Who Hears Prayer

The Psalms are filled with praise and encouragement.  This one starts with praising God and recognizing that He is worthy of worship.  Then we are reminded that God is the one Who hears prayer.  For Almighty God to be willing to listen to us is an amazing thing.  God is in charge of the universe, but He still wants us to come to Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that I can come to You and bring my requests. Thank You for your leading in my prayers.  I ask that You would be at work in hearts so more would cling to You and bring their requests to You. Thank You that You listen to all who come to You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Tears and Joy

I know many who have shed tears in recent times.  There are all kinds of reasons for those tears.  The Psalmist had many trials and difficulties. He took them to the Lord to find the help he needed.  We don’t know when we will have the shouts of joy – sowing tears can seem like a long process. 

I know that God always does what He promises.   While the tears are heavy and the suffering can seem long, I know that we will reap with shouts of joy!

Dear Heavenly Father, please help those who are shedding tears while sowing for You.  Please strengthen them.  Help them to remember they will reap with shouts of joy.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Complete and Total Trust

This last week I have been fighting a different battle.  The company that manages my employer’s disability policy does not have the information they want to process my claim.  I have been confused and felt hassled trying to be the go-between to get this situation resolved.  I have needed the reminder to pray and trust the Lord completely.  God has this situation in hand, just as He had my surgery and recovery taken care of.

Life is full of various challenges.  God has the ability to take care of us through anything He allows in our lives.  I need to rely completely and totally on God to be able to make it through those situations.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for providing secure footing when I rely completely on You.  Please help me when I struggle to trust You completely.  I know You are trustworthy. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Willing to Receive

Lord,
I am willing to receive what You send,
lack what You withhold, 
relinquish what You take, 
suffer what You inflict;
To do what You command and
To be what You require.

Elizabeth Elliot

I know I much prefer receiving the “nice” things in life.  Something that warms my heart like a friendly greeting or good news.  I find it much harder to receive difficulties.  Going through appointments and surgery for a pre-cancerous tumor hit my introverted personality hard.  There were many difficult things along the way.  However, I spent so much more time praying.  I have also been convicted to watch for and write down the joy God sends throughout the difficulties.  I have found it fun to share the stories of the blessings.  I found it easier to make it through the tough times by looking for and enjoying the positive things.

I want to be willing to say what Elizabeth Elliot did – to be willing to have what God wants.  I know God’s gifts are always best.  Prayer and thanksgiving are two great ways to receive what God gives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings You send my way.  Thank You that the difficulties are a gift to help me draw closer to You. I ask for help as I continue to navigate the challenges of life.  Please help me to share hope, love, and faith in You with those around me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Taking a Break

This week I hit the proverbial brick wall.  I had been to several appointments in 2 ½ weeks and while I had the blessings of many nice people, I think I just reached the point of exhaustion.  There was so much push to start with I felt I had to make a decision and get going.  While I don’t like crashing, it pushed me to seek a second opinion.  I will be heading to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in about 2 weeks.  I like their integrated approach including working with the patient to help them understand and feel comfortable with the decisions being made.

While it is important to work through medical issues without delay, it is nice to have a break.  Taking time to rest is important.  We tend to hurry through life, and it can take its toll.  I will thoroughly enjoy no appointments for a time.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a short time of rest from medical appointments.  Thank You for the encouragement from the staff at CTCA.  They have been a blessing.  Please help me to cling to You and show You to others as I face this journey.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Claiming Peace

As I continue on my journey of being diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer, peace can seem illusive.  When I allow my mind to go down path A, B or C there are so many variables I can worry about.  At this point I am waiting for the results of an MRI. I do not know what path I will walk down. I need to wait for the next step, not think about 3 steps down the road.

A friend of mine talked about claiming peace.  I think we get stuck on God giving it – thinking somehow He is going to miraculously make us feel good.  God promises to give peace. I think we need to remember to take it. God doesn’t force His free gift of salvation on us.  He isn’t going to force us to take the peace He offers.  I definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit to make the wise choice.  But I shouldn’t blame God when I have chosen to be anxious.  That choice is NOT God’s fault.  That choice is mine.

As I work at taking one day at a time, I am going to ask God’s help to claim the peace He so readily offers.  Peace is a great gift from a loving Heavenly Father.  It is mine for the taking.

Dear Heavenly Father, my mind and heart are so prone to anxiety.  Please forgive me for my lack of trust.  Please help me to claim the peace You so freely give.  Thank you for such a great gift that is mine for the taking.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

I Don’t Like to Suffer

I don’t think any of us likes suffering – of any kind.  The reality is that suffering happens.  The Bible reminds us that it will. While suffering is not what we want, God uses it to shape and mold His people (James 1).  The pain of the suffering is worth knowing what will come from it.

It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies – whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart. 

-Hudson Taylor

I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages. 

-Charles Spurgeon

God has a purpose and never makes a mistake.  We will survive the suffering in this life for a greater purpose in the next.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for having a purpose for me in suffering.  Please give the strength to endure and encourage others in their own troubles.

I pray this in Jesus’ Name.

God is so good.

Faith Over Fear

We continue to see negative circumstances dramatized before our eyes in the news, on social media – seemingly everywhere we look.  I was struck by a statement from a minister from California.

“Fear always attracts the information needed to legitimize its existence.” 

Bill Johnson

Fear is a powerful emotion.  If we don’t keep fear in check, we will see through the cloudy lens of that emotion.  Too often we let biases and emotions take over and we don’t view our circumstances through the lens of the truth of Scripture.  In crazy times like ours, we need to cling to truth.  We need the grace and wisdom of God to guide us through the bombardment of information and opinions.

There are scary things going on.  However, God promises to take care of us.  We are more important than birds and flowers, but God takes care of all of us.  Matthew 6 reminds us of that. So, friend, don’t worry about tomorrow.  Allow God’s grace and wisdom to guide your thoughts and decisions each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, we struggle with fear.  Please shape our thoughts according to Your truth. Thank You for caring for even the birds and flowers as well as us.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Sleep in Peace

One of the biggest battles we have fought in the last 4 months is fear.  The fears are as diverse as the population.  Much of the fear is turning into anger.  Anger at anyone who disagrees or doesn’t seem to understand.  There are facts, misinformation, and opinions being shared at every turn.  Each of those sway our emotions again and again.

How do we survive times like this? How can anyone sleep at night?  King David wrote Psalm 4. He had experience in many difficult situations, frequently counseling himself to trust in God.  Psalm 4:8 shows how he could “lie down and sleep.”  He knows that God is in control.  God is the means of our safety.  I am all for making wise choices, but no matter how good the choice is we don’t have ultimate control over the results.  With all the disagreement lately, our choices have been somewhat limited. 

Friends, whether we believe it or not…whether we live it or not, God IS in control and will provide safety when we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, we are facing so much fear. Please help us to turn to You instead of turning against each other. Please guide us in following You.  Thank you for the safety that You provide.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Gentle Wisdom for Tumultuous Times

As I tried to figure out what to write for today – another day in the life of COVID-19 changing our lives – I went back to verses I have put on pictures and found this one.  We need to seek wisdom to navigate the changes this virus has brought.  We should pray for wisdom for those making decisions.  We should evaluate the wisdom (or lack thereof) in the “news” that we hear.  None of us will figure everything out.  Only God knows everything – everything that has happened, will happen, or even could have happened.  We can’t even keep track of everything that has happened. Our finite minds and intellect have limitations.

The people that I have appreciated the most – the stories that I have followed are from those who look at the facts and seek to interpret them with a calm and gentle spirit.  Pandemonium doesn’t help our situation.   Gentle wisdom is provided by a God Who cares enough to allow trials to mold and shape us.  Read the book of James.

As you go along whichever path God has you walking, don’t forget to seek “the gentleness that wisdom brings.”  You’ll find blessing even on the roughest parts of the road.

Dear Heavenly Father, please give the wisdom You have promised.  Please help our hearts to be open to the true wisdom that only comes from You. Thank You for all You have done and all You will continue to do in our lives.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.