behavior or the course of events for selfish reasons or more so, because I am not trusting God!  I think we all have experienced this at one time or another.

And when we choose to control people or situations, we are essentially dethroning Christ as Lord and instead have placed ourselves in the position of God, rather than committing those people and situations to Him.

Enter in the second insight I received as I unboxed Psalm 37:5...  An insight I received from the following portion of the April 24th Streams in the Desert Devotional...

"Dr. Payson, when a young man, wrote as follows, to an aged mother, burdened with intense anxiety on account of the condition of her son: “You give yourself too much trouble about him. After you have prayed for him, as you have done, and committed him to God, should you not cease to feel anxious respecting him? The command, ’Be careful for nothing,’ is unlimited; and so is the expression, ’Casting all your care on him.’ If we cast our burdens upon another, can they continue to press upon us? If we bring them away with us from the Throne of Grace, it is evident we do not leave them there. With respect to myself, I have made this one test of my prayers: if after committing anything to God, I can, like Hannah, come away and have my mind no more sad, my heart no more pained or anxious, I look upon it as one proof that I have prayed in faith; but, if I bring away my burden, I conclude that faith was not in exercise.”

I can commit people to the Lord!

The second definition offered by Merriam Webster provides a beautiful word picture for doing just that...

:  to put into a place for safekeeping  

When we commit loved ones or anyone to the Lord, we are entrusting them to the safekeeping of the Lord; the safest place they can be!!

This insight gave me such a thrill last night!

And right then I set out to pray, committing those on my heart to the Lord, sharing my concerns with my Heavenly Father and trusting Him to act.

Normally, I have the tendency to pray boomerang prayers, where I send a prayer off to God, only to take the burden right back up again.  That was not the case today concerning those I had committed to the Lord, as I remain at peace about their situations, leaving them in God's safekeeping,  proof that I  had prayed in faith.

Be encouraged!  All that matters to you can be committed to the Lord!   Your finances, your marriage, your parents, your children, your husbands, your wives, your unsaved friends, your work, your studies, your health, the health of loved ones, your emotional state, your trials, your present, your future, and I'm sure you could insert many more here.

What an incredibly, personal God we have!  One who desires to act specifically in response to our committal to Him in Faith.  But we need to exercise that faith by asking...

I think sometimes because He is God, we think, "well, He knows what I want or need", and although Scripture will tell us exactly that, it is important for our own Faith walk, and most especially for our relationship with Jesus, to be in constant communication and dependence on Him, by seeking Him daily to act in and through our lives for His Glory and our good.

This hymn came to my mind last night as I pondered Psalm 37:5.  I thought it would be a wonderful encouragement to us all as we set out daily to commit our way, our people and our situations to the Lord.


I Know Whom I Have Believed
Daniel W.Whittle

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain:
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday