I recently read a statement about the secret of prevailing prayer - Andrew Murray says, "The secret of prevailing prayer is to study the word of God to find what God's will is as revealed there in His promises and then simply take these promises and spread them out before God in prayer with the absolutely unwavering expectation that He will do what He has promised in His word."
With that said, in light of the recent heartbreak in not only our church, but our community, we as believers in Christ are given the ultimate gift in being able to cast our cares at the feet of Jesus during this time. We have the ultimate gift of not just being able to pray, but being able to pray prayers that will prevail.
Why can I say that? Because I've searched His word to find hope for my grieving soul. For my church family's grieving soul. And I can assure you His word is not lacking in having promises that we can stand on and pray with during this time.
For me, this passage is one that I am clinging to:
Lamentations 3:19-30 (MSG)
19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
For me and my family, we are clinging to hope. We are clinging to Him.
I have struggled with even writing this post, but for me, sometimes I have to write to just help my mind wrap around things. Especially things that my mind can't even fathom how to wrap around right now.
There is much going around on social media. I have refrained from posting. But what I want to say in this post is this:
In all of your hurt and anger and shock and every other emotion you may be feeling right now, there are real people who are completely broken inside of all of this. Yes, it feels like a nightmare we are all hoping to wake up from soon. It feels as if we are in another reality. But the truth is, this is our reality right now. We have seen the face of evil be displayed. We have seen real people experience real hurt. We have seen that whether we want to believe it or not, we DO have an enemy who is prowling like a lion, looking for who he can destroy. BUT, we have a God who has overcome him and the world.
So as much as you may be questioning things or needing to "air out your feelings" on facebook and twitter, please remember that the best thing we can all do right now is pray. Take your hurts and your questions and everything else and talk to Him about them all. Love each other. Stand strong for each other. But PRAY.
Throw yourself into God's word and find hope. Find strength. Find comfort. Find what He promises in your time of need and then pray those words of hope over yourself, over our church and over this community.
Now is not the time to get into arguments and controversial issues about why how someone feels is wrong. Now is the time to fall on our faces, cry out to the God who is the ONLY one that can heal our brokenness.
I do want to give honor to my Pastor and church. I cannot imagine the depth of burden he is carrying. I encourage you to pray for him and all the people involved with administering leadership and justice. I have never been more proud to be associated with my church family than I am now. And while this may be one of the most difficult things our church has ever walked through, I am honored that I am able to stand next to, and to link arms with this group of believers who are desperately seeking the face of God.
I'll close with a prayer that Max Lucado posted after the tragedy in Sandy Hook. I just think the mindset of this prayer is perfect for our community right now.
Come into our darkness Lord Jesus.
It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Lately I've been having conversations with people and seeing alot of other posts regarding adoption. People have questions and want to know more. Some people don't know a thing about it, but for whatever reason their hearts have been stirring wanting to know more. Some people are at the place where they know God is calling them to adopt but they don't know what to do next. Others are in the process. And then there's the ones who have already adopted, who are in the thick of it, and just need support from others who have been where they are, faced what they faced, and support for the day to day.
I'm no expert, but I have been and currently still, walking out each phase of the questions above.
There are moments of the good, the bad, and the hard in every phase of adoption. But, what changes my perspective on each phase is that adoption isn't just a "good idea" or "something you may want to do", but adoption is also the heartbeat of God.
When I think about what God did to adopt ME into HIS family, it really changes my views on the hard days, the good days, and every day in between.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)
To be made WHOLE by His love....one of my favorite parts of that passage. Because THATS the heartbeat of adoption. To take all the fragmented parts of our lives, to take the broken places in us, to take what was deemed "unlovable", and to make us WHOLE by HIS LOVE.
He knew all my junk, took me in with all my junk, and loved me lavishly with all my junk. He loves me on my hard days. He loves me on my good days. And He loves me on all the days in between. Man, am I grateful for that kind of love.
So when days are good with my children, I'm reminded of how He loves me when my life is good. When days are hard with my children, I'm reminded of how He loves me when my life is hard. And it then becomes HIS LOVE that drives me...compels me - to love like He does.
I don't know where you are in the adoption journey, but I do know THIS -
God wants you to know HIS heart about adoption in every phase.
He wants you to know that if you are at the place where you are thinking about it, He wants to show you answers.
He wants you to know that if are in the process of it, (the paperwork, the homestudies, the WAITING) He wants to show you that He is in every detail, He is in every question, He is in every moment of the waiting.
He wants you to know that if you are a parent through adoption, He wants to show you His heart in how He adopted you, how He longs to show you love and compassion, how He loves you on your hard days, how He loves you on your good days, and how He will empower and equip YOU to love your children the same way.
So, where are you? I want to help in anyway I can and one way to do that is to help answer questions. I don't know all the answers, but God has blessed me with a network of friends and people who are all part of this glorious journey of adoption who will pitch in and help us all navigate through it.
Comment here, email me, call me, facebook me. However you want to ask your question. Then we'll help find answers. I have friends who are in every part of this journey who I know would love to help you answer your questions.
I'm going to make every effort to at least once a week post a question that's been asked.
What a fun journey this will be! Now, let the questions begin! :)
Last year was quite a year for me. Lot's of changes and things going on. During it all I began to feel like I was moving in slow motion. Things that would normally move faster in my life spiritually seemed to either get stuck or were moving at a snail's pace. It seemed as if I had been uprooted and all I could do was try and find something to grasp hold of to anchor me down. But there was nothing tangible that could do that.
I've always counted on emotions to be a place of stability (I know, crazy!), to help guide me and direct me to a degree. Emotions guided my worship, emotions guided my motivation. But last year emotions were removed from the picture, and His word for me has been TRUTH.
This past year has been almost like a computer reboot. You know when your computer crashes or freezes up and it requires a hard reboot? It's so frustrating. The screen seems to lock, everything is moving at super slow speed. That is, if it's even moving at all. So that's the point that sometimes requires the ole "control/alt/delete" combination. Know what I mean? And then once it gives you the option to shut it down you unplug it for a bit and give it some time to do whatever it needs to do in order to repair itself.
Well, that's where I've been. Unplugged.
Around March of last year is when He hit the control/alt/delete on me and began the rebuilding and repairing phase. And then He unplugged me and gave me time to heal.
He's not even close to being finished with me yet, but for now, He has plugged me back in and my system is starting up. One thing I know, He's removing some old "programs" from my system and installing some new updated and better ones. I don't know what all of that will look like, but I don't have to. He is a master at rebuilding and repairing and making things new. He's the best re-programmer I know. :)
I do know this - I'm being anchored in truth above all else. He is teaching me truth, changing me with truth, and fortifying me in TRUTH. HIS truth. You know, the TRUTH that sets men free? Yeah, THAT truth.
That truth is requiring the complete and total rewrite of my system, of my personal internal hard drive.
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God TRANSFORM you into a NEW person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2 NLT
So, for what it's worth, that's where I've been. For this upcoming year my heart is just that I may know Him, and make Him known, whatever that looks like.
The thing is, we never ask them to do anything that we know they can't do. When we ask the question we already know they are capable of doing it. And if it something a little beyond their capabilities, we know that we will help them. All we are looking for is that they say yes and then actually do it.
As I'm thinking about that this morning, I'm reminded of my constant use of excuses with God. It's pretty sad, actually.
He asks something of me and I come up with all the reasons why I CAN'T do it. Can you relate?
I started thinking about why we actually use excuses though. The reasoning behind it if you will. Sometimes it's because we are afraid. Sometimes we are lazy. Sometimes it's just simply because we have a disobedient heart.
This made me think of Peter and the disciples in the boat when Peter did the impossible and actually walked on water.
"Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
But when he saw the strongwind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed."
Matthew 14:24-33 NLT
The story focuses on Peter and what he did. But I've been thinking about the other disciples in the boat and what they DIDN'T do.
I imagine their thoughts were geared around something like this...
It's too dangerous. Look at that storm. We'll surely drown if we get out of the boat.
I know He told Peter to come to Him, but Peter's crazy if he thinks he's actually going to walk on water. That's impossible. Nobody can do that. Besides, what will everyone else think if I step out of the boat and then nothing happens? What if I fall?
And I'm sure there were many more thoughts as well.
Have you ever thought about why Peter was the only one who made the leap of faith? I'm sure the other disciples thought he was insane. I mean who does something like that? Who has that kind of faith that they can actually do the impossible?
People like Peter. People who could use all the excuses like everyone else and stay safe and normal and ordinary. But they choose not to. They hear the beckoning call from the One they know. They know He sustains them. They know He would never ask them to do anything that He didn't already know they could do. They know that IF they fall, He will surely uphold them and keep them from drowning.
People who know that staying in the boat would cause them to miss out on being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Excuses keep us safe. They keep us comfortable. They keep us normal and like everyone else. But I don't want to miss something big that God may be calling me to do because of excuses.
If you don't get out of the boat you'll never even have the opportunity of knowing you can do the impossible.
If He is asking you to get out of the boat, He already knows you can do it.
All the men and women who are known for faith in
I want to live like that. No excuses. Just faith in the One who will always sustain me. And if I do take my eyes off Him and begin to sink, I know He is there to catch me when I fall and uphold me by His strength.
Ultimately there really isn't a good excuse for staying in the boat. Just because you stay in the boat and you think it's safe doesn't mean that boat won't sink. The safest place we can be is out of the boat, living and doing the impossible with God.
No more excuses. I want to live a radical life such as that. I'm getting out of the boat.
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