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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

I’ve spent the last few hours trying to come up with blog content that would interest anyone. Nothing. So you’re going to get a blow by blow of my week. Sorry. Stop now unless you’re having difficulty sleeping. This may work as well as melatonin and Unisom combined.

50 degrees. The difference between the temperature on Monday and the low temp for tonight. Iowa, gotta love it.

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Chicago hot dog from Bigg Daddy’s food cart, downtown Cedar Rapids

Monday’s lunch hour walk through the neighborhoods was so beautiful – blue sky, birds singing, trees budding. Found a hidden park but it was locked up tight. In honor of the Cubs’ warm home opener, I stopped for a Chicago hot dog at the Bigg Daddy’s food cart  downtown. And it tasted as good as it looks.

The rest of the week’s weather was awful. Each day got progressively colder and windier. Though I’m very grateful we aren’t experiencing the extreme winter conditions  that our northern neighbors are suffering through, this cold, driving rain brought more water trickling through the recently discovered crack in my basement walls. More home repairs. Yeah.

But I am determined to pursue gratefulness. Tuesday found us celebrating my soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s birthday. Wednesday night we prepared for our church’s annual Easter egg hunt, bagging candy, constructing the tomb on the church platform, transforming into an Easter garden.

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Using real rocks to construct the tomb for Troy Mills Christian Church Easter services

And these people we call our congregation, our friends, our flock. They work hard. No matter how their day has gone, they show up.

Head down, hanging on tight to my umbrella, I ventured out of the office at lunch on Thursday. The wind was howling, seemingly from every direction. So thankful for the nearby sky walk – got in another great walk, above the streets and away from the nasty weather.

Short day today – love those early out summer hours. Had to smile when I got to Barbers Etc for my hair cut and saw my stylist’s cape. Made her take a picture. Cubs began my week, and ended it too.

img_2415Nothing special happened in the last five days. I prayed and cried for friends going through trials. I read my Bible, sent cards to friends and family. I worked, walked, wrote, repeat. Sometimes I get caught in the hamster wheel – the same thing over and over – hypnotized by my mundane routine. But looking back I see a thread throughout the week. God never left me. He walked with me on the beautiful days and the ugly ones. He listened, comforted, provided, protected and loved through each and every moment.  Good weeks, bad weeks…do not fear. He will never leave your side.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

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My heart is hurting today. So many friends are experiencing devastating events in their lives. Last year two of my closest friends battled through cancer diagnoses, clinging to God’s promises of healing and coming through victorious. Yet they continue to deal with the aftermath of that long year.

My dear high school classmate is facing another long road in her latest health challenge. And challenge is such a feeble word for what she is going through. She shared just a few of the trials she’s facing – extreme headaches, 4 hour MRIs, insurance company issues, doctors’ appointments in far off places, the uncertainty of medications…and I’m confident that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Yesterday I received news of another friend who revealed her leukemia diagnosis. Just two years ago her son died of an aneurysm…gone in an instance. Now this. Such heartbreaking news as she continues to work through her grief. But she is a faith-filled prayer powerhouse, trusting in the promises of God.

 

This morning I saw another friend post about an upcoming divorce and then another about a road side bomb in Afghanistan killing three Marines…when will it stop? What can I do? Where do I turn?

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about Psalm 121 – God is my Helper, my Guardian. But Lord, there is so much sadness, so much disease, so much heartbreak in this world. Sometimes it seems so overwhelming…and these things aren’t even happening to me!

Even so…

Let me share part of a Instagram post my friend wrote two days ago…”God has been so very faithful – in every single way – and I love Him more than I ever have before. He has never left me, never betrayed me, abandoned me. What would I have done if it wasn’t for Jesus?”

Again – I’m reminded – Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. Jesus died because of that great love. He endured the ultimate betrayal and abandonment. He was sinless, yet took on my sin. He sacrificed everything for me. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He is my Healer, my Strength, my Rock, my Provider. He is where I go when I have no one to turn to. He walks with me in every storm. He goes before me into every battle. He listens to me cry out in despair, and comforts me in my sorrow. He rejoices with me in victories and dances over me with joy. He has written my name on the palms of His hands.

The bad news will never stop. Our fallen world will always encounter disease and tragedy. But I do not have to succumb to grief and sorrow and hopelessness.

I have hope. My friends have hope. His name is Jesus.

His Name is Jesus 30 x 22 LG

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“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.””

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Have you had a tough week? Me too.

Our family is mourning a cousin who passed away last week. The recent rains and thaw brought water into our basement through a rotten window sill. Our sump pump has had a hiccup or two, just enough that we need to sleep with one eye (and both ears) open. Home repairs mean multiple trips a day to the local home store and that’s never easy, especially for a couple of people totally intimidated by anything hardware related. Even checking out was stressful. We dug window wells (thank you, Sean!), poured rock, edged with brick and I was amazed to see it hadn’t all fallen in this morning.

Our situation is so very minor compared to the tragic flooding in neighboring states, the horrific cyclone that ravaged southeast Africa and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Our world is hurting and needing hope.

Maybe you’re facing a big decision regarding your finances, or your health, or your kids. Maybe you need to know you’re not alone in the middle of your crisis. Perhaps your bank account is shrinking and your pantry is empty. Maybe you are worn down waiting for an answer to your prayers.

Whatever you are facing today, God wants you to know you are not alone. He is with you in your situation. He walks with you into that doctor’s office and He holds you in the night when anxiety threatens to steal your sleep. His promises are true and you can trust Him to be faithful in whatever you need. Be strong, my friend. Watch what God will do for you this week. I’ll be praying for you.

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Nebraska_flooding_AHave you been following the tragic stories coming out of Nebraska? For the last week, horrible flooding has devastated at least 53 of the 93 counties, swallowing up family farms, swamping towns, destroying roads and bridges. It is heartbreaking to see the pictures being posted on social media. What a helpless feeling.

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Stamats offices – June 2008

When Cedar Rapids flooded in 2008, our offices were destroyed by river water going to heights never seen before. Ten blocks on both sides of the Cedar River were under water. Families were evacuated, many never returned to their homes. Volunteers sandbagged the one last water pump on the city’s northwest side to save it from flooding. Citizens came together as one to save what could be saved, help their neighbors salvage or muck out their homes after the waters receded and provide whatever support or supplies they could. But it was a terribly helpless feeling as we watched the waters go up, and up, and up.

There isn’t much I can physically do to help our neighbors to the west. I can’t go over there, I can’t provide enough food or water to matter…but I can give and I can pray. Some of you think that’s a cop out. Like praying doesn’t matter. But I know who  laid the world’s foundation, who marked off its dimensions and set its cornerstone. I have access to the One gives orders to the morning, has journeyed to the springs of the sea, entered the storehouses of snow and hail, and controls rivers in the wasteland. 

If I can speak to the Creator of the universe, you bet I’ll be pleading for the waters to recede and families to be rescued…for livestock to miraculously survive and homes to set up on islands…for money to be freed up quickly to help those in need…for communities to come together to rebuild without acrimony or bitterness.

FaithJoin me?

 

 

 

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It’s not the big crisis that floors me, it’s those little nagging issues that set me back. For instance, a number of years ago God brought us through a very trying and stressful time where we absolutely depended on the goodness and favor of God for our daily bread. And not just bread, but gas, clothes, credit card bills, toiletries, medications…you get it. He provided everything we needed. We were never late with a payment, never went hungry, never appeared destitute.

I depended on a continual stream of prayer – talking and listening to God – all day, every day – to get me through that time. Some days He was quieter than others. Sometimes I prayed: “God, just give us a sign today that You’re there.” And He always did. Every . Time.

So today – when we are facing a much lesser issue (water in our basement) – why do I stew and fret and stress? Somehow I think I don’t need to bother God with this “little stuff.” We’ve called our wonderful handyman friend. We can rent a carpet vacuum for the clean water. We can do a lot in our own strength.

Praise_the_Lord (1)But He cares about every little detail. Every little “small stuff” in my life – and yours too. An earlier blog details how He loves to answer prayers that reveal His love for us. So – when I finish this – I’ll be praying for the water to stop seeping in, for the window repairs to be minor and easy to fix, for the sun to come out and dry out all the wetness everywhere.

Maybe you’re facing a little thing today – something you can “handle” on your own, but it’s causing some anxiety anyway. Can anyone say “taxes” or “rising flood waters” or “crazy schedule?” Whatever is causing you to stress is taking your mind off your Father God who desires to help you through whatever you are facing today. Praise Him and ask for help. He’s ready and willing.

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A friend of mine stopped by the other day. He was disgusted and distressed because he could not find his phone. As he is very phone-reliant (aren’t we all?), he was worried and anxious about the coming ordeal. You know – not finding it, having to purchase another one, having vital information irretrievable for a length of time, etc. On top of that, his computer was not working.

Side note: In the day we live, tech problems must cause the most stress of any single category of stress-inducers. We put a lot of trust in those little devices, allowing them to rule our lives and then when they disappoint us somehow, we are destroyed. Maybe our trust is misplaced? Maybe we should always rely on something or Someone who will never crash or send you an error message. Ah…Now, back to my story…

After I did what I always do (try to fix his problem myself) – “Where did you have it last?” “Who saw it last?” blah blah…I realized he’d already done all that. He’d already walked backwards in his timeline to figure out where that pesky phone could be.

“I’ve looked all over in my car. It’s just not there. And now, it’s dead so I can’t even use ‘Find My Phone,” he told me. We commiserated together until I finally listened to that still, small voice in my spirit that said, “Tell him you’ll pray he finds it.”

“Really, God? That’s pretty specific. What if I say that and he never finds it? How would that look?” – the argument with God went swiftly through my head. But I obeyed (YAY!) and said, “You know, I’ll be praying you find your phone.”

He promptly looked up and said, “God, will You find my phone for me?” (that kind of shocked me). But then God spoke right through me (I know this because it was way wiser than anything I would have said on my own) – “He already knows where it is. You just need to ask Him to tell you.”

We laughed a little and he left. And I prayed. I really did. “Lord, show him exactly where to look, even if he’s looked there before. Reveal the location to him and let him see You in action in his life. Answer his prayer to increase his faith in You.”

That was it – that was my 3-second prayer.

About 20 minutes later I got a call – from my friend’s cell phone! Obviously, he found it…in his car…after looking there multiple times. And he gave all the credit to God. “God found my phone for me. He answered your prayer.”

I’m sure I smiled for the rest of the morning. God is so good. He cares about every detail of your life. He wants to show up in big and small ways for you. Trust Him with every care, every worry, every tech issue…He is faithful.

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Horace quote

“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

It’s time. Time to change things up again. Time to get back to some basics. Time to confront old habits and create new ones. Time to encourage others to be all God wants them to be. Time to “play detective” on myself and be the best “me” I can be.

Today marks Day 1 of my 90-day journey to renewing my spirit, soul and body. I’ve used a book by Donna Partow called “Becoming the Woman I Want to Be” at least twice before, and I’m picking it up again. The last time was almost 4 years ago so I’m sure there are a few things I’ll need to review and remember this time around.

There won’t be any surprises within the content of the book – Partow focuses on helping the reader concentrate on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, and journaling, as well as developing healthier eating and exercise habits. Since the last time I completed this journey, I’ve lost 30 pounds so I can testify to the success of the eating/exercise disciplines, at least in my own life. We are all unique so I cannot guarantee anyone else’s success but it never hurts to eat more veggies or take a walk every day.

I’m hopeful for a few unexpected turns in the road. Even though the book’s content is known, the way the Spirit of God will lead me this time will be new and different. He is a creative God and I’m looking forward to hearing His voice with fresh ears and listening to His instruction with a clean and receptive heart. This 90-day adventure includes 18 passages of Scripture to memorize – which has never been my strong suit – but I’m committed to giving it my best shot. The Bible says if I study and read God’s Word, it will always be valuable in my life. It is never a waste of time and energy to meditate on Scripture. Looking forward to seeing insights I’ve never noticed before. The Scripture at the top of the blog is my first one to memorize…I’m working on it. Thankfully no tests – yet.

Partow includes a daily affirmation to read out loud…a way to transform my mind with positive statements of Biblical truth. I’m very sure these encouragements will bless me every day. And I’ll probably share a few on social media. Apologies in advance.

I’m going to continue through my own personal Bible reading guide. I’d fallen behind but instead of cramming to “catch up” to where I should be, I’m just continuing where I left off. There is no condemnation from God and no list to check-off that anyone sees but me. Letting go of my “Bible Reading Guide OCD” and embracing freedom today!

Today’s affirmation spoke to me (and I hope to you as well) – “I forget those things that are behind me, including all of my personal shortcomings in the area of spiritual disciplines, diet and exercise. I am pressing toward what lies ahead: a bright future filled with health in my spirit, soul, and body.”

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