Japan

Heavenly Father,

The death toll in Japan grows daily. Hundreds of dead bodies have washed ashore (according to the Associated Press). Please protect the wounded survivors, the  brave rescue teams, the overwhelmed medical personnel, the orphaned and the widowed. There are so many needs it is impossible to name them.

I am so thankful You know each need.

Believers around the globe and praying for Japan and her people. It is such a heartbreaking circumstance with amazing devastation. Mission efforts are being coordinated, rescues are happening each day. Help us consider how we might be involved. Certainly, Lord, You have called us to pray. What else can we do? Lead us to care deeply, connect in Your name, and contribute in the ways we can.

In Your Son’s Name we pray…..

Walking Wounded

Do you know people who function day-to-day but their words or action indicate they are wounded? Maybe they speak with anger or make cutting remarks around you and it actually makes it hard to be near them. There are many reasons that people lash out (sometimes they are tired or overwhelmed) and we don’t always get to know the why behind what we see.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away. Psalm 38:11

If someone comes to your mind, please lift them up in prayer today. I do think if you see a consistent pattern of ‘meanness’ that there is probably something else going on there. Wounded people wound people…often because of where they are in their pain. And while their actions or attitude might drive you away from them, it is often then that they really need a friend. Whether or not you are called to be that friend, I don’t know. But if God has allowed you to cross paths with this person, your prayer intercession on their behalf is an amazing gift.

If it is you that is wounded, seek healing. God is in the business of transforming ugly circumstances and situations into evidences of His mercy and grace. There are 190 versions of the word ‘heal’ in the New International Version of the Bible.  Psalm 38 is a powerful petition from a hurting David. His pain is evident.  As you begin your journey of healing, find a friend who will pray for you. Then find a Biblical counselor or pastor to sort out the situation and dig into God’s Word and God’s Truth. God’s healing work often begins with humble hearts.

A refreshing stream in Colorado

Doing Hard Things

Have you had to do a hard thing? Maybe it was initiate a conversation about an awkward situation or apologize for something said or maybe you needed to stand up for an unpopular idea or address a wrong. Life is full of hard things and hard conversations. Sometimes I try to avoid them for as long as I can because I am anxious about the outcome.

Are in the middle of thinking you need to do a hard thing?

  • Pray and ask God for His guidance. Sometimes this will be the only action taken.
  • Consider your motives.
  • Seek out a discerning and trusted individual~one who will not just blindly agree to anything you say~share your thoughts and request their insight.
  • Allow time for your ideas to marinate. Sometimes I create my own ‘hard thing’ moments by jumping the gun and not processing long enough. You may find this ‘hard thing’ does not require your action at this time.
  • Ask for prayer support from trusted individuals. You do not need to divulge private information as God knows the details.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen!” Ephesians 3:19-21 NIV

Setbacks

“Sin will take you farther than you ever intended to stray, It will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay and cost you more than you ever intended to pay.” Author unknown

Have you ever found yourself in a frustrating place of sin and thought back to when that particular stronghold may have started? Definitely a sobering thought. Recently we had a local school principal arrested for shoplifting at Kohl’s. She was in her early 50’s. There was a lot of newspaper television coverage and she no longer works as a principal. Wow. Who knows when that all started for her.  This sin took her on an ugly journey.

Sin is just like that. We justify and rationalize our behavior and get defensive when it is brought to our attention. But later we find ourselves repeating that same stinkin’ scenario over and over again and trying to get free from the grip of sin. What can we do? Here are some actions that can help:

  • Confess
  • Seek Forgiveness
  • Have an accountability partner
  • Surround yourself with Scripture
  • Pray
  • Change your scenery or routine
  • Forgive yourself

Be open to insight from more seasoned Christians who may have the ability to see you are headed down a dangerous path. Sometimes those rebukes come from someone who has walked a similar road and desires to save you from the pain and consequences they experienced. Sometimes we are so blind to current or future consequences of our sin that we are shocked when a concerned friend brings forth a warning. Be approachable.

As long as we are human we will have setbacks. Will you allow a setback to give you an excuse to go further down a dangerous path or will you allow it to help you see your vulnerabilities and give you the chutzpah to forge through temptation the next time?

Thirst

O God, you are my God, I earnestly seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

Don’t you just love how God uses a common experience to relate to us? These kinds of verses really help the Bible come alive for me.

I have been thirsty before…have you? Sometimes I have contemplated compromising what I know to be right just to get the thirst quenched. That beautiful babbling stream coming from the mountain? It looks refreshing. It sounds refreshing. Do you have any idea unhealthy or dangerous microorganisms or dangerous chemicals that could be in there? Not unless you have a water testing kit.

Sometimes we are so desperate to have a need or a desire or a thirst quenched, we will drink anything…and that decision can be deadly.

Earnestly seek God on the matters of your heart. Prayer is always a great starting point. If you find yourself in a difficult place, definitely start with prayer. Then open your Bible and see what God has revealed about Himself. What does His Word say in relationship to your struggle? If your exact situation isn’t in Scripture, how can you apply what you know about the character of God?

Earnestly seeking God would be committing time and focus on Him. Quality time. Quantity time. Is there something that you might need to consider giving up for a time in order to truly seek God’s heart on a matter?

If you get a chance, finish the rest of Psalm 63.

State of the Union

Our family gathered around the television last night to hear the State of the Union. It was another great reminder to pray for our country and for those who are serving and leading our nation!

Christians have many differing views on where our country is headed and the best way to get there. It is important to be informed on the issues, prayerfully ponder them, seek God’s heart on the matters, and vote when given the opportunity.

Members of US government would benefit from our prayers. We have city, county, and state government officials who would benefit from our prayers as well. Please consider praying specifically for those serving in all levels of public office that God would:

  • guard their marriages and families
  • protect their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health
  • safeguard them against the schemes of those who intend to harm or lead them astray
  • defend them when they are in the correct course of action
  • convict them when they are not
  • unveil the eyes of those who do not believe in Him
  • surround believers with others who will encourage spiritual growth
  • surround unbelievers with opportunities to engage in healthy spiritual conversation with Godly men and women

Ask God to give you other prayer areas to add to this list. You can even pray for your local, state, and national leaders by name! Don’t get too bogged down in the details–start by praying in general and ask God to direct your prayers through His Word.

Here is a link to an organization offering many different angles and opportunities for prayer. Check them out when you have a chance!!

http://presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php

Trouble Focusing?

Ever have one of those times when life is crazy and the concerns of the moment are overwhelming and make it difficult to get your bearings?

  • A car accident leaves a loved one critically injured.
  • A “pink slip” is handed to you.
  • A grim diagnosis comes from the doctor.
  • A crime is committed against you.

Or maybe your stressors are a collection of little situations over time that have become overwhelming and incapacitating. Thankfully, we don’t often experience the big situations listed above, but life can change so quickly. Sometimes, a survey of the things I need to get done or am already behind on can make feel dizzy and disoriented, not knowing where to start.

If the path seems a bit fuzzy, here are some things that might help you regain your focus:

  • Close your eyes and ask God for His strength for the moment.
  • Ask for prayer support. Sometimes just stating the struggle you are going through gets it out on the table and gives you chance to access it.
  • Be honest about your situation.
  • Take a brisk walk for 15 minutes to clear your head.

We all have different circumstances that send us reeling and mess with how we are looking at our situation. We often are unable to see God’s perspective and the work God is doing “behind the scenes”. If you are in a calm time in life, pray for those you may know who are walking through a difficult time. Lift them up in prayer or lend a hand.

I pray you learn from and grow in your relationship with God. Ask Him to clear your eyes so you can get a glimpse of His vision!