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Friday, May 31, 2013

Scripture prayers link in place

Chip is home.  So the blog now has a download of Scripture prayers.  See link to the right.  I may do more later but for  now, this is a 31 day format of short verses to pray for yourself, your husband, your children.  Or whomever!!

Give us this day

Give us this day, our daily bread

Let's briefly recap.  The components of prayer.  Come into His presence with worship, acknowledging His character, His attributes.  Then aligning ourselves with His purposes, subjecting ourselves to His sovereign rule.  Desiring His Will, submitting our plans to His, above all.

Only then do we make our requests, our petitions.  And we need to do it daily.

Remember the story of the Israelites in the wilderness?  They were without food, desperate.  God sent them bread from Heaven, manna, every day.  Every day, He provided what they needed and every day, they were to gather what He sent.  What they gathered one day didn't last for the next - His provision was abundantly sufficient....for each day, one day at a time.  He didn't allow them to super-store once for all time.  Instead, He allowed them a daily reminder of not only their dependence on Him but also of His faithfulness to supply. 

That's the principle at work here.  Every day, we ask God for what we need for that day.  The strength, the wisdom, the guidance for the needs of that particular day.  We can't store up on Monday and have it last til Friday.  We need a consistent "diet" of His provision in order to meet the demands for each day.  And we need the continuous remembrance of His faithful presence, of His abundant generosity and grace. 

Which leads us to the second point here -- not just the "daily" aspect but also the "bread".  It is no coincidence that Jesus described Himself as "The Bread of Life".  He is our sustainer, our strength, our very Life.  HE is what we need when we lack wisdom or power or joy.  He IS all that and more.  All through the day I cry out to Him for the "bread" I need at that moment! For wisdom as I climb the stairs to address an issue with one of my children.  Humbling myself to ask forgiveness of my husband.  Trying to understand a passage of Scripture.  For financial provision...and the wisdom to handle what He sends.  For self-control when I really don't want to exercise but I do want to eat on entire bag of chocolate.  For compassion for others.  For meekness instead of anger.  For kindness towards someone who has hurt me.  For grace to extend forgiveness.  For faithfulness when I'd rather be self-indulgent.  On and on the list of my needs goes.  And on and on I ask for His bread.  Over and over and over.  And He gives.  Generously.  Without reproach.  Every day.  More than I ask.

He does give good gifts.  But what He really wants us to have is Himself. He is all we need.

Scripture prayers

I mentioned in  a recent post that I regularly pray Scripture for myself, my husband, my children.  Often I am asked what specifically do I pray so I am sharing a list.  If I can figure out how to post a link to the document, that is. ...

In the meantime, here's the scoop.  I do pray these on a regular basis.  The verses are arranged in a 31 day format so that you can pray them monthly.  But know that I don't get to them every day.  (There are days I don't even get my teeth brushed -- can I get an Amen???)  And I don't just stick to these verses.  For crying out loud, we have an entire Bible to choose from !! :)  But these are my default ones, I guess.  They cover things that I want to be sure get prayed about.  Wisdom, purity, integrity, kindness, service, loving God, loving His Word, loving each other, courage, endurance, contentment, protection, salvation, so forth.

Now if I could just figure out how to link to my documents.....oh, well, Chip will be home this evening.  I guess we can wait til then!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How can I know God's Will?

The question of how to know God's will is one of the major concerns of a Christian.  Particularly for 20 somethings who want to know what to study in college and whom to marry!! All of us wrestle with wondering if this or that is what God wills for us.  How can we know? Do we just tack "if it's your will" at the end of our prayers to be "safe"?  If He is sovereign and accomplishing His purpose for the world, why even pray? If I just believe hard enough, can I have whatever I want? Is that what the passage in Matthew 21:2 means?

  And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thy Will be Done

Thy Will be done  sounds an awful lot like Thy Kingdom Come.  Is there a difference?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come

The first index, or topic, we find in the Lord's prayer is that of worship.  We acknowledge the holiness of God, His Worthiness.  We come as His beloved children, but we come aware that, apart from the righteousness of Christ bestowed on us when we trust Him to save us, we could not enter into His presence.
That realization causes us to worship Him, in wonder and love and reverence. Knowing His name, we attest to the attributes that reveal His glory.  We praise Him for His majesty, His sovereignty, His power, His compassion, His provision, and on and on.   That's what it means to fear God.  We are so aware of our UNworthiness to be in His presence -- we realize that we deserve to be melted to nothingness in the fire of His Holiness.  And, yet, because of Jesus's righteousness and the mercy of God to accept His payment on our behalf, we can approach the Throne of God...confidently, even with boldness.  That's practically scandalous! 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Howard be Thy Name"

Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name"

This always makes me think of the story told of the little fella writing a letter to God - he addressed it "Dear Howard".  When asked how he knew God's name was "Howard", he replied - "The Bible says so.  'Our Father, which art in Heaven, Howard be thy name' ".  Don't you love that!!

Maybe the little guy had the semantics wrong but I think he also had something right.  God wants us to know Him by name.  "Howard" or whatever!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Teach me to pray

Don't you read passages such as
 I John 5:14-15 (And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15and we know that if he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him) and
 James 5:16 (The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working) 
and wish you could pray with confidence that you would see results?  Me too! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Turtle attack

Yes, I got attacked by a snapping turtle today.  I was on a power walk when I noticed a large turtle in the middle of the road.  Cars are constantly zooming down this road and I was concerned it might get hurt.  So, like I have done scores of times in the past, I moved the turtle.  Unfortunately, he was NOT as concerned about the possibility of becoming road kill and consequently did not cooperate with my Good Samaritan lifesaving mission.  He coped in the only way he knew how.  He attacked.  I managed to avoid his snapping mouth but I was no match for his bionic claws.  He left a couple of gashes on my fingers.  So much for trying to help the critter!!!  In spite of gushing blood all over the road, I got him safely to the side among the leaves and rocks.  I continued on my exercise quest...and watched him head right back to where I rescued him from!! Oh well.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What is prayer?

Probably a bazillion times, we will tell someone "I'm praying for you".  Probably less than a bazillion times do we actually do it.  Now, I'm not being cynical or critical...just honest.  We are well-intentioned and we really do care about the one we commit to pray for....but sometimes we just don't do it.  Or if we do, it's one of those "arrow prayers" that we shoot up towards Heaven - "please bless Bobby".  We'd be hard-pressed to know if God ever answered many of those.

So I thought it'd be fun to do some posts on prayer.  God commands us to pray.  We want to pray.  We need to pray.  So let's find out about prayer.

Monday, May 20, 2013

In the battle of life....

We all know that we live in a hurting world.  Each one of us has been hurt.  And, truth be told, each one of us has hurt others.  Sometimes we condemn the behavior of others, labeling them as mean or callous or weak...when actually, they are processing hurt.  In the only way they know how.

Today's post is about  3 ways we process pain.  I doubt that these are the only 3 ways but, in my observation of others and in my own experience, these  are the general categories I have found. I hope that this will increase our understanding of others - and of ourselves - and perhaps that will help us help others -- and ourselves -- process hurt more victoriously.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What God does when we hurt

As I sit here watching Chip sleep off the anesthesia from his wisdom teeth extraction, I heard the Lord whisper to me.  He is so kind, so gentle, so compassionate...and so powerful and holy and majestic.  I just had to share the impressions He left with me today...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to be sure

One of the biggest struggles Christians face is that of assurance.  Confidence that we are "in".  It seems to be particularly acute for those who have been raised in the church.  Verses like Matthew 7:21-23 ("Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.") can be really frightening.  We wonder, how much of His will do we need to do to be sure?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Input, please

I would love to hear from you - what topics would you like to see in Living Letters? 

Please let me know your thoughts - thanks!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day.  A day to celebrate indeed.  All of us have a Mom.  Some of us are one.  What do you think about on Mother's Day?

I think, perhaps, that our thoughts on today vary with our life station.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Psalm 23:6 The end

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

We have come to the end of Psalm 23.  This last verse is so very familiar and so very comforting. Our promise that all will end well and will last forever.  I found some commentary about sheep that shed a new light of possibility on what God means by this.  Let's unpack it...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Psalm 23:5c

My cup overflows

The psalmist just told us about the table the shepherd has prepared and the oil which anoints the head.  Now, the cup.  Why a cup?  Why not a platter or a bowl or a pitcher?  hmmmmm.....let's see...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Psalm 23:5b

You anoint my head with oil;

Does this conjure up for you scenes from the teenage years when we needed to wash our hair twice a day to get rid of the flat greasy look?  We seemed to have had our heads anointed with oil!  Somehow I don't think that's what the psalmist meant...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Psalm 23:5a

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
What picture does this create for you?  Seems a little odd to me.  Like sitting down to eat lobster and steak on the battlefront while the enemy is launching grenades at my head.  Not sure I get the picture the psalmist intends.  Let's get some background....

Friday, May 3, 2013

Psalm 23:4b

Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
I don't know about you, but "rod and staff" don't strike me as comforting.  When I am afraid or in need of comfort, what I want is  someone by my side who knows how to accurately shoot a rifle, a place to hide, and a big pile of chocolate. The psalmist prefers a rod and staff.....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Psalm 23:4a

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;

There are lots of things to unpack in this passage.  Let's get started...