I Trust You, But…

There is a specific prayer I’ve been consistently lifting to God for the last year.

Sometimes, I ask Him to give me just a tiny glimpse of a sign that He is hearing my prayer and working in this situation.

Sometimes I feel renewed in my belief that the answer is on its way. Sometimes I don’t, and then my prayer is punctuated with tears.

Sometimes I consider taking a break from praying about this specific situation because I convince myself God is sick of hearing about it.

Sometimes I believe His perceived silence means that other parts of the plan are getting set in motion.

Sometimes I believe He is developing a characteristic in me that I need to be equipped with to better handle the answer to the prayer once it comes.

And sometimes I conclude my prayer with, “Lord, I trust You, but…,” along with a variety of the following options: but I don’t see You working, but I don’t get why it’s taking so long, but maybe I heard You wrong, but maybe my prayer is on the bottom of Your list.

This morning was one of those times. Continue reading “I Trust You, But…”

That One Hurt, Lord

That one hurt, Lord. It came from nowhere and it felt like how I imagine a punch in my gut would feel.

What in the world was she talking about? Where in the world did she invent that story and the details that kept perpetuating it in her mind? Why in the world would she say that? How in the world had I offended her?… And when in the world are You going to take the pain away?

Questions are swirling, feelings are spiraling, emotions are spinning…and tears? They are streaming.

I want to forget about it, but my insecurity insists on reminding me.

Lord, please refresh my memory with the truths You have impressed upon my heart in the midst of past hurts. Remind me that Your opinion about me is the one that is most important. Remind me that Your Word is the final one, and it declares I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Remind me that You are for me and have wonderful plans for my life. Remind me that You are still working on me, and if I surrender to Your plan for my life, You will weave more and more of Your character into my decisions, my actions, and my words.

Lord, help me to remember that I, too, have said things about others that I am not proud of. Continue reading “That One Hurt, Lord”

Prayers (#3 of 3) For Your Husband

This is the third post in a series of three printable prayers for spouses!

I firmly believe praying for our spouse is one of the most important things we can do to strengthen our marriage. I want to encourage you to begin or continue (whichever the case may be) taking time each day to pray for your spouse or significant other.

(Praying together is also a faith-building relationship-strengthening activity in marriage and there will be an upcoming blog post about that!)

Here are three prayers based on the book of James, chapter 1: 19-21, 22-24, and 26-27.

Scroll down for a printable that includes these prayers!

Also printable #1 and #2 are included at the end of this post!

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19-21

Dear Lord, fill my husband with Christlike gentleness and lovingkindness. Before he reacts to potentially volatile situations, instruct him how to be attentive to and considerate of all viewpoints. May he be intentional in becoming more like You: quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Lord, show him how to deliberately separate himself from the rampant evil in this world. Produce in him a righteousness that glorifies You, and lead him toward Your will and Your way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:22-24

Dear Lord, develop in my husband a passion for diving into and studying Your Holy Word. Teach him to earnestly listen for Your voice as he strives to remain on the path You designed for him. May he allow Scripture to direct every aspect of his life. I pray he will wholeheartedly enjoy the freedom that living for You provides. Lord, reveal to me how to be his trusted source of encouragement as he learns to surrender to You more and more. Generously bless his devoted obedience to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1: 26-27

Dear Lord, make my husband’s relationship with You his first priority. Instill in him the ability to control his tongue and speak with Christlike wisdom and love. I pray that the manner in which he speaks, acts, and treats others will influence them for You. May he be compelled to reach out to those in need, and may Your mercy, generosity, and love be visible through his actions. Lord, guard his heart from becoming distracted or gripped by the sin in this world. Help him to boldly walk in integrity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here is the link for these prayers. Download them, print them, tape them on your mirror or use as a bookmark, etc.

Click here for the 2nd printable in this series!

Click here for the 1st printable in this series! 

 

Prayers (#2 of 3) for Your Husband

(This is the second post in a series of three printable prayers for spouses. Be watching in a few more days for the third post!)

I would venture to say that praying for our spouse is one of the most important things we can do to strengthen our marriage. I want to encourage you to begin or continue (whichever the case may be) taking time each day to pray for your spouse or significant other.

(Praying together is also a faith-building, relationship-strengthening activity in marriage and there will be an upcoming blog post about that!)

I would like to share three prayers based on the book of James chapter 1:9-10, 13-15, and 17.

Scroll down for a printable that includes these prayers!

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. James 1:9-10

Dear Lord, may my husband clearly see every blessing You have granted to him. No matter what his current circumstances are, help him to be thankful to You for those blessings. May his grateful spirit be emulated by his loved ones. Put in him a Christ-like contentment whether he is in a season of need or of having all that he hopes for. Lord, stir in him a concern for those that are struggling and a desire to come alongside them in Christlike support and love. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15

Dear Lord, I pray that my husband will plainly see the dangers of sinning against you. Replace any of his sinful desires with a longing for a thriving relationship with You. May false promises of fulfillment through sinning not appeal to him, and may he instead be attracted to the genuine fulfillment of living a Christ-following life.

May he refuse to put himself in positions where temptation may be difficult to avoid. If he commits sin, teach him to take responsibility, and help him to humbly accept the forgiveness and restoration You readily extend. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Dear Lord, Thank You for entrusting my husband with countless blessings. Help him to be mindful of the fact that all good gifts come from You. I pray he will always give You the glory for those gifts, whether big or small. May he be a man who faithfully and openly praises You, and may he inspire others to praise You as well. In this world of disorder and confusion, reassure my husband that You are unchanging, constant, and in control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

***Click here for a PDF with these prayers. You can download them or print them out. Tape them to your mirror or use as a bookmark, etc.!

***There are 3 more prayers from James chapter 1 that I will be sharing with you in the next few days…be watching for them!

Here is a link for the first PDF of prayers for your husband from James 1:2-6

Prayers For Your Husband

How would you feel if you knew your spouse was praying for you and your relationship with Jesus?

I would venture to say that praying for our spouse is one of the most important things we can do to strengthen our marriage. I want to encourage you to begin or continue (whichever the case may be) taking time each day to pray for your spouse or significant other.

(Praying together is also a faith-building, relationship-strengthening activity in marriage and there will be an upcoming blog post about that!)

I would like to share three prayers based on the book of James chapter 1:2-6

Scroll down for a printable that includes these prayers!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2

Dear Lord, when challenges occur in my husband’s life, help him to be steadfast in prayer. Place in him a firm belief that You will see him through. As his faith in You grows, may it encourage all who see it displayed in his life. Lord, may the joy that comes from being Your child increase not only when You bring him through trials, but also in the midst of those trials. Give him the ability to see beauty in unexpected places as You redeem difficult situations in the glorious ways that only You can. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4

Dear Lord, I pray it will become a natural tendency for my husband to persevere when he faces tests of his faith. May he be known as a man of unshakeable perseverance, and may that impact our family for generations to come. Lord, help him to be grateful that his relationship with You will be strengthened as a result of persevering through adversity. Show me the best way to be supportive and loving toward him when he is facing tests in his life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6

Dear Lord, I ask You to give my husband the desire to seek and boldly ask for Your wisdom. Reassure him that You will generously provide Your wisdom and that You will show him how to apply it in his life. Lord, please remove doubt from my husband’s mind and replace it with strong faith in Your Word and Your way.  Help him to be a man who listens intently for Your voice and has confidence in every word He hears from You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

***Click here for a PDF with these prayers. You can download them or print them out. Tape them to your mirror or use as a bookmark, etc.!

***There are 6 more prayers from James chapter 1 that I will be sharing with you in the next few days…be watching for them!

Luke 8:47 – The Hem of His Garment

I greatly admire her fortitude, fearlessness and faith. Fortitude helped her withstand twelve long years without healing. Fearlessness compelled her to go to a place where she was not supposed to be. Faith thoroughly convinced her that touching Him would bring healing.

*This post originally appeared on Devotableapp.com on May 9th, 2019

She came up behind him and touched the hem of his clothes, and at once her bleeding stopped. Luke 8:47 CEB

The Bleeding Woman

I love reading about miracles Jesus performed during His ministry on Earth. In the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in between the accounts of Him freeing a demon-possessed man and raising a twelve-year-old girl back to life, we can find the story of Him healing a woman with an “issue of blood.”  And wow, what an issue it was! She endured twelve years of physical pain, being ostracized, and unsuccessfully seeking healing from countless doctors.

Hopeless, helpless and hurting.

I have tried to imagine what my mindset and emotional state would be after a dozen straight years of suffering physically, being rejected socially, and receiving no relief from numerous doctors as they bled my bank account dry. I do not think I would have the strength that she showed when she sought healing from Jesus by pressing into a crowd of people who had likely been unkind and uncaring toward her.

I greatly admire her fortitude, fearlessness and faith. Fortitude helped her withstand twelve long years without healing. Fearlessness compelled her to go to a place where she was not supposed to be. Faith thoroughly convinced her that touching Him would bring healing.

All three of the Gospel accounts record the facts that she touched the hem of His garment, she was instantly healed, and that Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. 

Why Did Jesus Ask, “Who Touched Me?”

Two of the three Gospels include another intriguing detail: When Jesus felt power leave His body, He asked, “Who touched me?”  Of course, He knew who touched Him; He knew everything! Why did He ask that question aloud and await a verbal response? 

Jesus could have continued on His journey, and He and the woman could have kept a special secret between them. He had places to go and people to heal. However, He took the time to ask the question. 

When she responded, the crowd witnessed the fact that Jesus desired to bring wholeness to a desperate woman. They saw that she mattered to Him. Her importance to Jesus superseded His schedule and social norms. 

You Matter to Jesus

You matter to Jesus too. Has anyone told you that lately? 

Regardless of what you are going through, you matter to Jesus. Regardless of which road to restoration you are currently traveling, you matter to Jesus. Regardless of how friends and society treat you, you matter to Jesus. 

You have a Healer who loves you. 

A Great Physician who wants you to be whole. 

You matter.

Muster up your fortitude, fearlessness, and faith. Reach out and touch Him today. 

Prayer – Thank You, Jesus, for who You are. Thank You for loving us and for Your desire to bring healing and make us whole. Help us have the faith it takes to reach out to You. Amen.

 

 

Your Nail-Scarred Hands

Lord, open our eyes to see the countless blessings You graciously and generously extend to us. As we reach out to Your nail-scarred hands in acceptance of Your blessings, show us how to live in gratitude for the unmatched sacrifice those scars represent.
May we be tuned in to the ways Your boundless love is on display. May we be compelled to love others the way You do. And as You help us live a life of love and gratitude, may others be eternally impacted for You. Amen.

Intricately Woven Together; Immeasurably Loved

It doesn’t matter what people say about you. Why? Because you are intricately woven together and immeasurably loved by Your Heavenly Father. You are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, set free, and a friend of Jesus. All are words straight from our God-inspired Bible, and therefore straight from the heart of God!

Fighting against hurtful words can wear us down. Possibly it is easier to accept or even believe the insults than to expend energy trying to convince others that they are wrong about us. Sometimes the cutting remarks end up being adopted as part of our own inner dialogue.

Click here to hear a song I wrote, Daughter of the King… It is about this very issue…believing what others say about us rather than what God says about us.

Again, it does not matter what others say about us –  we are His masterpiece! (Ephesians 2:10)

Friends, let’s remember these truths as we make comments about others. Should what people say matter to others? No, because of the same reasons as stated above. But, let’s not allow our words to be a reason that someone questions their worth. Let’s not be a reason that seeds of doubt about their value as a person get planted in someone’s mind that we have carelessly made a remark about. The person that is getting dragged down by our critical words is loved the same as us! We are all loved by Jesus with a love beyond our comprehension.

Let’s think, or better yet, pray, before we allow others’ words to impact us or drown out what God says about us. AND let’s think, or better yet, pray, before we say anything (or post anything) that could cause someone to question their true identity in Christ. Let our prayer be for God to help us to see ourselves AND others the way He does!

 

 

Unprayed Answers

But even so, God orchestrated that forgotten idea in our lives years later…

Whenever I am seated at the piano on Sunday mornings leading our congregation in song along with our church praise team, I consider it to be one of the sweetest blessings in my life. In addition to me, the team presently includes three vocalists, a bass guitarist, an occasional drummer, and an acoustic guitar player. 

In the early 2000s, as I sat on a padded metal chair in a conference room filled with hundreds of other women at a Christian event, a husband and wife duo performed several moving songs. She sang and he played guitar. Listening to them share their love of Jesus and music in such a special way made an impact on me. For a few months after the conference, my mind revisited how touching it was that they had the opportunity to participate in a music ministry together as husband and wife. However, as time went on, the memory of that duo disappeared from my mind.

A few years later, on a whim, my husband and I both attempted to teach ourselves how to play guitar. He learned much more easily and quickly than I did, and my ego took a hit, so I quit. I never tried learning guitar again, and I might just be a little bitter about my husband having such a seemingly easy time mastering a new instrument, especially since I am the one with a music degree and background. (By the way, if you were expecting a post about perseverance when the going gets tough, this is not it.) 😉

More than a decade later on a Sunday morning in 2017, as I sat in front of the sanctuary leading a worship song with the praise team, the memory of that husband and wife duo unexpectedly reappeared in my mind. I immediately began to tear up. I confess that I frequently tear up during the music portion of our church service because when the song lyrics proclaim the greatness of God’s love and faithfulness, my gratitude causes an emotional response. But this particular time, my tears were due to the fact that I had overlooked for several years. You see, I love Jesus with all my heart and I thoroughly love to sing, so I am definitely thankful that I sing on a church praise team. But on that particular morning, I was struck by the added detail that my husband is part of that praise team with me, playing the aforementioned acoustic guitar. I am sure that a combination of factors was involved in God inspiring Darren to learn how to play guitar and join the praise team. I can’t help but think that I know what one of them was: God wanted to accomplish something in my marriage which I had deemed impossible. 

It is amazing that we serve a God who sometimes honors dreams that are shoved down deep into our hearts or almost entirely dismissed. Dreams we don’t even bother to transform into prayer, because we have already decided they are out of the realm of reality.

The idea of sharing in a music ministry together as a couple never became more than an intriguing thought. Not a wish. Not a prayer. In fact, it had been forgotten. But even so, God orchestrated that forgotten idea in our lives years later, and it is an incredible, straight-from-God gift. Because of His great love, God answers prayers we never even consider praying.

Just Like Joshua

God did not tell Joshua to feel strong and courageous. God told Joshua to be strong and courageous.

Parents often repeat commands to their children for emphasis. In the first chapter of Joshua, he was told by God to “Be strong and courageous,” three times. God’s words in these verses seem to be a very matter-of-fact way of informing a willing man that the next steps must be taken, and success would not be a part of the equation if strength and courage were absent. The next steps were to obtain the land promised to the Israelites.

God’s marching orders held no promise that a supernatural feeling of courage would well up inside of Joshua’s soul. Nope. No “peace that passes understanding” feeling would signify it was time for Joshua to move. The words feel or feelings do not make an appearance in this chapter. God did not tell Joshua to feel strong and courageous. God told Joshua to be strong and courageous.

Did God promise His presence? Absolutely! But there was no promise that Joshua would not necessarily be shaking in his sandals as he carried out these sacred steps.

Just like Joshua, we are told many times in the Bible to be courageous. And just like Joshua, God does not tell us to feel courageous. He says, “Be courageous.”

It will not be possible to find in ourselves the confidence in our own ability to carry out our call, but there is something we can have absolute confidence in – God will show up and walk us through it. Step by step. Forward steps. Even backward steps. He will help us get back on track and be right by our side. Yes, we may have some shaking-in-our-boots or sandals moments, but God’s presence is a guarantee.

When we obey God and follow through with something that takes us straight out of our comfort zone, He blesses us. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” The blessing of God is worth the prayer, perseverance, and persistence that hard assignments from Him require.

Courage is often about us doing what God has asked us to do even though we might still feel nervous or fearful. Courage is asking God for strength to do it anyway – even though fear may be whispering (or shouting) in our ear that we are the wrong person, that it is the wrong time, or that we heard the wrong message. Courage is the strength to keep repeating to ourselves until we believe it that, “God is with me.”

If we insist upon waiting to be struck with a feeling of courage before we step out of our comfort zone and onto God’s path, we will wait ourselves right out of an opportunity to do something great.