Meditation of my Heart

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Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I think we have all learned that words can bring hope, encouragement and love. They can strengthen us, and nourish our spirit when we are emotionally weary. They can help us draw together in peacefulness. Words can be like comfort food. We have also learned that Words can also bring bitterness and resentment. Words can spread anger and division between us, breaking relationships apart. They can burn, sting, and crush us apart inside, destroying our peace. Words can be poison.

Too often when we are dealing with: gossip, mean thoughts towards others, course language, lust, you name it, we try to just stop ourselves from saying the words or thinking the thoughts.

Instead, we should be getting to the root of the problem, our heart.  It all boils down to the meditation of our heart, which should ever be on Christ.

This Psalm 19:14 reminds us that the words of our mouth begin with the meditations of our heart.  If we meditate on God’s word, then the words of our mouth will be naturally sweetened by God’s goodness and kindness.

O Holy and Almighty God, I want this day to be a day of worship and honor to you. May my life praise you: not just in thought, not just in words, but also in action. In the name Jesus I pray. Amen.

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Where Are Help Comes From

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God watches over us every day, 24/7. How do I know that? Psalm 121.

The promises in Psalm 121 are as true for us today as they were thousands of years ago. No matter what situation we face, we can rely on the God who created heaven and earth. Day or night, today through eternity, God promises provision and protection for all who follow Him (Psalm 121:5-8).

There is no situation that God is not aware of. Trusting in the Lord is the safest place for us to be. Why?  Because, Our Helper is also our Keeper. The One who watches over us never sleeps, He is all ways with us. The One who guards our souls cannot be moved.

This Psalm is a tremendous encouragement to me. I hope it is to you as well.

Gracious Father, Thank you Lord that our lives are in your hands. You protect us in ways we will never know. And, though we might suffer difficulty in this life, we know we are eternally safe with you.  Help us to realize that we do not walk alone, that you are always with us now and forever.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen

His Mercies Are New

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23

 We can start new every day.  God’s mercies and compassion are fresh each morning.  We can forget about the mistakes and failures of yesterday.  We can release the hurts of the past and begin again.  We can forgive and forget those who have wronged us.  Isn’t that good news?

The enemy wants us to believe that we have screwed up so badly that we are doomed to a life of defeat; that we have failed one too many times and God cannot forgive us or is mad at us.  We do mess up a lot, at least I know I do.  But, I choose to believe God’s Word.  It says that He loves me.  It says that He forgives me.  It says that He understands my plight.  It says that He is waiting for me to run into His open arms.  And for that I am so thankful.

Isn’t God amazing?  A fresh start every day!  How can we be defeated when we have  fresh start every day?  How can we be discouraged with His unfailing love surrounding us?  How can we be unhappy or sad when we serve the greatest God in the universe!

 

Dear Lord, I come to You now for fresh mercy. Thank You for your great faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Billy Graham 1918-2018

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Billy Graham is now with our Savior. 

Billy Graham 1918-2018
I had the pleasure to hear him speak in person and was truly blessed. An anointed man of God and warrior for the lost. I can only imagine the welcome he received not only from the Lord, but from all those who responded to his call of salvation.

“We loved Billy Graham because he told us the truth: The world is fallen, Christ is alive, and Jesus loves us—just as we are.”

His invitation hymn sang at his crusades across the nation: “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

I am sure he received those precious words “Well done my good and faithful servant”.  A great example of a life lived well.

“Someday,” the great evangelist once said, “you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead.”

Here’s what he said we should think when we hear this news.

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

In honor of Billy Graham…Hymn sang at all his rallies

 

Praying Over Our Children

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30 Prayers for your children

1. Salvation—”Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (Isa. 45:82 Tim. 2:10)

2. Growth in Grace—”I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18)

3. Love—”Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them. (Gal. 5:25Eph. 5:2)

4. Honesty and Integrity—”May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.” (Ps. 25:21)

5. Self-Control—”Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.”
(1 Thess. 5:6)>

6. Love for God’s Word—”May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.” (Ps. 19:10)

7. Justice—”God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.” (Ps. 11:7Mic. 6:8)

8. Mercy—”May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

9. Respect (for self, others, and authority)—”Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands.(1 Pet. 2:17)

10. Biblical Self-Esteem—”Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:10)

11. Faithfulness—”Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts.” (Prov. 3:3)

12. Courage—”May my children always be strong and courageous in their character. (Deut. 31:6)

13. Purity—”Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.” (Ps. 51:10)

14. Kindness—”Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thess. 5:15)

15. Generosity—”Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.” (1 Tim. 6:18-19)

16. Peace-Loving—”Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (Rom. 14:19)

17. Joy—”May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thes. 1:6)

18. Perseverance—”Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them.” (Heb. 12:1)

19. Humility—”God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.” (Titus 3:2)

20. Compassion—”Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.” (Col. 3:12)

21. Responsibility—”Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:5)

22. Contentment—”Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)

23. Faith—”I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them.” (Luke 17:5-6Heb. 11:1-40)

24. A Servant’s Heart—”God, please help my children develop servant’s hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.” (Eph. 6:7)

25. Hope—”May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

26. Willingness and Ability to Work—”Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (Col. 3:23)

27. Passion for God—”Lord, please instill in my children a soul that ‘followeth hard after thee,’ one that clings passionately to You.” (Ps. 63:8)

28.Self-Discipline—”Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” (Prov. 1:3)

29. Prayerfulness—”Grant, Lord, that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

30. Gratitude—”Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20Col. 2:7

I Am The Women Sitting beside You In Church

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Church leaders say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.

I hope and pray that all readers will pray about what they can do to help bring change to domestic violence happening in your church.. Whether you are in church leadership or part of the church. We can all do our part. No one should have to endure what many women have endured.  Psalm 91.4, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” 

I pray that with the light shining on this issue, that there is a great opportunity for the church to better reflect what Jesus Christ calls us to be. May we listen to the Holy Spirit and may we listen and believe the women who seek help. 

I’m a normal friendly person, who loves the Lord with all my heart. If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know I’m a survivor of abuse. Until this year, I probably won’t have told you because I was too embarrassed and ashamed. But I was sitting next to you in church. Watching your happy family with tears in my eye’s. Feeling like I failed. Like my husband was right – that I used his imperfections (i.e.abuse) as an excuse to run away. Don’t I know that God hates divorce? Don’t I believe in forgiveness, grace, second chances? In love that doesn’t keep a record of wrongs? In faithfulness, perseverance, and sacrificial servant love? I do, I really do!  I never threw my vows away, I just wanted to be safe and my husband to repent and change.  I desired reconciliation with all my heart and he knew that.

But, All I knew when I left was I could not do marriage on his terms anymore. I could not live with the fear pervading my body when he walked through our front door. Holding my breath, placating, saying whatever he needed me to, to make the anger go away.  And now I wore the double sided guilt. That somehow the abuse was my fault, and that I should’ve seen, should’ve known, should’ve protected my children. Oh the guilt, of the damage I have let come to them.

The reaction and blame shifting of some Christians after I chose to separate has added insult to injury. I was desperate for help, any help.  I sought refuse at a church in my new area that I loved, until my ex-husband wrote a letter to the pastor that in his words was “vile and hateful” and they asked me to leave.  Me leave??  I thought the letter would have shown them how abusive he was, but instead he said “we cannot get in the middle of this.”  Here I was, alone and now leaving the second church that I loved.

Some Christian leaders responded with compassion and a desire to do better at caring for survivors of domestic violence, some have cried foul and wanted to point the finger elsewhere: “What about that group? It doesn’t happen at my church! They have an agenda! Abuse has no place in the church! The stats weren’t reported improperly! Regular church goers are least likely to abuse!” etc etc etc.

Frankly, they’ve missed the point. Stories of violence in the church, like mine, actually happen. In my opinion, One story is one too many.

Here’s the response I wish I’d heard from all Christians:

These stories are heartbreaking.

What can we as a church do?

Do we believe the women who come forward, even if their violent husbands claim to be Christians and are regular churchgoers or are on staff, or do we disbelieve/dismiss/blame them/tell them to go home and learn to submit?

Just as my husband would lock me in rooms to teach me submission.  “Your problem is you won’t obey me. The Bible says you must obey me and you refuse,” he yelled. “You are a failure as a wife, as a Christian, as a mother.  For years, I believed that God wanted me to submit to my husband, and I did my best, bending to his will, despite the pain I was in.

The church needs to hear the wake up call, and proactively investigate claims and check the attitudes, beliefs, practices and structures of each church to discover if there is any inadvertent complicity or unhelpful misunderstandings that contribute here. One woman or child facing violence in the church is one too many.

Here are some questions for the Church:

Why have there been so few sermons on domestic violence? Why do so many women report that their ministers tell them to stay in violent marriages?

Is the stigma surrounding divorce still too great, and unforgiving? Is this also a problem for the men who are abused by their wives — a minority but nonetheless an important group?

And if the church is meant to be a place of refuge for the vulnerable, why is it that the victims are the ones who leave churches while the perpetrators remain?

“Often people say it is the guilt of going against the church teaching that leads them to stay in relationships well beyond a time they should leave because they are trying to please the church as well as please their partners … they often feel they will have to choose between the church or violence.

We have to see that some evil men are using their wives’ Christian guilt and the teaching about the sanctity of marriage as a weapon to keep harming them. I can’t help feeling that if more women started saying, “This is over” and were backed up by a church that enabled them to escape instead of enabling the abuse to continue, other men in the church, tempted toward the same behavior, might finally wake up and change their ways.

I hope that my story can shed more light on the issue of domestic violence so that effective strategies can be developed to address it. I also hope my story is of some consolation to others who are or have been affected by domestic violence. To those who care about this issue, I propose that it is not enough to address domestic violence as a problem in itself for often it is only the first layer of abuse. The second and subsequent layers of abuse are the unconscionable responses of people who are mandated to help and don’t. There is a phenomenon in which victims of domestic violence are often ignored and/or blamed and the actions of the perpetrators are denied and/or covered up. It is tragic enough that these layers of abuse occur in the wider community but when they occur as pervasively as they do in Christian contexts we need to ask some serious questions of our culture and leadership.

If My People

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If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”

God is speaking…

God is speaking to His people.  John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

Pray:  Thank you Father that through Jesus you know my name.  Direct me today and show me how to live for you.

Shall humble himself…

James 4:6  God resists the proud but gives Grace to the humble.

Prayer:  Lord God, reveal to me how I have become proud.  Help me Lord, to turn to You with a humble and open heart.

…AND PRAY….

God desires that you come before Him and spend time in His presence.

Pray:  Hear my prayer dear Lord as I bow my heart to You and seek You.

And seek my face….

God wants you to know Him in a personal and intimate way.  He wants you to know His heart.

Pray:  Lord, I come before you seeking You, draw me close to you to renew a relationship that seems to have grown cold.  I want to spend time with You today

….And turn from their wicked ways….

Allow God to look into your heart.  John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pray:  Father, I know there is no sin so big that you cannot forgive, and no sin so small that you will overlook.  Forgive me Father and allow me to walk with You in a new way without the heavy burden of sin.

…then…

The next phrases tell you that after you have done those things required by God, He will then do those things that only He can do.  He will hear from heaven, He will forgive our sins, and He will heal our land.

Pray:  Heavenly Father, I look for your forgiveness and healing touch for me, for my family, for my church, and for my country.