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Monday, December 1, 2014

Live Life to the Hilt: Prayer

Live Life to the Hilt: Prayer


Edmund P. Clowney wrote, “The Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents the God of prayer.” We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is, the more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly. 

Without immersion in God’s words, our prayers may not be merely limited and shallow but also untethered from reality. We may be responding not to the real God but to what we wish God and life to be like. Indeed, if left to themselves our hearts will tend to create a God who doesn’t exist. People from Western cultures want a God who is loving and forgiving but not holy and transcendent. Studies of the spiritual lives of young adults in Western countries reveal that their prayers, therefore, are generally devoid of both repentance and of the joy of being forgiven. Without prayer that answers the God of the 
Bible, we will only be talking to ourselves. 

Excerpt from PRAYER by Timothy Keller Reprinted by arrangement with DUTTON, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Keller 

I'm slowly learning this.....how often I've come to Him because I'm desperate for Him to answer my prayers, but have not given Him the honour and worship which is due Him. May we look to Him, seeing Him first as the all powerful Creator, the pure and righteous Father, the only Redeemer, who has been so merciful and gracious to us. Job 9 gives much food for thought.....and then Job later says, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him!"--Job 13:15

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

From Oswald Chambers, again

"Thinking is the habit of expressing what moves our spirit. In order to think we must concentrate. Thinking is a purely physical process. No one can tell us how to begin to think, all they can do is to tell us what happens when we do think. 
The inattentive, slovenly way we drift into the presence of God is an indication that we are not bothering to think about Him. 

Interest is natural, attention must be by effort. One of the great needs of the Christian life is to have a place where we deliberately attend to realities. That is the real meaning of prayer. "

Oh that we may truly think, focus, and concentrate on what He wants, so that we may become one with Him. Conform me Lord, into Your image!

Reflection Questions: Do my prayers consist only of what I am personally interested in? When I pray, do I think about God or about myself? 

Quotations taken from The Moral Foundations of Life and Run Today’s Race, © Discovery House Publishers

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From Oswald Chambers

"We talk about the difficulty of living a holy life; yet we have the absolute simple ease provided by the Almighty God for living a holy life because He paid so much to make it possible. Beware of placing the emphasis on what prayer costs us; it cost God everything to make it possible for us to pray. 

If anyone has difficulty in getting through to God, it is never God who is to blame. We can get through to Him as soon as we want to, there is nothing simpler. The trouble is when we begin to sympathize with the thing that is proud and strong in independence of God. "

O Lord, forgive us for making excuses for not praying. How simpering and foolish and lazy we are!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scripture memorization

How many of you have said "I can't memorize, my mind is too distracted, or stupid, or too forgetful," etc? Well I have, and my daughter Elisabeth has challenged me by memorizing Ephesians. She was on the first chapter when she was visiting in May and June, and practiced every morning. I thought if she can do it with 4 little ones, I can do it with none at home except my husband!

I'm sending out a challenge to any of my blog followers to do the 2 letter of Peter in 63 days. See The Youversion of Dr. Andrew Davis's challenge- Extended Scripture Memory, or download the little pamphlet which is free on the internet.
I've started today, August 29th, which just happens to be my granddaughter Valerie's 9th B'day. And the younger sister is Jennifer, 2.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Are we Christians hospitable?


Hospitality vs Entertainment
God commands us to be hospitable. I began to learn this way back in 1977 when I was feeling sorry for myself because we had not been invited to anyone's home after the first welcoming Sunday in Franklin, La. In May, 1976.  Every Sunday we went home sad because we'd not been invited again! Suddenly one day my good husband said "I have an idea- let's start inviting people home after church, and quit feeling sorry for ourselves." Thus began many years of having simple ( red beans and rice!) and some not so simple ( beef roasts, which I have not yet perfected in the oven!) menus for Sunday guests from our churches. What a Godsend- literally. When we focus on what we want, we are feeding the "I" monster, and when we focus on making others happy, God makes us happy. As I read in my father's biography a couple of weeks ago, "We serve a happy God!" Our most Hospitable God.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Become like a little child- Matthew 18:1-4

"By what right do we become a “royal priesthood”? By the right of the Atonement. Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. 

In regard to prayer, we are apt to be apologetic and apathetic, complex and confused; yet what a splendid audacity a child has, and that is what our Lord taught us to have. "

Reflection Question: With whom, or in what situation, do I need to become less self-centered and more God-centered? 

Quotations taken from My Utmost for His Highest and Christian Discipline, vol. 2, © Discovery House Publishers

The above came from my Youversion devotional by Oswald Chambers. I often "feel like" a little child in my wanting fun, or not wanting to have responsibility, or wanting others to be sympathetic with my problems, but Christ spoke of the simplicity and trust and dependence of a little child coming to his father to ask. I pray that I will learn what we all used to be like- trusting, dependent, hopeful, and completely confident that my Father in Heaven is ready for me at any time to ask audaciously...We need not be afraid to ask!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Must we always comment on life?"

In 1951, at the age of 24, my Dad had just read For Whom the Bell Tolls by E. Hemingway and was impressed with the amusement of the people in just experiencing life- that they drew no conclusions, pointed out no morals, but simply stated things as they are. He said in his journal-"must we always comment on life? Can it not simply be lived in the reality of Christ's terms of contact with the Father, with Joy and peace, fear and love, full to the fingertips in their turn, without incessant drawing of lessons and making of rules? I do not know. Only I know that my own life is full. It is time to die, for I have had all that a young man can have, at least all this young man can have. If there were no further issue from my training, it would be well. The training has been good, and to the glory of God. I am ready to meet Jesus. Failure means nothing now, only that it taught me life. Success is meaningless, only that it gave me farther experience in using the great gift of God, LIFE. And Life, I love Thee. Not because thou art long, or because Thou hast done great things for me, but, simply because I have thee from God."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

1000 Gifts

I've been convicted that it IS important to write down everything you're thankful for. I have not read the book by Ann Voskamp but it has been highly recommended by several, so I'm beginning my list....will you start one too?
In every moment His presence is real, if we would just look up and say "ThankYou."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Billy Graham's devotional for today

This is SO TRUE!  

"Christians are to enjoy life and enjoy one another. When children see no joy in their home, no joy in your Christianity, they will not be attracted by it. When they see you excited about going to a ball game, or watching television, and then dragging around to do spiritual things, they will soon get the idea that Christianity does not mean much to you. Your attitude will rub off. My wife says that the best way to get a child to eat his food is to see his parents enjoying theirs. Our children will not be attracted to Christ if we make Him seem dull.

Daily Prayer

May I live so close to You, Jesus, that those around me will see Your joy."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Suffering, Failing, and Success

“Suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is that others after you may succeed.” -- from Edward Judson, Adoniram's father 

We've often felt like failures, suffering our own mistakes , and seeing our children suffer for our own sins....but "Thanks be to God who always leads  us in triumph through our Lord Jesus Christ!" And His power is perfected in our weakness, as we fall upon Him for help and mercy.

If we had no suffering, we wouldn't need God, and we wouldn't see how He can do abundantly above all that we ask or think. He delights in showing His mercy by doing the impossible for His children. I read this morning, Oswald Chambers' idea on prayer- 
"If our Father knows what we need before we ask, why ask? The point of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God. If we pray because we want answers, we will get huffed with God. The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect, and our spiritual huff shows a refusal to identify ourselves with our Lord in prayer. 
Children of God never pray to be conscious that God answers prayer, because they are so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer."

So, if we're suffering, can we become one with Him, who cried out to His Father, "not my will but Thine be done, Father?" If He doesn't answer our prayer the way we want, will we get disappointed or "huffed" with Him? He knows what is best for us and understands all our circumstances. He knows the end from the beginning and He will bring glory to Himself if we can say with all our hearts, 'Your way is BEST, Father.' He will make our way successful by our acceptance of the suffering He has allowed, and if that perfect will is to conform us to the image of Christ, must we not gladly be perfected in Him?
Am I willing to be sanctified by many little deaths, many "chances to die," so that His life may be seen in me? I recommend my mother's book A Chance to Die, a biography of Amy Carmichael.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Family-June 14-22, 2014

God gathers us in and we often scatter. I'm so thankful to have most of our family visiting this week! From 2 yr old Jennifer, a grandchild, to our oldest son, Walter. He brings about the gathering and I pray we can always encourage being together!

Friday, May 9, 2014

On Jim Elliot, by his wife, Elisabeth

I just started rereading Shadow of the Almighty, the biography of my Dad, and I'd like to put this paragraph in as a challenge to those of us who call ourselves Christians:

"When Jim was twenty years old he prayed, "Lord make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing God." His life was that to me, who shared it more intimately than any other.  Was it extraordinary?  I offer these pages so that the reader may decide for himself.  If his answer is yes- if he finds herein the "stamp of Christ," and decides that this is extraordinary-- what shall we say of the state of Christendom?"
                                                                    from the end of the preface

From the first page of the preface:

"Some who pick up this book may make  no claim to know God. Others may make the claim but be victims of the self-delusion that John ("the disciple whom Jesus loved" from one of his  letters in the Bible) observes. Yet others may know Him, and obey Him, but wonder sometimes at the value of this knowledge and this obedience.  I think that this book will have something to say to all three.  If those in the first category want to know God, they may perhaps learn how.  Those in the second group may find that they are missing a great deal by not backing their claims with action.  And those in the third category may be encouraged to pursue their course. "

There are many times when I am overwhelmed and humbled by the fact of being the daughter of these two extraordinary Christians.  There are other times when I am "proud" in the simplest sense of the word, that I was born of them, and that I have some of their characteristics- sense of adventure and fun, a desire to do what's right, a sense of humor. But as I have often felt, when comparing myself to them( I know that is not wise!) and their accomplishments, I am struck with the lack of consistency and diligence, the lack of the will of steel in my own personality, that has kept me from accomplishing what I thought I "ought" to accomplish.  God made me who I am, and did  He not want to teach me what obedience to His will is, throughout my life, and have I not taken steps of self-discipline, in "fits and starts", later to castigate and berate myself, because I've "not done those things that I ought to have done?"  Yes, it takes a whole life time to do those things He wants us to do, and it takes daily repentance from our dead works, in order that His work of life may transform us. May He conform each of us to the image of Christ, and may we imitate those saints that we read about, or from, as Paul told his churches to imitate him, as he imitated Christ.  May the chastisement of the Spirit comfort us, as we know He is at work, "reshuffling our categories" as my mother used to say, and working in us that which is pleasing in our Father's sight.  May we be mold-able and pliable in His hands, willing to be convicted by the Spirit of Truth, as well as convinced of His help in changing our bad habits and tendencies.  He equips those who want to do His will with His powerful enabling....our lives becoming exhibits to the value of knowing Him....Praise be to Him! Romans 15:13

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"The Garden of Sparkling Delight"

I have just finished reading an ebook on my Ipad, that was disturbing, and unfortunately is about a very real problem in today's world.  It is written by my daughter's mother in law in England and her pen name is Deborah Varen. I would recommend this book-"The Garden of Sparkling Delight" to anyone above the age of 16 because of its excellent story line, and its realistic look at the horrendous sex trafficking business. Though most of the book centers on 2 girls who are sold into a brothel in Brazil, the redemptive feature, is that a couple go to Brazil to do a year's work at a hospital, and discover one of the girls, and in the end help both of them. The couple is blessed by being able to help them, and the girls are brought to an understanding that there are people in the world who want to help them, and are committed to fighting the problem.  I pray that this will not only raise awareness, but it will bring more support to the foundations that are fighting this issue around the world.  I have a young friend who worked several years in India with the International Justice system to get the crime rings stopped, and I was so impressed that she went there as a single woman, because of her commitment to God and His righteousness. May God be glorified through this work, and may thousands of girls be rescued from sex trafficking. In turn, may they help others who have been caught in the same trap that they were. 
The author's blogsite is http://debvaren.blogspot.co.uk.Amazon kindle books

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gateway to Joy being aired again!

My mother's radio program which was a weekday 15 minute program for 12 years on Back to the Bible networks, is now going to be aired again on Bible Broadcasting Networks, starting April 14, 2014.
It will. Be on at 11:15 Monday through Fridays.  
So many people have told me they miss it, so I'm glad it will be aired again, and am hoping that new people will here her too. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Matthew 13:15-17

"Heart" has the word HEAR in it....so if I truly Love my Lord, I will hear Him with love and a desire to obey. My heart will not be dull , and I will understand what He wants of me. 
I would also LISTEN to those I love with carefulness and attention to everything about their words, seeing their heart as they speak. O Lord teach my ears and eyes sharpness, openness, and understanding. Verse 16 says my eyes are blessed and my ears do hear! But Lord, why do I often not see or listen to the voices of my loved ones with sharpness or understanding? It's because of my own sin which blinds my heart, and dulls my hearing. My ideas and thoughts get in the way of truly hearing. Purge me of my own thoughts, and give me clear eyes and ears that truly want to understand, obey You, and help those around me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

His Word is dependable and lays us open!

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. (Hebrews 4:12, 13 MSG)

Don't you want to know the reality of your own heart? I mean I know I'm a sinner, but sometimes I don't see exactly what that means! So, reading His Word will "lay us open" to see our hearts as HE sees them, and His rebuke is loving and so good, because of His Grace through Christ. Praise Him that we still have His Word to look into, and if we sincerely ask His Spirit to teach us and show us our hearts He is faithful to answer! And He gave us His Spirit to lead us into righteousness....may I not allow my heart to be hardened so that I become impervious to His Word. But if I stray, He is the Good Shepherd and will draw me back to Himself.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Help for today

I hope you like this as much as I do! How we need His continual help in being patient with others and not being annoyed.