adoption, Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, spiritual warfare, Uncategorized

Answered Prayer

I was doing a study this morning as part of facilitator training for our church’s women’s ministry called Friend 2 Friend.  We’re going through a book called “Growing in Christ” by the Navpress. I’ll be willing to confess that I wasn’t all that thrilled to be asked to go through it.  I mean, I’ve been a Christian since I was 19 (wow, is it really almost 30 years). This is pretty basic stuff, I thought. I was reminded that even the most basic stuff is what we need sometimes.

We’re still anxiously awaiting news from Haiti. We know that four or five dossiers from our orphanage have received presidential dispensation in the last two weeks.  We still do not know which dossiers. Why? Because as soon as this news was received, Haiti began to erupt in political violence. A prominent police officer was killed prompting riots throughout Port au Prince. In addition, seven kidnappings took place. A group of 50 ex-military men stormed parliament demanding back pay. A prominent governmental official was accused of killing a store owner. The list just goes on and on…..

As I went through this study this morning, I was reminded again of the battle that is taking place in the spiritual realm in Haiti.  There is active opposition to children coming home both spiritually and in the natural world. As much as I have written about this spiritual battle, you would think that I would have been girded and praying and engaging in that battle. Instead, I heard these were signed and have been fretting and pestering the director of the orphanage trying to get any information at all, to no avail.

Lessons from today:

1. Don’t stop asking in Jesus’s name

John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

2. Ask according to His will – I John 5:14-15

3. Abide in Jesus, trusting in Him, reading and applying His words. – John 15:7

4. God’s answers to my prayers will be great and mighty, beyond what I ask – Jeremiah 33:3 and Ephesians 3:20

5. The wrong reaction to this uncertainty is for me to become anxious; the right reaction is to keep asking God with thanksgiving. – Philippians 4:7

6. When I do, He will give me peace and guard my heart and mind. Philippians 4:7

I’m thanking God today for the reminder.

Prayer Requests for the adoption this week:

  • Those with dispensation will be told this week.
  • Dispensations will be published in Le Moniteur even this week.
  • Files will exit IBESR by Friday next week.
adoption, adventure, faith, parenting, spiritual warfare

Honestly…

I have truly felt at peace the latter half of this week. When it became clear that March 25 was not the day we were bringing them home, I have truly left the boys in God’s hands. However, honestly I quit asking for God to move as well.

Oh, I’ve prayed for protection at the orphanage, the workers at the orphanage, peace for adoptive families and  I’ve prayed for all my kids here and in the states, but what I wasn’t praying for was for God to continue to breakdown the stronghold that is keeping adoptions from Haiti from moving forward.

I have to ask myself why I have not. Do I have faith that He can break that stronghold? Absolutely! I believe Him to be all powerful and capable of all things! Do I believe that He wants orphans cared for in forever families? Yes, absolutely! His word commands that we do so and He cared enough about us to adopt us into His. Do I believe that He specifically cares about our adoption of Lowenski and Daveson? Absolutely! He numbers the hairs on their heads and has written down all the days of their lives before even one came to pass.

I guess it’s really that I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen and for a bit of time kind of gave up hope. It’s silly and shameful now that I’ve spent time pondering it. How easily I have forgotten the same chapter of Daniel which I posted earlier this week.

Please pray for me, that when I begin to grow weary and faint and begin to lose heart, that I will be reminded of this truth:

Isaiah 40:30-31

New International Version (NIV)

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 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 be faint.
My hope is in you, Lord!!!
Thank you once again for faithfully praying for our family! Please continue to do so as this stronghold must come down!
faith, kingdom living, spiritual warfare, Uncategorized

The Battle

I’ve been writing a lot about the battle these past few weeks.  I must admit it is getting pretty fierce. Yet another attack yesterday on a personal level. But I won’t be stopped. I will continue to follow God’s leading.

It’s easy for us here in the states to forget about this battle.  Attacks here are rare because we tend to live our lives in such a way as to nullify the need for them. There’s no need to bring a full-on attack to someone who doesn’t believe there is a battle. There’s no need to bring a full-on attack when we succumb to an arrow now and then. Satan sends a little arrow of hate in our direction and we do the rest of the work for him by attacking ourselves, believing the worst about others intentions, and hiding in a corner to lick our wounds.

But there is a full-blown war going on in every part of the world, even in our very homes.

The good news is that we are not alone in this battle.  We have a warrior king who is sending warriors to fight it.  Like this guy and the host of others behind and beside him:

 12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. – 2 Kings 6:12-17

When I am tempted to fear the battle, I will stop and pray and look to my right and my left with my spiritual eyes and nod at those who fight with me, strap on the armor of God and stand.

In the battle today, please pray for:

1. The orphanage, the children and the missionaries who serve there – Pray for protection, for wisdom, for strength.

2. Haiti Health Ministries – an EFCA-supported clinic in Haiti. They are in a pitched battle – pray for protection, for favor with the government and that God will supply a lawyer to help them.

3. Please pray for me personally – that as I leave tomorrow, that I will listen to God’s voice alone, that I will depend upon Him solely for my strength, that I choose to gird myself in His armor and that I seek His will and not my own.

Bible Study, faith, kingdom living

I Swear it Was Written Just for Me

Just now, based on a whisper, I picked up my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young.  If you don’t have this great little devotional, stop by your nearest Christian bookstore, Barnes and Noble or buy it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or CBD or get the iPhone or Android app. You won’t be sorry.

Here’s today’s entry which was written just for me.

February 29

YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH. Listen more to Me, and less to your doubts. I am leading you along the way I designed just for you. Therefore, it is a lonely way, humanly speaking. But I go before you as well as alongside you, so you are never alone. Do not expect anyone to understand fully My ways with you, any more than you can comprehend My dealings with others. I am revealing to you the path of Life day by day, and moment by moment. As I said to My disciple Peter, so I repeat to you: Follow Me.  Psalm 119:105 and John 21:22

This day’s entry just provides further confirmation that I am following Him. 

I am thankful that because of Jesus, I am able to relate to my God as a daughter does to a loving father and hear Him calling.

 

Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, spiritual warfare

Wait for the Lord

So I have been following the Life Journal Reading Plan through youversion.com for a little more than a year now.  Today’s reading came from Numbers 10 and 11, Psalm 27 and Mark 1.

Today, these verses spoke to my heart.

Numbers 11:23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

When I am tempted to doubt (which I freely admit happens daily and sometimes multiple times in the day) these verses and those that I have posted earlier are what I will be turning to.

I am still standing firm that we will be on a plane back from Haiti with our sons on March 25.

Today, Lord, even today let us receive the needed presidential dispensation. But, not my will, Your will be done, Father.

Bible Study, faith, kingdom living

Praying with Tears

Some friends of ours, a couple great in faith and who love and serve the Lord, recently received word that something they, we and others had been praying for would not take place.  In other words, the answer was no.  I was reminded this morning of two devotionals that the wife of this couple and I had read recently.

The first, from the Experiencing God Day-by-Day devotional, I felt needed to be shared so that others may know why sometimes God says no.

January 26 – Praying with Tears – Hebrews 5:7

The life of Jesus provides the model for our prayer lives. God is seeking to mold us into the image of His Son (Col 1:27-28). If we are to act like Christ, our prayer lives must be conformed to His. Many Christians are unwilling to pay the price that Jesus paid when it comes to interceding with God. Jesus’ prayers came with vehement cries and tears and, “because of His godly fear,” He was heard by the Father.

Why, then, did the Father refuse His request? It was not due to any sin in Jesus’ life, nor was it because the Father did not love His Son. The Father said no, despite the unfathomable love He had for His Son, because He knew He could not spare His Son and save a world. Likewise, the Lord cannot always spare you and your family and complete His redemptive work in those around you.

Are you willing for God to deny your pleadings? Will you intercede with the Father so deeply and intimately that even in the midst of your tears you are able to say, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done?” The Father will always relate to you out of the context of His love for a lost world. Has God said no to one of your requests recently? Accept His answer. Have you been learning obedience through what you have been suffering (Heb 5:8) If you have, God may choose to make you a source of salvation to others even as He did with His Son.

While they and those who have been faithfully praying with them grieve the answer, it’s been interesting to note that our friends’ reaction has been to prayerfully seek how they can show God’s love to others involved in that situation.  Would they have that opportunity to show Jesus without that answer?

Likewise, the Lord cannot always spare you and your family and complete His redemptive work in those around you.

Please pray for my friends, that their lives will clearly reflect the Father’s love for a lost world and that God may make them a source of salvation to those involved.

Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, spiritual warfare

At War

There is no war is the subtle-but pervasive-lie sown by an enemy so familiar to us we don’t even see him. For too long he has infiltrated the ranks of the church, and we haven’t even recognized him. (John Eldredge. Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive (Kindle Locations 1730-1731). Kindle Edition.)

By the way, if you haven’t read John Eldredge’s book referenced above, run don’t walk to the nearest bookstore, or download it immediately onto your Kindle. As a matter of fact, click here for a link to it. If you’re a Nook owner, here’s your link.

Shortly after the location of the quote above, Eldredge discusses the use of the phrase, “The Lord Almighty” and his research of the meaning of it in Hebrew.

“The Hebrew means “the God of angel armies,” “the God of the armies who fights for his people.” The God who is at war. Does “Lord Almighty” convey “the God who is at war”? Not to me, it doesn’t. Not to anyone I’ve asked. It sounds like “the God who is up there but still in charge.” Powerful, in control. The God of angel armies sounds like the one who would roll up his sleeves, take up sword and shield to break down gates of bronze, and cut through bars of iron to rescue me. Compare “Joe is a good man who is in control” to “Joe is a Navy Seal.” It changes the way you think about Joe and what he’s up to. Why don’t “most readers today” understand about the God of angel armies? Could it be because we have abandoned a warfare worldview? Who sold us that crock of sanctimonious puff-and-fluff?” (John Eldredge. Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive (Kindle Locations 1736-1742). Kindle Edition.)

We are at war with an enemy who is out to destroy us. But most of us don’t believe it. Whenever I need a reminder of that, I have only to think of my friends Jasmine and Greg Martinson who live on the front lines of the spiritual battlefield in Haiti or look at my two teenage sons who battle the demons of their past every day or recognize the voice of the thief in my own head trying to get me to agree with him that I’m no good or his favorite lie for me, “You didn’t hear God speaking to you, Satan’s trying to tempt you into believing you’re hearing God speak. Why would YOU think that God would speak to YOU?”

When I am tempted to make an agreement and believe those lies, I listen to a great song by Tye Tribbett & G.A. called “Stand Out”

When I’m in the midst of an attack, I listen to another great song by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers called Giants.

But we serve a mighty God-the God of the Angel Armies-and we need not fear the attack, but we do need help to stand. Ecclesiastes 4:12 – And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. So, when I’m under attack, I call some friends to pray for me and stand with me. And then I listen to songs that remind me the God of the Angel Armies will rescue me. Here a couple great ones. The first is my current favorite – Northpoint Alive’s No One Higher/The Stand

or JJ Hairston’s Lord You’re Mighty

Don’t stand on your own, you’ll fall. Call some friends, email me, but most importantly seek the face of the God of the Angel Armies and call on His name.

Bible Study, faith, leadership

My prayer for today!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17

It’s far too easy to forget the unity God calls us to as Christians. But we must put aside our grievances, forgive and reach out in love.

faith, leadership

Trading Up

Last week I tweeted something God was teaching me:

“In the busyness of life, it’s so easy to let the “good” crowd out God’s best for us. I’d rather have the best, so I’m dropping the good.”

I’m amazed at how many times this idea has cropped up over the last 6 days. It’s been everywhere in every day since. Hopefully, I’m not stealing too much thunder from our next sermon series, but I’ve been editing the next journal and it’s filled with the same idea.

We can be so focused on the good.

Let that thought linger for a little while longer…

I wrote my tweet last Wednesday when I decided to let go of a good thing and choose something better. I had been “playing” at selling jewelry for about 2 months and decided that even playing in it was distracting me from things that were better. I let it fall out of my hands so that my hands were open and waiting for the better thing I knew was coming. And honestly, that wasn’t that hard. However, I know that letting go of the good can be very painful. I’ve had to do it in two other areas this week, both of which were painful. Who am I kidding….still are painful!

But we can’t grasp God’s best for us with hands that are full of things that are good.

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)  Jesus for three years had been ministering all around Israel, just not in Jerusalem. Things were good, lots of miracles took place, his ministry had been burgeoning but Jesus let go of the good, to grasp firmly God’s best. He knows what he’s facing and he heads out anyway. Jesus couldn’t go to the cross in Jerusalem without giving up the “good” of his ministry elsewhere. And this was certainly an instance where choosing God’s best would be very costly!

Letting go of the good, to choose the best, will be costly. In fact, it may cost us everything. Jesus alluded to that when He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and pick up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-5)

The good is good… but honestly, I’ve never only wanted the good. I’d much rather trade up for God’s best even though it costs me everything. So resolutely, I am turning towards that best.

What “good thing” do you need to let drop from your hands so that God can fill them with his best?

faith

Since we have these promises…

Today’s Reading:  I Samuel 1 and 2, Psalm 66 and 2 Cor 7

Today’s verse for  me:  2 Corinthians 7:  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

A little bit of something can contaminate the whole, A cup  of coffee is an excellent example.  I love coffee with cream or milk in it and I have in the past, accidentally, poured spoiled milk into a fresh cup. There’s no way I would drink that whole cup of coffee.  I’d throw it out and pour a new cup.

In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul writes, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said; “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  There is no physical temple any longer where God lives, he lives in me, as a Christian, through Christ’s sacrifice.

So, then, when I engage in something sinful, watch something impure, and so on, I am contaminating the temple of the living God.  Since I have these promises that God will be a father to me and I will be his daughter (2 Cor 6:18) and that God will live with me and walk with me, I need to be reverent and purify myself from these things.

Lord, help me to keep this body and mind, your temple, pure.

That’s my journal for today.  What verse did you choose to journal on? How did you apply it?  If you’re comfortable sharing, please leave it in a comment on this post. Let’s learn from each other!