Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Romans 6:15-18; Matthew 25:21 - "Freedom Hymn"

Every time I woke up during the night and again this morning these words were going through my mind...

This is the sound of chains breaking
This is the beat of a heart changing
This is a song of a soul forgiven
This is my freedom hymn

I prayed during the night for so many people who need to have freedom. It is available from the Lord for all. His desire is for people to live in Him instead of in the sin of the world. I remember the days of thinking I was free as I did my own thing. I remember thinking I was on the top of the world doing what I wanted to do. I am so grateful when the Lord woke me up to the realization life was not all about the junk of the world but was about living for Him. I was grateful for the way He took me back into His arms after being out of relationship with Him for a period of time. There were no stipulations put on our relationship by Him other than for me to love with His love. The more I did that, the more I realized I wanted to go deeper in my walk with Him. The desire of my heart was to walk a path of obedience with Him, doing what He desired of me, loving people with His love even when it did not make sense, doing things He asked that may be out of my comfort zone, etc. Actually, I have learned over the last few years there is no longer a 'comfort zone' because it does not matter what He asks of me I am His willing servant. Throughout the night and again this morning I find myself praying for more people to get to that point in life where no matter what the Lord asks, they will do. I also prayed specifically for ones who need a touch from the Lord. Some need a physical touch, some an emotional touch but most of all a spiritual touch for all involved...

  • a family in turmoil with needing wisdom with their elderly mother
  • another family in turmoil over 'junk' that creeped in and caused division
  • my Momma who needs to regain her strength from pneumonia
  • a dear friend who is struggling with the death of a loved one who she was estranged from
  • a military family whose husband/father has been away for a month of training
  • a Momma who is dealing with the after effects of her daughter's wedding
  • a lady with dementia and her family
  • my friend Paula who is in extreme pain
  • an elderly friend who is so ready to leave this earth
  • my friends Nada and Nancy who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer
There are so many hurting people. Some are in relationship with the Lord and some are not. Some know Him yet refuse to walk in obedience to Him. I remember those days of thinking I would be 'ok' with doing what I wanted. I remember thinking if something happens that I die He will still accept me into heaven because I asked Him into my heart as a child. God is the Only One to judge. He is the Only One to accept or deny us into heaven when we leave this earth. I sure do not want to be turned away at the Pearly Gates. The desire of my heart is to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21). I am praying for more people to find freedom in Christ that is not available through any other way other than Him.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of yesterday and the ones ahead in this day. Thank You for Doc's surgeries being over. I pray for less pain for him today. I also pray for wisdom for him with decisions to be made. I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me to overflowing. May You ooze out of all my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. May You be who people see/hear through me today. Father, I ask for a continuation of Your wisdom and recollection as I continue to prepare for my final exam. I pray against the enemy trying to convince me I will do bad. I pray for You to be greater than him not only in this exam situation but in some other situations we are dealing with. Thank You Jesus for being My Freedom. Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Psalm 119:105 - "Dream Small"

When the clock went off this morning to go for Doc's surgery, these words were going through my head...

Dream small
Don't bother like you've gotta do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time
Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
Dream small

As I sat and waited during surgery I thought of the truth in this song. We never know how we can impact another person's life with a smile, a hug, a nice word, etc. We also never know what others live with as they battle disease, have relationship issues, busy schedules, etc. As I looked around the waiting room there were some who looked like they scared to death of what was ahead. One Momma cried when her little guy was pulled from her and taken back for surgery. I would have loved to talk to each one of them and ask if I could pray for them but that was not possible. Instead I sat and looked around the room and asked God to bless each one in their unique situation. I prayed for doctors, nurses, technicians, etc. who were working today to have wisdom and a gentle touch. I especially prayed for the parents and grandparents who watched their little ones be taken back for surgery. Most of all I prayed for God to continue to use me however He desires. I prayed for Him to knock some 'giants' down out of our life in His time. I asked Him if His time could come sooner than later and He chuckled at me. Sometimes impatience causes distractions to what God desires for us. There are times we try to manipulate situations to conform to what we want when the best thing is what God wants for us. As we wait, we need to stay in His Word and live in His presence.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Doc's surgery being over. I pray against the pain he is experiencing with this one. I pray for the process to go well as You continue to heal his hands. Lord, I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me with Your Spirit. Lord, I also pray for revelation as to what 'tiny rock' will make our 'giants' fall. Open our eyes, minds, and hearts. I pray for wisdom and recollection as I continue to review for my exam. I praise Your Holy Name for all the ways You continue to direct our path. Thank You Jesus for being My Director. Amen.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Matthew 6:10 - "Holy Ground"

I had an experience last week that left me breathless. We stopped at St. Peter's for an errand and the minute my feet touched the ground I was touched by an awesome feeling of peace. As I walked from one building to another I was amazed at the peacefulness I felt. I saw God's beauty in His creation of flowers, the trees budding, and heard the birds singing. The ladies in the office were smiling and had a gentle spirit. I felt like I was whisked away to another place other than this world. It is so hard to explain the way I felt. I thought of the song about standing on holy ground and it came onto my lips. When I got back into the car and shared with Doc my feelings he said they must be doing God's work. That is what I desire for our church. I remember hearing someone once say that people need to feel the Spirit not only when they come into a church but as they drive by or as they pull into the parking lot. I don't know that I ever have experienced what I did the other day but it left a desire in my heart to have that be in our church. When God spoke to Moses about standing on holy ground in Exodus 3:6 it wasn't that the ground itself was any different. It was the presence of the Lord that made it holy ground. The peace I live in is because His presence is with me. His Spirit lives in and through me every day. If all the people of a church body lived in His presence, then they would carry His Spirit with them. That would be when His Spirit would be felt as people gathered together. Oh my! What an experience that would be. His love would flow so greatly in such a group. His peace would be felt so wonderfully by all. It would be like heaven on earth. There would be no arguing, discord, people wanting to have their own way, etc. Instead there would be unity and selflessness. God would be the Center of all words, actions, and thoughts. "On earth as it is in heaven" would have a whole new meaning. That is the desire of my heart.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the experience of last week when I felt Your presence so greatly at St. Peter's. Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for being who You are in my life. Thank You for the blessings of yesterday and the ones ahead in this day. Thank You for our neighbors who love on one another in mighty ways. Thank You for putting us here to be a beacon of light for You. Father, cleanse me so You can fill me to overflowing. May You be my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. I pray for Kenny's surgery today to be successful. I also pray for Paula's pain to be less as she is getting closer to coming home from their trip. Thank You for my exegetical paper going well. I pray for wisdom and recollection as I have a final exam this week. Lord, I pray for more people to experience Your peace today. I pray for those who are not in relationship with You to find You. I also pray for those who are saved to take the next step into living in Your presence in a new way with being sanctified wholly. Thank You Jesus for being My Peace. Amen.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Acts 2:42-48 - "Overwhelmed"

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by You

I woke up to these words going through my head this morning and began thinking about how overwhelming God is to me. He does so much for me. His love, grace, and mercy are so overwhelming. The way He watches over and protects me is amazing. The way He works in and through me is beyond comprehension. I know the only reason I can see these things is because I live a life of obedience to Him. What He desires is what I desire. This morning as I thought about these things my heart aches for those who do not live such a life. It hurts knowing people in my little world who refuse to allow Him control of their life. No one truly has control of their life but people like to think they do. This morning I am praying for...
  • pastors to preach boldly the Word so people will come into relationship with their Heavenly Father
  • truth to be spoken from pulpits today so people's eyes will be open
  • prodigals to return
  • families to reconcile
  • relationships to be restored
  • children and teens to be taught the Gospel
These prayers go deep into my soul. I desire people to be healed not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and most of all spiritually. I desire for more people to be overwhelmed by the love of Christ.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for the way You overwhelm me. Father, cleanse me so You can fill me to overflowing with Your words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. Bless pastors with boldness today as they preach. I pray for Your Holy Spirit to be involved in services today. May people's eyes be opened on this Pentecost Sunday so the Holy Spirit can move throughout congregations. May Your fire fall down upon Your people. May 'dead' people become alive in You. May people become "overwhelmed" by You. Thank You Jesus for being My Fire. Amen.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Psalm 58 - "Surrounded (Fight My Battles)"

Last night as I was praying before going to bed the Lord impressed upon me to read Psalm 58. I asked him to help me remember it to read in the morning if it was OK to wait as I was so sleepy. I told Him if I needed to read it right then to not allow me to go to sleep. I immediately fell asleep and was blessed this morning to remember what I was to read. As I read this Psalm, I thought of all the deaths our world saw yesterday with another school shooting and the plane crash in Cuba. The shooting was indeed senseless. I am sure there is great debate going on right now over what the lawmakers need to do with gun control. I also imagine there is some discussion on who is to blame for the plane crash. Just a few weeks ago a military plane crashed not far from us with several killed. There was discussion then about the safety of the plane and whose 'fault' the crash was. I have to wonder how these situations could have been changed. Could we be on our knees in prayer more? Could these situations have been avoided? What, if anything, could have been done to not have these situations happen? This morning there are parents waking up for the first time without their children on this earth. There are also children waking up for their first time without their parents on this earth. How much of their hurt is caused by the enemy? In Psalm 58 David prayed against the enemies of God and His church. Over the last couple of years we have experienced many challenges in our ministry. Some we know have been God stopping us from our plans to make sure things were accomplished in His time. Others have truly been attacks by the enemy to destroy the Beaufort Church of the Nazarene and us personally. It is interesting to see what Matthew Henry says about Psalm 58:

David prayed that the enemies of God's church and people might be disabled to do further mischief. We may, in faith, pray against the designs of the enemies of the church. He foretells their ruin. And who knows the power of God's anger? The victories of the Just One, in his own person and that of his servants, over the enemies of man's salvation, produce a joy which springs not from revenge, but from a view of the Divine mercy, justice, and truth, shown in the redemption of the elect, the punishment of the ungodly, and the fulfilment of the promises. Whoever duly considers these things, will diligently seek the reward of righteousness, and adore the Providence which orders all thing aright in heaven and in earth.

I am not sure I like the tone of Psalm 58 but I agree with Henry in that we must pray against the enemy. We also need to pray for people who are caught up in his ways. We must pray for God's timing in our situations and allow Him to work in and through us. I need to continue to pray for those who are doing the work of the evil one to have their eyes opened to God's ways. I don't want to see anyone rot in hell. I need to remember God is the Ultimate Judge. He is the Only One that should be judging others. I do not have to like the sin they do for the evil one but I do have to love people with His love. I also need to remember the last words of this Psalm...

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the words of Psalm 58 that remind me to pray for my enemies and they will answer to You. Thank You for the blessings of yesterday and the ones ahead in this day. Thank You for peace in the midst of trials. Thank You for providing tires yesterday at a decent price. Thank You for giving answers to questions in prayer. Father, cleanse me so You can fill me so people will hear/see You instead of me today in my words, actions, and attitude. I pray for strength as I deal with shortened sleep time. I pray for the parents waking up today who had their children shot and killed in the school shooting yesterday to have Your strength in the days ahead. I pray for the children waking up today whose parents were killed on the plane crash to have people around them who will love on them with Your love. I pray for the school administration and the District Church of the Nazarene as they go through these tough days. Lord, I also pray against the enemy having his way in our ministry. These 'sucker punches' seem to keep coming yet we continue to stand in Your strength. Thank You Jesus for being Our Judge. Amen.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Romans 6:15-18 - "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)"

I woke up during the night and again this morning with words to "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)" going through my mind. I immediately started praying for people who need to die to self and allow God to reign in their heart. I prayed for them to have someone say or do something to change their heart. It is not an easy step to take when life is going 'well' but life can be so much better when one realizes they truly are not in total control of their lives. Only God can be in total control. He gives us free choice and we have to choose Him over worldly things. That may mean we lose 'friends' or it may mean we 'suffer' but in the end it means spending eternity with the Lord instead of in the pit of hell. 

Hold on to me, hold on to me
Don't let me lose my way
Hold on to me

I see too many people who 'know' Him yet they refuse to allow Him to have control over their life. They refuse the benefits of walking obedience. I remember when I was in their shoes. I went to church, read my Bible, prayed...all of the things one should do when in relationship with the Lord. The thing that was missing was the biggest step of all of dying to self and saying 'YES' to walking a life of obedience. One needs to go beyond salvation and allow Him to have total control of every breathe we take, every action we make, every word we say, every thought that goes through our mind...everything. Until one gets to this point in life these words will be a part of their life...

Winter has come back again
Feels like the season won't end
My faith is dying tonight
And I won't try to pretend

'Winter' can be a time of death to many plants. It can be a time of misery if one lives in a cold climate. But it also can be a time of renewal as snow falls and makes everything look clean and fresh. But just as the snow melts and things get muddy and ugly so is a person's life who is not cleansed by the Holy Spirit. Today I am praying for those who need a renewal in their spirit, for those who need salvation and especially those who need to take the step of living a sanctified life for the Lord. One no longer needs to sin. All it takes is taking the step to allowing the Holy Spirit to live in their life. Paul tells us in Romans 6 that once we become slaves to righteousness we no longer have to be slaves to sin. That is the life I have chosen and am grateful for. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of yesterday as we spent time together laughing and enjoying one another. Thank You for the blessings ahead in this day. I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me to overflowing so all who hear/see me will hear/see You. I pray for the events of this day with my doctor appointment and another appointment. I also pray for the tweaking that I will do on my paper before submitting it. May You continue to give me Your wisdom. I pray for my friend who is talking with the doctor today about the next step with her breast cancer. May You continue to give her Your peace throughout these days. I also pray for Paula to have Your strength as she continues to struggle with pain on their trip. Lord, be greater than the pain for her so she can enjoy today. Thank You Jesus for being My Greater. Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Psalm 119:1-8 - "Dream Small"

I woke up this morning with the lyrics to "Dream Small" going through my head. After I prayed for a retired pastor at 3:44AM for health issues the Lord had this same song in my mind. These words are ones we all need to think about...

Dream small
Don't bother like you've gotta do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time
Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
Dream small

We need to make sure we do not miss anything the Lord has in store for us by doing things on our own agenda. The song continues...

It's visiting the widow down the street
Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs
These simple moments change the world
Of course, there's nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don't miss the minutes on your way, your bigger things, no
'Cause these simple moments change the world

God knows the desires of our heart. He knows our dreams, our thoughts, our desires. Most importantly He knows what is best for us. He gives us free choice with the desire for us to choose Him and His ways. There is nothing that could happen to us that would be better than His will. We may never know when we will say or do something to make a difference in someone's life. Those are best things we can do. We may never know when a word or an action of God's love will be just what is needed to get them to realize His love and start a walk of obedience to His will. The greatest part about life with Him is that we do not have to know such things. All we need to do is walk in obedience to Him. As we walk in obedience He will bless us in abundance. When I visit my neighbor Grammy, I am blessed in so many ways by the smile on her face. As I love on a child who has no Jesus in their life other than me, I am blessed with the seeds I am planting. As I take a meal to someone who doesn't know Him, I am blessed in knowing I am sharing His love with them. As I wait on God's timing in a tough situation, I am blessed with His peace. We may never know how we are blessing those we lavish with His love. But as I said, we don't have to know. All we need to do is be obedient.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminder of this song. Thank You for the ways You used me yesterday to be a beacon of light for You. Thank You for giving me opportunities to love on people with Your love. Father, cleanse me so You can fill me to overflowing with more of You. Enable me to be focused on You so I don't miss any opportunity You put before me today. May You be my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. Lord, I pray again for the man You woke me up to pray for during the night. I pray for his wife with whatever he is going through. Give her strength and peace. I also pray for my friends who are dealing with health issues but most of all I pray for their spiritual needs. Thank You Jesus for being The One I Am Obedient To. Amen.