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Heavenly Father,

My double brother and sister are leaving this week to go as missionaries to Trinidad/Tabago. They are our double siblings because they are both brother and sister by marriage and through Christ! My husband and I had the honor of going to their commissioning Sunday evening. Their relatively small church sends out missionaries around the world. In fact, the long hallway is filled with photos and information about each missionary and where they are serving. One of the main goals of this small church is to send out missionaries around the world and support them through prayer and finances.  A few faithful people in this church are making an eternal impact for God’s kingdom around the world. That includes through  my husband’s brother and his wife!

Having been involved in the sending- out of missions the last several years, I’ve had the honor of making forever friendships with many serving on mission in foreign lands. We get to hear of their day-to-day struggles and triumphs. I have felt for them as their children grow up on foreign soil, then leave them to come back to the states. I‘ve helped pray through the struggles as these children caught between two worlds have to adjust to a new culture. I feel for my friends who are countries apart from their grandchildren while I enjoy the nearness of mine. I watch as young parents raise their kids in a land without all the conveniences and comforts of America. We’ve prayed through malaria, arrests due to beliefs, scary ordeals, VISA issues and corruption in the governments they live under. These missionaries don’t always have someone they can share their conflicts and joys with. They can feel isolated and under stress. Yet they continue! My double brother and sister could have easily lived on his military retirement, but instead they felt the call of God to be sent out. They answered. We’ll be praying and encouraging them along with their home church.

It was a little strange to hear them being commissioned and sent out by their local church. I felt the call on my own heart to be sent out; perhaps not to a foreign field but in the mission field right where I am. It all starts with You, Father! You sent Jesus from heaven to us. Jesus sends us to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. Father, I accept my calling, too. Let us all go out into the world with the saving grace of Jesus Christ. After all, we’ve been commissioned by Your Son!

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“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’” John 20:21

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Don and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”        Matthew 28:19-20

“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’”    Matthew 9:36-38

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, where do you want to send me?

 

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Heavenly Father,

As I was working on a new flower bed for our church’s landscape, a young woman came looking for help…any kind of help. This thin girl said she was in her twenties but I felt like she could have easily been a teen run-away. She had come to our church before and showered and been given food. I happened to be by myself last Saturday so though I wanted to help her, I also needed to be on extra alert. Her words were jumbled and at times did not make any sense. It was hard to say if there were mental issues as well as drug problems. I continued to work as I listened to her talk, trying to assess the situation. I quietly asked for Your wisdom, protection and guidance.

She was living on the streets or wherever she could find. It’s such a dangerous life and she was so young. Throughout our conversation, she kept asking for water, food, a shower, make-up, a backpack, shampoo. She must have asked for water at least 20 times. Even after taking a shower in our church and giving her a large drink of water (part of which was thrown out), she continued to ask for water. It must be an obsession. What she really needs is Living Water.  She mumbled something about having to have water to survive. Father, unless something changes, she might not survive the streets. Yet she wouldn’t let me take her to a shelter. I know many people who choose this way of life. I kept asking about her family- who she could go back to and find shelter. When she told me of her mom, I dialed her number in another state. She was at least able to leave a voicemail for her mom.

I told her all the things she was asking for were only temporary help. What she really needed was a brand new clean life with Jesus Christ.  As much as I wanted to save her from the life she is living, I couldn’t keep her from choosing a path that leads to a deeper walk into death- away from You, Lord. She is living in survival mode, trapped in a life of hell. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I prayed with her. I was overwhelmed with Your love for her and the grace You long to give her for all the things she’s done. As much as I longed to help her make that step into new life, You desire it for her even more. You sacrificed Your very own Son so she could have eternal life…but she’s not ready to accept it. How sad it was to watch her walk away. Father, I know You will be with her, continually calling her home to You.

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I’m praying for this to happen to her: “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.”   Luke 15:17-24

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, give me a heart like Yours for the lost…

 

 

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Heavenly Father,

Today I am writing the next-to-the -last chapter of a book  I thought was ready to be written 20 years ago…but Your timing is always so much better than mine! You might have given me the vision twenty years ago, but there’s much more You planned to happen before the words could be written. Although I’m writing it, I feel like You are the true author, Lord. You just write in lives instead of on pages. If I would have tried to write this book earlier, it would have been me trying to push my words through. Now, it flows out and I’m surprised at what is written down. I know how Mother Theresa felt when she once said, “I am but a little pencil in the hand of God.”

The title of this book will be MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU. If it was written too soon, I would have concentrated on the story my first husband and I went through as he endured a traumatic terminal illness and all the incredible things that happened as we faced life and death together.  It would have been a memory book of our intertwined lives and the way You worked in them. Then I began a 20 year journey of helping others through grief as they faced the death of their loved ones.  I realized our story was not the only lives You work through. If I had written this book even then, it would have been too soon. I would have added helpful information that has helped so many others through the deepest part of their grief. However, You knew it wasn’t ready yet.

Through the years, You have placed a deep compassion in my spirit for those who are heart-broken at the death of a loved one. How I longed to help them. I can share my experiences and all the proven ways that help grievers through that dark valley of the shadow of death, but I know the only One who can truly help them is You. They each need to express their story, memories, loss, and cries. In this book, they will read parts of my story and will find practical ideas that will really help; but this book will also be written by the griever. What started out as a memory book of my first husband, along with helpful ideas, will also be written by the griever as they share memories of their loved one. As they tell their own story of the deep void from the relationship they are grieving, they will discover (as I have) You are with them and will never ever leave them. The true story is still being authored. It is the never-ending love story You have for us that transcends death and brings eternal life. It goes far beyond what any book can contain.

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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

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

“We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John1:4

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, show me how to live out Your word in my life so I may be in the Book of Life…

moms

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Jeremy and Sherry

 

Heavenly Father,

My granddaughter is a young mom of two little boys. She had a really bad day the other day. All moms do. Some days, mothers feel like they are never doing enough. Sometimes they feel guilty for almost no reason at all. There are times they feel inadequate thinking they are not very good at being a mom. What about those times your child acts out or throws a fit in front of all kinds of faces that seem to be thinking, “You should be doing this or not doing that!” How about those times when you seem to be telling your child to do something and it’s like your voice is simply background noise…then dad walks in and says one word and everyone shapes up! Being a mom means having your heart break because no one seems to understand your child’s special needs, or your child cries himself to sleep because of cruel comments of another kid or adult, yet more unbroken promises of another parent,  or deep wounds,  illness or poor choices  which  you can’t protect your child from.  Being a mom can be deeply painful.

Being a mom is also one of the most satisfying jobs there is: like when your toddler hugs you because you’re the most important love in their life, watching your child give their long-awaited allowance to a homeless man, watching your teen overcome a long-time fear, watching them grow and develop as the unique and miraculous person You created them to be. What a joy to watch how You, Lord, take everything that has ever happened in their life and blend it all together for good.  How rewarding to carry on adult conversations with this person who once couldn’t even talk and depended on you for food, shelter and protection.

My granddaughter might have had a challenging day, but someday she will barely recall the harsh trials and will only stand in awe at the men those little boys have become. She will be able to laugh at the hard memories and stand amazed that she played a part in who they have become. Father, today I pray for all the beautiful moms I know (the foster moms, adoptive moms, bio moms, grandmothers) who may be having a good or a bad day today. Lift them up, bless them, refresh them, and strengthen them so they can go on loving and encouraging their children. May they love whichever children You have placed before them with Your love…because You, Lord, not only created the heart of mothers; You have the heart of a mother. Let us love with Your love.

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“How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37b

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord, for his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”   1Samuel 1:27-28a

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands…”   Isaiah 49:15-16

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, You have loved me even more than the mother who carried me in her womb by…

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Heavenly Father,

I do not want to be cut from the vine! As much as I love having fresh cut flowers straight from my garden on my table, I realize their beauty won’t last long. They’ve been cut from their life source. I can keep the water fresh in the vase to make them last a little longer. I can add a little packet of food, sugar or bleach to the water to try to extend their beauty, but since they’ve been cut off the plant, they are destined to wither up.

This spring I‘ve done a lot of pruning. Once a branch is cut off from the main tree, shrub or plant, it cannot continue to thrive or live. The cut branch certainly cannot produce any blooms or fruit. It might as well end up in the trash or compost pile. As long as the main plant is supplying the life, it will send out new branches- but those branches cannot make new leaves or flowers once they are cut off. Only the main plant can supply the life.

Father, I never want to try to do anything apart from You. It will not last. No matter how spectacular something I do on my own might appear, it will wither up. That’s why I come to You again this morning. I need to stay connected to Jesus who is my vine. Only with the Holy Spirit flowing from You through Jesus and then through me can my tiny branch live and thrive. If I am not rooted in Jesus, I can produce nothing eternal. Yet with Your life flowing through me, You can take this insignificant little twig and make it produce exactly what You designed it to do. Some little branches might produce a radiant flower to brighten someone’s life; other little branches might produce juicy fruit to feed hungry souls; some branches may provide shelter and shade to weary souls. Yet none of the branches can cause any of this eternal life on their own. That’s why I want to live in You and You live in me. Lord, flow through my little branch today and produce something eternal that I could never ever produce on my own…like love!

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.

                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. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”   John 15:1-8

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, this is how I can remain in You…