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,

The other day I helped my adult daughter cut a 4-foot-tall hedge down to about 18 inches tall. The tall row of “Dwarf” Yaupon Holly bushes was lush and green and thriving, but it was not serving the purpose it was needed for. It completely blocked her front porch and had grown out over the front sidewalk to cover over half of it—making the walkway to the front door almost unusable. She talked to me about taking the huge shrubs out, but that was going to be a back-breaking job, so I suggested cutting the shrubs way back. I told her it may look a little ugly at first, but it would send out beautiful new growth quickly and she could keep it trimmed down low from now on.

We went to work cutting off big limbs and branches. For the passer-by, it probably looked like we were killing these beautiful shrubs. It took a lot of whacking, cutting and sweating to do away with years of growth. The pile of bulky branches covered in lush green leaves grew higher and wider while the row of cut down stubs grew smaller, and revealed a wonderful view from the bench on the front porch. There were already enough green leaves sprouting out of the short stubs to make it appear alive and growing. It will give a much more welcome entrance to their home. They can now use their front walkway and see the front of their house! What a transformation that came out of all that cutting!

Father, I think of all the times in my life that I have felt like I had finally grown to fulfill my purpose. My life seemed like it was set and doing well, when You come along and do some heavy-duty cutting away of what might appear to be healthy growth. Maybe You have a new purpose for me. Perhaps You are preparing to transplant me to a new place. You know that as long as I am rooted in You I live and thrive no matter how much pruning You allow me to go through. The branches that are cut away may look good for a while but without roots, they will wither up and die.
Lord, as Long as I stay rooted in You, Your Spirit flows in and through me causing life and new growth to come out of me. No matter how hard I try, I can never produce that life on my own. I might as well be like those big branches of lush growth we cut off. They may look good for a little while, but they will wither up without roots. Lord, I come to You—putting my roots down deep into You. Let me soak up Your Life-giving Spirit so You can produce new life in me and fulfill whatever purpose You have for me.

 

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Jesus tells us in John 15:1-6: “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…”

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I rooted in You, letting Your Life and love flow through me?

Heavenly Father,
I was listening to the news and was a little overwhelmed by images and memories of the trials, horrors and tragedies in this world- deadly severe weather, Holocaust Remembrance Day, mass murders, drug addiction, children lured into or sold into sex slavery, growing immorality, terminal illness… My soul was heavy and it was tempting to give in to despair. Then I took a quiet walk outside in my garden…with You.
Within a few moments, my spirit was lifted just by being still with You, Lord. As I gazed at a plant that had been left for frozen, I saw a new beauty developing and flourishing that never would have made it if it hadn’t rescued it from the rack headed for the trash. I noticed a huge hanging basket of Airplane plant that I have wintered over for years in my family’s greenhouse. I can’t even begin to count how many baby plants have been given away from that old plant to family members, co-workers, preschoolers, neighbors. It was severely knocked back by a freeze and has no babies now, but it will! I walked past a 5 ft tall Norfolk Pine I grew from a 3-inch-tall starter. It also was in the greenhouse where things were frozen. It is still alive and the new growth is beautiful. It will completely change its shape but I am certain it will be renewed and refashioned by its circumstances… and You.
I always learn so much just walking in the garden with You. Yet, I make that trek every day—not so much for what I will learn but because I savor Your presence. My soul is refreshed and remade. The world can seem cold, harsh and mean, but if I take my walk with You in the garden, new life springs forth. I can take You out into that dark world and brighten it with Your Spirit which flows from You into me and through me. I may not even be aware, but Your life springs up and brings out the beauty and loveliness that can only come from You. This world begins to change from the dark hopelessness to a lovely garden where I am simply one little tiny plant with Your love flowing through me to brighten the world. I wish I could take others for a walk with You in the garden…

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“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. (Sin happened) Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 2:8 (Sin happened) 3:8

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” Leviticus 26:12

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. they will walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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Your Prayer Peek-
Lord, help me meet You in the garden…

Heavenly Father,
Today I took a photo of the miracle Clematis for my neighbor. It had never bloomed before…until the day her husband was getting his long-awaited heart transplant. She ran home to get something she needed before the surgery and the vine that had never bloomed was in bloom for the very first time. The Lord used this vine in a very personal way to let her know all would be well. It has bloomed every single year since for the first time on April 22—no matter what. Even years later when her beloved husband died, it showed its first bloom on April 22…and every year since. My friend recently had to go stay out of state with her daughter. Today she texted and asked me to check to see if it was blooming. I took a photo of it in its full glory! Full of blooms and buds (as pictured)! Just in time to give my dear neighbor hope again for some hard things she and her loved ones are going through!

Father, what would we do without the eternal living hope of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ!!! There is nothing worse than hopelessness. How horrible to think this world with all its challenges and trials is all there is—that things will never get better—that death is the end.

How hopeless things appeared to every person who had put their hope in Jesus to save them they way they thought He should. Their hopes of deliverance from a ruthless government, their hopes of Jesus being the kind of king who would overthrow the current tyrants, their hopes that He would give them the best seats in His Kingdom, their hopes that He would solve all their current issues…There was never more hopelessness and darkness than when Jesus was nailed to the cross and died. The entire earth turned black for three hours with absolute hopelessness….
But You, Lord, had immeasurably greater plans for Your Son, our Savior, to rise victorious once and for all over death and the dark hold of hopelessness. Jesus is our hope! Jesus Christ is our Savior! As we bow before Him and accept Jesus as our King and Savior, we begin to see Him blooming all over the place bringing us hope in very personal ways to encourage us to not give up—to not grow weary of following Him—to not count on the way things appear but to trust He is not finished—to trust His promise that the day is coming when we will never face pain, sorrow, death any more –to have the spiritual power of Your Holy Spirit to face whatever comes our way… I want to thank You for the lovely personal blooms of encouragement You have blessed me with during a challenging time I have faced lately. Jesus, You are living and blooming with hope all around me!

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“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom…they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God…Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped, Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1,2,5,6

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…” 1 Peter 1:3-6

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me look past my current trial to the eternal hope in Jesus Christ…Let me have eyes to watch for Your living encouragement!

 

 

Heavenly Father,
Just like that, my son-in-law fell through a roof! Life can change just like that- in a split second! Eight days ago at work, a faded and aged skylight which was flush with a metal roof was hidden from view as he simply crashed through and fell 20 feet, landing on some barrels below. The fall didn’t kill him, leave him paralyzed or with brain injuries but his body is broken in so many places, it is now held together with all types of metal, plates, pins and screws—oh… and stitches, tape and bandages. Every time I look at him, I see a miracle! A bionic miracle but a miracle just the same!
Lord, I know You take what is broken and make it new. I am witnessing Your supernatural power at work again in this situation. Here are just a few signs of Your new work coming out of a broken situation:
• A supernatural healing that is surpassing and surprising even the trauma doctors!
• A supernatural determination to push hard to get through this by a very active man!
• A supernatural attitude which I have not heard complain but have certainly heard many of his famous one-liners delivered with that little smile.
• A supernatural team of newly wed husband and wife growing stronger in their marriage
• A supernatural gathering/bonding of family and friends praying in unity
• A supernatural perspective of how frail and fragile our earthly lives are and how powerful and victorious our spirits are as we trust You.
• A supernatural outpouring of selflessness all over the place
• A supernatural selflessness flowing from this broken man who has a supernatural love for every single person who comes to comfort him. He ends up comforting us!
• A supernatural perseverance to push his limits to get better—for his wife, family, friends, medical team and all of us.

Lord, we pray that You keep on taking this broken man and making him new in more and more ways! In fact, make us all new! Give us eyes to see and spirits that can’t help but give You the honor and glory!

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“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:5

“But He (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know…Nevertheless, I will heal My people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jeremiah 33:3,6b

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, I surrender my life to You. Make it new!

Heavenly Father,
There is always so much that needs to be done- work, laundry, writing, grocery shopping, cooking, care-giving, yard work… It is easy to just jump into the day and just keep going until exhaustion overtakes me at night after every bit of my energy is spent. Yet whatever I happen to do on this or any other day will mean nothing if I don’t stop to spend my time with You, Lord. In fact, I have come to discover that my time with You is crucial to anything I do with the rest of my time.
I try to jealously guard my alone time with You, realizing it affects everything—who I am, my attitude, my perspective, my relationships, my thoughts, what I see and do with the rest of my time. I need You more than the air I breathe, the food I eat, the sunlight that helps me see. I need You to live, to savor life, to guide my way, to have any kind of eternal impact on anyone else. You really are my Way! Life is empty, meaningless and nothing without You.
I dare not try to live a day without You. I know You are with me all the time, but when I stop to be still with You and take time alone with You, it is like filling up my car at the gas station, or like plugging in my dead cell phone or placing fresh batteries in my useless flashlight. When I take time to be still in Your presence, I am blessed with Your indwelling Holy Spirit which flows with fresh power through this otherwise useless life. You dwell in me fresh each day—providing me with purpose, guidance, and power that I could never produce on my own. Everything I do has Your eternal presence flowing through me as I go about Your day. You can do more through me in one day filled with You than I could spend one hundred lives doing things my own way. Yes, my favorite time of day is also my most vital time—alone with You—before You send me out.

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“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’” Lamentations 3:22-24

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

“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.” John 15:5

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I need to take time with You….

Heavenly Father, this weekend we traveled south to Texas to visit family. We left at dusk so I didn’t notice the color changing until the next morning when I woke up. It was like a whole new world opening up. Their Spring has already begun! It always surprises me every year when we go down about this time. They are at least two weeks further along in new growth. When I left home, there were a few sprouts coming up—but most of our grass and trees are still brown. Even the daffodils which had barely started blooming were frozen in our last artic front. In fact, we were bundled in winter clothes and didn’t even think to pack for the 80-degree weather we encountered there.

I was thrilled as I kept pointing out Plum trees which were finishing their blooms and Flowering Pears which were in full glory. The grass was actually lush green and growing enough that people were out mowing. Ours hadn’t even started! It was a lovely peek at Spring. We traveled home during the day and watched it backwards as green slowly faded back to the drab winter scene. But it was too late. I already caught Spring fever! I know it’s coming! I got a sneak peek!

Spring is like a sneak peak at heaven for me. (Maybe not the mowing and weeds!) Springtime reminds me of watching the “Wizard of Oz” for the first time when I was little. It started out in the black and white we were familiar with—then it turned into glorious color! Who would think that this drab world I live in could turn into vivid colors of fresh new life! Who thought my ordinary drab life could transform into glory by having Jesus’ blood flow into me and transform me by bringing me eternal life!
Lord, how I love Spring! It is a sneak peek at eternal life with You where there will be no more dormancy, death, darkness…! Since You live in me and are always making me new, I get to enjoy Your eternal life even now because of Jesus Christ! It is the abundant, overflowing life that is forever freshly springing up from within me ready to burst out with new growth, flowers and fruit! And it is only a sneak peek!

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“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.” John 15:4-5

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, Is my eternal life springing fresh from my relationship with You through Jesus Christ?


Heavenly Father, yesterday I happened to hear of more unrelated deaths than usual on one day—my daughter-in-law’s stepdad, my sister-in-law’s stepdad, and four children and their aunt who were killed in an apartment fire near my church. My stepdaughter was involved with the children’s lives. Although it is such a deep sorrow to hear of deaths and the effect that loss has on those dear loved ones left behind, I can’t help but think of the ones who passed through death into immeasurable joy and peace as they are in Your very presence. It is amazing how one day, one moment of passing can be viewed in such conflicting ways.

Father, I have personally been on the “left behind” side of death too many times to count. And due to the grief ministry You have led me to, I have seen the deep wounds of the broken-hearted up close and personal (even when I haven’t always known the ones who passed from this life). From our side, there is often deep wailing (whether heard or unheard) that comes deep from within the very soul. There is a panicked lost feeling-wondering how we can possibly go on living without our loved one. You already know our deepest pain. I believe that’s why Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus—not for Lazarus, His dear friend who had been dead for three days. Jesus knew Lazarus would be brought back to life. He wept for those dear ones grieving in such deep pain who were “left behind.”  Lord, You know us better than anyone else possibly could. You know all that goes on in our inner most soul.

Lord, You may have conflicted feelings when death comes. Death was not Your plan. Yet You see it on the other side. Your beloved child is coming HOME to You forever to be free, healed, glorified, and more alive than ever before. I don’t know how You can do it; but I am absolutely positive that You are with those who are left behind in their deep grief that can barely be expressed…and at the same time, You are welcoming Your dear ones into Your very presence where they will live in joy with You forever and ever.  There will be no more suffering, tears, darkness, evil… There has to be a huge celebration!

Father, I have seen You do it so many times before. I pray that You let those “left behind” know that their loved one is enjoying their new life with You; that You will never leave them as they come to terms with living out the remainder of their life here without their loved one; that You prepare them for their eternal life with You; that You look forward to the time You will welcome them Home into Your presence…and that You understand their tears but You know the joy that is coming up ahead. Help those “left behind” to find all they need in You—the very One who created us to live forever with You- beginning now through Jesus Christ!

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

“When the perishable has been clothed in imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (I hear my friends who are left behind, saying that the sting is on this side.)

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making all things new!’” Revelation 21:3-5

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, comfort those “left behind” with the true promise of eternal life with You … ef

Heavenly Father,

               Like so many others this morning, I looked out my window and saw the largest snowflakes I had ever seen falling softly and quietly to the ground. I felt like I was in a silent snow globe with Your glory falling all around me. The snow almost immediately blanketed the yard, roof, bushes and that dirty pile of leaves that has been sitting untouched on my yard. Everything is covered with a pure white blanket. Even the ugliest eyesores have turned into scenes of beautiful sparkling pure white.

               There is nothing I can do to cause it to snow. There is nothing meteorologists can do to make the clouds pour out their flakes. No one can stop it no matter what sophisticated up-to-date technology lies at their disposal. It is poured out freely and generously in Your perfect timing. There are some who wanted it to snow and others who didn’t. You alone, Lord, know when to let the snow fall.  It is whiter than any white we can make. In fact, when the sun shines on it, we can barely look at it with our unprotected human eyes.

               Thank You for the way Jesus’ blood falls softly and quietly on me- completely covering my sin. When You look at me, You no longer see my ugly evil sin, but only the pure and holy covering of Jesus which causes me to shine with His glory. My holiness may not be visible to the human eye (including my own eyes) but the very moment I surrendered and asked Jesus to save me from my sins, I am covered. I am free of the ugly filth of guilt, shame, fear, rebellion, hate…all my sin is washed pure in the holy blood of Jesus Christ. I could never wash away my own sin—no matter how hard I try. You sent Your Holy Son Jesus, the only One worthy and able to do what we cannot- make us whiter than snow in Your precious eyes.

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“’Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’    Isaiah 1:18

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”   Isaiah 55:10-11

“The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and coming out of His mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’”      Revelation 1:14-18

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Prayer Prompt-

Holy Father, do I believe Jesus is Your holy Son and have I accepted His precious blood to cover my sin and make me like snow?