Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For All of You!

I just want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments, feedback and awards. Your kind words keep me inspired. My goal is to spread the Lord's scripture, so please refer my site to others.

As a "Thank You" I pray Psalm 20 for all of you. Appropriately titled "Prayer for Victory over Enemies" I figure we all have enemies we're fighting, even though they may not be in human form as David's were. These days they come as anxieties, addictions, depression, job troubles, family problems, etc. This morning California's jobless rate is almost up to 10%. Lord, help us.

For all my internet friends...

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!

May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!

May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering acceptable!

May He grant you your heart's desire
And fulfill all your counsel!

We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.

Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call.

Can I hear a big "Amen!"?

An analysis of this Psalm by Ray Stedman gives some definitions that makes it even more heartwarming. According to Mr. Stedman, "sanctuary" refers to the place we meet with God which would be scripture. So it is through reading scripture we receive our help from God (part of the reasoning behind this blog's creation).

In this passage, "Zion" is the symbol of the invisible kingdom of God. That kingdom is "made up of ministering angels sent forth to serve those who are to be the heirs of salvation." Mr. Stedman goes on to say "In other words, all the invisible help that God can give you in the day of trouble, in the hour of pressure, is made available by prayer." And that's the 2nd half of this blog... we receive assistance from God through prayer.

God bless all of you and have a wonderful rest of the week!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Bad, the Ugly and the Good

I don't want this blog to become political, but right now my husband and I contemplate our future. For those of you who don't live in California and don't know what's going on with the budget, our state has none. And it hasn't for quite some time. So our governor is proposing cuts in education which directly effect my husband. As the school district he works for discusses the options facing them (pay cuts, lay-offs, increasing our medical insurance contribution) I wonder what the legislators are giving up. Our family, as well as many others, will be forced into giving up not elaborate luxuries (because we have never been able to afford those), but groceries, family outings, heating, gas, etc.

While I know this is a wonderful test of our faith, it's still frustrating. However, I recently read the Book of Job and found comfort in it. Job was a faithful servant, so much so that God "bragged" about him to Satan. Satan asked if he could test Job and God agreed. Job lost all his wealth and his children were killed in one tragic event. Then Job was stricken with boils. While he suffered to the point of praying for death, he continued to praise God as all powerful.

Job 23:13-16 "But he stands alone and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That is why I'm terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me."

While he was miserable, his friends came and, basically, rubbed salt in his wounds. They told him how he must have been sinful in order for God to turn on him so.

"If you return to the almighty, you will be restored." (Job 22:23)
"God does not spurn the blameless man or let the sinner live on in all his power." (Job 36:5)
"The wretched, however, he saves by their wretchedness, and uses distress to open their eyes." (Job 36:15)

God hears Job's complaining and speaks to Job:

"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!" (Job 40:2)

Job's reply is "I am unworthy."

God questions Job on his abilities compared to God's abilities. Job replies:

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)

God is so impressed with Job's faith that when He brings Job back to health, He doubles his previous wealth and number of children. By the way, He tells Job's "friends" that they've got it all wrong and should ask Job to pray for them.

What's this have to do with my current situation? While I can stress over it, nothing will change because of my anxiety. God has His plan and I can't change it. All I can do is pray for His guidance so that we can make the right choices to get through it to the place He wants us to be. We can choose blessings or curses. I choose His blessings.
I am also comforted that bad things don't happen to us because God thinks we deserve them. They happen because, as any good father would, He wants us to learn and grow. And I know He would never give us more than we can handle.

By faith, God, I follow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Choose Wisely

As I continue to struggle with keeping my priorities straight and my resolutions going, I'm constantly arguing with myself -- angel on one shoulder, devil on the other! Tonight the angel wins!

Dear Lord,

Daily You set before me choices for blessing or curse and true life or slow death of my soul. Please give me the willpower, knowledge and strength to make the right choices. I want to hear and obey Your voice and hold fast to You, for I understand that it is through You I have true life.

Life without You is a struggle and impossible. So I offer my anxieties to you in prayer and with thanksgiving for all You have given to me.

Thank you for encouraging the scripture reading that has brought me into a more loving relationship with You. It is only through learning more about You, I have increased my love for You.

Through Jesus Christ I offer my prayer. Amen.

Two verses influence this prayer:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20...

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Issac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Philippians 4:6

Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Transforming for the Better

This last week has been filled with illness, kids hogging the computer and just plain exhaustion. Thank you to everyone for the positive words that give me hope and encouragement. Maybe the Lord knows what He's doing after all!

As I am making my transformation from selfish, lazy, hypocritical whiner to dedicated Christian, I appreciated a passage from Ephesians. Here's the prayer and scripture:

Dear Lord,

As I throw off my bad habits and former way of life, I pray that Your Holy Spirit assists me with the spiritual renewal of my thoughts and attitudes. I see the transformation You have started in me and I understand the pain in my life has brought me to this better place today. While my situation has not improved, I have improved. I thank You for that change and even the pain that has brought it about. I know I must display my new nature as You transform me into Your likeness. Help me be righteous, holy and true. I wish to become the person You know I can be.

Through Jesus Christ I offer this prayer. Amen.

Based on Ephesians 4:22-24...

Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness -- righteous, holy and true.

Monday, January 12, 2009

HE is So Amazing!

I hope I don't go too far overboard for some of you, but right now my heart is just screaming "Hallelujah!" to the Lord. (The whole family is sleeping, so I can't scream it out loud!)

About an hour ago I got so depressed after paying some bills. I started feeling the desperation, anxiety, fear that I know so many share with me right now. It's the gut wrenching feeling that sends shivers down your neck as you fear losing your house, dignity, etc.

Before the fear, etc., turned to heart palpitations, I thought of God. I remembered that I didn't pray or read scripture this morning. I also hadn't posted anything here, and He has put so much on my heart that I want to share. But I didn't get to any of it today or yesterday.

So I picked up my most used meditation/scripture source, Our Journey from James MacDonald's website http://www.walkintheword.com/ , and read yesterday's and today's entries. It was truly a message from God. Yesterday's message was about the infinite and awesome abilities of God.

But today's message has me shaking my head and asking myself WHY do I EVER doubt Him, because it's the same verse that since Saturday I've been thinking about posting and not because I read it in this same pamphlet earlier, but because I found it while independently browsing the Psalms on Saturday morning. Does God work in amazing ways or what?!

The verse that I found and Our Journey reiterated for me was Psalm 4 in it's entirety. It's a short one.

Notice how verse 4 mentions "vain words" and lies that people seek. When I read this I thought of the "keep up with the Joneses" mantra that is so strong these days. The advertising that makes us believe that we need the new Cadillac and I-phone in order to be happy.

Verse 7 reminds me of all the times my family and I have sat around the table playing a game or eating dinner and laughed at just crazy things no one else would find funny. Those moments are more precious than any money.

I pray that all of you who are in the same desperate place I was an hour ago find comfort and peace in this Psalm. God bless us all!

Psalm 4

(1) Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! (2) O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? (3) But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. (4) Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. (5) Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. (6) There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!" (7) You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. (8) In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Friday, January 9, 2009

When in Doubt

During Greg Laurie's lecture on temptation, he listed some verses that he repeats to himself when negativity enters his mind about what he is doing. He didn't give the books or verses that he was quoting, just the words. I looked them up on http://www.biblegateway.com/ and I believe these are the verses he was referring to:

"The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The Lord is my life -- of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

"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 or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

Dealing with Temptation

Just a quick note because I want to get this info on today so you can listen while it's still free. Tomorrow it'll cost you 99 cents, which is still a great bargain.

One of my favorite pastors to listen to is Greg Laurie, http://www.harvest.org/radio/a-new-beginning-radio/broadcast-schedule.html. This morning was his last installment on temptation called "Going on a Diet Tomorrow." In today's lecture he discusses the use of scripture to avoid temptation. He used some great passages that really lifted me.

This whole series was quite interesting and I'd recommend it to everyone. After I get a moment to research the scriptures I noted, I'll post them. If you have an opportunity to listen today, use this link http://www.harvest.org/radio/ and click on "Listen Now" underneath the "A New Beginning Today" title.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Keeping the Resolution Going

As I start losing my resolve to continue in my New Year endeavors, I try to remember to look to the Lord for strength. And when I do, I find the means to escape the temptation.

Dear Lord,

As I make my resolutions to better myself, I look to You for the stength to keep them. I know that You will not allow any temptation to come to me that is not common to man; and that You are faithful and will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able to overcome. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to find the escape for each temptation that I know you leave for me, so that I can over come the temptation and be successful.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray to You. Amen

Based on 1 Corinthians 10:13...

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Prayers in Heavenly Handwriting

The Book of Psalms is my favorite place to turn to when I need encouragement. They were written thousands of years ago, but are still relevant today. That's one of the reasons I feel the Bible is awesome.

When I read Psalm 5 I thought of the 5 people following this blog and hoped for all those who run across it, but don't follow it. I wanted to share this with you.

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:11-12

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Good Morning, Part II

"God Stops" is a termed coined by Beth Moore for those moments that people may call a coincidence, but others see them as God using a moment to teach or direct us.

I had a God Stop the day after I wrote my "Good Morning" post. One of my daily meditation sources reinforced the importance of spending time each morning with God. She used the following verses in her essay:

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy & be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble" Psalm 90:14-15

"Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3

"The sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He awakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen line one being taught." Isaiah 50:4

"I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you." Psalm 88:13

And as a witness to these verses, I resolve to take time each morning, whether it be 5 minutes or 30, to spend time with God. With God's strength, I can handle anything.

God Bless us all this morning.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Good Morning!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Enjoy every new morning!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Let The Light Shine

Dear Lord,

I know that You alone are the light and in You there is no darkness. I want to walk in the light with You and leave behind the darkness, where I once walked and played without You.

I want to walk in the light as You are in the light and where I can have fellowship with others and the blood of Jesus, Your Son, cleanses us all.

I have sinned and continue to sin and confess my sins now. I know that you will be faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings you bestow on me and for bringing me on this journey. Through the Holy Spirit's assistance, I wish my faith to grow stronger so I will learn to trust you completely with my life.

Prayer based on 1 John 1:5-10:

(5) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (8) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Anxiety Attack

Several days back, when I listed some of my favorite verses that get me through my most anxious moments, I somehow forgot my absolute favorite. But, while looking for it, I found another verse that I added to my verses journal.

The one I added was:

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

Now the long verse I calm myself down with, when I get anxious, comes from Matthew 6. I don't have it all memorized, I just recall it's meaning or find it in my journal.

(25) For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what will you drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (27) And who of you can add a single hour to his life?
(32) For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (33) But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(34) So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Now, I understand that this does not give me free reign to sit around and play video games, instead of working, cause God will take care of it. There is that condition in the verse about "seek first His kingdom" which isn't done by being a couch potato. It's a purposeful action on my part and is why I read the Bible, read daily meditations, pray often, attend a church, etc. I'm seeking His kingdom and righteousness.

I pray that this helps someone out there who is overly anxious and desperate about the future. I know the desperation that anxiety can bring... been there, done that, still go through it occasionally. May all of us afflicted with this desperation feel the Holy Spirit guiding us to more positive actions that lead us seeking down the right path.

God Bless and Happy New Year!