Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
Precious in Your sight is the death of one of Your saints. You see it as their ultimate Homecoming to life with You. We, who are left behind, struggle between being incredibly happy for them and incredibly sad for ourselves. Late last night my “Forever Pastor” Jerl Joslin crossed that great finish line. He, nor any of the rest of us, realized how close he was to the victory line. He was going about his race mapped out before him. He was running hard. He and his beloved wife were about to begin their annual Refresh Ministry Pastors’ Conference in less than a week. They had a revival with multiple Kiamichi churches lined up next weekend. What an eternal impact one humble loving man and his beautiful faithful wife had on so many lives! You can do great things through one or two surrendered lives, Lord!

About eight years ago, this selfless humble man underwent a traumatic attack which You ultimately used to make him more determined than ever to finish his ministry strong for You. Despite hardships, trials, heartache and misunderstandings You built him up to keep on going. You gave him the most perfect life partner to share Your work with and to sing duets with. Jerl’s kindness, sincere love, wisdom, encouragement and ministry to others went way beyond his human capabilities. It flowed out of his personal relationship with You through Jesus Christ. He loved You and others with all his heart. That’s why there are so many grieving today. His genuine love caused each person he met (and immediately knew by name!) to know they were loved. There was no doubt his sincere love flowed straight from You.

Father, thank You for such a life well-lived. Thank You for the thought of him worshipping You even more fully in Your presence! Lord, it is so hard for me to imagine his wife Dani without her beloved Jerl. May she keep singing solos knowing You are with her. You formed in them a much deeper partnership than the average marriage. I have no doubt You will sustain her and their family to finish their own races strong. Jerl is just over the finish line cheering them on! He’s cheering us all on. I will forever hear Your words through his voice and writing. May we all be willing to run our race with You and finish strong—all the way to the victory line!

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“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who have longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

 

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15

 

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory!’” 1 Corinthians 15:54

 

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Your Prayer prompt-

Father, Help Jerl’s family – and all of us- to finish strong…

Heavenly Father,
I am increasing in weakness…and that is good! I used to be really strong for a woman. I grew up carrying heavy loads in our family greenhouse and grew strong from heavy physical labor. I have also been told throughout my life that I can do anything and become anything. I am finding out that is not true…and that is good! I continually hear from society that it is all up to me to make something of myself—that I am the master of my own life. As I grow older, wiser and weaker, it is such a relief to know that my strength is failing. How freeing it is to realize how very weak I really am. The crazy thing is the weaker I realize I am, the more I realize I need Your strength.

I wouldn’t exist without You; I would never have been born except for You. I could never breathe or live without You. Even when I was young and thought I was so strong; even when I didn’t fully realize how much I need You—You were my strength. Lord, You knit my cells and DNA together to form me out of nothing at all. You linked a nervous system to my muscles and told them to move me. You fired off brain cells and began my physical life that included the ability to think and choose for myself. You placed me in a world which was totally created by You for me to have a safe, lush, lovely world surrounded by everything I could possibly need, including other people to love. Forgive me for thinking I could ever live independently from You!

You have allowed me to face challenges in my life that have threatened to overwhelm me because there seemed no way out or no way I could handle the burden. How I thank You for those times when I have realized my weakness. That is when I have experienced Your strength! I need not try to prove my strength to You or anyone else. You made me and know I am weak. You created me to need You. You designed me to be strong as I yield my life to Jesus. Then His unseen strength flows with a powerful force to overcome anything that comes up. I truly enjoy being weak and letting Your strength flow in and through me! I am weak and You are strong! You are my strength!

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“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, and may please him in every way, bearing the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power. according to His glorious might so you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of the light.” Colossians 1:11-12

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, help me see my weakness with out You so I can submit to Your strength through Jesus…

Glorious Heavenly Father!
There has been much excitement over the fiftieth anniversary of man walking on the moon. As a young girl, we didn’t have a television but we just happened to be at a hotel on a family trip when this incredible moment in history happened. My parents, brothers and I sat mesmerized along with the rest of the world as the first step happened. However, after all the world-wide excitement of that first experience on our moon, it has been decided to not invest in another trip to walk on the moon again. Perhaps the moon didn’t seem sensational enough. It seemed almost like our earth’s desert. It didn’t seem to hold any promise of something new. It was just another big round rock in space full of rocks, sand, valleys and mountains. It appeared to have no life on its own.

I have also been watching the photos come back from the unmanned probe they sent to Saturn, photographing its sensational rings and multiple moons! Lord, when I look into the night sky and see all the stars which probably each have their own galaxies circling around them, I can’t help but wonder how many moons there happen to be out there! I also can’t help but think I am much like an ordinary moon—not much to take a second look at on my own. Yes, I know no two moons are alike. Each one has its unique characteristics, but moons do not produce light on their own. They can soak up and reflect light just like I do from You!

There is no way I could make myself in the physical sense to begin with—no more than a moon can produce itself. I surely cannot make myself shine—nor can any moon on any galaxy. But oh!! When I realize who I am and that I need You and Your Son Jesus; when I turn to face You (the One whom all things come from and revolve around)—You cause me to shine! The glory of Your presence even uses a plain old “moon” like me to shine out bringing light into a dark world! There are times, I let other things come between us. Then I can only partially shine, depending on how much of a foothold I let another entity cast a shadow between us. Yet as soon as I turn my gaze back to You, Lord God, You light up my life fully once again. Lord, show me as soon as I let worry, fear, un-trust, or love of other things and people come between us so I can cast those things aside. Though I cannot make myself shine, I can love and worship You; then Your Son Jesus Christ shines in and through me. I want to shine with Your glory so others can find their way to You through Jesus—the Light of the world.

 

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“Through Him (Jesus) all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. 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 1:3-4

 

“Praise Him, sun and moon. Praise Him, all you shining stars. Praise Him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.” Psalm 148:3-4

 

Description of the eternal city to come in Revelation 21:23: “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 (Jesus) is its lamp.”

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Most Holy Father, do I acknowledge You as the center of my universe…or does my world revolve around me?…

Heavenly Father,
This weekend I silently cheered my husband on during a state Chess tournament. It was his first tournament so he was hyper focused for about a month before the event. Extra games were played, tactics were studied and games were analyzed—all in preparation. Being a non-Chess player, I went along to see what all the fuss was about. There were about 60 players in one large room. Even before the clocks were started, there was barely any talking as they set up their games. No one hardly looked at their opponent. They were intensely studying the game in front of them. I sat quietly watching as I could almost hear sixty brains all working at once. Most of the games lasted 3- 4 hours. There were some focused minds in that room.

Lord, why is it so hard for us to focus even half that much on You? You surround us with all kinds of cues to worship and thank You. All we need to do is be still and consider who You are. You set galaxies in motion and placed our sun and moon in the perfect place to sustain us here on this incredible lush garden we call earth. You place us in families, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods filled with people to love and be loved by. You give us everything we need and so much more. Everything—even our challenges—point us toward You… and yet we let so many things distract us from the most important relationship of all. We need You more than we can possibly know. You love us more than we can ever comprehend.

If I can learn to focus more fully on You, I will know when to be still and when to move. You see the entire plan not just one little move in front of me. There is no way for me to calculate or predict life ahead. What a relief to trust You for today- just the next play. If I focus on You and ask, You will let me know each move one at a time in Your all-knowing plan. Focusing on You and trusting You with each step in my life frees me up to enjoy Your presence and those around me! Let my eyes, heart, mind and soup be attentive to You, Lord!

 

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“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

 

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41

 

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

 

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Your Prayer Peek-
Father, help me focus on You today…

Heavenly Father,
Fifty years ago, I was one of the millions of people on earth who sat mesmerized in front of what would now be considered grainy TV. The whole world gathered around whatever television they could find to watch a rocket blast off carrying three brave men to the moon. We continued to watch in awe as two of those men stepped down a ladder from a small LEM landing vehicle onto the surface of the earth’s moon where no man had ever walked before. Since that time, I have seen up close several of the space ships that took brave explorers into space and the moon. They appear so fragile. It is almost unbelievable what was accomplished at the very beginning of the age of technology. The state-of-the-art computers that took up rooms and helped accomplish this are now historical dinosaurs. Yet that was the kick-off to the technological boom that now lets even children hold phone-sized computers in their hands.

Many people consider the moon-landing the greatest feat human-kind has ever accomplished. As impressive as that was, I know deep in my soul that the greatest feat ever accomplished was when You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to be born, live, die and be resurrected for us so we could live with You forever! We get way too caught up in our own wisdom and accomplishments and deny our need for You, our God Almighty!

Father, You are the Maker and Designer of billions of moons, stars, planets and galaxies. We could explore forever and never understand all of who You are! Your power and glory are unmatched and immeasurable! We think we are so smart that we do not need You, but Oh! How we need You! Only a few men and women have flown into space. There may not seem a bigger accomplishment than that! Yet most have reported after coming back realizing the vastness of Your glory and the smallness of who they are! How could you top walking on the moon?…Walking with You, Lord God! That is the greatest walk ever! It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, educated or uncivilized, connected or unplugged to technology…who we are, where we live, how old we are or anything else. We all need You! We cannot walk with You by anything we can do on our own except reach out and admit that we need Jesus. It is not about us being able to accomplish anything. It is accepting what You accomplished through Jesus. He is the One who You sent to lift us up out of sin and transport us to a life with You that far outshines a walk on the moon. It is an eternal glorious walk!

 

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“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars…And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:14-16,18

 

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above. Praise Him, all His angels, Praise Him, all His heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars!” Psalm 148:1-3

 

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

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, do I truly realize I need You and Your Son Jesus?….Do I want a walk with You?…

Heavenly Father,
One time in my early twenties, I was going through what seemed like more than my share of some pretty intense trials which seemed to have no way out. I needed to talk to my dad; so I went to find him where I could almost always find him—at the end of a water hose watering plants in one of the back commercial growing greenhouses. I was in luck because that meant no customers and his undivided attention. He listened with compassion as I poured out my heart. Then he told me I needed to go home and read the book of James from the Bible. So I did. I read through part of the second verse… “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I was so mad that I closed the Bible! How could I count these intense situations I was going through as joy!? It took me many more trials and turning to You, Lord, to realize I could truly consider my trials joy…

When I first began facing all these adult trials, I thought no one else in the world ever had to face so much hardship. Since that time, I have discovered that this life is filled with trials of many kinds, and every single person faces their own unique testing and obstacles. Little did I know those first trials I faced were nothing compared to some of the trials to come. I finally read the rest of the book of James—including the rest of that sentence I closed the book on earlier. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Lord, I’m so glad I am not in my twenties any more. Yet now I truly can count each and every trial I have gone through as joy. Each challenge has shown me how weak I am and how much I need You. Each trial has drawn me closer to You because I knew I could not get through it on my own. Every time, I have learned that Your ways are far better than my most brilliant ideas. My faith in You has grown through having to trust You. You have developed perseverance in me and I have learned to stop and consider any new trial joy because I know You will work out things far better than I ever could! It is a joy to persevere through this life with You, Lord! I will persevere all the way until I finish this race and You come get me!

 

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“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, what past and current trials can I consider joy?…

 

Heavenly Father,
It is almost as hard to make quiet time in this world as it is for a rambunctious preschooler to play the Quiet Game. We wiggle. Our mind wanders. We think of all these things that we NEED to say. It can seem almost impossible to just be still and quiet. It is becoming a lost quality. There is so much noise in the world right now. We don’t even realize how noisy it is. There is always some kind of babbling sound going on in the background (music, TV, videos, games, playing, fighting, sirens, honking, machinery, traffic, news… We have become so accustomed to it to the point we are often uncomfortable with silence.

Quiet time is critical to our spiritual life with You, Lord. How else will we hear Your still small voice unless we tune our ears to listen for You in the quiet? You do not compete with all the clamor of this world. You do not need to. It is up to us to get away from all the noise and be still with You. It is our choice to step away from earthly advice, attitudes, knowledge, commercials, entertainment, and all the noise. I have read some studies on noise pollution and how too much prolonged noise damages our ears. I think it damages our soul and ability to hear and recognize Your voice, Lord.
When we are just meeting someone, we might feel uncomfortable with silence around them. We tend to talk just to fill the silence without being quiet and listening. Yet the deeper the relationship, the more we can simply be quiet and still so we can savor their presence in quietness. We learn to hear the very heart.

Father, let me make time—let me thirst for quiet time with You. Help me stick with it until I can’t wait to be still and quiet in Your presence. Let it become such a part of me that I can take Your quiet sweet Spirit with me out into the noisy world and give others a taste and a longing for their own quiet time with You!

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“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” Isaiah 30:15

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

“…the sheep listen to His (Jesus’) voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me learn to be still so I can hear Your voice and follow it…

 

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday’s sermon took me right back to something that happened in my early twenties. I was a young married mom, facing several extremely hard difficulties. They just kept coming and I thought I was the only one in the world who had to face so many challenges. So I went looking for my dad. I could usually find him watering in one of the family’s commercial greenhouses. I followed the water hose in one of the growing greenhouses where the public didn’t go. I was glad to find him so I could pour out all my troubles to him. He patiently listened and then told me to go home and read the book of James in the Bible. So I did. Almost the very first sentence said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” There was much more, but that made me mad so I stopped reading (at least for a while!)…

Since that time, I have faced many more trials (many which were even harder than what I was facing at that time). I have indeed learned much from each and every trial. My faith in You has grown stronger. You were already faithful—it just took me going through those challenges to realize just how wonderful You are, Lord. Now, I can understand. I really can consider it pure joy when I face trials—because You are up to something good! Each test has brought me closer to You! There is no greater joy!

Lately, some of my adult children and different friends have been facing some hard trials. I can even consider that joy because I know You are using those tests to help them see their deep need for You. Out of the pain will come eternal gain which can come no other way. From their weakness, You can give them Your strength. Most of the time I remember it is not my place to fix their challenges or take it away because their greatest growth will come from these trials. I can stand by them, listen to them, pray for them and lift them into Your faithful care. I can encourage them to turn to You in their trials. You know what is needed in their lives and what is required to eternally bless others through them.
Father, I pray for each and every person who happens to be reading this prayer to consider it pure joy when they face the trials they are going through. You are up to something good! Help them persevere in You!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 

“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter4:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, let me tell You of my troubles and then trust You with joy with what is coming!

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
Many people are enduring multiple storms right now. There seems to be a path that just keeps pounding the same areas over and over with tornados, hail and flooding. The pictures and videos of entire Oklahoma towns and farms under water along with homes destroyed by tornados are difficult to see. I am so grateful that most of the tornados are small and do not stay on the ground for long. There is more severe weather predicted today. These series of storms remind me of all the storms I have endured in my life.

When I was a young mom, we moved into a single-wide mobile home out in the middle of a pasture with no trees to block the wind. About a week after we had moved in, everyone was sound asleep when I was wakened by a powerful gust front that was blowing our little home with such force that I knew the next gust would literally blow it apart. I didn’t have time to wake my husband lying next to me or my two small children at the far end of our vulnerable home. All I could do was cry, “Jesus!” You immediately calmed the wind so there was not even a breath of it blowing. It was a calm beyond any calm I had ever known. I will never forget You calmed the wind for me! Everyone else slept through it.

I have been through hundreds of raging storms since that time long ago—some weather-related; others were financial, fire, suicide, health, life and death, relationship-related… As amazing as the time You calmed that dangerous wind for me long ago, it has been even more amazing how You have given me Your incredible peace through the midst of short outbursts or long-enduring turbulent storms which seem to never end.

It is a peace that comes from knowing You are with me—no matter what—through beautiful calm days and every kind of storm. Lord, I pray those in the storms see that You are with them.

 

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“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was in danger of being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him (Jesus) up, 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 His disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.’” Luke 8:23-25

 

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 127:28-30

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to call to You in this storm I’m facing…

Heavenly Father,
I am learning to slow down and enjoy You and this life. We can be so driven and busy that it can easily stress us out. There are spoken and unspoken messages everywhere that tell us we need to be doing more. We are constantly hearing voices that tell us we need to be cleaning our house, cooking, mowing, driving, shopping, making contacts, phone calls, texts, projects, chores, excel at work, get involved, speak out, keep up with latest entertainment, stay in shape, get healthy, manage our money, volunteer…

We all feel the pressure of this world…but I have learned to zealously guard the peace You offer. Like most people, I have lived through many extreme challenges. I learned to pray my way through each one. It is in that precious prayer time with You that I find one of Your most priceless treasures—Your peace. It is not the kind of peace the world offers—sitting on a tropical beach or a hand sign to be thrown around or even lack of war. It is Your peace—found in trusting You—our Lord God Almighty. It is the peace that comes from Jesus Christ who never leaves us or forsakes us. It is a peace, knowing that You are God and all is well.

This peace does not come without a battle. I have had to fight to find it, wrestle to hold on to it and jealously guard it. This world (and even well-meaning people) want to rob me of my peace. I will not give it up. It is mine—my gift from You. Your peace is given to me in the midst of this crazy world with all its difficulties, disappointments, attacks, wounds, pain, evil, darkness…
My peace is found in You, Sweet Lord. The very moment something or someone tries to steal my peace, I run to You. I sit in Your presence and bask in who You are and savor Your love for me. All is well. You are with me. You don’t pressure me or stress me out. You love me to simply come and sit with You and soak up Your peace. Then You send me out full of Your peace. You can accomplish more in and through me as I rest in You in one moment than a whole lifetime of me being stressed out, trying to do things on my own power.

Lord, help me recognize as soon as my peace is threatened to run back to You for more. You love to share Your limitless peace with me so I can share it with others.

 

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“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, I need Your peace…

 

Photo by my brother Rodd Moesel