Tag Archive | pray

Peace in every way

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all!”
2 Thess. 3:16

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My devotional today…one verse.

The Lord of Peace

Himself

continually

give

you

PEACE

at ALL times

in

Every

Way.

Matthew Henry comments on the wonder of this prayer and promise:

The apostle prays for the Thessalonians. And let us desire the same blessings for ourselves and our friends. Peace with God. This peace is desired for them always, or in every thing. Peace by all means; in every way; that, as they enjoyed the means of grace, they might use all method to secure peace.

We need nothing more to make us safe and happy, nor can we desire any thing better for ourselves and our friends, than to have God’s gracious presence with us and them–no matter where we are, if God be with us; nor who is absent, if God be present. It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we hope to have peace with God, and to enjoy the presence of God. This grace is all in all to make us happy; though we wish ever so much to others, there remains enough for ourselves.

I pray that you may have peace in every way today…from the Lord Himself, the Lord of Peace and Grace.

 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
2 Thess. 3:16 (NIV)

~~

[Brief disclaimer for my blogging absence the past few months.  Many new travels, places, battles, faces…and little discipline to write through it all.  Your patience is appreciated as I press on with writing, albeit, with small steps.]

Sin in Control

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”      Psalm 51:4

I’m not a theologian, I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and I’m not a subject-matter expert about much of anything. There.

But sometimes I’m burdened about something so much, that I’m compelled to step out of my comfort zone (as a warm-fuzzy encourager), and share my heart. It’s my sincerest prayer that through today’s post and future Titus2sdays, you may grow in the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, and His name would be glorified.

Even though it’s quite clear that the desire of  human nature is to control and be in control, I think women struggle the most with this battle. I  know—I am one.

Genesis 3:16 reminds us why we’re so encumbered:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

When boundaries are set, we instantly to try to step over them, climb under them, or reason our way around them.  The apostle Paul discusses this inclination extensively in Romans 7.  Specifically, verse 7 says,

For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

So, just as the Word revealed Paul’s coveting as sin, we too face an uncomfortable fact:  Our desire for control is sin. We don’t want to be ‘ruled’ by anyone, God or man.  Perhaps because we don’t trust others to make the right decisions on our behalf.  Or, we don’t trust God.  And that equates to sin.

But desiring to control is more than not trusting God, it’s attempting to be God.  One of my favourite authors, Paul D. Tripp, discusses this dilemma:

  • The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed…. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. [1]
  • Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own drama, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not authors of our own story. Our story is a part of a larger story written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. [2]
  • You and I can change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behaviour. Yet behaviour is not really the issue…the root problem is the heart. When we attempt to do God’s job and change someone’s heart, we only cause frustration to ourselves and pain to the other person. [3]

So try to control others according to our limited wisdom or for our benefit, we become self-serving, we hurt others, and, we’re sinning against God.

“Against You only, I have sinned.”

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. He is compassionate, wise, understanding, and above all, forgiving. He is able to help us. We can and must depend entirely on Him, yielding our hearts and minds to His control.

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!!  Romans 7:24

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Let’s pray together about this during the week and ask ourselves:

Where do I need the grace of God to say no to the temptation to step over God’s boundaries and control?

How have I sinned against the Lord by trying to control others?

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Dear Lord, Thank you for the victory we have through Christ! We are incapable of living out this Christian life apart from you.  Sometimes it’s so difficult, we feel like quitting. Please meet us first thing each morning and all day long, with your mercy and grace, to enable us to relinquish our behaviours, thoughts, and words to You. Your kingdom come, Your will be done…not ours. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen

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[1]  Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

[2]  A Shelter in A Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble

[3]  Broken-Down House

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Join us next Titus 2sday for more discussion on control, trust, and the help available through Jesus!

Out of the Fog

In the Fog

In the Fog

Spurgeon thoughts for Fearless Friday:
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“It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal…
~
May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety, and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth, and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below, and assist us to mount!
~
We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped. May God now grant us grace…like Abraham, to attain the top of the mountain, there to indulge in communion with the Most High.”
~~~
Dear Lord, please lift us out of the fog of our fears, cares, and all the things that choke out the Light of your presence. The fog is sickly, dark, hindering and oppressive. We pray, grant us grace and lift us up to your mountain, so we can breath and see unhindered, our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Then, ‘the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” In His name, Amen.

Above the Fog

Above the Fog

Meditative Monday

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”  Hebrews 13:15

 

Palm Sunday.  Good Friday.  Easter.  More than token dates, the calendar reminds us of things we often overlook or forget.   Is it possible to go through a day without recalling the sacrifice Jesus made for our sin?  Yes..I have and I do.  And when I realize what I’ve forgotten, I frantically look for things to sacrifice, give up, or do, to make up for my memory lapse.  

But the verse above states cleary that praise and thankfulness are the sacrifices God prefers.  Not things.  I don’t have to crawl on my knees, scrape my knuckles, or save the world.  I am to Praise Him.  Thank Him.  In everything, through everything. Always.  

So, today, I want to thank Him in some areas which I frequently almost always forget to acknowledge Him in–His merciful provision and care over my physical body:

21.  Being born in the last half of the 20th century…otherwise, I’d be dead already..

22.  Soft contact lenses

23.  Orthodontic work  (some have this for ‘fun’–I needed it!)

24.  Asthma medicine  (see #21)

25.  Antibiotics  (Seriously, would you want your blood drained like they did in Sense & Sensibility?)

26.  Skin cancer detection (see #21)

27.  Um..other cancer detection measures (see #21 again)

28.  Dentists and *most* modern dental procedures

29.   American medical care (at least, for now)

30.  Anesthetics  (that help with #27, 28, and lots more!)

 

In light of so much, I can’t help but be thankful!!!  And as I give thanks, I continue to pray for many others struggling with their health.  Starting with Kate.  Will you join me in thanks and prayer today?  The list goes on and on….next week

and

Here…

Titus 2’sday

I wonder why I thought I could write for TWO blogs when I have a difficult time maintaining one? Some of you may know from my New Year’s goals, that I wanted to invest time into another blog, specifically for women, to encourage, train, and minister according to Titus 2:3-5:

Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 

With honesty and personal candor, I realize that I can’t maintain two blogs.  I’d rather do ONE thing well, instead of two things mediocre! 

Therefore, I’m closing up shop on Titus2U, and instead, designating every Tuesday at this site as Titus 2’sdays [groan], where we can discuss and encourage one another on how to love our husbands, love our children, be kind, sensible, responsible at home, and bring glory to the Lord and His Word! 

For starters, here is my first, and only, post from Titus2U:

Contrary Mary:

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

 

I always think of this nursery rhyme when I find myself being argumentative with my husband.  You know, it’s those days when he might say the sky is blue, and I say it’s gray. He wants to wait, I want to move forward, etc.  Have you ever found yourself being ‘contrary Mary’?

Maybe some cues of what contrary ‘looks like’ will help out:

From Webster:
“being so different as to be at opposite extremes : also,
being opposite to or in conflict with each other;  unwilling to accept control or advice

From Rogets:
Anti-  [anything!]
hostile
unfriendly
opponent
adverse
repugnant
negative
opposite
conflictive
alien
uncooperative
obstinate
clashing
discordant
competitive
hindering
disagreeable

From Vine’s:
against
accuser
antagonistic
adversary
set against
oppose
resist

This is convicting!  And now I know I don’t want to be Contrary Mary…standing there, with hoe in hand, pointing out why I am right, my husband is wrong, and “what’s more…yaddi yaddi yah”.

How can I keep from being this little controlling, contrary, anti-everything woman in my home?

1.   PRAY!!  Ask the Lord to change ME….not my spouse.

2.   Seek the Lord’s righteousness and kingdom, not My own kingdom of one.

3.   Take my cues from God’s Word.  Ephesians 4:30-32:

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice

                   Be kind to one another

                   tender-hearted

                   forgiving each other,

                  just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

4.  Remember, I am a sinner saved by grace, married to another sinner saved by grace. *

 

A little prayer for today:

Dear Lord, I don’t want to be a contrary Mary, but something rises up in me, seeking control, and wanting things to go my way.  Grant me the strength and grace this day to seek first Your will and your kingdom.  Help me to think first before I speak, to weigh my words against Your Word, and to be submitted to your Holy Spirit.  I need you and trust you, Lord.  Thank you, in Jesus’ name.  Amen

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* Taken from Paul D. Tripp’s book on marriage, What Did You Expect?    We will discuss more from this book in the future.

Resolved, more or less

 

Have you ever noticed that most resolutions fit into these two categories, more or less?

MORE                       LESS

$$ Saved                   $$ Spent
Family Time             TV Watching
Reading                     Stress
Exercise                    Weight

We rarely resolve to maintain the status quo in our lives.  Improvement usually means change, and that means doing things better, more or less.  I saw a humble example of this recently, when Billy Graham was a guest on FOX’s Greta Van Sustern program.  Greta asked the 92-year-old spiritual leader what, if anything, he would do differently in his life.  He answered, without hesitation, “Pray More.  Study Scriptures More.  Meditate on Jesus and tell Him I love Him more.  And travel less.”

Like the apostle Paul, Dr. Graham wants to “know him and the power of his resurrection, and share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10) 

So, for this year, and many more to come, by God’s grace, I resolve to:

Pray More

Spend more time in God’s Word

and worship Jesus more!

Let us remember with any goal, that “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  (Romans 10:31)  Are my resolutions, desires, or to-do lists, built on this foundation?  Daily decisions, let alone yearly aspirations, can all be applied against this:

“Whatever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:17) 

So, with these Scriptures in mind, I commit my year and goals to Him.  With His strength and grace, I expect to complete them…more or less 🙂

Weigh less (started diet already)

Read more (2011 reading list will be posted this week)

Begin my M.Ed at Regent’s U (working on app for school and financial support)

Learn to make herbal soaps for gifts, hopefully from TNFarmGirl.

Blog more often with encouragement in view, particularly to younger women, through my new blog, Titus2U.

 

Earlier, I noted that we often have a very short list of things we’d do the same this year as the last.  But I did think of a couple:   

Lord willing, may we continue our involvement and fellowship with Calvary Chapel Ottawa, Jericho Road, and Celebrate Recovery this year, always keeping in mind, “it is the Lord Christ whom we serve.” (Col 3:24) 

I jealously desire to hold on to the precious morning devotional time my husband and I have together!

 

How about you?  Is there anything you aspire to continue this year as you did last?  Or, is there anything in particular you’d like to resolve, more or less?

Blessing in the Thorn

Many have died and many more are suffering in Haiti, and throughout the world. Many of our loved ones are going through really difficult times.  For today, I chose to encourage and minister with grace, rather than force any pat answers to suffering.  Perhaps a reminder of Christ’s love will minister to you, through this song from Phillips, Craig, and Dean :

Blessing in the Thorn

I read about a man of God
Who gloried in his weakness
And I wish that I could be
More like Him and less like me
Am I to blame for what I’m not
Or is pain the way God teaches me to grow
I need to know

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I’ve heard it said the strength of Christ
Is perfect in my weakness
And the more that I go through
The more I prove the promise true
His love will go to any length
And reaches even now to where I am

But tell me once again

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

Lord, I have to ask You
On the cross You suffered through
Was there a time You ever doubted
What You already knew
?

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I want to see the blessing in the thorn.

 

You can listen to this from the blue Music Box.  This version is from their CD, Where Strength Begins, Phillips Craig and Dean.

Tweet Prayers

Technology is….what you make it.  While many have their doubts about Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.. I find in them a potential for ministry, witness, and encouragement.  True, you have to look for it. But the same could be said for, well…life.  

Anyhow, here are some “Tweet Prayers”, of people calling out to the Lord with prayer requests that we can partake in: 

~Heavy heart today 4 little ones battling tumors on brain & spine. Praying 4 these families today: Belle Mitchell, Kate McRae, Adri Patterson

~I love that my Jesus is big enough to heal Haiti, and personal enough to heal little Kate Mcrae. Praying. http://bit.ly/763qv

~Video Update from Matt Chandler http://bit.ly/4DiSKh {See a most amazing young minister waring against Brain Cancer- pray with us.

~Rescue workers hearing sounds of life in hotel wreckage! Dan tells us David had pack with energy bars and water. Please breathe a prayer

~A statement from David Hame’s wife. Keep praying. http://bit.ly/8q3Uu0

~Haitians pray, cry for help in the ruins (AP) http://bit.ly/8BLTt8

~Pray for the miltary personnel in Haiti who are giving humanitarian aid there.

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Tweet interpretation:

Please pray for 5-year old Kate McCrae and her family in their continued search for wisdom and help re. Kate’s brain tumor.  For Matt Chandler, as he continues treatment for his brain tumour.  And for David Hame, the only Compassion staff member not yet found in Haiti. 

 

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter–click on the right sidebar link. 

Blessings, Linda

Help for Haiti

What can I do?   TV headlines, news articles, and live video feeds keep us informed about what’s happening in Haiti.  But beyond keeping us informed, we also begin to feel helpless.   These actions hardly seem original, but are, nonetheless, necessary:  

  1. Pray.  Pray for the children.  Families.  Missionaries.  Safety for relief workers, our Marines, EMTs, etc.  Successful relief efforts.  Clean water.  Medical assistance.  For the gospel to take root in the hearts of the Haitian people. Life. 
  2. Give:   This may be more difficult for some.  But in Haiti, a little can go a long way.  $10 is a start.   Here’s some organizations experienced in getting help quickly to the  needy:   Compassion InternationalSamaritan’s PurseWorld Vision  
  3. Make it personal.  I don’t know anyone in Haiti.  But as I read missionary updates, prayer requests, blogs from Haiti, or faith-based  reports, the story becomes personal.  Names, needs, photos.   So, as I read, my spirit groans… in deeper, more effective intercession.
    Read/follow these sites to help make this devastation personal:    The Livesayhaiti Weblog          Missionary Flights International

 

HT:  The Gospel Coalition/Carrie Koens

Days, not Years

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”   Psalm 90:12

Let’s pay attention to the word, “days.”  Moses knew, even after 100+ years, that we can only live ‘one day at a time.’  Warren Wiersbe discusses this in his expositional Bible commentary:

“We number our years [with birthdays], but not our days…but all of us have to live a day at a time, and we do not know how many days we have left.  A successful life is composed of successful days that honour the Lord.”

One Day at a Time

 

This verse is also the theme of Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life newsletter and his message this month is worth repeating: 

 
“Here is a suitable verse for the start of the year of our Lord 2010.  Calvin observes that “it is a clear confession that without divine grace we are utterly foolish concerning the plainest things.”

If statistics alone could impress upon us the brevity of life and the reality of death and the certainty of judgment, we would all address ourselves to the issue. The fact is, the message never registers until God brings it home to us. Moses’ prayer comes at a time when thousands were dying annually in the wilderness. One would think that such fearful mortality would have impressed the whole nation. But it didn’t.

Twenty-first century men and women are no different. We walk through graveyards, treading on the dust of our forefathers, meeting long-lost friends at funerals, and yet we do not number our days aright except through some special operation of the Spirit of God.

Perhaps by now you’re thinking that this is a rather gloomy way to begin the year. Not so!  This is not a funeral psalm. It is for the living. When we submit our minds to God’s revelation and we consider Him as Creator, Judge, and Savior, then we will learn to be satisfied every morning in His unfailing love. 

Then we may safely ask Him to “establish the work of our hands.” In brief, we enter 2010 walking with Him and working for Him.” [1]

[1] Read more at Alistair Begg’s website HERE

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My Prayer

With this verse, and conviction, I face a new year, a collection of days, hours, minutes, and seconds.  Moments.  Opportunities.  Life.

“Dear Heavenly Father, This verse sums up all my heart cries and groanings within.  Since my days are numbered by You, and I’ve lived many of them already, my remaining days are more likely fewer, and, therefore, more precious.  How many have been wasted, ruined by sin and self, and are worth less than nothing in eternity?  Thank you for your patience, loving grace and forgiveness through each and every one!

Help me to waste not one day ahead, and may Today, matter above all!

Teach me to number my days by loving You with all my heart, soul, and mind, and loving others as myself.  Only then, will I glorify You and bless others.  In decisions small and large, let wisdom reign and love for You be at the center. 

So much awaits in my book of days, all known only by You. I commit each one to Your gracious care and direction, for You alone are Faithful!  Your mercies are new every morning!

I dare not trust myself or my imaginations of what lies ahead, so I ‘wholly lean on Jesus’ name’,

“who is able to keep me from stumbling and to present me blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever!  Amen.”  
[Jude 24,25]

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“He who has help you hitherto, will help you all your journey through.”  C.H. Spurgeon