12806219_541702709341886_6420383025532868620_n

Heavenly Father,

As of today I have yet another reason to vote in our country’s elections. Our second great-grandson was born. My life is flying by! How can it be that our granddaughter who I watched being born gave birth herself?? We now have 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I am voting for each of them, for all the kids I care for at work and at church, and all their parents and for future grandchildren yet-to-be-born. My one little vote is only one…but I must use it wisely for it will affect so many precious people. Father, our governing leaders can make a big impact on the future of the lives of many.

My vote can have an impact on their freedom, their way of life, morals, education, healthcare, safety, finances, resources available, the character of the world they live in… My vote needs serious consideration. I cannot afford to cast it simply on what a candidate says because talk can sound good and is empty without actions. I cannot vote on ads paid for by candidates. I don’t personally know any of them so I cannot base it on my relationship with them. I can’t vote on what those running against them say because facts can certainly be twisted. ..so how  can I know the truth about who to vote for? I can research their speech, history, relationship with You and pray about my vote…which is exactly what I’ve been doing. Now I need Your final input on my vote tomorrow. You know ALL about each person running for office. Nothing is hidden from You. You know their strengths, weaknesses, motivation, their future and their past. You know who is needed for such a time as this. I need You to help me vote!

Although my vote is important and the stakes seem high, it’s so reassuring to know that the future doesn’t depend on these human leaders…that You reign from generation to generation. Even more important than my vote to all these younger generations are my prayers. I know without a doubt that You will be with them whatever they face in this life. I may use my little vote on behalf of many for one candidate per office for one term …however my prayers to You on behalf of all these precious young people will stand forever because You are eternally our God from generation to generation!

*************

“You, O Lord, reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

************

Prayer Prompt-

Father, I ask Your guidance as I cast my vote for earthly leaders…yet I bow before Your Son as my eternal King and You as my God and pray for these young people …

th

Heavenly Father,

A young woman I’ve been working with for quite a while, who is recovering from substance abuse, recently confided in me. It’s been an incredible journey to watch her come from out of the deep dark grip of hell into the light. The changes in her life have gone far past what I imagined possible. When I first met her, I remember telling You that I thought she was too far gone. In fact, I must confess I held her at a distance for a while…that is until over time You showed me glimmers of hope in her! You have shown me no one is too far gone for You!! It has been incredible watching her slowly transform and timidly grow towards You. It’s been a beautiful reminder that it is You who does the work… I just show up willing to do Your bidding.

That’s why it broke my heart me when she confided she had given into temptation. She tried to justify that it wasn’t bad; that she needed it to soothe her nerves…and many other justifications until we really began to dig into the slippery slope she was already sliding down… back into the dark pit she had come from.  At least she knew to reach out immediately! I was so devastated that I wasn’t sure how to handle it. It’s a good thing I had prayed and asked You to lead because You surely did! Being under the influence of anything other than You leads to destruction. There is no way she or I or anyone else can overcome temptations without being under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus overcame and HE gives us what we need to overcome.

We need to always be on guard against the sneaky slithery attacks that try to lure us away from You. Those temptations can appear pretty good at times, but they are full of lies and deceit. They can even come from people we love. Whatever the temptation is, it will not fulfill us, soothe us, or help us. Those temptations will pull us away from You- the very One who made us, designed us, longs to complete us, and has good plans for us. You sent Jesus to give us abundant everlasting eternal life. When we stay submitted to You through Him, we are under the most powerful and life-giving influence there is! Father, thank You for what You did for both of us as we trusted You and watched the dark deadly influence of a favorite tool of our enemy (drugs and alcohol) fall in defeat under the influence of the Holy Spirit! I am forever dependent upon Your holy influence!

**************

“Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of Him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:18 (MSG)

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”   Acts 13:52

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”   1Corinthians 6:19-20

****************

Prayer Prompt-

Father, let me be under You influence alone. Help me be alert against the influence of….

12342669_10205524601970099_7169808890119502317_n

Heavenly Father,

Growing up, I was the only girl surrounded by boys! Although I loved my rowdy brothers, and learned much about football, baseball and digging dirt forts- I longed for a sister. I really wanted a girl that I could do girly things with- someone who would understand me and be closer than a brother!  My mom kept having babies…but they were all boys! I finally took matters into my own hands and started dressing up a certain little brother in girl clothes…until he learned to yell “NO!!!”

So I stayed a girl all alone in a boy’s world. But the longing for a sister never went away.  Since I found my future husband at the young age of 15, I never really had time to develop any deep girlfriend relationships. That is, until adulthood. That’s when it began. I began discovering the sweetness of sisters.  My brothers got married and all the sudden I was not the only female in the family. I cared for other women’s children in my home. A deep bond develops when you care for someone else’s babies. Then I began praying with a small group of women once a week. Nothing bonds you more closely than coming into Your presence together. We prayed for our husbands, our children, their future spouses, their schools and friends, our walk with You, for everyday issues and critical moments…

I have more sisters than I could ever count now! One small prayer group dissipated as people moved away, and another was formed and bonded with through our love for Jesus.  I have dearly loved sisters who join together once a week to study Your word, pray for one another and share one another’s burdens and joys. I have sisters who I work with at my job; daughters, daughters-in-law,  and even granddaughters who have become my sisters-in-Christ; sisters who I have shared a lifetime with and those who I meet momentarily; sisters who have moved away and sisters I see often, sisters who are on the street and sisters who are held in high regard. What makes us sisters? We may not have the same DNA, but we share the same blood. We are forever bonded by the blood of Jesus Christ. You are our Father. We will live forever together- even if we get separated here on earth. Thank You, Lord for my forever sisters! You’ve given me more than I could ever count! Oh yes…thank You for my forever brothers, too!!

*************

 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”   Mark 10:29-31

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:14

******************

 

Prayer Prompt-

Father, thank You for the gift of these brothers and sisters-in-Christ….

th

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the profound and mysteriously beautiful gift of marriage! It makes me so sad to see reverence for marriage taken in such a flippant attitude at this time in our culture. It is entered into and walked out on almost as easily as anything else in our disposable society.  Of course, I know we are imperfect humans with selfish wills who want things to go our way. So there is abuse of all kinds associated with marriage. Yet You created marriage as one of the most meaningful gifts to bless us-when we have an attitude that lines up with Yours.

Of course, You being the wise and creative Father God that You are- draw two completely unique and opposite type people together…and join us together as one and tell us to live together, plan together, parent together, work out our finances together, decide on a movie together and figure out how to spend the holidays together! You are so funny, Lord!!! Yet it is in the working it out together that true love deepens and grows. I thought I loved my husband as deeply as I ever could the day we said our vows to one another. Since that time, we’ve been through a lot of life together- faced all kinds of issues and situations. Many times, I thought for sure I was right and he was wrong. Through all that sticking together through everything, I have been surprised to discover that he was right far more times than I gave him credit for…or that it took both of us to give and do our parts to come out with the best solution. It took both of us being willing to forgive, serve and appreciate one another.

After all we’ve been through, I can honestly say I love and respect him far more than I ever thought possible. There is an old saying that the longer a couple is together, the more they begin to look alike. I can’t say for sure how true that is…but I do believe the longer we are together the closer we become to being like “one.” Marriage is all about the oneness in a relationship- of having the same mission and Lord. You give marriage as a picture of the oneness between Jesus Christ and His Bride- the church. Of all the diverse personalities, You blend them together as one with Jesus to become all You designed us to be. Thank You for marriage between me and my husband, between man and wife, between believers and Jesus Christ! I love watching the beautiful mystery unfold!

*******************

“’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”   Ephesians 5:31-33

“Also if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how will one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not quickly broken.”   Ecclesiastes 4:11-12

**************

Prayer Prompt-

Father,

*If I am not married, I pray to be one with Jesus and to encourage these people in their marriage…

*If I am married, may You be the first strand that joins us together in our marriage! Help me pray for my own marriage and to encourage these people in their marriage…

12717794_10205850704572471_3994140883632513281_n

Heavenly Father,

What was supposed to be my indoor work day was kicked off by an unexpected trip outside early this morning just in time to be blown away by a glorious sunrise across the entire eastern sky. What a beautiful way to start a day! As I watched the sun rise and transform everything its light touched, I thought of the way Your Son transforms us.

Just moments before I stepped outside my front door this morning, darkness prevailed. Vision was limited due to the lack of light. In fact, there was no color because everywhere I tried to look; there were only shades of darkness. The lack of light makes us feel far less safe because all kinds of things can happen in the dark. I learned at a young age, even before school, from my horticulturist dad that light is needed to make things live, grow, flourish and produce fruit. I suppose I also learned at an early age to be aware that evil lurks in the darkness where things can be hidden and dangerous. That’s what our lives are like without You.

One of the reasons I love sunrises so much is it is a picture of how Jesus is the Light of the world and the light of my soul. Everything changes. What once was dark and scary is now filled with hope and glorious beauty. What once seemed doomed to despair is now radiating with eternal glorious hope. It’s Your glory, Father: the same glory You shared with Jesus Christ, Your son, is also shared with us when we look to You. Jesus, Your Son dawns in our hearts and fills us with His Light. The sun our earth orbits around may rise and bring glory and life to all it touches when it appears in the morning…but when we acknowledge Jesus to be the center  and Lord of our life, and receive Him as our Savior, Your Son rises in us- bringing new life and light. As we grow in Jesus Christ, Your glory grows in us bringing us new sight, new hope, new life with colors unimaginable on our own! Your full glory is too much for us to look at. We cannot fully fathom or contain who You are, but somehow Your Son comes to live in us and radiates stronger and stronger from inside us through Your Holy Spirit. Your glory radiates from inside us to throw light on everything we touch. We know it’s not us. It’s Your glory dawning in us and shining out as the light of the world.

***************

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”   John 1:4-5

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 4:16

*******************

Prayer Prompt-

Father, deliver me from the darkness of….

Let the Light of Your Son Jesus Christ rise in greater glory in me…

14-Lavish-Love

Heavenly Father,

This past weekend, everyone celebrated a major birthday with me; the start of another decade. I kind of wanted it to go by unnoticed. I truly enjoy making others feel special but when the spotlight is on me, I have to push past my own awkwardness to simply enjoy what is being lavished upon me. My husband wanted to make it a memorable weekend so he planned it big! (And You, Lord, planned it even bigger!) If it had just been what my husband did, I would have been more blessed than I could ever imagine…but it seemed like love was lavished on me by almost every person who has ever known me- from my children and family members, Bible study, co-workers, neighbor, to old high school friends who I haven’t seen in ages. At my family birthday party, we played a 20 question game to see how much they knew about me. It caused me to take a look back over my ever-lengthening life and realize how You have lavished love upon me all along!

Lord, I’m always thinking of ways I can tell You or show You how much I love You…but You always out do me!! When I see a sunset, I want my thanks to be straight from my heart for what You share with me…but the glory of that sunset is far more glorious than any painting I could ever make for You! When I worship You with praise songs, I want to sing to You with all my heart…but then I read in the Bible that You sing songs over me! When I try to write of my love for You…every syllable seems so inadequate…and then I read Your word which is alive and speaks to my very soul in ways I can barely describe. You said if we love You, we should feed Your sheep, so I purposely share Your word in a way that will nourish others…but I get fed far more in the process! When I try to share a drink with someone who is thirsty, or clothe someone who needs it like I am doing it for Jesus…You end up blessing me far beyond those tiny actions. When I try to give myself sacrificially to show You my love…I am given newness of life overflowing to the point I can barely stand it!

No matter how much I love You or in what way I try to demonstrate my love for You…You always love me more! Thanks for all the ways You lavish love upon me, Father, through my husband, family, friends, strangers, nature, Your word…and the ultimate crazy lavishness of Jesus’ life laid down for me when I was a sinner. I am so loved, I don’t think I can stand it…and then You love me more! It’s a good thing I don’t have that many decades left. I don’t think I can hold any more love from You than right now! Oh, yeah! But then there’s eternity!!!! Good thing I will have a new body that can hold even more lavish love!

******************

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”     1John 3:1

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” 1 Corinthians 2:9

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

*************************

Prayer Prompt-

Father, thank You for Your lavish love! Help me love You by…