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Heavenly Father,

What a special day it is!! It’s not a holiday, but it is a holy day. There’s not any spectacular reason to celebrate today, and yet there is. This day will never happen again. I only get one chance to savor this moment. I don’t want to let it go by without enjoying it. Any moment can be extraordinary when you share it with someone you love. Sitting in the shade, going for a walk, watching the sun set, grocery shopping, even working…if it is savored with someone you love, even the most mundane chores turn into some of the sweetest times.

I don’t want to wait for another time to enjoy life. How much of life is wasted waiting for the perfect spouse, the baby to start walking, the kids to grow up, or retirement. I want to savor right now! Today – even this moment will never happen again. I will never get another chance to grab this moment again. I will not have another chance to share this particular moment with those around me again or to see the things You placed before me today.

Father, let me slip my hand in Yours and enjoy right now. Help me slow down and savor the beauty of Your company in this day. Open my eyes to show me the sights You want me to see. Help me be still in Your presence and just relish Your love. Lord, also help me enjoy every moment with whomever You place in my path. Hold my hand and help me love them with Your eternal love that lasts far beyond today. What makes today so special? Because You are with me!

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“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”   Psalm 118:24

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”    Matthew 28:20b

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 47:10

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me enjoy this day by…

 

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Heavenly Father,

Recently, I had my last meeting with a young woman I’ve had the honor of ministering for over a year. A crazy but beautiful friendship has developed during our regularly scheduled times.  I have to admit, I steered clear of her for a while. I was a little guarded around her. I recall telling You she was too much for me. She was not living in reality and had some of the strangest ideas about spirituality. I believe I even told You that she was not near ready to change her life. Did You just smile, Lord? Anyway, I was kind to her and prayed for her- yet kept a wall up for a while.  She had a way of trying to shock me with her ideas and history. Nothing took away my resolve to keep bringing her to You. A lot has happened in the past fourteen months.

There was never a sudden dramatic change but a steady slow metamorphosis which has taken place right before my eyes. It was nothing that I could do or the program she was in could accomplish… although I know the prayers we all prayed for her made a difference. As I met with her for the last time, this tough young woman tried to act like she was not afraid, but I believe she was worried about leaving the safe cocoon she’s been in. As we visited, hope for the future came alive as we discussed her next step. We both came into the meeting with a little trepidation about her going out into the world. But as always, when You are at work, things turn out completely different than what we can imagine or plan.

By the time we both left, we were a little sad to think of no more regular times together…but we were both filled with hope for her future. We were both sure it was time to move forward. We hugged and prayed a precious goodbye. Afterward, my husband drove me to the lake just in time to catch the most glorious sunset. It was like Your way of saying it was the end of a beautiful chapter. Lord! Yet sunsets are always followed by sunrises- a new beginning. Father, may she shine out with Your glory as she steps into her new beginning. In fact, I have a new beginning, as well. We all do!

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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”     John 10:10

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.’”   Revelation 21:5-6

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:27

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what do I need to say goodbye to so I can have even more life with You?…

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Heavenly Father,

I have to walk around my yard at least once a day this time of year…and keep my eyes open as I walk in the neighborhood or drive to work. You’ve planted surprises for me at every turn. A month ago everything looked drab and lifeless. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought everything was dead. But I’ve lived enough years to know that Spring comes every year! With it the beauty and joy of new life pops out of the most unexpected places. Who would have thought such bright and cheerful flowers would faithfully come out of the ugly Daffodil bulbs planted so many years ago…and that they would multiply so! The trees which lost almost half of their branches in the last ice storm are bursting out with fresh new green buds…and in some cases, vivid purples and pinks and even snowy white flowers.

The brown soil which lacked water most of the winter is now rich with moisture and little tiny shoots are pushing out with hints of lush green and white hosta leaves. There are even a few dark pink Azaleas starting to peek out of their dead-looking stems. It’s so exciting to watch new life unfold before my eyes each day. Even the squirrels and birds are jubilant, scurrying about getting ready for their own new life.

Father, thank You for the surprises You surround us with all the time! Give us eyes to not only see, but hearts ready to savor and thank You for those delightful blessings. There is no way we can produce any of this joyous life on our own. It is bestowed by You alone. It is ours to soak up Your Spirit like sap that rises inside us and brings new life and hope after the winter trials of our lives. It is no accident that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection this time of the year. What looked like death on the cross was actually new life being born and rising up in all who will accept and believe in You and Your Son- from whom all life flows. May Your Spirit burst out from me in joy unspeakable!

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“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seed to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”   Ezekiel 36:26

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me see Your life all around…and to receive the overflowing eternal life You have given me through Jesus Christ.

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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!!

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 “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

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Prayer Prompt-

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

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Heavenly Father,

My brother-in-law is in ICU and has received 18 units of blood over the last few days. That blood saved his life. It kept him alive until they could locate and remove the diseased part that was causing him to lose deadly amounts of “that life-saving sap.” We just happened to be having a blood drive at our church Sunday. I’m not certain how many gave at our church, but it took 18 people he has never met donating some of their life to keep life flowing through the body of my brother-in-heart. It was a stark reminder of how critical blood is! My nurse daughter said due to the quantity given, most of the blood in his body had most likely been replaced by other blood. When he realized how many had given to sustain him, he said, “It’s a gift!”

Father, he is so right! You give us life in the first place as we are formed in our mother’s womb. Our physical life is a gift from You. We truly are wonderfully made. That fluid pumps through our bodies bringing life to every single cell and organ. As wonderful as our physical life is, it is diseased by sin…by our self-willed human nature that separates us from You- the very One from whom all life flows. We are critically and terminally ill; slowly losing all life. We will die without a blood transfusion. That’s why You sent Your own Son!

Jesus didn’t come to lie on a table for 30 minutes to squeeze blood into a bag. He came to be born and live as one of us into this sinful world. He came to die on a criminal’s cross although there has never been One more innocent. He came to give His precious holy blood to be transfused into us through the Holy Spirit! One of the nurses explained the danger of getting so much blood from others. More foreign elements are being introduced into the body. That’s because as wonderful as their gift of hemoglobin was, it was not pure. Jesus was the only One whose blood was clean and holy enough to give us eternal life with You. Father, thank You for the holy and powerful blood of Jesus that has been transfused into my life. I can’t fully explain it, but His life flows through me and through all who accept His transfusion. It is too much to comprehend how and why…but Your eternal life flows in and through us by the blood of Jesus Christ!

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“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”   1John 1:7

“This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’” Revelation 5:9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what does this precious blood mean to me?

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Heavenly Father,

My nurse daughter’s favorite cure for anything is a bath! If one of her kids (or even one of her critical care patients) gets a sniffle or a full-blown fever, her prescription is always a bath. I’ve had two short “bugs” in a row, first the upper respiratory crud going around, then before being fully recovered- a bout with a stomach virus. I’m not complaining because I have been incredibly healthy all my life (which I am most grateful for, Lord!) Yet having just stepped out of a shower, I feel like a new person! It seems all the germs and sickness have been washed away.  I feel refreshed and renewed. Though I didn’t think I had enough energy to even get in the shower, I came out ready to do almost anything…because I’m clean!

That’s just physical cleanliness…it’s even more powerful to be cleansed with the power of Jesus Christ! I see it happen before my eyes all the time. I am honored to work with a group of beautiful young women who feel incredibly dirty from years of substance abuse. Not only do they feel filthy from the stench of drugs, but from all the experiences that go with it, and from the things which cause them to start using in the first place. One young woman had been using drugs since she was 8 years old when her mom started giving her heroin to calm her down. She hadn’t known any other life. She never believed there was ever any other way to live except dirty. After several months of sobriety, she kept saying she was really enjoying learning to be clean. Yet it wasn’t just from being free from drugs; it was from living a life with Jesus.

Nothing else cleanses us like Jesus’ holy blood shed for us. You love us so much; You knew we could never be clean without Him. That’s why You sent Him to be born, to live, to die and be resurrected so we could have eternal life and cleanliness. We can never wash away our own sickness of sin. That’s why You prescribed Jesus’ holy blood for us to wash away our filthiness in. We may not all be coming from a life of heroin abuse; but we all have sin. We all need a bath. Father, when my sins are washed away by Jesus, I can do anything! I am fresh and renewed! Jesus not only cleanses me but lives in me! Nothing can be cleaner than from the inside out!

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“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…wash me and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me….Restore me to the joy of Your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”   Palm 51:2,7b,10,12 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”   Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:25-26 

“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name.”   Acts 22:16

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I want to be really clean. Wash me in the blood of Jesus for forgiveness for…

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Heavenly Father,

I’ve survived two major Oklahoma ice storms which sound like war zones when there are trees hanging over your house. As the trees freeze from heavy ice, the cracking of the wood begins. There is nothing you can do but wait for the branches to fall and pray they don’t come through the roof. With the extra weight, they shake the entire house like an earthquake. We thought for sure they were at least 3 foot diameter limbs only to find out later they were closer to 3 inches in diameter. There are very few sunny spots in our front or back yard. Someone let an elm tree grow up right next to our den where we spend the most time. Its trunk takes two grown adults to hug it all the way around. Some of its limbs are as large as most trees. It dropped bombs of limbs and ice on us for almost three days. There were many close calls but no major damage.

City-wide, falling tree limbs hit electrical, cable and phone lines and took out power with huge greenish blue flashes as transformers blew. In an instant, all power is gone. That’s when you begin to realize how much we all take power for granted. There’s no light, no heat, no news or weather, no computer, and no hot water. Food becomes an issue with limited ways to cook. Some stores are without power. Electric lines are on the ground. Traffic lights are out. Tree limbs block the roads. Ice is falling from overhead lines so you take a risk driving or walking around. Whole neighborhoods looked completely black at night. The most common question asked is “Do you have power?” Without thinking, we all still flip the switch every time we walk into a room even though we are fully aware there is no power. We begin to realize how much we take for granted… until it’s not available.

Father, forgive me when I take You and Your power for granted. It is You who makes the sun shine, the air we breathe, the water we need, the shelter we have. We take it all for granted that it will always be there for us. We don’t give it a thought. We don’t stop to praise You for Your unlimited, non-stoppable life-giving power. No storm, no trial, no challenge, no battle can take away Your power. You are faithful and dependable to give us life and all we need. We depend upon You for everything! Lord God, Your power never goes out!

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“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

“Through Him 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 1:3-5

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me trust Your power and not take these things for granted….

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Heavenly Father,

There are millions of reasons to be thankful…but there is a sly, slithering scheme to steal the joy that is meant to be shared between me and You, Lord. I could be basking in the blessings You continually bathe me in, but the enemy tries to block my awareness of those bountiful blessings by inserting little doubts, fears, and anxieties meant to take my focus off You and all You give me by distracting me with lies and deceptions. He tries to stir up trouble- especially when I am doing something for You. It will not happen without a fight! I will battle against this attack with extra thanksgiving and praise.

Lord God, I am eternally grateful that: You are always with me and will never ever leave me…You are closer to me than anyone else…You live in me through the Holy Spirit… I never have to fight alone…You have complete authority and power over all things…You have great plans for me, those I love and for all those who submit to You…You love me enough to send Jesus to give me eternal life…nothing can ever separate me from You or Your love…the enemy has to cower away at the name of Jesus Christ which I can proclaim loudly and confidently knowing He is mine and I am His!

Thank You for: the breath of life You gave me when You created me and each person I love…the newness of life breathed into me through the Holy Spirit…a husband who loves You and me…children who have grown to be brothers and sisters-in-Christ…grandchildren to love, play and pray with…precious friends and family who share my earthly and eternal life…amazing ways I see You at work every single day…this breathtaking world which is dull in comparison to the home You have waiting for me. Father, I will spend all eternity trying to thank You for everything and there will be no end to the list. The more I thank You, the more we can feast together on the love and joy in the midst of thanksgiving.

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“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” Psalm 95:1-2

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, let my gratefulness bless You and me both as I list things I am thankful for:

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Heavenly Father,

Sometimes tears of joy express what words cannot. You know I have a deep desire to write to You and for You, Lord…but my little words are so inadequate to voice the love and gratitude bursting from my heart. How do I say thank You for a love that can never be repaid? I will be searching forever for words, deeds, or a form of worship to attempt to let You know how grateful I am to You. Everything I could say or do seems like a little child offering You a mangled, already-been-blown-away dandelion. And even that was given by You first!

Everything I am or possess came from You to begin with. I really have nothing to offer You…Oh! But wait…I do! Though my life was created and given by You; though my life is sustained by You; though everything I could ever need is given by You alone- You created me with my own will and choice. You will never force me to turn to You in thanks. You will never demand I submit to Your immeasurable power and authority. You will never coerce me to stop and look at who You are. You will never push me to accept the incomprehensible gift You have given me through Jesus’ life given for me so I can live forever with You. Instead, You wait patiently for me to come willingly to You.

It’s so crazy! When I give the tiny gift of myself freely to You (the only thing I truly possess that can be given to You), I find myself flooded with Your Holy Spirit- overflowing, bursting out, bubbling over.  Father, look beyond my words deep into my spirit. Let my life be a continual thank You. And that will still never be enough!

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“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Psalm 100

 Jesus says in John 10:10- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

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Heavenly Father,

The camping trip we recently took is still perking in my mind. Before we left, I was worried about leaving my comfy bed and home… but after we set up our tent that was barely big enough for the two of us and started a fire, I remembered why I love to be out in nature with You, Lord.  At most of the state parks we stayed at, we were the only tent among large RV homes complete with heat, satellite TV and microwaves. At the campgrounds, we felt like we were by ourselves because no one came outside. We sat around the fire and cooked over the open flames and savored the silence (except for that large creature making loud noises in the dry leaves that turned out to be a mouse!)

The contrast between our tiny dome tent and the massive RVs, made me thing about the different ways people live in our world. Though our little temporary home seemed pretty humble, I couldn’t help but think that we were still living better off than a majority of people now living in the world.  I may be willing to go camping but my husband is kind enough to set up at state parks which usually have nice bathrooms and even hot showers. Our van is stocked with bottled water and food. We had pretty much everything we needed and didn’t go into town so we had a week away from crowds, media, news, phone calls, and responsibilities.

Our week in nature was delightful (even in the rain). It was refreshing to focus on You, Your magnificent creation and simply enjoy one another. It was a reminder that sometimes the less we have, the less we have to keep up with and the fewer distractions from the real riches we’ve been given in Jesus Christ. This past week was a reminder that we are just traveling through this life to our true home. Whether we live on the streets, in a shack, a tent, a RV or a really nice house none of those will not be our final home. Father, help me travel light and keep following Jesus. In the meantime, Home is where You are.

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“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”    

2 Corinthians5:1-5

 

“In Him(Jesus Christ)the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”  

Ephesians 2:21-22