Saturday, December 16, 2017

Philiipians 4:13 - "His Strength Is Perfect"

I woke up with a headache yesterday that lasted all day long. I had two naps throughout the day and that was the only time I had relief. Last night I prayed and asked others to pray that today it would be gone. This morning when I woke up and still had the headache I cried out to God asking Him to take it away. He told me I needed to depend upon His strength through the pain. I just don't get it. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing wrong that causes so many physical ailments. Am I not listening enough? Am I not doing something He desires me to do? Do I have the wrong attitude about someone or something? All of these questions go through my mind. I know deep down He loves me and is always with me. I know He has seen me through some major things with me depending on His strength. I also know there have been times He has told me I need to be an example for others to see on how I handle life. But sometimes it becomes overwhelming. It seems like I go from one physical issue to another. Sometimes I get tired of such things but I know I can't give into them because that is exactly what the enemy desires. I know God is using me in some mighty ways to make a difference in people's lives. I also know He will continue to do so. I just need to depend upon His strength. I was reminded this morning of the beginning of the time with the MS when I went months with a headache. I pray that is not going to be what happens this time but if it is I must depend upon His strength. I cannot depend on anything else to get me through. His strength is perfect. I believe it. I know it. I've lived it before and will continue to live it.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for loving me so greatly that You never leave me. Thank You for being My Strength through difficult times. Thank You for the blessings of yesterday with my school work being finished for this class. I prayed for wisdom and recollection before taking the final. It was the hardest one yet and I pray my words were the right words. I wish I would have had time to go over it but time had run out. No matter what the grade I know I did my best with Your help. Father, today is a new day. It is a day I pray will be filled with You oozing out of me. Remove anything not of You in me and fill me up with Yourself. Give me Your words as I speak with one on a delicate subject. Give me Your attitude throughout this day as I continue with this headache. Thank You for being with my friends Carl and Danny with heart issues. Thank You for the time my Momma had with Beulah and Amelia yesterday making candy. Once again I pray for healing in Doc's body. Father, thank You for being My Strength. Amen.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Psalm 52 - "Carry Me"

There was not much sleep last night but a whole lot of praying and pondering. I kept going over the words to Josh Wilson's song "Carry Me" as I prayed. I wondered how many people at the concert last night were going through tough times. As he sang this song I prayed for those there that needed encouraged.

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I'm ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

There are so many people I'm praying for that are in some tough situations. Some are because of their own actions, others not. Some don't even realize they are the cause of their issues. Some can see no end in sight with their situation. Some are in relationship with God, some are pretending to be, and some blatantly don't want anything to do with Him. No matter where they are in relationship with Him I will continue to pray for their situations and most importantly for their souls.
  • The families of two wives/mothers who committed suicide this week.
  • Jeremy's family who are dealing with legal proceedings with the man who hit and killed him.
  • A family at odds with one another.
  • A young lady who is seeking God yet still doing a lot of pretending in life.
  • A young mother struggling to make ends meet.
  • Our friend Carl who had an emergency heart cath with stents last night..
  • One who is unhappy with life and blaming others for their unhappiness.
  • Two elderly widows who are feeling very alone.
  • One who continues with intense pain.
This morning the Lord took me to Psalm 52. This Psalm encourages my heart in so many ways. The first few verses are about the destruction that occurs when people are against God and/or the church. The last few verses are the ones of greatest encouragement to me. They are the ones that describe a person who stands firm in their faith. Verse eight describes such a person as being like an olive tree. I was amazed at the olive trees when we were in Israel. There were some pretty huge ones that had survived hundreds of years. They had to be strong to survive so long and still produce fruit. I like how Matthew Henry describes people who are strong in the Lord...

Those who by faith and love dwell in the house of God, shall be like green olive-trees there. And that we may be as green olive-trees, we must live a life of faith and holy confidence in God and his grace. It adds much to the beauty of our profession, and to fruitfulness in every grace, to be much in praising God; and we never can want matter for praise. His name alone can be our refuge and strong tower. It is very good for us to wait on that saving name; there is nothing better to calm and quiet our spirits, when disturbed, and to keep us in the way of duty, when tempted to use any crooked courses for our relief, than to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. None ever followed his guidance but it ended well.

That last statement blows me away. "None ever followed his guidance but it ended well." Yes! No matter what happens in life, when God is in control, the best possible ending will happen. He sees all and knows all. He has our best interests in mind at all times. We need to praise Him at all times. This includes, maybe even is especially, when going through tough times. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for our date night! Thank You for loving us so greatly that You provided it for us. I pray for the ones at the concert last night who needed to feel You carrying them through their current circumstances. I pray for everyone I prayed for throughout the night. Lord, open eyes that need opened to You and Your plan for their life. I pray against anyone manipulating their circumstances to fit their desires. Lord, cleanse me and fill me so people will see/hear You instead of me today. I pray for recollection and wisdom as I take my final exam today. May Your clarity be mine. I also pray for Doc who had a tough night physically. I continue to pray for a healing in his body and ask for Your supernatural strength to be his today. Thank You Jesus for being The One I Praise. Amen.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Luke 2:14 - "Different"

The Lord woke me up a couple times during the night with these words going through my mind...

I don't wanna hear anymore
teach me to listen
I don't wanna see anymore
give me a vision
That you could move this heart
to be set apart
I don't need to recognize the man in the mirror
And I don't wanna trade your plan
for something familiar

Yes! I want to be "Different." But to be that there are some things I need to do and some things I need to not do. I need to be more Christ-like. In order to be that I must submerge myself in Him, in His Word, etc. I must do more than just hear Him. I need to listen to Him and walk in obedience. As I become more like Him, His love will ooze out of me in a mighty way. Also as I become more like Him, I will no longer have the desire in my heart to be nasty, crabby, etc. Instead I will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to have a joyful heart no matter what the circumstances. Maybe that is why He woke me with this song. I am so physically tired that I feel like I can't go. I've tried resting extra but that has not helped. I've asked the Lord what I need to do but have not heard anything specific. Sometimes I think the activities of the holidays can just be too much. Not only can they be physically draining but they are also emotionally draining. The distraction of my breast cancer last year definitely was just that...a distraction. This year it has hit me even more so about being away from family for the holidays. Yesterday when I was asked, "Sheila, am I a bad Christian for just wanting it to be January? I use to love celebrating Jesus' birth but there is just too much going on in my family. I haven't even done my Christmas cards yet." I reassured her that she was not a bad Christian. There is just a lot of 'junk' happening that can take our focus off of Him. As I thought about her questions throughout the day I was overwhelmed with how many times I've allowed the 'junk' of my little world take my focus off of Him. Sometimes that 'junk' is just the open door the enemy needs to pull us down. We must be 'prayed up' at all times to stay on our toes against the enemy. Yesterday as I read the Christmas story to Mr. Eli we focused on the angels response in Luke 2 when they were told of Jesus' birth...

The angels were praising God for the birth of the Messiah. Tuesday night as the children made nativity's they were excited. Yesterday as we did the "Giving Project" at the school where the children earned 'money' to buy their parents/grandparents gifts for Christmas they were so excited. They could hardly contain themselves as they watched the ladies wrap the gifts they picked out. Yesterday as I read the Christmas story to Mr. Eli he had a big smile on his face. Maybe the 'secret' for Christmas is to look at it through the eyes of a child. Instead of getting caught up in everything that we are missing maybe we need to focus on what we already have been given...the best gift of all...Jesus.

Dear Jesus,
I am so sorry for all the times my focus has left You. Please forgive me for allowing the hurt in my heart over being away from family to deter me from doing/saying what You have for me. The words to this song, "And I don't wanna trade Your plan for something familiar..." hit me hard this morning. I know we are where You want us to be. I know it. It is definitely not what we've always known or 'familiar' but it is where You have put us. Oh Lord, help me to do better at being away from family. Enable me to be stronger. Empower me with your supernatural strength. Lord, I pray the tears that are falling will have a cleansing effect on my spirit. Cleanse me and fill me with more of You so people will see/hear You instead of me today. I pray for Your strength for Doc today in not only his physical body but most importantly his spiritual body. Thank You Jesus for being Our Savior. Amen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Psalm 50 - "It's A Beautiful Day"

This morning the Lord took me to Psalm 50 to ponder upon. This Psalm is about obedience to Him. It discusses how God is glorified through our actions. Matthew Henry writes, "Happy are those who come into the covenant of grace, by faith in the Redeemer's atoning sacrifice, and show the sincerity of their love by fruits of righteousness." A life of obedience to Christ on this earth will result in a life for eternity with Him. There is no better way to live than walking with Him. The sacrifices of the Old Testament are no longer needed due to Jesus' death and resurrection. Instead one needs to lift up their prayers to Him. Living a life of surrender to Him is far greater than anything one can do on this earth. The desire of His heart needs to be the desire of our heart. One must let go of selfish ways and take on the mind of Christ. It is then, and only then, His voice will be heard and one will walk in obedience. There are many people today kidding themselves that they are 'ok' when in fact they are not. The Lord sees all and knows all. There is nothing one can do that can be kept from Him. There are times where people will justify their actions with words. If the actions are of the Lord, no justifying is needed. If they are not from the Lord, no justifying will be right. His ways...His words...those are what we need to follow and be obedient to. He is the One to be glorified in our words and actions, not ourselves. The last verse of this chapter says it all...

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminders from Your Word this morning. Thank You for Your love, grace and mercy that allows me to walk in obedience. Father, I pray You will be glorified in all that I do and say today. Go before me and give me more of You so people see/hear You instead of me. Cleanse me so this can happen without any determents. You are so awesome in the way You are going to provide physical strength in this tired body. May You also provide safety as I am on the roads and empowerment over the evil one when he comes knocking at my door. Thank You for Doc having a better night's rest last night. Thank You for being My Way. Amen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Romans 12:1-2 - "Different"

The Lord woke me once again to these words...

I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
'Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there's something different
So come and be different
In me

Yes! Earlier this year the Lord gave me 'different, new' as a way to pray for my life. I don't want to ever get caught up in the familiar or find myself being comfortable. Instead I desire to be doing what He wants of me every day. I don't believe He keeps us in the same daily routine but instead mixes life up. He created us to be His servants. As His servant we need to be looking for 'different, new' ways to do His will. As we walk in obedience, there will be times where we are at a loss on what to do or how to do it. But nothing is a surprise to Him. He already knows what we need to do and the manner in which to do it. He knows. That is something we need to remember. We do not have to know things nor do we need to know the outcome. All we need to know is He is with us at all times and directing every step we take and every word we use. We also do not need to worry about how others act or react in this world. In ministry, we need to have accountability partners but the bottom line is that we are accountable to God. When others don't seem to be listening and following God, we are not responsible for their actions. We should pray for them and if the Lord directs, we should talk with them but we are not responsible for anyone's actions other than our own. We are not to be judgmental nor are we to be critical of others. God will take care of everyone in His time and in His ways. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminders this morning for me to be "Different" for You. Thank You for giving me the desire in my heart to live for You. Thank You for enabling me to hear Your voice and to walk in obedience. Father, I pray people saw me as "Different" yesterday in my words and actions. I also pray for a cleansing in my spirit so the same can be said for the day ahead. I pray for You to be so great in me that people will desire what I have in You. Lord, I also thank You for the reminder that I am not responsible for others actions. I do want to pray for some in my little world who need their eyes opened to what they are doing. May they see how they are kidding themselves in being OK with You as they make decisions against You. I also pray for people who are on the fringe of making a decision for You. Put someone in their path today that will make a difference for them. I also pray for some families who need reconciliation. I pray the believers in them will walk in obedience to You so reconciliation can occur. I continue to pray for a healing in Doc's body. I pray for him to have a good day as he seeks more of You. Thank You Jesus for being My Different. Amen.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Matthew 22:36-40 - "Different"

Sometimes I just feel like screaming when people just don't seem to get what it means to follow God's commandments. There are some who desire to pick and choose what part of the Bible they want to follow. Some manipulate His word to make it be what they desire. Some blatantly disregard parts they don't want to follow. I get so frustrated with those who claim to be His followers yet live a life to please themselves. What they want overpowers what the Lord desires for them. I am not being judgmental but see the decisions they are making. It seems as if they have put blinders on to the things they do and say. Instead of following the Lord, they are following self. It hurts me to see these things happen because I know there are those outside of relationship with Christ looking at them. I am sure some are thinking 'if that is what a Christian does, then I am ok.' Pleasing self is not what a true Christian does. Pleasing God is the first and foremost thing that should be on a Christian's mind. It does not seem to matter what is said to such people because they don't see they are in the wrong. But when you read these verses it is plain and simple we are to love God first and others second. I think of this acronym...


When we live our life in this order, we will have His joy in our heart. We will no longer be running from one thing to another looking for happiness. When He is first in our life, our focus will be on His desires and not our own. Sometimes He puts us in difficult places to stretch our faith. That does not mean we are to run but instead we need to seek His will on how to get through difficult times. Sometimes He puts people in our path that seem impossible to get along with because they do not think as we do. We need to realize not everyone thinks the same way but when we all are focused on Him we can find a middle ground and live in harmony. It just takes living for Him instead of pleasing ourselves.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for loving me so greatly. Thank You for the blessings of yesterday and the ones ahead in this day. Father, I am so tired. I pray for restoration in my physical, mental and emotional bodies. I pray for a renewal in my spirit. Lord, this week is the final for class. I pray for recollection as I complete it. I pray for peace as I study for it. I also pray for peace in some situations. I pray for people to get to the end of themselves and realize You need to be their focus. I pray their eyes will be opened so they will no longer be fooling themselves that their actions/words are ok. Lord, I pray for an abundance of You to be in me so people will see/hear You and not me. I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so this can happen. Lord, I also pray for healing in Doc's body. I pray for rest for him. Father, most of all I pray for You to use us in mighty ways so people will come into full relationship with You. I pray they will desire to be "Different" in their spirit. Thank You for being My JOY. Amen.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

James 1:2-4 - "All That I Am"

What a lousy night for sleep. I was grateful when the Lord woke me to pray for some pastors instead of me waking up with physical issues. It was weird on the timing. 3:47...4:47...5:47. I don't know why He was so specific with the time of '47' but it does not matter. When He calls upon me to do something, I am His willing servant.

3:47 - He had me praying for a dear pastor friend who pastors a fairly large church of a few hundred. He did not give me specifics but had me pray for wisdom for him. 

4:47 - He had me praying for our friend who pastors the Jerusalem Church of the Nazarene for safety over him and his family. He also had me pray for others who are ministering in Jerusalem.

5:47 - He had me praying for a dear couple in ministry who have a daughter who has been very ill and has been going through testing. He told me to pray for 'peace' in their spirits.

When I woke up, He had me praying for three specific pastors in small churches that are having financial issues. He told me to pray for the people to realize they need to give sacrificially as their pastor is giving of themselves. He also had me pray for 'peace' for these pastors. He reminded me of James 1:2-3. It is times such as struggles in ministry that will draw people in a closer relationship with Him when they allow it. He also had me pray for some pastors whose churches are going well. There is growth in numbers, finances, and spiritual growth in the people. He told me to pray for the pastors to not get comfortable in their current conditions because 'change was coming.'

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for giving me the privilege to pray for pastors. I am so blessed when You have me do so. Thank You for the way You provide strength on days when there is little sleep. Father, today is Your day where we gather as a corporate body of believers. I pray You will be in churches in a different, new way. I pray You will give pastors Your words. Father, cleanse me of anything that may be between You and I so people will see/hear You instead of me today. Fill me with an abundance of You and give me Your strength. I pray for Doc to also have Your strength as he had little sleep last night due to pain. Wrap Your loving arms around him so He feels Your presence. Thank You Jesus for being My Lord of Lords. Amen.