Category Archives: prayer

Thank You For Your Faithfulness

Lord, You are the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in a world where genuine stability and certainty is unheard of…we are beyond grateful. 

Lord, thank You for being completely faithful in a world where vows are often broken, commitments are frequently backed out on, and trust is routinely betrayed. Thank You for being dependable in a world where plans are often altered and schedules are often adjusted with no regard for who it affects.

In a world that is weak and wavering in respecting absolute right and wrong, Your Word is a solid, steadfast treasure. Your eternal promises are a gift. If You have said it, we can be assured that it will come to pass. It is settled and sure. 

In a world of instant relief, instant rice, and instant replay, etc., we thank You for demonstrating to us a patience that is unmatched. We are thankful that You teach us the meaning of perseverance, what it accomplishes in our faith, and how it enhances our character. 

Thank You for who You are and for changing us to become more and more like You. When we display faithfulness, dependability, patience, and perseverance to others, they are then blessed with a glimpse of Your character in a world that is in desperate need of more of You. Open our eyes to opportunities to develop Your characteristics in our lives. Open our hearts to the desire to seek more of You, so that those traits increasingly become a part of who we are.

We pray this in Your holy name. Amen.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.  Psalm 119:90

Thoughts and Prayers

Lately, the phrase “thoughts and prayers,” has taken a verbal beating in some circles. Numerous times, the common social media response of, “My thoughts and prayers are with you,” has been mocked, belittled, or challenged.

Of course, there are occasions when the “thoughts and prayers,” response may be a trite, typed phrase with little to no real meaning behind it. However, there are many times it is said with the sincere motive of asking God to comfort and strengthen those affected by hardship and asking for wisdom to know how to be of assistance. And in those cases, hearing a sarcastic or angry complaint after telling someone they are being prayed for can definitely take the well-wisher off guard.

When a Christian says that their thoughts and prayers are with someone, it is not to relieve them of the responsibility of doing something beyond praying. 

Prayers are not being said to check off some “thing I need to say to make myself feel better,” box. I get the impression that when someone expresses that their thoughts and prayers are with a person, there are people who actually hear, “Now I have said I am thinking of them and praying for them, therefore, I can go about my business and act as if nothing is wrong and continue hoping for no change.”  For Christians, when a tragedy strikes and it is a situation that they are able and compelled to help with, thoughts and prayers come to mind first in order to get prepared to take action. Prayers preface action because the person praying desires to take action that will reflect what God is calling them to do. Prayers preface action because they desire to hear from God, who promises to give wisdom generously to all without finding fault, as found in James 1:5.

In John 16:33, Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart because He has overcome the world. Until the end of time, there will be tragedies and difficult situations and therefore, many reasons to pray. But thank God, also until the end of time, we can pray with confidence to God because He has overcome the world. Friends, keep praying! God hears. God cares.

How Are You Doing?

How are you doing? It is a question that is easy for us to quickly answer most of the time. But for my daughter, Mallory, and others who have brain injuries, the reply depends on multiple factors. I would love to have an opportunity to give you an idea, to the best of my ability, to tell you “how she is doing.” 

Mallory suffered her 4th concussion in a basketball game in December of 2016, and her 5th in a car accident in February of 2017.  She has seen many professionals, all with the best intentions, but not all with positive effects. She has been prescribed various therapies, supplements, and medications with differing results. So far, many have made the “Not Effective” or “Made Her Feel Worse” lists. Right now she is in the midst of a couple new therapies that we are hopeful will give her a much prayed-for breakthrough.

Since December of 2016, she has struggled with a vast array of symptoms at different degrees of severity depending on several components including the time of day, how tired she is, how full her schedule is, and how much cognitive activity has taken place that day. 

There are bad days and there are “not-quite-as-bad” days, and rarely any indication of what kind of day it will be until she is smack-dab in the middle of it. Some symptoms she battles on a daily basis include a constant headache, fatigue, and insomnia. Also, her autonomic nervous system refuses to calm down, so she is constantly in fight or flight mode. She has short-term memory issues (the reason she writes in a notebook and types many reminders on her phone to keep track of what she needs to do that day, her homework assignments that are due, and even conversations that she has had because she is embarrassed when she repeats stories to people) soreness in her back, shoulders, and neck, because her brain is trying to coax her into the fetal position for protection purposes, focus problems, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to different sounds, sensitivity to overstimulation in her environment, anxiety, and because of the part of her brain that is injured, a difficult time trusting people. Add in the fact that she is a teenage girl and there is built-in stress with that and therefore…bad days can be, well, pretty bad. From my perspective, her “not-quite-as-bad-days” sometimes have me thinking (hoping) she is on the upward swing, when I can’t physically see her grimace in pain or suffer from fatigue, for instance. But it comes down to the fact that I often do not realize how bad her day has been since this young lady copes with her new life like a champ.

Quite possibly the most disturbing of all of her TBI effects is that Mallory feels like her brain belongs to someone else. She does not feel like herself anymore. She is on a roller coaster ride that she did not ask to get on. It’s as if her emotions, physical symptoms, and neurological functions conspired against her and boarded a different roller coaster that’s running right next to her. That ride is within reach, but she has no control over the ups, downs, twists, and turns.      

If you don’t mind, I would like to be “that mom” for just a few moments and say that brain injury is an invisible injury that doesn’t require a cast or crutches while healing, but it is just as real. I would like to shout from the rooftops that she is not faking it, it is not an attention-seeking ploy, she sometimes just needs a break from the world and to not take it personally, and, no she is not “lucky” that she has some school accommodations to help her cope with the fact that schoolwork is all of a sudden challenging. (She would much rather have a healthy brain and no accommodations, thank you very much.)  I want to say that because she seems happy-go-lucky one day and maybe not the next, it is to be expected, because it is a very up-and down-healing process. “That mom” in me wants you to know that she gears up for activities and does those activities to the best of her ability…but the “gearing up” takes a toll on her even before the activity begins, so after a busy week or a big event, her body and brain require extra time to get back to normal, or rather, whatever her new normal is.  “That mom” in me wants to say that the thing she wants the most from people is understanding. 

Mallory is attempting to figure out her new normal, and she is doing it while being a pretty amazing young lady.  She will soon be graduating high school and registering for college classes, she is involved in many music endeavors (I believe music is extremely therapeutic) she is on the local ambulance squad, she has started a blog (mallorythielgesblog.com) which I highly recommend checking out, and she does it all (most of it) with a smile. 😉

My husband and I have said that this is a whole new territory for us, and truth be told, we are getting educated on something we would rather have not known this much about!  However, the “all things work together for good” promise that God gives us in Romans 8:28 reminds us to look for the positives in this situation. The most important one is that Mallory’s faith and boldness in sharing with others about her faith have been renewed and revitalized. Engage her in a conversation, and you’ll likely be reminded of God’s plan and peace for your life. 

And that is my attempt to sum up how Mallory is doing. She is experiencing something she could be complaining about; something that could make her feel hopeless at times, but at the end of the day, she is finding and focusing on the positive. She is reminding others and herself of God’s plan and peace. And this mom thinks she is doing quite well.

 

New Song: Place Your Faith In Me

I want to share a song with you that I just finished writing yesterday!  The end of the chorus, “Do not trust in what you see,” is a phrase that God keeps bringing to my mind lately. He is constantly working in our lives and the lives of people we are praying for…sometimes in ways that we can see and sometimes not. He asks us to keep trusting in Him and believing that (as Romans 8:28 says) He is working “all things together for good.”

Scroll down for the link, take a listen and as always, I would love to hear from you!

Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1: Looking at our problems with human eyes, we don’t always realize that God is a god of miracles, specializing in impossible.

When it seems like He is far away, when you can’t grasp why life’s working out this way –if we love and live for Him it’s understood:  He’s working all things for our good.

Chorus:  Amidst the chaos ringing loud and clear, God’s voice reminds us that we need not fear. When burdens on your heart are weighing, on your knees you’re praying, Can you hear Him saying? “Do not trust in what you see. My child, place your faith in me.”

Verse 2: Daniel was in a lion’s den. Gideon fought against stronger men. Sarah thought she was past her prime.  God came through just in time.

David was hiding inside a cave. Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave. The thief felt defeated by his crime. God came through just in time.

Chorus: Amidst the chaos ringing loud and clear, God’s voice reminds us that we need not fear. When burdens on your heart are weighing, on your knees you’re praying, Can you hear Him saying? “Do not trust in what you see. My child, place your faith in me.”

Bridge: Since before we were born, we were called by His grace to pursue and reflect His beautiful face. So, remember when you don’t see the hands of God, You can always trust the plans of God.

Chorus:  Amidst the chaos ringing loud and clear, God’s voice reminds us that we need not fear. When burdens on your heart are weighing, on your knees you’re praying, Can you hear Him saying? “Do not trust in what you see. My child, place your faith in me.”

Place Your Faith In Me

 

 

 

 

Count It All?

I was cranky and crabby. I was full of self-pity and sadness. But Christmas was fast-approaching whether I was feeling festive or not.

I was so caught up in unanswered prayers that I had forgotten about the amazing number of answered prayers in my life.

It was time to make a list. Time to count my blessings.

The list flowed effortlessly right away. A relationship with Jesus topped the list. Family, friends and the numerous personality traits and gifts they bring to our lives filled figurative pages of that list. (Side note: As a new grandma, I could easily dedicate a chapter of blessings to our new grandson alone!) Experiences, sweet gestures, people who have impacted me, family vacations, church families, homes, jobs, physical health, caring communities, and the list continued…

After the obvious blessings were tallied, a Bible passage came to mind; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Count it all? All of it? Let me get this straight…On my list of blessings, I am supposed to count the trials? I quickly asked God, “Don’t You get that the point of this list is to get trials off of my mind?” (As if He sometimes doesn’t “get” things, and I have to explain…)

The more I thought about it, the more I realized, God “got it” just fine. He completely grasped the fact that I was thankful when things went my way, when my life looked the way I pictured it, and when I did not have to persevere through tests of faith. He also “got” that I was missing out on a major truth. Our trials produce a perseverance in us that help us become who God is trying to mold us into. And becoming that person that He created us to be (the person that uses their God-given abilities, gifts, and personality traits to show who He is, to a world that is in desperate need of Him) is why we are here on this earth.

As James says, perseverance through difficult times will produce a life that is “lacking in nothing.” A person who is living that type of life counts it all when they compose a blessing list.

From now on, when I approach God with a prayer request, I refuse to allow an attitude of, “Look at what I’m lacking, Lord” to be my theme. My new goal is to recognize the truth that I already have all I need, and that I can choose to find joy in trials.

As the song says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

And surprise me He did. Once I began counting, He lengthened my list and mended my mindset.

Friend, if you are looking at what you are lacking in life, I encourage you to instead start making your blessing list. Soon you will discover you are “lacking in nothing.”

Count your many blessings. Count them all!

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus

Originally posted on devotableapp.com

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Not Alone

Today, instead of our home church, we attended a church with our youngest son in his college town, as we were visiting him and watching his weekend basketball games.

We joined together with strangers with whom we share a common bond of desiring to honor God by going to “His house” on Sunday mornings.

As we left the service, we heard reports that today in a church in Texas, an evil, reprehensible man carried out an evil, reprehensible act.

We may never know or understand why it happened, but we can be assured and we can assure others of what we DO know: God IS with us through absolutely every moment of our lives. We sang about it, as you can see on the screens in the photo: “I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave me.”

Other lyrics from this powerful Kari Jobe song remind us we need not fear. “In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through. The dark of night will not overtake me. I am pressing into You. Lord, You fight my every battle, and I will not fear.”

And another line of the song is, “You bring healing to my soul.”  Oh, so many hurting people are in need of healing because of this senseless, horrendous event, but we know the Healer. The hashtag, “PrayersForTexas,” is thoughtful, but empty, if not accompanied by the actual act of lifting these victims’ loved ones to our Heavenly Father.

If this isn’t the time to share the love of Jesus with others, and to earnestly pray for Him to make Himself known to those that doubt Him, I don’t know when is. Love others. Pray for others. Assure others. God is here, He will never leave us, and He heals.

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Purposely Falling On Your Face

IMG_EB8A45BD7AEF-1When you are in the midst of a trial, do you ever purposely fall on your face?

Although it may sound crazy, I recommend it. Allow me to explain.

Sometimes breathing a quick prayer of, “Lord, please help,” is all we seemingly have time for when we are facing problems. As we go about our everyday lives, short, to-the-point prayers are occasionally all we can manage. He certainly hears those kinds of prayers.

But how about making time for frequent fall-on-our-face type of prayers?

Would you agree that we are living in a world that has forgotten the awe with which God deserves to be revered? Making time to come into God’s presence in a literal or figurative flat-on-our-face, prostrate posture reminds us how amazing He is and who we are in comparison to Him. It reminds us that our prayer is being heard by the One who is not only in control of the situation, but also cares about the situation and the people involved to a degree that nobody else is capable of.

When we pour out our heart’s cry and also take the time to listen to what God is telling us, it is an exquisite exchange, and eventually we will come to the point of being enfolded in His perfect peace.

That peace is described in different Bible versions as “surpassing, transcending, and exceeding” all understanding. Stop and think about that for a moment. It is an overwhelming blessing that assures us that God is in complete control of the very situation that is causing us to feel powerless.

That peace does not necessarily mean that He is going to answer our prayer exactly as we hope. It can sometimes be a peace that prepares us for the possibility of Him answering it in a different manner than we prayed for. A peace that says, “I’ve got this, Child. I’ve got you, Child.”

I will not forget the times God has granted me that gift of peace. Two times stick out above numerous others. Once, before the answer to my prayer came, I had seemingly cried every tear I was capable of crying as I prayed in desperation. And then suddenly in an extremely memorable moment, which can only be explained by the Holy Spirit completely doing an overhaul of my emotional and mental state, I came to a point of indescribable peace that even if the worst possible outcome occurred, He was going to keep His promise to never forsake me. I had absolute assurance that He was going to walk me through it. When all was said and done, He answered my prayer in the way I hoped, but He also taught me that there is no circumstance that I will ever have to face without His loving arms embracing me. Regarding the other situation…you guessed it, the worst-case scenario did happen. What I was praying against, because I did not know how I would ever, ever handle it or ever, ever get through it – it happened. And here I am on the other side of it, stronger in faith and hopefully character as well. God helped me handle it and get through it, just like He said He would. Were there moments of pain and sadness? Definitely. Was God carrying me through it with His tremendous peace? Definitely. He is a promise-keeper.

My hope is that when you face your next trial, you will fall down on your face, pray until you reach the point of His powerful, perfect peace, and then rise up prepared and primed for any possibility, knowing you will withstand it, because God will stand with you.

Lord, thank You for Your matchless peace.