sharing hope

 

Almighty Father God!

There is so much winter debris that needs to be cleaned out of my gardens. The late record-breaking deep freezes left a big overwhelming mess behind. There were 3-foot-high piles of broken branches from the ice storm that completely covered the front of our yard (which finally got picked up by the city). Spring just kind of snuck up on me because of how much winter we had to deal with this year. The last couple of days, I have raked out a lot of the fallen brown leaves from my flower beds. As I carefully pull out the crisp brown trash, I am finding all kinds of delightful new growth that was hidden under all the damage. My heart surges with the promise of Spring and new life! Every day is a surprise with new growth revealing itself.

Our 25-foot tall Live Oak is usually covered with evergreen leaves, but the winter was so harsh this year that there is not even one green leaf to be found…YET! This is the same tree that has survived many other storms and disasters. It provides the main shade for our patio area. It might appear dead, but I am almost positive it will bud out- maybe a bit later than usual. I am definitely waiting with anticipation for new signs of life. It can’t be rushed! We just have to wait upon it to recover and for the sap to rise and surge new life through the dead-looking branches.

Father, as much as I love to grow plants, trees, and flowers—I know that I am not the one who created them and gives them all they need to grow. I cannot force daffodil bulbs to spring up from a bulb to shoot new growth up towards the sky…and then bloom in glorious yellows! I can’t make my large holly bushes that got hurt in the winter produce new growth from where their stems got knocked back by the freeze. I cannot simply tell perennials to rise up from their roots and grow an even larger plant than last year!

All life flows from You alone, Lord! Sometimes a winter season or storm can make someone feel dead and hopeless, but if we wait upon You, You will pour Your Spirit into that person and new signs of life begin sprouting up to produce glorious new life. I’ve had it happen to me over and over. I pray for anyone reading this who feels stuck in a dead -looking winter season to wait and be still as You help them through and bring new life where it seemed impossible! All glory to You, Lord God, who makes all things new through Jesus Christ!

 

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“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 the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”     Revelation 21:5-6

 

“Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no one lives, an uninhabited desert, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?”    Job 38:25-27

 

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

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, Let me seek You even in my winter season and wait upon You to restore life….

 

Most Holy Father,

 

I wonder if it was on purpose that You created our tongues next to our teeth… These days, my teeth have had to bite my tongue, or at least grind together to keep my words from spilling out too freely! I have commented and then quickly deleted before dangerous words escaped. Even when I think I will burst if I don’t speak, or in many cases- respond to the hateful ugly words which are freely flying all over the place, wounding many in the process. Oh, Lord! I do need help taming my tongue, or even my fingers as they want to spew out thoughts. I know I’m not the only one with this issue. Jesus, help me take every thought and word captive. Let me hold back my words until I’ve held them before You and prayed. I need You to be my filter, Lord!

 

Help me use my ears to truly listen to the frustrations and thoughts others have. Lord, let me have Your ears to truly listen even to those who think differently than I do. Just as I desire to be heard and understood, I know they do, too. Instead of trying to correct, argue, or fight as they voice their thoughts, let me listen to what they are really thinking. Help me hold my tongue until I see their heart. Once they see I truly care about them and have given them the gift of respectfully listening, perhaps they might do the same for me. Even if they don’t…Even if they still hate me…Even if they believe I am dreadfully evil, help me answer with Your love. Let me respond with Your grace. They will never be open to hearing what I have to say if they feel attacked.

 

Father, through the years, You have patiently listened to my demands, my whining, my anger, my complaints, my fears, my anxieties… You are the best Listener of all. When You speak, it is always with few words of truth wrapped in love (even when You have had to correct me time and again). I cannot do this on my own. I need Your Spirit living in me to dominate and control my natural clamoring. Lord, help me be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

 

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“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”   James 1:19-21

 

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”   James 1:26

 

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”   2 Corinthians 10:5

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, show me when I am speaking out of my own self and let Your words prevail….

Heavenly Father,

 

There are few things as silent as snow falling. And there is nothing like snow to cause life to come to a stop- at least here in Oklahoma where it is a rare occurrence. This year the pandemic has slowed life down in many ways… and snow slows it down even more. When I look out the window at the soft snow falling without a sound, I am reminded once again how sweet it is to sit silently in Your presence and be covered by Your pure holiness.

 

So much happens when I’m still with You. It’s not so much that You speak in a booming voice, but as I sit still in Your presence, so much takes place in that stillness. Your Spirit falls softly in my very soul to calm me in Your heavenly peace. It’s not so much that You tell me where I should go or what I should do, but You are with me. You permeate me with Your very being and restore my soul. All my fears and anxieties are covered fresh with Your peaceful Spirit as I sit in silent trust in You.

 

Lord, You are pure and holy and good! There is no darkness in You at all. All Your plans and motives are much more pure than the glistening white flakes floating down from above. When I am finally silent and still before You- when I finally stop telling You what I want- when I am ready and willing to let Your will cover me, I become as fresh and new as that pure fresh snow I see outside. Yet I need You every single day, because we all know how dirty and messy snow can get as the day goes by.  So I sit quietly in Your presence today. Fall fresh on me…

 

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“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”    Psalm 51:7

 

“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…”   Isaiah 55:10

 

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Father, help me be still before You…

all things work together for good
all things work together for good

All things work together for good

My Prayer Peek/ your prayer prompt [blessings in a pandemic]

 

Most Holy Father,

 

Over and over again, I hear how horrible this year has been…and I have to admit, personally it has been challenging with the loss of dear friends and family members (two due to suicide which carries it’s own heartbreak), loss of income, not being able to accompany family members or them with me in medical crisis, not being able to gather as a family, or even to worship as I am accustomed to. Yet, oh my sweet Lord, how I see You at work with blessings overflowing in the midst of what some are calling “the worst year ever.” Having gone through my share of many trials, I have to say, once again, Lord, You make beauty from ashes, and it is definitely true that You create good out of what seems the worst when we have eyes to see…

 

                Some of the sweet blessings I see developing out of a year of world-wide pandemic include:

  • A slowing down of the fast-paced driven society that leaves little time for deepening relationships and simply enjoying one another.
  • Parents spending more time with their children with bike rides, walks, games, fishing and other non-stress activities.
  • With the real threat of death due to this virus, people are reviewing and simplifying their lives to savor the most important treasures which are relationships. Even the healthy are realizing today could be their last day. It changes the way we live.
  • More time to sit quietly and share all our heart with You, Lord, through prayer.
  • Letting go of things we have no control over and trusting You to make good come from our current situation—no matter how dire.
  • Learning to live with less since this pandemic has created a shortage of many things.
  • Holding our dear loved ones before You and realizing You love them even more than we ever could, and You want more for them than we could ever ask for or imagine.
  • Realizing You love us just because of who we are, and not for what we can do for You and Your Kingdom.
  • Believing that this dark and hopeless world needs the Light You give us through our relationship with Jesus Christ now more than ever. Our answer of hope, when we are hit with dark fear and hopelessness, does far more than we can imagine—even if we don’t see immediate results. The hope we share is eternal and stands for all time.
  • Doctors cannot save everyone, but You long to give us eternal life.
  • If and when I die from Covid-19 or any other cause- I know I will live forever with You! I am ready.

 

Thank You, Lord, for the countless rich blessings You are showering us with even in this horrible pandemic. Open our eyes to see them and thank You for them.

 

 

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“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”    Isaiah 61:3

 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

 

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”  1 Peter 3:15

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, open my eyes through Jesus Christ to see You and Your glory in the midst of ….

God's presence
God's presence

privilege of being still in His presence

My Prayer Peek/your prayer prompt [sit in Your presence]

Most Glorious Lord,

My favorite thing is to sit in Your presence and just soak up Your glory! There are times I have to work harder at leaving all the distractions, worries, to-do lists, and urgent calls upon my heart to simply sit and be still before You. The more I am still with You, the more I want to do it more. In fact, once I am sitting still before You, I can feel Your presence all around. I know You are blessing me and filling me and doing much more than I could possibly know during this precious time together. Often, I don’t even want to leave this wonderful place where we simply sit in quiet union in an eternal space where time does not matter.

 

Having been brought up as a worker and a doer, there are times I must fight against the guilty sense of what looks like doing nothing. But, oh Lord, I have discovered it is the most important thing I could ever do. There is so much that goes on being in Your presence than I could ever comprehend in this life. In Your presence, I find all I could ever need: reassurance, comfort, wisdom, complete forgiveness, understanding, direction, peace, vision, eternal hope, tender correction, renewed strength, refreshment for my weary soul…

 

There may not be many words but much happens in this quiet time I spend just savoring the mighty miraculous gift of the presence of the Most High in a very intimate way in my little insignificant heart. It seems I have all the attention of the Great I Am…yet I know You share Your presence with whoever accepts Jesus as the way. Lord, not only do I know I can sit in Your presence now and forever, but I want to walk with You, dwell with You and abide with You as I go about living out my limited time in this limited form. You can do much more when I spend more time in Your presence and less time doing things on my own. Help me to learn to sit, walk and live in Your glorious presence- even in the most mundane activities!

 

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“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”  Luke 10:38-42

 

“Remain in me, as I also 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.”  John 15:4

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Lord, help me be still in Your presence (thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice for this eternal privilege)…

praise God
praise God

God is worthy to be praised

My Prayer Peek/your prayer prompt [power of praise]

Most Glorious Father God!

My prayers used to start out with desperate pleas to give me this or that or help me get out of another mess. There is nothing wrong with those frantic calls for help, for You most certainly answer them in some of the most unusual ways. But through the years, I have discovered the amazing power of praising You, Lord! It is not due to my eloquent or specific words. It is not about MY praising…it is because You are God and You are worthy of all our praise. When we turn our thoughts, minds and spirit to who You really are; as we seek some adequate way to praise Your greatness—something incredible happens…

 

Our pride, hurt feelings, fears, anxieties, plans, desire for control all melt away like mist in the glory of who You are! As we acknowledge Your Almighty power, Your reign over all, Your faithfulness, the fact that You govern heaven and earth and that all powers must answer to You, we are filled with the sweetness of Your joy and peace that signal our trust in who You are. ..as You call Yourself “I AM that I AM.”

 

You are far more wonderful than any words that we can express, yet we are the only ones who can express our personal praise to You- whether it be through music, dance, face down in submission and surrender. Worshipping You in spirit and truth is to recognize You know better than we do, that we belong to You forever and ever, that You loved us so much that You sent Jesus to die for our sins, that we can live with You  though we cannot see You, that You dwell in the praises of Your people, and that we can make it through whatever temporary trials this world offers as we travel in faith toward our everlasting Home with You. Then we will see You in all Your glory and our praises will be absolutely pure and a blessing to You, Lord. Help me praise You more even now- no matter what today looks like!

 

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“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.”   Psalm 71:23

 

“Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”   Psalm 147:1

 

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’”     Revelation 5:11-13

 

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Your prayer prompt:

Most Holy Father God, I praise You for at least 10 things that describe who You are…

realize weakness
realize weakness

When I am Weak

Heavenly Father,

 

I have discovered what a great thing it is to be weak…like when I am faced with a gigantic situation that I have absolutely no idea how to get out of…or when the job looming in front of me requires much more talent and strength than I could ever muster…or when my exhausted body cannot take even one more step…or the problem standing in my way requires more brain power than I possess. Those situations that highlight my weakness used to frighten me, but I have a whole different perspective now. It is wonderful to realize my weakness. That’s when I am finally ready to acknowledge Your strength, Lord…

 

Too many times, I have relied on my own strength—my own will power—my own ideas. They might even appear to work for a while, but sooner or later, I will be back at the place where I am smacked in the face with my weakness. It’s happened enough times now that I have come to see that realizing my weakness is a good thing. The sooner I get that and believe it, the more quickly I can rely on Your strength, Lord.

 

So here I am again today, realizing and acknowledging my complete weakness and dependence upon You. Lord, I can’t even breathe without Your help, let alone know the best way through today. I am so happy to be weak and needy. Lord, I bow before You asking Your strength (which manifests itself in amazing ways) to flow in and through me. I’m so glad it doesn’t depend on me but on You. I’m feeling incredibly weak today so I know Your strength through Jesus Christ will give me all I need.

 

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“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”       Isaiah 40:29

 

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”    Romans 8:26

 

“’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.”   2 Corinthians 12:9

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, I feel so weak due to…

I need Your strength…

 

evajuliuson

 

I am with you

Heavenly Father,

Though everyone else leaves me—You are with me! If I lose all that I possess—You are with me! When I enjoy a beautiful Fall walk—You are with me! If I am injured or ill and cannot walk—You are with me! If a storm ravages my home or I sit safely inside a comfortable house with no leaks—You are with me! If the world seems to be spinning out of control—You are with me…

 

Whether I am standing by the grave of a loved one or waiting outside the door for a new baby to be born—You are with me! Whether my relative is not speaking to me or we just shared our souls through the sweetest deep conversation—You are with me. If someone is spreading hurtful lies about me or someone I love; or whether someone actually takes time to seek out the truth—You are with me…

 

While I was still in my mother’s womb or if I am taking my last gasp on earth—You are with me. Lord God, You are so faithful and patient as You wait upon me to truly see and believe that You are with me and will never ever leave me. You have never left me…

 

I am sad to say I have left You (more often than I care to admit.) I have wandered away, been distracted, been disrespectful, dishonoring, disobedient, unfaithful and sinful. How grateful I am that it was important enough for You to want me with You for all eternity that You sent Your very own Son Jesus Christ to die for my sin so I would never be separated from You. He washed away my sins so I could accept Your eternal life and live with You forever. Lord, I know You are with me. Let me live this day through Jesus so I can be with You!

 

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“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”  Philemon 1:25

 

“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

 

“I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”  (Jesus’ words) John 17:26

 

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Your Prayer Peek-

Father, I want to KNOW that You are with me. Let me accept the amazing gift of Jesus Christ for that assurance…

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes we feel completely alone in the world. It can happen when we feel disconnected to our family, when we have to face a huge challenge without any help, when we are grieving a loved one, when friends and family have let us down, when it seems no one understands us, when we are sick and there is no one to care for us…We can even feel completely alone while in a crowd or even sitting next to our best friend. Although loneliness may be really painful, it is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to us. It can be in our deepest loneliness that we discover we are never alone…

 

When those we have depended on have been stripped from us, You are still with us, Lord.

When no one has the right answers to help us, You patiently wait for us to ask You.

When it seems the whole world is against us, You are for us!

When we are misunderstood and judged by all those around us, You know us batter than we know ourselves.

When we are facing the biggest battle of our lives, You fight for us.

In the middle of the night when no one is around, You shine out for us.

 

Lord, we can fill up our lives with so much stuff, busyness, entertainment, news, friends…that we can easily forget You are here. Perhaps it is good for us to sometimes feel alone so we can once again, realize our great need for You. You are the only One who truly never leaves us or forsakes us. You are the only One who fills us overflowing, wants the very best for us, knows us, forgives us, encourages us, corrects us and restores our soul.  I am never alone because of Your gift of Jesus. All I need is found in Him, alone. How I long for everyone else to discover You in their aloneness.

 

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“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”   Psalm 25:16

 

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”    Psalm 16:5

 

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart

    and free me from my anguish.”  Psalm 25:16-17

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, I feel so alone in this world. I need You…

Heavenly Father,

I had no idea I had been that busy until everything in my life suddenly slowed down from this pandemic. It was a surprise to me to be still over an extended period of time. My life has always been extremely full of activity with a large family, an in-home business and other work, church activities, chores, errands…you name it. I began to notice a slight slow down as my family all grew up and had families of their own, then I began to see their activity levels soar. There is a definite adjustment to being still. I have always needed my quiet time with You, Lord, or I never could have survived all I have. Yet You have brought me and a lot of others to a new level of stillness with most of the world sheltering-in-place. Thank You for these still days…

 

We tend to want to fill our still days with any kind of noise or activity. It’s too quiet so we listen non-stop to any kind of media, music, or words. It’s too still so we run to find some new activity to fill up our time. We can find all kinds of ways to run from stillness. Oh! But, Lord, You wait quietly in the stillness to meet with us. What a treasure we find when we simply sit with You. We learn to listen to You. We get to know You. You restore us to that beautiful loving relationship as we quietly seek You.

 

Too often our busyness glorifies us. It is when we stop and are still with You that You can be glorified in us. Being still in Your presence  reveals the darkness that needs to be brought into Your light; You lovingly convict us of wrong attitudes and thinking; You let us know  when You have something for us to do or say, but it is not difficult for You give us all we need. Father, I am so at peace and content in this stillness. I pray that we all take advantage of these still days and seek You in the quietness where You will be found.

 

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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.” Psalm 46:10

 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.”   Psalm 23:1-3

 

““Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”   Mark 6:31

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, help me learn to love being still with You…