waterfall

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…

ice storm

 

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….

sunset

 

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.”

tent

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

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Most Holy and Glorious Heavenly Father,

We just got back from a week of camping in several areas filled with breathtaking Fall foliage. Coming from a noisy large city, it is so refreshing to step into the quiet stillness of heavily wooded paths. I didn’t realize how much background noise I constantly live with. Apparently, I tend to block a lot of it out. Emergency sirens, big rig trucks, horns honking and music constantly blasting become a background to everything in my urban life. It takes silence to realize just how noisy my life is! It also takes silence to enjoy being still and listening for You, Lord.

I asked You to lead us on this trip…and once again, You did (In more ways than I probably even realize). On this vacation, more than any other, I realize that this life is not about me, my wants, my dreams, my comfort, my plans…it’s all about You. My husband and I hiked paths that many others have probably walked through the years– though we were the only ones on those paths during this particular time. It is one thing to view the beauty of the trees driving past hill after hill of magnificent color. It is a whole different perspective to venture out on a path less traveled, walk far into the woods and be immersed in Your beauty. You were in the path up ahead and the path behind us. We looked up and saw You in the trees overhead and the skies above. We even saw You down below in rocky streams and tiny bits of moss and the intricate design on rich colored leaves lying on the path.

There were no words to say because there were none to describe the beauty of Your presence. Then in the midst of the stillness came a sudden light breeze swishing the branches overhead. As we looked up, leaves floated down all around us, showering us with Your presence…and Your love…and Your Spirit. I raised my face to catch – not the leaves– but  You. You are all I need. Fall on me, Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

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“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”   Psalm 4610-11

 

“Be still before the Lord and patiently wait for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”     Psalm 37:7