Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Dwelling on the Good Stuff

posted by Mark and Jill

…That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6 NKJV

The Scriptures admonish us to take inventory of the good things we possess as a result of our salvation through Jesus. If we don’t watch ourselves, we will fall into acknowleding all the things we don’t have: our lack of luck in our looks, finances, employment, relationships, potential, health, etc. etc. etc… That is not how we are supposed to be operating. We are called to be grateful for all the good things Jesus has died to give us. All of these wonderful things can be found in the passage of Scripture that Jesus preached from, namely Isaiah 61. We’ll discuss this more in a later blog, but for today, let’s do as the above Scripture instructs us to do:  let’s acknowledge the good things Jesus has provided for us and dwell on those things and speak them until we make it to the Promised Land. Did whining and complaining get the Israelites anywhere after their Exodus from slavery? Negative. The negative only begets more negative. But the Truth begets, or empowers, the Truth to grow in our hearts until the facts, dim and sad though they might appear to be, eventully give way to the Truth. The Truth is the Word of God.

Father,

Teach me to acknowledge all the benefits that making You Lord of my life has given me. You have equipped me with everything I need for life and for godliness. I choose today to rejoice in these benefits, to share them with others, and to remind myself of Your great kindness and love towards me.

In Jesus’ Name, I’m Yours. Amen.

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

 

Why Not Fear Not?

posted by Mark and Jill

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.  Psalm 118:6,7a NLT

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?   Psalm 27:1,2 NLT

“…Do not fear anything that is frightening.” 1 Peter 3:6 ESV

What are you afraid of today? It’s been said that the Bible commands us in 365 places to “Fear not.”  That means fear nothing, fear no one, ever. How is this possible in a scary world where wars are gaining strength, tensions are rising in nations around us, plagues are consuming the attention and lives of communities?

This is why: because we have a God who responds to faith. He acts in response to our faith. Nowhere do we see Jesus respond to someone’s fear saying, “Your fear has made you whole, go in peace.” Fear causes us to go to pieces. Faith causes us to go in peace. We have a choice to focus on our fears or focus on our fortress. I encourage you to search the Scriptures for yourself today. Find out what the Bible says about fear and train, and transform your mind to not dwell on fearful thoughts, but rather to feed your soul with the Word of God and with faith-filled instruction. Memorize Psalm 27; meditate on it all day long. Soon your fears will be replaced with courage, and joy will follow.

Father,

I confess my weakness to give in to fear. Please change my heart. Make me steadfast in faith, living my life unafraid, completely free from fear. This is your plan for my life, and I embrace it. I cast all my cares and anxieties upon you, knowing that you care about me, so I don’t have to! Thank you for freeing me from all my fears.

In Jesus’ Name Amen.

 

 

Pray While Swiffering

posted by Mark and Jill

I (Jill) like the Fly Lady. She has taught me to not worry about perfectionism. And I love my mom. She taught me how to clean a house thoroughly. But as much as I love her, her voice of perfectionism sometimes reverberates in my mind and brings conflict to my emotions – I want a clean house, but don’t always have the time to fulfill that desire. That’s when the Fly Lady swoops in and reminds me that half done is better than not done at all, at least as it applies to cleaning.

Mark and I have adopted as a value a little phrase we made up:  “We are content with imperfect excellence.” Everything does not have to be perfect in our lives, and while we are diligent to do our best and to work “heartily as unto the Lord and not to men”, we sometimes need to let go of the expectations we put on ourselves and just go with the flow as we do our best.

I was pondering this while scurrying around and Swiffering the kitchen floor this morning. Mom says it’s never done properly unless it’s done on your hands and knees. I brushed dear Mom’s advise aside this time as I thought about how often I don’t pray unless I’m doing it “right”: in a closet, in sackcloth, hungry from fasting… Then I remembered what Paul said:  “Pray without ceasing.” So I started to pray while Swiffering (it only takes about 3 minutes to accomplish a whole kitchen!). And this is what came out. Please join me in this imperfect yet excellent prayer. Father loves it when we talk with Him, even if our grammar is imperfect, our words not eloquent, our delivery so-so.

Lord,

May I be unafraid today. May I not be waylaid today. May I not be dismayed or delayed. And may I not be betrayed. May I be arrayed in Your love.

Amen

Re-writing History With Forgiveness

posted by Mark and Jill

“Saul and Jonathan! So well loved, so dearly cherished!
In their lives and in their deaths they were never separated.
They were faster than eagles,
stronger than lions!” ~David, 1 Samuel 1:23

“Um, excuse me, David, but Saul was your number one enemy, your worst nightmare, and because of his abuse, you wasted more than a decade of your life hiding from him and running from death. What’s all this you sing about Saul as being dearly loved and adored?” I ask.

David was modeling the kind of forgiveness Jesus would teach centuries later. Jesus instructed us to love our enemies and to pray for those who abuse and use us.

Jonathan, Saul’s eldest son, was David’s bosom friend, closer than a brother. But Jonathan’s father was just the opposite. As David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan who lost their lives in battle the same day, he was able to honor the memory of his enemy, along with his friend. He didn’t let the facts get in the way of the greater Truth of the matter which is:  love trumps hate. Forgiveness trumps abuse.

Father,

Teach me to forgive my enemies, to embrace what is good and healthy and strong about their character. To speak well of them, and to allow You, the Great Judge, to take care of the rest.

In Jesus’ Name I pray this, believing that You alone can change my heart. Amen.

 

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