Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He Is Calling

Photo courtesy Monique Tremblay

Lately I have felt the Lord's continual prompting to prayer. Not just a little "Thank You for this day" kind of prayer, but real, earnest prayer. Effectual. Fervent. (James 5:16) I know that I can take more opportunities to pray than I do.

Recently our ladies' Bible study group had an evening focusing on prayer. From a book by Terry Teykl, I adapted the following as I was convicted about not being prepared when I entered the House of God each Sunday.

Preparing Your Heart
~praying over church services~
"...early will I seek Thee..." Psalm 63:1

Driving to church... Humble your heart before God; confess any sin in your heart; pray for HIS arrival; ask God to protect all who are coming to church; ask God to draw unbelievers and newcomers.

Seeing the church sign... Pray for it to attract those who need to be there; request the Holy Spirit to work

Parking the car... Ask the Spirit to put a hunger in the heart of each person as they arrive.

Coming through the front door and lobby... Ask God to allow His angels to protect each entrance.

Entering the sanctuary... Praise Him for what He will do. Believe God for the "greater works" Jesus promised in John 14:12.

Passing by each pew... Pray for particular families to hear the message they need that day.

Kneeling at the altar... Pray for people to respond to the Holy Spirit at the altar call.

Pausing at the pulpit... Ask God to enable Pastor to preach with boldness and compassion; pray for Jesus to be seen.

On the platform... Lift up the musicians, asking God to work through the gift of music.

Walking down the aisle... Ask God to call more labourers into the harvest of the world.

Now this might seem like a tall order, but how could our church be affected if every church member were this serious about prayer before coming to church? What if every church member came to the church on Saturday or early Sunday morning to pray this way?

Then I was reminded how many times I grumble when I could pray. The Lord brought to mind these prayer prompts:

Life Happenings... My Response...

Face Book statuses request prayer or reveal a lack of a walk with God... Rather than write a rebuking comment, I can pray for the person.

I see a mentally challenged or physically challenged person... Rather than reacting with disgust—or even unwanted pity—I can pray for the person and their family members.

Someone gets mad in a store... Rather than getting mad in return or turning away in disgust and gossiping about them, I can pray for them to come to know Jesus or to learn to walk with Jesus.

A driver cuts me off... Rather than getting mad, yelling, or driving crazy to get back at them, I can pray for them to come to know Jesus or to learn to walk with Jesus.

A worker in a store is rude... Instead of being rude in return, I can be kind and I can pray for them to come to know Jesus or to learn to walk with Jesus.

I drive by a funeral home or get stuck behind a funeral procession... Rather than getting irritated, I can pray for the family, especially those who don’t know Jesus.

My spouse, child, (or any family member) is grouchy... Instead of being crabby in return, I can pray for God to be more real to them today.

I have a ton of ironing, laundry to fold, or another chore I don’t want to do... Instead of watching TV or being irritated and grumbling over the work, I can pray through a prayer list or using missionary cards or family photos, while I’m ironing, etc.

I see a billboard with a worldly advertisement... Instead of fuming over the wickedness of the world, I can pray for the people who made the billboard, the people who see the billboard, and even ask God to miraculously remove it.

I drive by a bar or another worldly establishment... Instead of merely musing, What is this world coming to?, I can pray for the people who run the bar, the people who are in the bar, and even ask God to miraculously close down the bar or other worldly establishment.

My boss is in a bad mood... Rather than letting it ruin my day, I can pray for him, his family, and other workers in the business, knowing that I don’t see the whole picture: there may be other issues going on in his life.

Someone says, "Please pray for..." Instead of thinking, "I’ll pray for them in my quiet time," I can pray a short one- or two-sentence prayer for them right then and there—aloud, with the person, or silently.

I don’t know what to do... Rather than panicking, allowing myself to become stressed, or snapping at others, I can stop everything and lay the matter honestly before the Lord, asking Him to show me clearly what to do.

Ask the Lord to prompt you to pray. It will change your outlook on everything in your life.

Prayer Walk
Another meaningful way to pray is to take a prayer walk. You can do this in your home or in your neighbourhood, or downtown. Where would you like to see God work? Walk around those areas and bathe them in prayer. Spend time in your children's bedrooms and pray for them after they have gone to school in the morning. Ask God to do the miraculous in their lives. Walk through your neighbourhood and pray for your neighbours, asking God to help you see ways you can reach them for Christ. Walk through downtown and pray for God to help you and your church reach the people you see. Pray specifically for people you see as you walk, even if you don't know them.

Mark 11:24 says, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them." But even when God says, "Wait," there is a reason. Trust Him, but don't stop praying!

A True Prayer Story
A true story is told that a pastor once identified two groups of people in the white pages. The church prayed over the names of one of the groups of people for thirty days. At the end of the thirty days, the people in both groups--both on the prayer list and not on the prayer list--were contacted and simply asked if they had any prayer requests. Of the list that had not been prayed over, none responded or shared any prayer requests. Of the list that had been prayed over, nearly all gave a prayer request and some even invited the church members to their home for coffee! Other than the time spent in prayer, these were considered cold calls!

Never underestimate the power of prayer! Is He calling YOU? Will you really pray today?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We Rest on Thee

Photo: Pete Fleming on Palm Beach, Auca territory.

The hymn "We Rest on Thee" has a sad story associated with it. The story is familiar to many, but no less inspiring. On January 8, 1956, five missionaries sang this hymn together before entering the Ecuadorian jungle to bring the Gospel to the Auca Indians--now known as the Waodani. Their names were Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot, Roger Yoderian, and Peter Fleming (pictured).

After the men reached the Aucas, the Indians speared them to death on the Curaray River. Five intense days later, search parties told the widows that all five men had been savagely murdered. As the women gathered their children together and told them that their daddies were now in heaven, Marilou McCully went to the piano and began to play the same hymn their men had sung five days previously. Elisabeth Elliot joined in, singing, “We Rest on Thee.” One of the military men, who assisted in rescue attempts, watched the peace and calm of these Christian wives throughout the previous five days of uncertainty. He stood off to one side as the women sang. Then his broken voice was overhead which said, “I've never seen anything like this before!”

A few years later, contact with the Waodani tribe was re-established through Nate Saint's sister Rachel, and Jim Elliot's wife Elisabeth. Many of the tribe came to Christ, including the killers, which is how first-hand details of the missionaries’ deaths came to light. A Waodani church has since been established through the ministry of Nate Saint's son Stephen and family, showing again that God's grace is sufficient and His power knows no limits!

One of the best known of the five martyrs was Jim Elliot. His most famous saying still quoted is “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” His wife Elisabeth's book Through the Gates of Splendor describes the encounter with the Aucas; its title comes from a line in the last verse of this hymn:
“When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.”

"We Rest On Thee" (tune: "Be Still My Soul")
by Edith G. Cherry and Jean Sibilius
Listen here.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

Sources: Jungle Pilot by Russell Hitt and

Have You Done Something to Encourage Someone Lately?

Photo courtesy of Monique Tremblay.

Reading 2010

My cousin-in-law Jennifer is hosting Bookin' It In 2010, a review of books she is reading. I thought it was a great idea; so I thought I would share my reading as well.

Currently I'm reading A Song for All Seasons by Wilma Sullivan, an excellent book on our identity in Christ. I'm also reading The Royals by Kitty Kelley for fun. I am learning a lot of new things about the British monarchy!

On Monday nights, I'm leading our ladies in discussing my favourite book, Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. This book is based on the book of Song of Solomon, as well as Habakkuk 3:19, and is such an inspiring book that makes you fall in love with our Good Shepherd Jesus all over again!

What are you reading this month?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

But for the Blood

Great is the mercy, great is the love;
Great are my many sins, but for the blood!
I'd still be drowning in death's bitter flood,
Hopelessly perishing, but for the blood!
~ sung by the Hoppers

Reared in a preacher's home, I was saved at the tender age of 10. From the womb I have been taught to love Jesus. I'm so thankful for the things from which God spared me by giving me that Godly heritage. I'm thankful for a Godly mother who taught me the Bible, enabling me to quote more than 200 Scriptures by the time I was two years old. I'm thankful for a Godly father who would slip into my bedroom at night and kneel next to my bed and pray for me.

It would be easy for me to think I was all right, that I didn't need the blood of Jesus as much as the alcoholic or drug addict on the street. Shamefully, there have been many times in my life when I had those thoughts. However the Bible makes it clear that the status and condition of my heart and life when I was born was "sinner." I still needed Jesus' blood to cover me, just as much as a murderer. I'm grateful God saved me before I had the opportunity to commit what the world would consider heinous sins, or even what the church would consider "bad," but I realize more and more that pride and hatred in my heart is on the same level as murder, and it makes me that much more thankful for Jesus' blood!

There's another Gospel song that says, "The ground is level at the foot of the cross; no man stands higher than I." And I could add that no man stands lower than I! To think so is prideful. I'm no better than anyone else.

The neat thing about accepting this fact is that I can recognize so much more vividly that the "old man IS crucifed with Him" and that I am "freed from sin" (Romans 6:6-7)! I am dead and my life is "hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). It's not I who lives but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20). When I recognize that I can't live the Christian life, and that I don't have to, I can choose to yield to His "power that worketh in me" (Eph. 3:20).

This is my victory! His blood made it all a reality in my life!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Am Loved

I am continually struck by how quickly this world's philosophies can affect my mind, convincing me that I have to get my identity from my accomplishments or from others' approval. There is not a day that goes by that I don't need God's Word to get my head screwed back on straight!

Jeremiah 9:23-24 says, "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mightly man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment [justice], and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD."

I have nothing to be lastingly happy and joyful about outside of God. Everything I have is from Him!

I like what Wilma Sullivan says in her book, A Song for All Seasons:

"This old world tells us that we have to get our identity, our "self-image," from what we do. Therefore, we can have self-esteem or feel good about ourselves if we do good, important and worthwhile things. In that reasoning, people can glory in being professionals (teachers, doctors, real estate agents, etc.), in doing what they do as a career. They can glory in the talents or characteristics they display (as musicians, artists, athletes, gourmet cooks, or having a good figure or great strength, etc.). They can glory in what they've acquired (money and other possessions). Or they can glory in the responsibilities they fulfill and in the people who need or respect them (parenting, church work, civic duties, children, friends, etc.).

"But God clearly tells us that we can't glory in any of those things. Either they will puff us up in pride (as we try to take the credit for God-given talents, possessions, opportunities, etc.), or they will fail us. We can lose jobs and money, and we certainly can lose our figures. People may not appreciate our talents. And regardless of our self-discipline, we still blow it at times when it comes to our responsibilities and relationships. To disregard God's direction and try to find our self-worth in such things is downright foolish.

"What's more, when we try to find our identity in what we do, sinful behavior becomes a part of that identity. What I mean is that when we as Christians allow sin to beset us, we think of that sin as a part of who we are, and thus we have to take the label of sin. We tie our weaknesses to our self-concept... We sink into despair and defeat because, in our flesh, we think that God couldn't love us as we are.

"Hey, wait a minute! Nothing can separate us from the love of God!... We play right into the devil's hands when we think our identity comes from all those things we do or have. Satan knows that we're looking for victory and acceptance in all the wrong places, and he wants to keep us in the dark." (pages 82-83)

No! Christ Himself is my life (Colossians 3:3-4)! I am complete in Him (Colossians 2:10)! My past is gone and all things are new (II Corinthians 5:17)! I am blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3)! He always makes me triumph (II Corinthians 2:14)!

I'm not defeated. I'm not a failure. I'm not stupid. I'm not defined by my accomplishments, or lack of accomplishments. My identity is in CHRIST. In HIM I live, and move, and have my being (Acts 17:28)!

REMEMBER: Satan knows that we're looking for victory and acceptance in all the wrong places, and he wants to keep us in the dark.

Don't let him win! I'm so glad that in Christ I find complete acceptance and unconditional love. He is constantly pursuing a closer, more intimate relationship with ME! I love Him because He first loved me (I John 4:19)! That makes my service for Him special; it's given out of love, not as an effort to try to gain His acceptance! I already have His acceptance!

I am unconditionally loved: knowing and accepting this gives me true joy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 in Review

Borrowed from a missionary blogging friend in Austria

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Led a Boxes for Missionary Wives project and a Delivery of Home Baked Goodies to Area Families project.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I usually set some goals for the year at some point, but don't focus much on "resolutions" because then I get discouraged.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth or get pregnant?
A dear friend was pregnant and miscarried this past fall. Another dear friend delivered her precious baby Lily Grace.

4. Did anyone close to you get married?

5. Did anyone close to you die?
Not anyone close.

6. Travel?
We went to a conference in Virginia...I think in February.

7. Did you move anywhere?
No. Stayed at home-sweet-home!

8. What was the best month?
Not sure; I probably enjoyed December best.

9. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A better memory--I'm so forgetful! More exercise. Keep a cleaner home.

10. What date(s) from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Uh, see #9--I'm forgetful, remember?!

11. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Teaching ladies' Bible study and learning a lot!
Planting and harvesting my first garden!

12. What was your biggest failure?
Not using time wisely. Not writing every day. Not enough exercise.

13. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really, other than increased migraine headaches, to which I found the answer! Praise the Lord! (See my blog post The Answer to My Migraines.)

14. What was the best thing you bought?
The best things others bought me were my new camera (from my husband) and my new toaster oven (from my daughter Chrystal)!
The best things I bought myself were basic clothing needs--solid coloured turtleneck sweaters, black jacket, etc. Much of this was purchased from money given to me by our church ladies!

15. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband's... He is amazing. He works seven days a week and still makes time for US!

16. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?

17. Where did most of your money go?
Bills and debt--trying to get caught up due to the economy and six months with no work last year.

18. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
At home: precious time with my husband, and also my first garden.
At church: Grant's and Matt's salvations, as well as the new people God has sent to our church.

19. What song will always remind you of 2009?
If there is one, it would probably be "Secret Place" by the Booth Brothers. (See my blog post Secret Place to watch the video. You'll need to scroll to the bottom and pause the regular music player on the blog.)

20. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? I'm happy and content.
ii. richer or poorer? I'm still content!

21. What do you wish you'd done more of?
More God-focus. Shown more gratitude. Done more writing.

22. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Less self-focus.

23. How did you spend New Year's Eve/Day?
New Year's Eve I relaxed with my husband.
New Year's Day I made Porzelky (New Year's Cookies)--a German Mennonite recipe of deep-fried raisin fritters dipped in sugar, which are a tradition in our family.

24. What was an unexpected surprise?
Going away for our 2nd anniversary to St. Jacobs, Ontario--hubby planned the whole thing as a surprise!

25. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Fell in love with Jesus and my husband all over again!

26. What was the best concert you've been to this year?
Greater Vision and the Booth Brothers

27. What was your favorite TV program?
Didn't really have a favourite or watch a regular show. When we watch TV, we probably watch Fox News more than anything. I admire Sean Hannity's assertiveness and Bill O'Reilly's vocabulary. Glenn Beck's drama makes me laugh! I appreciate their open discussion and conservative take on political issues.

28. Do you dislike anyone now that you didn't dislike this time last year?
I don't think so.

29. What was the best book you read?
Enjoyed some historical fiction on the Tudor monarchs this year, borrowed from the public library. Still finishing up Jungle Pilot, about the life of missionary-martyr Nate Saint.

30. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Grandbaby Kyla discovering music! She likes Greater Vision and the Booth Brothers too! :)

31. What did you want and get?
I didn't think about wanting a new camera, but I love it that my husband noticed that I enjoy taking pictures and bought me a much better camera than I had before! (The picture in this post was taken with the new one!)

32. What did you want and not get?
The house redecorated: all wallpaper stripped, all rooms repainted! (But these are my projects, so I need to add these to my New Year's list!)

33. What was your favorite film of this year?
Not sure.

34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37, and my husband and kids arranged a surprise dinner at The Iron Grill. Then I went to Bible study and the ladies had put money together for me for a shopping spree!

35. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Seeing our children desiring a personal walk with the Lord.

36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
"Goes with more than one thing" and warm--my winter clothing anyway! (I've been working on transitioning my wardrobe from Florida to Canada for the past two years!)

37. What kept you sane?
The Lord, of course! Some vehicles He's used other than His Word are music, reading, writing, and gardening.

38. What political issue stirred you the most?
All US political issues stir me.

39. Who did you miss?
My mom and dad.

40. Random Memories from 2009?
Grandbaby Kyla learning to talk and walk, ladies in Bible study grasping God's unconditional love for them, ever learning to keep a house that is truly a haven, marveling again at the fact that "Christ [is] IN [me], the hope of glory" and that I am "complete in Him" (Col. 1:27 and 2:10).

Haven or Haywire?

Is your home a haven for your family, or does it look everything's gone haywire?

I have to admit there are times my home looks more like the latter. There are times when we have sickness in the household, or things get extra busy, and we get behind on things. But, I'll bet you're with me when I say that I truly want a home and haven--not just a house. And the Bible teaches us women to be "keepers at home" (Titus 2:5) and to work "willingly with [our] hands" (Proverbs 31:13).

Writer Emilie Barnes inspires me. Her book The Fifteen Minute Organizer has many good organization ideas and lists to help keep the home. I confess that I tend to be a perfectionist in that if I can't do a project completely and perfectly in a given timeframe, I won't even start it. This keeps me from accomplishing a lot of things that I need to do, and becomes a plain old excuse! Emilie's title reminds me to ask myself, if I just spend fifteen minutes right now on something, what could I accomplish?

My blogging friend, Monica, is bringing us some ideas, starting January 15, with her "Make Your Home a Haven" challenge. Click
to find out more about her idea.

By the way, making your home a haven isn't just about organizing or cleaning--though that's a big part of it. There's some fun stuff in there too!

Here are some fun ways I like to create a haven:
-Light candles around the house on any given evening. (Don't forget to blow them out before bedtime!)
-Purchase pretty napkins from the dollar store. Use them for supper on an ordinary night.
-Use bubble bath that you've been saving for... when?
-Just before your family comes home, spray your favourite Febreze scent throughout the house. -Use linen spray on your bed sheets just before your husband comes in for bed. (He may poke fun at your "girliness," but, I assure you, he appreciates your effort to make his house a haven.)
-Be sure your house shoes/slippers (and your husband's too) are next to your bed before you turn in. You'll love the feel of them when you get out of bed in the morning!

Comment and tell us a special way, or two, that you are making your home a haven for your family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Beginnings in 2010

I can hardly believe that 2010 is here! Don't you think time just rolls on faster and faster, like a ball down a mountainside?

It is my goal to incorporate a bit more active exercise into my life in 2010. My lifestyle is too sedentary, and the older I become, the more I notice the need to change that! This does not mean that I'm becoming a distance runner this year! (Just FYI!) But I do need to walk on a more regular basis.

It is also my desire to create even more of a haven out of the home God has given to us. I want it to be a place of peace and rest for my family.

I liked my blogging friend Monica's list of goals for the year. Click here to read the list and see her lovely photos accompanying each goal.

More important than my physical or emotional goals, though, are the spiritual. My verse for 2010 is Luke 24:45, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures."

It is my prayer to become more intimate with God this year than ever before--and that, through a better understanding of the Scriptures. He IS the Word (John 1:1). I need Him to open my understanding to comprehend the Scriptures more fully, thus knowing Him more.

What are your goals for 2010? It's great to have goals and to ask the Lord to live through us this year to accomplish them. When we fail, we just need to ask God to pick us back up and put us back on track; not beat ourselves up about it. God doesn't! Do not allow your goals to discourage you; neither allow past failures to keep you from making new goals.

Let the 2010 music begin!

(Last two photos courtesy of my photographer friend Monique Tremblay.)
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