Boys to Men

I know I am not the first mom to face an empty nest, so why does it feel like I am?  I knew my sons would grow up, but it’s as if I’ve discovered a surprising and disconcerting fact– Time does not listen to me!  It won’t slow down.  I can’t put it on “pause” until I’m ready for it to move on.  I can’t go back in time to redo some things I’m just now figuring out.

Okay, so I know I haven’t discovered anything new.  I know I was even warned of this by other moms who had already experienced it.  They made comments to me when my boys were babies and toddlers.  “Enjoy it while you can!”  “This will all go by so fast!”  But I don’t recall them telling me that mixed in with the pride and joy would be this unnerving sense of fear and doubt.  I know I made mistakes as a mom.  I can look back and see inadequacies and laziness.  And I don’t recall them telling me that my heart would begin constantly replaying mental videos of rocking my small boys, reading to them, and listening to their childish prayers.  Why didn’t one of those moms grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, “Make the MOST of every single day.  I’m serious!”

This past Sunday I watched our firstborn son, Gary, participate in the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.  I think I kept shaking my head as he walked down the aisle.  Didn’t I just have him?  Then Sunday night I watched our youngest son, Carl, preach a sermon.  He didn’t need the little step stool to see over the pulpit.  He looked and sounded like a grown man.  When did that happen?  How is it possible that my baby will be a senior this fall?  And this very afternoon we will take our middle son, Dale, to the airport.  He is going to Alaska to begin a summer internship with a church in Anchorage.  Did you know it’s over 3,000 miles from here?  I don’t think a state that’s one of ours should be allowed to be that far away.  With all of these events, I just want to grab each of them, pull them close, and hug them fiercely.  I have one continual prayer, “God, please! Be with them.  Help them always put you first!

For years I’ve been meaning to write each of my boys a letter to read in the event of my death.  I’ve been putting it off because I knew it would be an emotional undertaking.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  It took me five hours to write three letters.  I gave it to them on my birthday since it’s possible they could be senior citizens before I die, and I want them to know my hopes for them before then.  None of them wanted to read their letter.  Carl finally opened his a few days later.  Then Gary was next.  Dale still hasn’t read his.  He has only gone as far as opening the corner of the envelope.

And that brings me to the point of this post (finally).  As I wrote those letters and thought about what I wanted to impress the most upon my children, it amazed me how easily it was to figure out.  It all boils down to the past, present, and future.

  • Past:  I have loved them with all my heart from the very beginning.  God has loved them even longer than that.
  • Present:  My only desire is that they will love God with all their heart and serve Him with all their might.
  • Future:  I want to see them in Heaven.

With their whole upbringing condensed to these truths, it seems that parenting has never had to be overly complicated.  It’s really all about taking the time to focus on what truly matters.

Gary, Dale, and Carl May 31, 2015

Gary, Dale, and Carl
May 31, 2015

 

 

 

Growing Your Faith

This quarter at the Bear Valley Bible Institute International, I’m teaching “Personal Spiritual Growth” in the Women’s Program.  There are 24 wonderful women in the class.  One of their recent assignments was to write a 6-page paper about growing their faith.  Not only did I learn a lot while grading their papers, but it also gave me additional insight into their good and tender hearts.

I asked the ladies if any of them would be willing to share what they considered to be their best thoughts from their paper with you.  Here is what I received:

  • “Sometimes it is easy to be down on ourselves. That really is where Satan would like to keep us. He would like to keep reminding us that we are not worthy of the love of our Savior. Some are defeated because of thoughts like this. But we only have to remember Paul’s story to know what a lie this is. He shows us right here how unworthy he feels and really, all of the terrible things he did that might make us agree with him. But the love of Jesus and His grace is for all of us!” —Abigail Warnes
  • “Now that we know we have baggage, we must focus on making a conscious effort in training ourselves to change this behavior and eliminate the baggage.  You can do this by replacing these thoughts with scripture, spending time helping someone else, or focusing on how these situations may glorify God. Romans 8:28 shows us that all things work together for those who love the Lord. Over time these things seem to be less important, and it may even motivate you to mend past relationships. A verse that personally helped me is Romans 12:21, “Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  It showed me that by replacing these negative thoughts with positive ones and actively doing for others instead of being self-absorbed, God will give us that peace that surpasses understanding in Phil 4:7. I honestly believe once we begin doing these, that’s when we find the true joy and the past has no relevance in the present.”  —Bonnie Saldana
  • “If you aren’t growing spiritually, your mind is still on the fleshly and you are dead (Romans 8:5,6).  God can use anyone’s situation, but He uses you to the fullest when you let go of the past.”  —Christa Bassett
  • “There are many flashing lights in this world that can pull us towards them, but if we are focused on becoming mature in our faith we can overcome those desires and know that what the Lord provides for us is enough (Matthew 6:33). Our worldly passions can lead us to many undesirable attitudes about “THINGS,” so when we can get these desires under control, we can soar to a higher spiritual calling rather than to the desires and riches of this world (1 Timothy 6:17).” —Monica R. Gibson
  • “Another way to become spiritually mature is to train ourselves to know right from wrong (Hebrews 5:14).  We are bombarded every day by what other people believe to be truth–in schools, on TV, in magazines, on the radio, on the internet, in books written by scholarly men, by scientists, the list could go on.  What source are we using to determine truth?  If we rely on others to tell us what is true, we leave ourselves vulnerable to false teaching (Gal. 1:6-9).  The Bereans gladly searched the Scriptures daily to make sure what they were hearing was accurate (Acts 17:11).  We need to behave as the Bereans, and be eager to search the Scriptures daily to train ourselves on what is truth and what is error (2 Tim. 3:16,17).  This is the only way we will be able to stand on solid ground when we are presented with having to defend the truth.”  —Carol Melton
  • “Though putting on the nature of God takes effort, it is rewarding.  He makes provisions for us in our struggles. Like the story of the house swept clean of demons, we must replace the bad with something good. ‘Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart’ (2 Tim 2:22).” —Brenda Woolery
  • “The past can weigh us down and has the ability to hold us back from growing. Sometimes it can be hard to forgive ourselves from our past. Paul certainly struggled with this. He states, ‘Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief’ (1 Tim 1:13). It can become a ball and chain around our leg stopping us from running the race as we should.”  —Tracy Threlfall
  • “You can’t grow in your faith if you’re still living in the past.  Being stuck in the past can keep you from moving on toward spiritual maturity.  Your faith will grow as you see that knowing Jesus is the most important thing in life.”  —Laura Jensen
  • “When we are baptized, ALL our sins are washed away.  God remembers them no more!  From that point on, when we stumble, we ask forgiveness and He removes those sins also.  We are told in Colossians 1:13,14, ‘He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’  If God can do that, why can’t we forgive ourselves?  I believe Satan puts doubt in our minds and makes us recall memories in order to confuse us and draw our minds away from God.  James 4:7 tells us, ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’ (ESV).  1 Peter 5:8 says, ‘Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.’ If we can keep doubt in perspective, we will know it comes from the devil.  And if we keep our focus on God, we can resist the devil’s attempts to discourage us.”  —Brenda Stow

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Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me

Yesterday was my birthday (yay!).  For me, birthdays are a day of self-reflection.  Have I grown?  When I think back over the past year, are there more or less moments I’m not proud of?

“Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen In Me” is a hymn written by Tom M. Jones.  This song was led at a ladies’ retreat a couple of weeks ago, and the words have been rolling around in my head ever since.  The message really struck a chord with me this time.  I’ve decided that this song will be my theme for this next year of my life.

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity.
May His Spirit divine all my being refine
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

Claiming to be a Christian is one thing–living it out is quite another.  The fact that I follow Christ should be seen by others without my having to announce it (or post it on Facebook).  As the verse says, this takes refining by setting my mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-14).  If I walk by the Spirit, I will reflect the purity of Christ instead of giving in to my own weaknesses (Gal. 5:16).

When your burden is heavy and hard to bear
When your neighbors refuse all your load to share
When you’re feeling so blue, Don’t know just what to do
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.

I think the nature of our burdens and the sources of our blues change as we age.  Do we ever get to the point where we don’t suffer from time to time?  Not on this side of Heaven (Rev. 21:1-4).  Whether I’m experiencing trials, struggling with inadequacy, or just plain feeling sorry for myself, may I have the wisdom and grace to act like a woman blessed anyway.

When somebody has been so unkind to you,
Some word spoken that pierces you through and through.
Think how He was beguiled, spat upon and reviled,
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you

It’s easy to be warm and friendly to warm and friendly people.  Jesus commands that I be warm and friendly even to those who have been unkind to me personally (Matt. 5:38-48).  When I want to defend myself or offer the cold shoulder, I must remember that the only way to share the beauty of Jesus is to instead offer love, goodness, and prayers.

From the dawn of the morning till close of day,
In example in deeds and in all you say,
Lay your gifts at His feet, ever strive to keep sweet
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.

This last verse is the true challenge for me.  It reminds me to be Christ-like 24/7, not just when I feel like it.  This beauty must be shared with my very own family, with every member of the body of Christ, and with every neighbor, co-worker, or community member.  In every word or deed, even when I’m tired, cross, overwhelmed, rushed, distracted, or stressed, I must “ever strive to keep sweet.”  The motivation is a good one, though–it’s a gift I’m laying at His feet.  It is all for the glory of God (Matt. 5:16). If my own glory becomes my motivation, I’ll need to go back and focus on the refining mentioned in the first verse of the song.

 

God’s Character– Bible Quiz & Book Giveaway!

There are many passages in the Bible that describe God’s character, and I’m thankful for that.  Anytime I read about His mercy and compassion, it encourages me.  His power and might created everything, yet His love is expressed to me personally.  What a beautiful truth!  It reminds me that I have worth.  His holiness demands purity and goodness, yet His grace covers my sinfulness.  This makes me want to try harder to live as Christlike as possible.  How blessed we are to love and serve our great God!

Just for fun, here are a few questions about God’s character.  I will randomly draw a name from all who participate (and have the correct answers), and send the winner a copy of my book, Return To Me, which is about what to do when loved ones turn away from God (www.ReturnToMebook.com).  You may email your answers to me at KPsalm18@msn.com.  Don’t forget to include your name and mailing address.  Enjoy!

*I am using the New American Standard version of the Bible for these questions.

1.  How is God described in 2 Cor. 1:3?

2.  What three character traits are ascribed to God in Exod. 33:19?

3.  What does God abound in according to Exod. 34:6?

4.  What words do Psa. 86:15 and Psa. 103:8 have in common?

5.  Can you memorize Psa. 116:5?  :-D

6.  What is God’s compassion compared to in Psa. 103:13?

7.  What all did God do for the one who waited patiently for Him in Psa. 40:1,2?

8.  What do we learn about God’s lovingkindnesses in Lam. 3:22?

9.  What should God’s mercy cause us to do, according to Luke 6:36?

10.  What can our High Priest do, according to Heb. 4:15?

Wasn’t that a faith-building study?

**CONGRATULATIONS to Lori Cole for winning a copy of Return to Me!  Thank you to all who participated in the giveaway!

Photo credit:  Genevieve Ormon

Photo credit: Genevieve Ormon

Wordschooling

You’re already familiar with the options of homeschooling or public schooling.  I recently ran across the term worldschooling.  I imagine it comes from all that can be learned from traveling to different countries.

There are some strong opinions when it comes to how we choose to educate our children.  Some feel that with the worldly philosophies and agendas being pushed in the public school system, homeschooling is the only way to go for Christians.  Others feel that homeschooling can be exclusive and prevents Christians from shining the Light and making a difference in the world.  Still others will opt to send their children to private Christian schools.

My opinion?  Every home and situation is unique.  Just because one choice works best for one family doesn’t mean it will be the wisest choice for another.  Every community and school environment is different.  There are still many that promote wholesome living, true learning, and have teachers that care about integrity and discipline.

We chose homeschooling and I’m glad.  It’s been great to have complete control over curriculum choices, to spend quality time with our sons, and to have the flexibility to travel together on mission trips and to seminars.  But homeschooling is not the perfect safety net in and of itself.  Just because we have chosen to homeschool does not guarantee our children will go to Heaven (I cringe to even type those words).

Homeschoolers can neglect the most important foundation of any education and that is a substantial knowledge of the Word of God.  Homeschoolers can allow worldliness (like materialism, unguarded speech, rebellion, and immoral vices) to creep into the home and influence their children.

Whether public, private, or home, the emphasis of every child’s education needs to be the Word.  And parents, that responsibility solely belongs to us.

Living in the Word and by the Word.  Teaching, memorizing, and sharing the Word.  Learning to love the Word.  Exemplifying the Word.  THIS is what will give our children the very best start on their road to Heaven.  Wordschooling is the only way to go.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16,17

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Exhausted? Maybe It’s Time to Stop Running the Show

Any fellow control freaks out there?  With my sons growing up and going their own way, I’ve found myself struggling more with worry.  My nightly prayers are filled with urgent requests for God to guide and protect my sons.  Why the fear all of a sudden?  I think it’s because I no longer have control.  When the boys were little, I controlled everything…what they ate, when they went to bed, who their pals were.  Now I have to figure out how to let go and truly turn them over to God.  It dawns on me that I should’ve been doing more of that all along.

All this worrying is exhausting.

There’s the good kind of tired that comes from laboring for the Lord.  Then there’s the tired-of-it-all that comes from running ahead of the Lord.

Parenting isn’t the only area that’s effected by the need to control.  If my marriage gets rocky, I need to ask if I’m trying to lead or undermining my husband’s leadership.  If I’m frustrated with my church family, it’s time to do some personal soul searching.  Is my heart guilty of setting a standard for righteousness?  If I’m honest, I’ll recognize what’s at the root of the control problem:

  • Pride.  It gets in the way of acting wisely (Prov. 11:2).
  • Lack of trust.  It assumes that I’m the only one who can get it right (Prov. 26:12).
  • Either ignorance of God’s plan or ignoring God’s plan.  It takes the reigns from the One who knows best (Psa. 18:30).

When I’m overwrought with worry, I need to come down off my high horse.  I’m acting as if I’m in the one in charge of keeping order instead of God.  When I feel anxiety stealing my joy, it’s time to humble myself, let go through prayer, study God’s Word to learn His will, and trust.

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

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Google image

 

 

Pretty Items by Christian Women

We have some really talented women in the sisterhood.  Just for fun today, here are a few of my favorite (affordable) handmade goodies:

WREATHS by Kristy Woodall (Albuquerque, NM)

They’re not just for the front door.  Kristy’s wreaths are pretty and stylish.  I have a springtime one hanging in my dining room now.  The lavender, jade, and cream colors add new life to our home.  Check out her beautiful creations for yourself (or someone else):

Sophistacreations

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CARDS by Joyce Gillaspie (Albuquerque, NM)

A handwritten note beats a text or email any day.  These cards can only be described as gorgeous.  Each one has unique details, harmonious colors, and a thoughtful message.  I personally love her lighthouse series.  Whether you want to thank a friend or let someone know you’re thinking of them, these pretty cards are the way to go.  They will give you as much pleasure as the one who receives them.

Made from the Heart

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JEWELRY by Amy Clevenger (Greeneville, TN)

Essential oil users, you’re going to love this.  Amy makes necklaces and earrings for diffusing your favorite oils.  The jewelry holds little felt balls (in your choice of neutral colors).  My necklace arrived early this week.  I placed a couple of drops of soothing lavender on the felt ball and wore the necklace all day.  Even my sons enjoyed the scent.  They joked, “People will always feel good when they’re around you!”

Quiet Life Jewelry

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MONOGRAMS by Erin Moore (San Marcos, TX)

From handbags and baby bibs to mugs and aprons, Erin can personalize just about anything for you.  Her work is fun and fresh.  Anyone would enjoy receiving a special gift from her shop.  I have a personalized key chain in a cheerful periwinkle blue that goes with me everywhere and makes me smile.

Stitches and Such

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ART by Amanda Hilburn (Nesbit, MS)

Country fresh and sweet describe Amanda’s paintings.  She uses water colors, acrylics, and mixed media.  I’m trying to decide between two of them for my office (see pics below).  If you are drawn to mason jars, and agree that “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat” (Laura Ingalls Wilder), you’ll be enchanted by Amanda’s work.

The Little Bluebird Gallery

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I think both of those would look charming in my office, don’t you?

Next time you need to buy a gift or would like to bring some beauty into your home, these lovely Christian ladies would love to have your support!

(I don’t get anything for sharing these links, monetary or otherwise.  I just think they’re grand!)

Interview with sunny RENITA ARCHEY

Every interaction I’ve had with Renita Archey has left me smiling.  She is delightful, and I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview.  True to her transparent nature, she shares about herself in a warm and real way.  Grab a refreshing drink and enjoy this chat with a fun-loving Christian woman.

Renita, please tell us a little about yourself.

Renita:  I am a lifelong Tennessean and an only, and slightly spoiled, only child. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home with both sides of my family being faithful members of the Lord’s church. In fact, when I returned to my home congregation to speak at a ladies day they asked everyone who was related to me to stand. My Mom, six aunts and two or three cousins were in the audience.

I graduated from Freed Hardeman and returned to East Tennessee (you can only return to Tennessee from Tennessee if you live here and understand that East, Middle and West Tennessee are each considered their own state) to work in local radio. But then, at a Wednesday night bible study I met a young, handsome man by the name of Jeff Archey. One year later we married. We have enjoyed 27 wonderful years this April.

I work in the CEO office of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Manufacturing plant. I can literally say I have been here since dirt because I was hired before the plant was build and watched the facility come to life during my first three years of employment.

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary!  As a speaker, your lessons are always Word-filled and practical. What are some lessons you think we need more of today?

Renita:  No matter how old we are, a good reminder of the basics is never out of date. We can draw something new from those words we have studied many times, and I think we are strengthened every time. That is especially true as our nation appears to be making so many of the same mistakes the Israelites made as a nation. Drawing those parallels are very important reminders. It is also necessary to keep reminding ourselves of the basics because, unfortunately, as we look around our congregations, it is sometimes very evident that they are not being put into practice in our everyday lives. We see immodest apparel at worship services or our members posting in social media about ungodly activities in which they are participating.

From the very first time I met you, I’ve been drawn to your sweet spirit. To what can attribute your peaceful demeanor?

Renita:  I am not sure if those who live with me on a day to day basis would call me peaceful. This morning I was sitting at the foot of my dad’s hospital bed watching him sleep and I thought of how practical, patient and even tempered he is. I have never seen him lose his temper. He always has practical advice to give, and has handled many difficult situations with wisdom and grace. That life-long example is where I hope I get my spirit. I hope I can be half as effective as my parents have been in the Kingdom.

What a blessing to have that kind of example from your father!  He will continue to be in my prayers.  Is there something you’d like to share about yourself that others might be surprised to know?

Renita:  I am a pretty meat and potatoes type of girl. There is not much surprising about me. Jeff thinks it really cool that I was able to interview a couple of Presidents of the United States of America during my time as a news reporter, and it was neat…but I don’t know…I would rather someone say it surprised them to know I am 53 years old.

Jeff is right!  What’s your favorite thing about being a preacher’s wife?

Renita:  I think it would have to be the opportunities I am given at work. Most people call themselves “Christians” but because they call me “the preacher’s wife” many times co-workers come to me with Bible questions or with an issue in their life where they need help. I don’t believe I would be able to have as many bible studies over lunch without that “title”. Right now two ladies that I work with are attending my ladies’ class at the Chattanooga School of Preaching and Biblical Studies. It opened the door to an in-depth study on the role of women leaders in the church. Another co-worker approached me when her daughter came home talking about “a young earth”. She had never heard the term before and we studied for several weeks. I also cannot remember the number of times two of us have retreated to the restroom for a session of prayer over a specific issue they were facing. I pray that the small seeds planted each day bear fruit in the years to come.

Renita, I think that’s one of the best answers I’ve ever been given.  I love your soul-winning attitude about the “title,” when so many preachers’ wives seem to resent it.  Keep up the great work! What’s your go-to company meal?

Renita:  Well…I am more likely to take you a mile down the road to a local “meat and three” we frequent than offer to cook for you . It is a quiet place most days where you can easily talk, and then we go back to the house for dessert. If I really need to fix something at home it will be easy like a large pan of lasagna and salad. One of our members once told me it was a sin that I had such a nice kitchen since I didn’t know how to use it.

Ha!  Sounds like fun!  Would you mind sharing one of your favorite books with us?

Renita:  I love to read…there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book. I love workbooks and commentaries and lectureship books. But I am guessing I have read Daughters of Eve by Lottie Beth Hobbs a dozen times and Heart Bouquet by Louise Barnett Cox almost that many.

Thank you, Renita.  Time spent with you is always refreshing.  May God bless you abundantly as you continue to shine for Him!

Renita with husband Jeff

Renita with husband Jeff

 

Unplugged Attention

I crave that, don’t you?  I long for conversations without devices.  Just a few minutes of uninterrupted connecting.  Of having someone’s eyes looking at my face for just a little while without sneaking a peek at their phone.  I’d like to walk into a room and see people interested in one another instead of hooked like an IV to their own digi-world.

There’s always a good reason for holding our devices so close.  We’re waiting for answers to queries or reports from our kids.  We’re checking in for flights or checking the stats on an order.  We’re posting pics to document the moment.

There are lots of efficient and cool things we can be doing, but do we really have to do them when we’re with real people?  Is whatever we’re checking or doing that essential?  More often than not, it’s not.  When there’s a five second lull in the conversation, that seems to be the cue to whip out something of more interest.  And sometimes there isn’t even a lull.  Sometimes the device comes out smack dab in the middle of a sentence.

This might label me old-fashioned, but I can’t help but think it’s just rude.  And yes, I’m guilty.  Maybe it bothers me now because I’m getting older and more aware of how quickly time is passing.  Which is more precious–face to face interaction with loved ones or face to device time?  Which will we look back on and wish we’d spent more time doing?

Unplugged attention is a form of respect.  It tells others we think they’re important and we want to make the most of our time with them.  It allows us to enjoy the full experience of communication and interaction.  It prevents us from missing out on body language cues or what’s going on around us.

I came across a sobering quote:  “You will never have this day with your children again” (Jan Hatmaker).  When it comes to time with our children or our spouses or our church family, we are squandering precious moments when we are only partially engaged.

Unplugged attention is intentional.  Let’s stop excusing ourselves and start paying attention.  I don’t think we’ll miss the devices, and I don’t think we’ll regret the investment in others.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

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I Said a Little Prayer for You

“I said a little prayer this morning for you to have a great day.”

These simple words by Kristy Huntsman stayed with me for days.  She posted them on my Facebook wall, and the for-no-special-reason encouragement made me smile every time I thought of it.  She prayed to the Father on my behalf!  I felt loved and strengthened.

A little prayer has a lot of power.

  • It brings the peace of God- Phil. 4:6,7
  • It brings God near- Psa. 145:18
  • It brings good gifts- Matt. 7:11
  • It brings the Spirit’s help- Rom. 8:26
  • It brings healing- James 5:16
  • It brings forgiveness- 1 John 1:9
  • It brings mercy and grace- Heb. 4:16

These truths about prayer remind me of a few things.  First, I should never take an offered prayer for granted.  It’s a meaningful and mighty gesture.  Second, I should follow through when I offer to pray for others.  It’s so easy to say, “I’ll pray for you.”  It takes intentional diligence to actually do it.  And third, I should offer to pray more.  There are needs and hurts and fears, and I can definitely pray in those situations.  But I can also offer a prayer on your behalf when there’s no special reason.  What a blessing God has given us!

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy”  (Phil. 1:3,4).

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