Heavenly Father,

As we get reports on different stories coming out of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey dumping torrential rains and causing widespread flooding, I am once again reminded of Your eternal presence no matter what we have to go through. So far, I have heard of 15 deaths and over 500 deep water rescues. Countless homes, schools, churches and communities are under water right now. Businesses, earthly investments, and worldly dreams may have been blown apart or drowned in the powerful winds and deep waters…but even more valuable eternal riches are being discovered in a new way.

When our earthly security is shaken, we often turn more fully to You, Lord, for our eternal security. We may lose everything including our home, only to find that You are our everlasting shelter. We could lose a loved one, and find that You never ever leave us. Our dream of a business might be washed away, but hopefully we find Your kingdom which stands forever. We, or someone we know, may have come eerily close to death, only to find eternal life through Jesus Christ.

We will continue to see and hear more reports of devastation and rescues from this tropical storm. As we watch and pray, may we be reminded that what looks like the end is often the beginning. As we pray for those in the midst of pain and suffering, may we pray with confidence that You are right there with them- each in a very personal way, coaching them on, opening their eyes to the eternal new life before them found in Jesus Christ. Some hurricanes come in the form of water, others come in the form of cancer, chronic or terminal illness, death of a loved one, financial ruin, divorce, a lost job, a legal mess, a broken relationship…It may truly appear as the end for those going through it; but I pray it is just the beginning of an ever deepening relationship with You. That’s what true life is. I love You, Lord.

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“You will hear of wars and rumors of war, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pangs.”  Matthew 24:6-8

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”   Isaiah 43:1-2

“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him, saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith? He asked the disciples.”  Luke 8:23-25

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I pray for those going through the flooding from the hurricane…and for me to see You in my own hurricane…

Heavenly Father,

I’ve been reading up on the solar eclipse which will be experienced across America tomorrow. It’s strange to me how the moon which is significantly smaller than the sun can block out much of the sun’s rays for a bit. The sun which is the center of our particular universe is immensely powerful. It lights up and heats up our tiny planet so we can live on it. Yet it is only one star out of trillions or more that You created and set each one into its exact orbit. It’s not the sun…but You, Lord, who is actually the center of all things. Everything from atoms to galaxies revolves around You, alone. Our sun will eventually cease to exist, but You, Lord, stand forever…and You invite us to live for all eternity with You. You even provided the way to make that possible through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to cleanse us once and for all so we could share eternal life with You- something we can never obtain on our own.

We’ve been hearing how we cannot look directly upon the sun without the risk of damage to our eyes…but how much more happens when we look to You, Lord. We may not be able to see You in all Your glory and live. But when we truly accept Jesus as our Savior from sin and death, we see Your glory even now. No darkness can block it out completely. Although there will be many things that try: health issues, financial ruin, broken relationships, legal obstacles, shattered dreams, the state of the world… So many things might cloud over our sight of You but You are still here. Nothing has dimmed You or taken away even on iota of Your power and authority, yet we may see the darkness for a bit. We know You are still there.

Most of the time, when we are wondering where You went- it’s because we are letting something get in between You and us. You are unchanging. Father, remind me when things seem to grow dark that You did not move; that You are still there. Help me to sing songs of thankfulness for Your grace, goodness, mercy, unchanging love, and promises to never leave me. No matter how dark things might seem, the darkness will have to move away and let Your glory shine out brighter than ever! The object or cause of our darkness will seem small and insignificant when compared to Your greatness. You, Lord, are our Light, our love, our source of life, are very reason for living. Father, let nothing eclipse You in my life. Let Your glory shine out and reflect on those in the darkness.

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“They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them their light. And they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation22:4-5

“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”  Isaiah 60:19

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans 8:38-39

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what is standing between me and You, dimming Your light?

Most Holy Father,

There is only one time in my life I can recall feeling like I had lost all hope. What a horrible experience to be without hope. No one should be without it. It didn’t last long for me…maybe just long enough to get a taste of it so I could recognize it and have compassion for those without it. My most hopeless time came when my first husband Steve “died in my arms” after a long battle with a terminal illness. He was brought back, but the hopelessness came from knowing there was no way he was getting through the sickness without dying. We both already knew in our minds he would eventually succumb to death, but that practice run made it all too real.

The strange thing was that at our lowest point of hopelessness, we found a hope that could never be taken away. That trial run at death also gave him a practice run to heaven. There is no greater hope to help us through this life than to trust in Jesus whom You sent to save us from our hopeless situation. Only He was worthy to pay the price for our sins through giving His own pure life as a sacrifice. No matter what goes on in this world; no matter what anyone can do to us; no matter how hopeless the world or our personal situation can appear…our hope is in Jesus Christ. When we have that hope, we can hold on to You, Lord, knowing that any kind of suffering we must endure here will all fade away in Your glorious presence. Our hope is in You and Your Son and Your Holy Spirit, even though we cannot see You with our earthly eyes.

About a year after that trial run, Steve took his last breath and graduated from this life. He no longer needs hope. It is reality. He is living a life that is more than he could ever hope for or imagine. Over 24 years ago, right after Steve’s death, I began going to a group at a hospital designed to help those who were grieving. Yet the emphasis on eternal life was missing. It was heartbreaking to hear the hopelessness in most of the people. If death is the end, and there is no hope of eternal life with You, what hope is there? Ever since, I know I need to always hold on to my hope in You so I can share that eternal invincible hope with others. There is no hope without Him.  Jesus Christ is our hope. There is nothing more real!

PS. Happy birthday in heaven, Steve!

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“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 62:5-6

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans15:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, my hope is in…

Heavenly Father,

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last that I see Your children be the hands and feet of Jesus. What a blessing to watch our small church turn out in big numbers to prepare 700 gift bags to hand out to every student at a nearby elementary school. Many hours were spent sorting toiletries, school supplies, water and snacks for every child and teacher. Then there came an assembly line to place each item in the bag and tie it with a bow and place them in boxes to transport. This all started with prayer beginning at the first of the year where a small group gathered faithfully to ask You to lead in reaching out to the nearby community. Then came a “chance” meeting with the principal, another “coincidental” appointment with a ministry that joins churches to neighborhood schools.

Father, thank You for using a small-but-willing church to do what seemed impossible. There has been and will continue to be constant prayer for the students, families, staff and teachers of that school. Yesterday, I was able to witness five vehicles load up those gift bags, drive them to the school and personally hand them out to each classroom and teacher. It was much more than just gift bags. It was encouragement, hope, and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ delivered with love. For a school considered to be low income and at a failing level in the ratings, it was the knowledge that this school holding all those kids, teachers and families is not alone in their fight. This was the first delivery this year but it started at the end of the last school year. We could all feel the attitude change as we went through the halls from class to class. It was as though Jesus was walking in the halls with us, bringing light into the darkness. Teachers knew they were being prayed for. Students felt loved.

What a joy to see the hands and feet of Jesus at work in just one situation. You are always at work all over the world using Your people, Lord! There might have been some weary and sore hands and feet and backs after all that work…but we finished right as the bell rang for the end of the day. Then we watched an amazing exit of little feet carrying bags of love in their hands as they headed for home. I can’t count how many times we were told “thank you!” with big smiles and even some hugs. Lord, it is unbelievable how You can take our prayers, time, effort and feeble hands and feet (and sore backs) and empower them through Jesus Christ to do eternal things! It all begins with You! What a joy to be part of the body of Christ- even if I only feel like a little toe!

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“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.”   Isaiah 41:13

“Yet, O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, help me listen to You and obey as You tell me what to do, concerning…