Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I asked for strength--
and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom--
and God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for prosperity--
and God gave me brain and brawn to work.

I asked for Courage--
and God gave me dangers to overcome.

I asked for love--
and God gave me opportunities

I received nothing I wanted--
I received everything I needed.

My prayer has been answered.

--From the Family of Michael Job, an Indian Christian Medical student who was killed in June of 1999 because of his father's evangelistic activities--


Where there is no cross, there is no crown.
This lesson cannot be learned from books, and
men do not usually taste this sweetness. This rich
life does not exist in a comfortable environment.
If the spices are not refined to become oil, the
fragrance of the perfume cannot flow forth; and if
the grapes are not crushed in the vat, they will
not become wine.

-From a Chinese Christian-

-From Voice of the Martyrs "Extreme devotion"-

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 10

Chapter 10:: When You Are Overwhelmed... Pray!

One groan,
one sight from a wounded soul,
excels and prevails with God.
-William Penn

First, when you are overwhelmed, you have the Bible, which is God's guidebook for dealing with all of life and its every challenge (2 Peter 1:3)

Second, you and I can thank our Lord that through the act of prayer we can seek the heart and mind of God in our difficult situations.  

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27

A word for you-- Again I say to you, "Thank God!" Thank Him that He knows your weaknesses, that He knows your heart, that He knows your suffering, that He knows your desire and your need to pray.  He also knows when you cannot pray, so He, through His Holy Spirit, comes to your rescue and prays for you! Thank Him that He has so graciously allowed this avenue of prayer, this whisper, this sigh, this groan of prayer by the Spirit, for those times when words and understanding fail you.  You can pour out the contents of your broken, confused heart as best you can, if you can(!)... and leave the rest of your efforts to communicate with God to the power and ability of the Holy Spirit.

Checklist for Prayer

  • Do your best--Sometimes your heart cries out, "It hurts so much! It's so bad I don't think I can pray!" What are you to do when this happens?  First, remember such feelings are okay! They are normal.  They are common (1 Corinthians 10:13) This happens to everyone.  This is not an indictment against your spirituality.  You haven't failed.

Just begin.  That's your part.  God's part is to "join in and help" you pray.  He will perfect your fumbling attempts to do the right thing--to pray even when your heart hurts so badly that you are not sure what to pray or how to pray.  He will intercede and groan for you.  As explained by a Greek scholar, "The Holy Spirit lays hold of our weaknesses along with us and carries His part of the burden facing us as if we were carrying a log, one at each end."
  • Try to pray-- At other times, we throw our hands up, turn our heads and hearts up to heaven, and say to God, "I don't know what to pray!" Once again, remember this too is okay.  It's normal. It's common.  It happenes to everyone.  Again, your confusion and inability are not indictments against your spirituality.  You haven't failed.

  • Watch your heart--Don't worry about your words.  It's your heart that counts! But God is not as interested in your words as He is in your heart! Man looks--and hears--on the outside, but God looks at--and hears--the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)
Answering God's Call to You

Romans 8:
--The Holy Spirit intercedes for you (verse 26)
--God is for you (verse 31)
--Christ makes intercession for you (verse 34)

So my prayer for you at this moment is that you will let the prayers of your heart flow! When you are in pain... pray!  When you are speechless...pray!  When you are heartsick...pray! When you are suffering, beaten up, or beaten down by life...pray! When you are troubled or perplexed...pray! When you are overwhelmed...pray! Your heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask (Matthew 6:32)... so ask.  Use any fumbling words or wails you can muster up out of your hurting heart.  Just to be sure you pray... and leave the rest to God.
pg. 106-115

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 9

Chapter 9 :: When You Are Worried...Pray! 

The way to worry about nothing
is to pray about everything.

God commands, "Do Not Worry!"

Did you know that over 300 times in the New Testament God commands us, "Do not worry" or "Be not anxious"? Just one of these occurrences, which we considered earlier, is Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer
and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests
be made know to God; and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

The Command- "Be anxious for nothing"

The Scope of the Command- "Be anxious for nothing" I once heard a Bible teacher ask, "Do you know what 'nothing' is? It's a zero with the rim kicked off!"

The Solution- Prayer! "Let your requests be made known to God."

By Prayer- Prayer is not only worship but prayer is where all true worship begins... and all worry ends!

By Supplication- Do you have a need (Or, more accurately asked, Do you think you have a need?) Then pray! Petition God by supplication.  Boldly go before His throne of grace in your times of need...
and with your needs (Hebrews 4:16). 

We can ask and not worry... or we can worry because we don't ask.  It's one or the other--and the choice is ours.

With Thanksgiving- Praise, gratitude, and thanksgiving accompany all true prayer.

By Requests- Present your requests to God with utmost confidence.  Keep nothing back, neither great nor small.  Withhold nothing--none of your concerns--from God.  He wants your everything, your every concern! So present them to Him. Leave them in the lap of the Almighty.

The Result-- When you and I are obedient to God's command to not worry, and when we're faithful to pray instead, and the peace of God comes to our rescue and "will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  In other words, as a tribal missionary so beautifully and simply translated this truth, Jesus will make your heart sit down.

And once your heart sits down, peace keeps watch over it.  Like a soldier, God's peace guards your heart--and mind!--against anxiety, doubt, fear, worry, and distress.  And the result? The battle against worry is won!

Checklist for Prayer
  • Don't...miss a day of prayer-- If you play hit-and-miss with your daily prayer time, you will most certainly discover that your worry level is higher on the days when you don't pray.  Prayer is God's surefire solution for elimination worry.  If you pray, then you won't be anxious.  If you pray, then you will experience peace of mind.  And the opposite is true, too.  If you don't pray, then you will be anxious.  If you don't pray, then you will not experience peace of mind. 
  • Do... memorize Psalm 23

    Psalm 23

     1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     2He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters.
     3He restores my soul.
    He leads me in paths of righteousness
       for his name’s sake.
     4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
       I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
       your rod and your staff,
       they comfort me.
     5You prepare a table before me
       in the presence of my enemies;
    you anoint my head with oil;
       my cup overflows.
    6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
       all the days of my life,
    and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
  • Do... determine a "worry day"-- A man who was unable to put his troubles aside completely decided that the next best thing to do would be to set apart a single day, Wednesday, to do all his worrying.  When something came up that disturbed him during the week, he wrote it down and put it in what he called his "Wednesday Worry Box." When the time came to review his high-anxiety problems, he found to his great surprise that most of them had already been settled and no longer generated anxiety! He discovered that most worry is unnecessary and a waste of precious energy.

"The riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7)
an inexhaustible reservoir to draw from.
"The riches of his glory" (Ephesians 3:16)
an inestimable wealth to count on.
"The riches of His goodness" (Romans 2:4)
an unfailing resource to rely on.

pg. 94-103

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 2He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
 3He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
   for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23
Yellowstone, Wyoming


I just stand in my door way and look in at the beauty...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Storm Day with Family

I just love how her toes rest oh-so-close to the edge of the stool.  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time Spent with the Lord

The time we spend in solitude
with our heavenly father and our Bible
is time spent waiting upon the Lord.
Afterward there is the mounting up,
the taking flight as an eagle.
We are able to soar because
we have been with the Lord.
-Elizabeth George

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 8

Chapter 8:: When You Are Worshiping... Pray!

The Prayers of True Worshipers
--King David--

Let my prayer be set before You as incense.
Psalm 141:2

He was pleading with God that his prayers would be as disciplined and regular as the offering of incense and burn offerings were required to be according to God's law (Exodus 29:38-30:9)

The Prayers of your heart--
  As New Testament worshipers, you and I don't kill and burn animals or incense as a sacrifice to the Lord.  But, dear one, we as women after God's own heart are called to offer up a different kind of sacrifice-- that of prayer.  We are to lift our prayers to the Lord.  We are to offer the "incense" of our prayers.  And as you and I both know, that calls for some sacrifice on our part!

Checklist for Prayer--

Sacrifice your carelessness--
Lax attitudes toward God and toward prayer have to go.  We must substitute "I'll get around to it ...I'll pray later...I'll pray when I feel like it...I'll pray when it's convenient for me...Catch You next time, Lord!" with a sober-mindedness about what prayer is and to do it with greater planning and more careful preparation.  David ordered his prayers, precisely laying them out.  And Zacharias prayed at a certain time and in a most reverent and mindful way--in worship!

Sacrifice your sin--
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
Psalm 66:18

The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
Proverb 15:29

One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
Proverb 28:9

The Eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.
1 Peter 3:12

Sacrifice your heart--
Prayer involves the offering of your emotions and tears.  It's a terrible, ugly thing, but when we don't pray, it's easy to become aloof, controlled, cool, and distant.  We are unattached, untouched, and uncaring about what is happening around us and about the pain in people's hearts.  But when we make the decision to pray, it costs us our hearts.  The only way I can describe it is to say that the act of prayer breaks our hearts.  Then...then!...our emotions spill over and our tears flow. We are burning the "incense" of our sincere prayers toward the Lord, offering up the sacrifice of our hearts.  Scripture tells that "the sacrifices" God is interested in "are a broken spirit, and a broken and a contrite heart"--a crushed heart (Psalm 51:7) Does that describe your heart?

Sacrifice your time--
John Wesley, busy founder of Methodism, spent at least two hours each day in prayer.  He is famous for bringing us these challenging words: "I have so much to do that I must spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it."

Samuel Rutherford, seventeenth-century theologian, rose at three o'clock each morning to "wait upon God."

Alexander MacLaren, English clergyman and scholar, wrote that he owed his "success" to the habit never broken of spending one hour a day alone with the Eternal.  It was this man who knew well the sweet savor of the perfume of prayers of worship, who wrote, "The Garments of those who pray smell of all the fragrances that grow about the feet of the King."

Martin Luther, German Reformer, testified, "Prayer is the most important thing in my life.  If I should neglect prayer for a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of my faith."

pg 85-93

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mrs. Parker's Cherry Pie

Mrs. Parker was our housekeeper, and she made the best cherry pie in the entire world.  I ate it at every opportunity.  Papa always said that I was going to turn into a cherry pie myself one day if I wasn't careful.

This was Mrs. Parker's cherry pie: all tangy cherries rolled up in a golden, buttery crust.  It was as sweet as clean sheets on a washing day, as warm as the chair by the kitchen stove on a cold afternoon.  Just imagine it sitting on the plate waiting for you, all piping hot from the oven.

-Boston Jane, Holm-


The secret prayer chamber is a
bloody battleground.
Here violent and decisive battles are fought out.
here the fate of souls
for time and eternity is determined,
in quietude and solitude.
-O. Hallesby

-Picture from Lower Falls, Yellowstone-

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 7

Chapter 7:: When You Are Hurting...Pray!

One of my favorite words in the English language is "bittersweet." This picturesque term also reminds me that many occurrences in life fall simultaneously into the glad-sad category, bringing forth both emotions at once.

We wonder, How can something be both bitter and sweet at once? It can only be so because of God's great power and grace! As you have probably already experienced, it is God and God alone who is able to sweeten what is bitter (Exodus 15:23-25), to make the one who is sad become glad (Psalm 30:11), and to turn something bad into something good (Romans 8:28)

Lesson # 1-- Cast your burden on the Lord.

He who watched over the infant deliverer of Israel in his cradle of rushes, who sent His raven to feed Elijah by the brookside, who protected Daniel in the lion's den, and kept Paul calm and cheerful in the hurricane, is the very One who says to us-- roll your anxieties over on Me, for I have you in My heart!

Lesson #2-- Resist the temptation to run away

You must stay and pray! You must stretch yourself out and strive in prayer!

And be assured, dear praying heart, that if a way of escape becomes necessary in your grievous situation, if the heat of battle becomes more than you can bear, God, who is faithful, promises that He will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).  He will deliver you.  He will come to your aid. He will rescue you.  He will see to it! You can depend on Him!

Lesson #3-- Believe that God will sustain you

-Psalm 55-
16But I call to God,
   and the LORD will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
   I utter my complaint and moan,
   and he hears my voice.
18He redeems my soul in safety
   from the battle that I wage,
   for many are arrayed against me.
19God will give ear and humble them,
   he who is enthroned from of old,
because they do not change
   and do not fear God.
 20My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
   he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
   yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
   yet they were  drawn swords.
 22 Cast your burden on the LORD,
   and he will sustain you;
 he will never permit
   the righteous to be moved.

 23But you, O God, will cast them down
   into the pit of destruction;
men of blood and treachery
   shall no live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.

Checklist for Prayer

the wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion
Proverbs 28:1


Look up! When your soul is in sore straits, there is no solace and no cure comparable to prayer.  That's exactly when you must seek God on bended knee.  Resist, with God's help, the urge to emote. Refuse, with God's strength, to sink into a variety of emotion and/or sinful responses.  Refrain, with God's self-control, from self-pity, self-righteousness, anger, and depression.  Reject, with God's grace, the temptation to ask Why.  Don't allow yourself to rant, rave, disintegrate into a puddle, fall apart, or collapse.  Instead of fainting, pray (Luke 18:1)

Cast your burden on the LORD,
   and he will sustain you; he will never permit
   the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.
 James 1:2

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Hebrews 12:15


And after all, where does humility grow? And trust? And faith? It grows in the crucible of the fire of trials...


Monday, November 8, 2010

Lord, make me a channel...

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace
That where there is hatred, I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the
spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring
That where there is error, I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith,
That where there is despair, I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows, I may bring
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
-St. Francis of Assisi-

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 6

Chapter 6:: When You Are Disappointed by Others...Pray!

-Pray for Others-

Moses prayed for his brother Aaron...
Moses prayed for God's people...
Deuteronomy 9:12-20

Job prayed for his friends...
Job 42:8

When You Are Disappointed By Others...Forgive One Another!

 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

  Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Colossians 3:13

 Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Luke 6:28

When You Are Disappointed by Others...Watch Your Heart!

Oh, how I pray that you and I, as women who are called to pray, will follow in the honorable, righteous, forgiving footsteps of these three who belonged to God's noble army of intercessors and pray-ers! Because their hearts were clean, guileless, right, praying, and forgiving, they could pray for others... even those who had disappointed or personally harmed them.

When You Are Disappointed by Others... Offer a Helping Hand!

We must help them! We must set aside our disappointment, forsake the lectures, forsake the judgment, forsake the shock, and go to work helping and praying for others, taking heed lest we fall (1 Corinthians 10:12)  Sure, correction, instruction, restoration, and rebuilding may come later.  But when a person has failed and is in trouble, we are to pray and offer a helping hand.

Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, and
pray for those who spitefully use you.
Luke 6:27-28

Are you doing kind deeds for those who have harmed you or let you down? Are you speaking kind words to and about those who have slandered or verbally attacked you? And are you praying for those who have hurt or disappointed you? Look to God for His most able and gracious help, and then do what He says you must do to love your enemies.

Pg. 65-73

The Doxology

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blowing Bubbles::

Sweet little thing.  She couldn't figure out why it wasn't working!! :)
I told her how, and she didn't believe me. 
But she eventually got it to work.  :)

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 5

Chapter 5:: When you are in Trouble... Pray

Lingering in God's presence will
increase our faith,
provide a place for us to unload our burdens,
remind us that God is always near, and
help us not to panic.

To ask the question, "What is prayer?" is to ask a 
question of such depth that it is beyond our lim-
ited human understanding to ever fully answer.
The question probes not only the mysteries of
what it means to be a human being, but even
inquires into the mystery of God Himself....
Because it is a topic too deep for the human intel-
lect, it requires that we look to God as our 
-Terry Glaspey-

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!
Romans 11:33
From the earliest times, prayer has been an integral part of the worship of God.

We are to implore Him for our needs.  And we are to do so earnestly and humbly.

...men always ought to pray and not lose heart...
Luke 18:1

Praying instead of fainting refers to the words, attitude, and devotion of supplication that looks expectantly to God in times of trouble.  Such prayer keeps us from caving in.

When the going gets rough, we're not to faint, lose heart, give in, give up, and cave in.  Instead we are to pray, to ask God in supplication, to trust Him and move forward.  It's true that "he stands best who kneels most."

My friend, in times of trouble...when you can't do anything at all...just pray and pray! That's supplication-- turning to God in prayer in the tough times, when you don't know where else to go or what else to do.

He must fight my battles (Psalm 60:12) He must judge and makes things right (Psalm 37:6) He must act on my behalf (1 Peter 5:6) He must deliver me (Psalm 143:9) and help me to go on in the presence of my enemies (Psam 23:5) And prayer is my way of handling the trouble I cannot handle.

Prayer is a means of asking God to do what we cannot do.
So I pray God's message to your heart is crystal clear.  When you're in trouble...pray. When you're helpless...pray! When you've done all you can do but you're still in need of help...once again, pray! You are to ask God in supplication, dear child of God.  God's call and instruction to your heart is to remember to pray in times of trouble.  Don't lose heart! Pray from the heart!
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
James 5:13

pg. 54-63


Monday, November 1, 2010

::Perfect for November::

::Here are some albums that are floating around our house today.  Serious Italian-cafe-happiness going on here::

A Woman's Call to Prayer :: Chapter 4

Chapter 4:: Ten Reasons Women Don't Pray- Part 3

If you want a life of prayer,
 the way to get it is
by praying.
-Thomas Merton

7) Faithlessness- We don't really believe in the power of prayer.  We don't think that prayer makes any difference.  We don't believe that things might have different outcomes due to faithful and earnest prayer... therefore we don't pray.

Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Matthew 21:22

Enjoy the devotional thought that follows regarding this wonderful promise from Jesus... and then, in faith and by faith, draw the bow, shoot the arrow, and in prayer send your heart's message upward to heaven!

Prayer is the bow,
the promise is the arrow:
faith is the hand which draws the bow, and
sends the arrow with the heart's message to

The bow without the arrow is of no use; and
the arrow without the bow is of little worth; and
both, without the strength of the hand, to no

Neither the promise without prayer,
nor prayer without the promise,
nor both without faith,
avail the Christian anything.

What was said of the Israelites, "they could not enter in
because of unbelief,"
the same may be said of many of our prayers; they
cannot enter heaven, because they are not put up in

8) Pridefulness- Prayer reflects our dependence on God.  When we fail to pray, we are saying that we don't have any needs...or worse, that we are choosing not to ask the one Person who can help us.  Our prayerlessness defiantly declares, "I'll take care of it myself, thank You!" 
So let's be quick to humble ourselves and pray and seek God's glorious face.

The self-sufficient do not pray, the self-satisfied will not pray, the self-righteous cannot pray.
The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalm 34:18

9) Inexperience- We don't pray because we don't pray! And because we don't pray, we don't know how to pray...so we don't pray.  It's a vicious cycle.  Yet prayer, like any skill, becomes easier with repetition.  The more we pray, the more we know how to pray.  And the more we know how to pray, the more we pray.  It's as simple as that.

Lord, teach us to pray
Luke 11:1

If we are willing to take hours on end to learn to
play the piano, or operate a computer, or fly an
airplane, it is sheer nonsense for us to imagine
that we can learn the high art of getting guidance
through communion with the Lord without being
willing to set aside time for it.  It is no accident
 that the Bible speaks of prayer as a form of
waiting on God.

10) Laziness-
First, I put my personal principle of "head for bed" into action as soon as the evening meal was done and the kitchen cleaned up.  No, that doesn't mean that I went to bed at six o'clock. But it does mean that at six o'clock I began to get my daughters bathed and into their pajamas.  I would also shut down the house, wash my face and brush my teeth, check the schedule for the next day and begin a to-do list, and get into my own pj's.  Then I set out my prayer notebook and Bible in the place where I would (Lord willing!) have my devotions the next morning.

Second, I put my prayer principle of "something is better than nothing" to work for me when it was actually time to pray.  I had to dispel the myth of the desired and hoped for "sweet hour of prayer" and try for something more manageable and realistic for successfully getting the discipline of daily prayer into place.

Checklist for Prayer

Access your faith-quotient- Do you believe God answers prayer? Or do you fall into the category of those Jesus addressed as "O you of little faith"?

Lord...help my unbelief.
Mark 9:24

Take time to think- Really think about what keeps you from praying.  Hold each of these ten reasons for failing to pray up to God in prayer.  Lay your soul before God, and submit your heart to Him for scrutiny.

For instance, ask in prayer:

God, is there too much of the world in my life and not enough of You?  Am I like Martha, too focused on the busy details of daily life and failing to see the big picture, the necessity of prayer? Am I living out the definition of a fool by allowing what is insignificant to rob me of the most significant use of my time- time spent praying about my life?  Have I allowed anything to create a distance between us, Lord? Father, am I neglecting to ask of You in prayer because of a failure to understand Your magnanimous nature? Or is it due to some area of sin in my life that I'm refusing to deal with? Or is my failure to pray a faith issue, a lack of trust? Or pride? Or do I just plain ole don't know how... or am I just plain ole lazy?

Desire to answer God's all- You see, you and I can know we need to pray, and we can learn the skills involved in praying.  Yet if we never desire to pray, our knowledge and skills mean nothing.  Praying will never become a habit or a discipline because the one main ingredient is missing.  My friend, it's imperative that we desire to pray!

Prayer is so simple;
It is like quietly opening a door
And slipping into the very
presence of God,
There is stillness
To listen to His voice;
Perhaps to petition,
It matters not.
Just to be there
In His presence
Is Prayer.

Pg. 42-51