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Heavenly Father,

Everyone around me is making their plans for severe weather in Oklahoma this afternoon. Our meteorologists have been warning us that today is ripe for widespread severe weather and up to grapefruit-sized hail. Most of us have a Tornado Plan- what to do in case of an outbreak of twisters. Oklahomans know where to run for shelter. In recent history, F4 and F5 tornadoes have leveled whole towns to ground level. The sale of tornado shelters has greatly increased. Some are underground or above ground safe rooms. Some people know to go to an inner room with preferably no windows. People are better prepared than they used to be due to advances in radars and computerized weather tracking. The average Oklahoman knows more about tornadoes than most of the world due to our history and national meteorologists in our state. We might joke about getting on top of the roof to watch a twister coming til the last minute but we have learned to take severe weather warnings seriously…so we prepare our “hidey holes” in which we will ride out the storms.

Father, I’ve been through all kinds of storms in my life- some light and some critical even to the point of devastating. Through it all, I have learned You are my “Hidey hole”- the safe shelter I run to. I don’t wait til the last minute until it’s almost too late. I come to You often. It doesn’t matter where I am, or if I’m far away from home. I can run to You anytime and anywhere. I am familiar with my place of shelter because I go there all the time on beautiful peaceful days, rainy days, scorching days, and days filled with all kinds of storms. I don’t have to clear the spider webs or worry about snakes that might have slithered in. It doesn’t matter how strong the storm is raging outside.

When I am with You, I am at peace. My spirit is calm because You are with me. You have warned us we will face storms in this life. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Yet all is well because I have a shelter that goes with me wherever I go. I’m prepared. Though everything around me may come crashing down, I live with You, Lord, and You are with me wherever I go. You are my “hidey hole” – my shelter, my love, my Lord and my God. I love my shelter with You!

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“I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”   Psalm 55:8

“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”   Isaiah 25:4

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”   Psalm 27:3-5

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me to seek shelter with You by….

 

clematis

Heavenly Father,

We are drawn to Your beauty wherever it shows up! I am especially drawn to flowers. It’s like opening a special gift You’ve given me just for today. This time of year, You surround us with gifts of Your beautiful love. Everywhere I look I see flowers with more unfolding flowers. Some are so vivid and spectacular they show up just driving by. Others need to be viewed for their intricate detail. Some don’t stand out from afar but how dainty and refreshing to get a close up view. Then there’s those who blooms we never notice, but the new growth feeds our souls. There’s something soothing and restoring about being surrounded by the earthly garden You have placed us in.

My horticulturist daddy started teaching me at a young age what is needed to produce a flower: sun, water and oxygen. Yet that doesn’t explain the thousands of species and varieties in the world. Even the same plant never produces the same exact bloom every time. How can there be so much varied beauty in this world? Each new flower, every tiny leaf, every molecule blade of grass is a tender love thought from You! It can only occur because of the life You’ve breathed into it!

Lord, I want to come to You first thing this morning. I want to soak up Your Son, drink from the Living Water and Breathe in Your Holy Spirit. There is no way I can thrive, grow or bloom without You. I know You will give me what I need on this day to produce whatever bloom is needed today. I know I wither, dry up and die without You. I chose to live abundantly, fully by coming to You to receive all I need to bloom where You need me to. I love You, Lord. Let Your love and life flow through me today to draw someone to You!

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“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon dressed in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith!”  Luke 12:27-28

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing.”   John 15:5

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”   Revelation 21:23

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me be still and soak up the Light of Jesus today by…

Mom in chair

Heavenly Father,

People take one look at my mom and think she is a frail little woman. She recently fell and damaged her hip again. The ER doctors and nurses take a look at this fragile old lady and tend to talk to me instead of her. It doesn’t take much time for them to realize she is fully in charge of her own decisions and completely understands what’s going on. She is the strongest weakest person I know. She still works every day, tutors once a week, runs a 4-H club, teaches Sunday School… In fact, she was carrying plants outside her greenhouses when she tripped and fell backwards onto her hip that’s already been replaced once. The business was closed but my brother was on the property. She called him on her cell phone to casually ask if he could come take a look at something whenever he got a chance. She said there was no hurry (neglecting to mention that she had fallen and couldn’t get up!) He continued to work, finding her about 45 minutes later. She had pulled herself from the point of fall about 30 feet to try to pull up on some steps so she could see if she could stand (which she couldn’t!) That’s where he found her on the step…when he called an ambulance.

Although my mom is unable to move on her own at this point, she is far from helpless. She may need assistance moving but as long as she has her phone and her papers, she is working! She spent all day the past two days immovable in a chair making phone calls to her 4-Hers who were meeting about camp and record books. There was much to do! Then, of course, she had to call everyone to let them know their Bible study had been postponed for the night. She’s worried about being a burden to her children right now. We are concerned she will try to move herself again before it is time!

Father, it is a blessing and an honor to care for those who have traveled so boldly before us…those whose minds are still super sharp like my mom’s and for those who do not always comprehend what is going on. They have journeyed some hard roads, survived some rough trails, provided and cared for us. Now, it is our turn to care for them when they let us! Sometimes we have to be creative in helping them so it’s not too obvious.  Lord, show us how to care for the weak with Your love, treating them with respect and honor – the way we hope to be treated in our weakness. I can think of several dear friends who have been faithfully caring for their loved ones who couldn’t make it without their tender care. Give us Your eyes to see, grace to help and love to share with those who are weak in some way.

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“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.” Psalm 41:1

“He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in His sight.” Psalm 72:13-14

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please Himself…” Romans 15:13a

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, who have You placed in my life that is weak and needs my loving help?

sunglasses

Heavenly Father,

There are some moments that are without a doubt orchestrated by You. In truth, there are probably many more such encounters than we can count or imagine. But there have been many highly noticeable such meetings in a row the last couple of days. One of the first came when both of us ended up at Walmart, of all places. My husband never shops at Walmart, but he wanted to get something. They didn’t have it, so we started to leave. On the spur of the moment, I asked him if he wanted to get a pair of sunglasses. We headed to the twirling rack to pick out a pair. As the display turned, a familiar face jumped out at me on the other side of the rack! I hadn’t seen her at church lately. She was just as surprised to see me. She also was heading for the cashier but at the last minute stopped in the same area at the perfect time. She had quit coming to church over some hurt feelings. We had a wonderful conversation. Just as I was about to hug her and say goodbye, she spoke out loud, “OK!!! I got the message! I will be there Sunday!” I think she was talking to You, Lord, and not to me for I hadn’t coerced her at all. However, she was in church today and was happier than ever!

Then as I turned to say hi to people during the Meet & Greet segment of worship, someone grabbed my hand and asked me to come talk. It turns out, this friend was facing a monumental task that You were obviously calling her to. She knew she would obey, but needed prayer to remind her where she gets her strength when she feels weak. I had just read a short scripture before church that reminded us of Your power and authority. It was what we both needed. I know You will work through her weakness (and mine) to show Your strength! …Then a friend shared a moving song with me after a baby shower today that ministered to me and in return, I will use it to help others…As I was leaving the baby shower,  I just happened to run into another friend that was waiting on her husband who was in a meeting. We hadn’t had time to talk in a while. She shared what You are doing in their lives and the big step of faith they have taken. Not only was it a joy to hear her testimony, it again ministered to me as I take my own big step of faith.

Father, I love to see You move in people and situations to bring about eternal results. You are so much more involved in our lives than we can comprehend. Your timing is perfect. There is nothing that can happen that You cannot turn into good. The more I live with You, the more I see these divine moments. The more I see You work, the more I trust You. The more I am willing to die to my old self, the more I know You are with me.  I love encountering You everywhere I go! I love You every moment!

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“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”   John 21:25

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me live with You every moment and begin sharing eternal moments with You even now. These are some ways I’ve seen You work lately…

thUGWT9RFT

Heavenly Father,

With Spring here, I have a whole list of projects I would like to complete…painting the house, redoing the fence, painting the ceilings, building a new stone flowerbed, repairing a brick retaining wall… The list goes on and on. I can envision all these projects completed but there is never enough time. There are projects to do at home, at church, at work, at relative’s homes… Yet each of these worthy efforts take a back seat when I stop and spend time with You. It seems You always help me see more important priorities than just my planned projects.

Although it might make me feel good to complete something I work so hard on, to see something I planned work its way to a grand finale, I know those projects will not last forever. A drought could kill a landscape. The paint will peel. The fence will rot. I can recall pouring my energy and time into creating a wonderful landscape only to drive by after moving away and see everything mowed over. It is a fact how easy it is for one of MY projects to become too important. Maybe that’s part of the issue. It’s about me and what I can do! All my projects will not last forever…but relationships will!

Lord, help me seek to love first and foremost. After all, that’s what You call me to do. The two greatest projects (no- commandments) are to love You with all my heart, mind and strength…and to love my neighbor (everybody) as myself. Love takes time, energy, work, prayer, commitment, forgiveness… Father, help me be willing to invest more in relationships with You and others. Any projects I attempt to do without love are just empty and irritating… but anything that has love invested in it will last forever! Thank You that I am more than a project to You. Thank You, Lord, for loving me as I learn more about You!

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“’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’”     Matthew 22:36-39

“And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”   1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:1, 13

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”   John 13:34

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, All love flows from You. How can I show more love to You? To others?