Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Are You Pursuing?

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…Psalm 42:1-2

I was sharing something at our small group once about how I dealt with a certain situation. We were doing a series by Andy Stanley called “Take It to the Limit” about having “margins” in your life, as opposed to spending all your money, using all your time etc. We were on the session titled “A Time to Run” about “fleeing sexual immorality”. I shared that once (a long time ago…at different church than where we are now) I was uncomfortable with a man at church that kept winking at me and how I dealt with that. After praying about it (I also actually talked to an older Christian woman about it too) I decided to simply avoid eye contact with him. I didn’t have to do this for a long time, like never look at him ever again, but for a while and when I started to acknowledge him again, he stopped the winking and the uncomfortable feeling I had around him went away. Now what I didn’t share is that I enjoyed this affirmation from a good-looking man. He also seemed a very serious Christian and I don’t know that he meant anything bad by his winking at all, perhaps it was nothing. It was just me. God seems to always be reminding me to not desire the praise of man, over His praise. Not long after this incident I was reading, A.W. Tozer’s, The Pursuit of God, and as I read it (esp. the part I’ll quote later) I felt God’s love and approval and wept and I was so thankful to God for the unique ways He shows me His love!

Reading my Mom’s old prayer journals have made me think it would be beneficial for all Christians to keep such a prayer/spiritual journal. Also it seems to show me what really matters when it all boils down…what really matters when it’s all said and done…what really matters after we’re gone…Mom wasn’t perfect…far from it….she would drive me nuts with her criticisms…we argued politics…House-keeping....raising kids….bed time…too much sugar….spankings….ETC. I often felt she was jealous…insecure…prideful…So am I and so have I been. Hopefully, as Christians we recognize these things and learn how to have less of these negative traits and grow more Christ-like as we age. Mom kept reading her Bible and praying- so she kept growing til the end. And I’m happy to say that in her last years Mom and I declared a truce and enjoyed and even closer relationship than we ever had before. When I read her journals, I can see that she was trying so hard to please God and He knew that and He honored that… Like, for instance an entry of my Mom’s I shared yesterday (her birthday) “Father God I praise Your Holy Name. I know that You are God. Fill me with Your Spirit. May I trust You more. Make me obedient to Your will Lord. I cannot do it alone. My body is so weak that I fall by the wayside. And yet Lord, I feel that in many ways I am stronger than I feel. Thank-you for this time alone, may it become a more regular time spent alone with You & Your Word.” Mom 8-18-82

In chapter 8 of A.W. Tozer’s, The Pursuit of God, titled Restoring the Creator-Creature Relation, after Tozer talks about Eli and his sons and how they failed in honoring God and how that resulted in their tragic end (I Samuel 2 & 4), Tozer says, “Now over and against this set almost any Bible character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk. See how God winked at weakness and over looked failures as He poured on His servants grace and blessing untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest the seed. The man of God (or woman of God) set his (or her) heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his (or her) intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made all the difference.”

How about you? Whose “wink” are you seeking? I pray we’d have this “holy intention” Lord…Let us seek to honor You above all else…..Amen

2015- I'm so excited!  My first book is out! It's called, The Seven Story Tree; A Book of Poetry

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pray about Everything!

Well, my kids are back to school, except Teddy, my college student at UGA, is home for a week as his lease ended for last year’s apartment and his lease for the new apartment doesn’t start until next week. Sarah, 23, has a month (until September 7th) before she leaves for the Dominican Republic- for the nine month G.A.P. program with Score International This is kinda like Bible/language School and she'll also be working in a clinic (She is a nurse). She is going to be fluent in Spanish when she returns home next May!

Lately God has been stressing to me the importance of prayer, especially, in every little detail of my life, and I mean “little”! Like change at Taco Bell! This was my status on Monday: !...I paid $15 for $5 worth of food at Taco Bell...I was in the drive thru, gave her a 20 and she gave me back a 5! Went in, had to wait while they counted the drawer and they said it came out right! This girl is stowing her extra cash somewhere?

My “new” status is: Been thinking it over; like I should have on Monday…“Did I really give her a ten?”; we went to Kohls, but didn’t buy anything….we went to Old Navy- but we went over the amount I took out of the ATM for Lydia’s clothes- so I used my debit card…then the horrible truth dawned on me! The haircut! I used a 20 to pay for Lydia’s haircut and it was $9.95! I need to apologize to a lot of people…
Had I “paused for prayer” I might have realized I DID give her a 10 and NOT a 20…I forgot these great verses; “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 Had I not “lost it” then, I would not have to “eat crow” like I do now…having blabbed about it on facebook and to the Taco Bell Company(on their website) ETC. It makes me think of a poster I used to have with a little mouse eating on it, it said, “Lord, may my words always be sweet…for tomorrow I may have to eat them!”

I “lost” something else on Monday; God’s precious peace, “which passes all understanding” and comes as the result of prayer! It says in Philippians: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Ch 4, verses 6 & 7. And what does it say about WHAT or WHEN in the Bible? Paul says here, “in all things” (BIG things & little things) and in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, he says, “pray without ceasing”. Oh, that I had heeded my own status Sunday! Which was, Psalm 55:17: Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.

I have a collection of books about prayer: some I’ve read, some I’ve not. Awhile ago I read, “With Christ in the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray. I’ve found a beautiful old copy too (first addition perhaps? No date in it!) It has Easter Lilies on the cover. I’ve read, “Adventures in Prayer” by Catherine Marshall, “Praying is Dangerous Business” (a sermon) by Peter Marshall, “How to Pray” by R.A. Torey and some others. I bought a big book of seven E.M. Bounds books on Prayer in 1998 (when I had four little children and was home-schooling). Now, with more time I hope to really read it (I have skimmed it). But good books do us no good, unless we read them and do them! “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 I have a Mother’s Prayer Journal and last fall I got a “My Daily Prayer Journal” from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I’ve been using the latter just about every day. Recently I was blessed to find an unused, “My Personal Prayer Diary” by Catherine Marshall and Leonard Lesourd. Thanks to the great people at
Gottwals Books

I have many stories about answered prayer, but I want to share one recent one with you: On the morning of Friday July 23rd my family and I were going to head to a friend’s wedding in Jacksonville Fla. We were to take two vehicles: our Honda accord and my son, Teddy’s civic- these are both kinda old and lately Bob and Teddy have had to put alot time into them! But Teddy had just drove his car up to N.Y. and Pennsylvania to visit his friends, so, we thought, Jacksonville Fla. would be a breeze! I usually always gather up our five children to pray before we leave on a long trip like this. We used to do this while driving out, when we were all in the van together, but since we were traveling in separate cars we do it differently. Teddy had had a problem coming home from up north and thought it was his battery, so he bought a new one…Bob thought it was something else (he had checked it before Teddy left) but he didn’t know what…he was right (Father knows best!). It takes about 4 hours to get to Jacksonville from here, the wedding started at 6:30 pm….We wanted to leave about 10 am--- time to check into the hotel, relax, unwind, get ready for the wedding and arrive early. (This is very unusual for us though!) But Bob and Teddy couldn’t get Teddy’s car going! I usually say a little prayer with Bob before he leaves for work in the morning- Saturday mornings we have more time- I started this because of having a hard time with homeschooling Lydia and Claire in Ga Cyber Academy last year! Why does it always seem to be “a last resort” when it should be the first one! After that I would pray again when I had my quiet time and with Claire and Lyd before starting school! Well, that Friday, I hadn’t prayed with Bob, myself or the kids! It looked like we might not be able to go, or just some of us in one car? Or just Bob and I? Sarah’s car doesn’t have AC, so no one wanted to ride 4 hours to Fla. in that! Bob’s truck was also out of the question: no AC and no room! So, at last, I said, “I might as well have my quiet time while Bob’s trying to figure this out.” In “My Personal Prayer Diary” by Catherine Marshall and Leonard Lesourd, they have, the date; July 23rd, God’s word to me; which was: “But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42” Then they have a “Prayer-meditation;” “Master, recently I have neglected talking with You in prayer and sitting at Your feet to listen, giving busyness and preoccupation with the pots and pans of life as my excuse….I know that You have been trying to get my attention through a series of minor mishaps as life has gone awry when I do not look to You….Forgive me. Help me now, along with Mary, to choose ‘the good part’- the best dish.” Then there’s blank space at the bottom for “My prayer requests” and “God’s answers” Well, I repented, then and there! This prayer diary published in 1979 by two dead people who still speak (Hebrews 11: 4) was/is obviously inspired by the Great Author, Himself! So, then I prayed and went down the two floors to the garage and said to Bob and Teddy, “Let’s pray”. We did, before that I had started a load of laundry thinking, “We’re probably going to be here awhile” That was at 12 pm. Bob had just decided that some of us: Sarah, Me, Ian & Lydia had just better start out, “we can catch up with you when we get it going and we won’t ALL be late” But then unexplainably? Teddy’s car started! We were headed out at about 12:40 pm! The wet laundry sat in the washer until we came home on Sunday- all because we finally prayed! We gathered in a circle in the (cool) basement and thanked God we could finally leave! God is Awesome!

I am reading L.M. Montgomery’s series of books about Anne of Green Gables to Lydia- they’re about a feisty redhead in 19th century Canada. It just so happened that Monday night I read in “Anne of Avonlea” about Anne talking with one of her students (she’s a “school ma’am” in a one room school) and he says, “Ever since you and I had that talk about praying going home from Sunday School, that day, teacher…when you said we ought to pray about all our difficulties…I’ve prayed every night that God would give me enough grace to enable me to eat every bit of my porridge in the mornings…” The little boys prayers are answered! He eats his porridge and grows up big and strong. You see, Anne’s right we should always pray about our porridge, old cars…and Taco Bell :- )

Sometimes I like to end with a song, this one from Ginny Owens comes to mind, it’s called, “Own Me” This is my prayer- perhaps it’s yours also:
Got a stack of books so I could learn how to live;
Many are left half-read covered by the cobwebs on my shelf.
And I got a list of laws growing longer everyday;
If I keep pluggin' away, maybe one day I'll perfect myself.
Oh, but all of my labor seems to be in vain;
And all of my laws just cause me more pain;
So I fall before You in all of my shame;
Ready and willing to be changed

Own me, take all that I am,
and heal me with the blood of the Lamb.
Mold me with Your gracious hand;
Break me till I'm only Yours-
Own me