In The Spirit

pray-in-the-spiritI read a great post about this today from Jennifer O. White. It hit home because this is what God seems to be bringing to me over and over again – This message about prayer and, specifically, praying in the Spirit.

There is so much going on in the unseen world around me, mysteries I may never understand. But the God who created all things, Who knows all things, He tells me to pray.

And there have been many opportunities to do that lately. Most recently, I found out another family member has breast cancer. As soon as I got through shaking my head, I bowed it in prayer because, like the psalmist David, I’ve learned where true help comes from. It comes from the Maker of heaven and earth.

I’ve said since my diagnosis that, first and foremost, this has been a spiritual journey. A journey that had me on my face from the get-go. I’ve been a Christian for many years but, in this season, I find myself desperate to hear God and know Him better and walk with Him more closely than ever before.

It’s very obvious to my husband and I that we don’t have all the answers so we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead. At times, it’s been overwhelming. I’ve had days of discouragement, when it seems like I’m tossing slingshots at an invisible enemy.

Then again, I’ve been blessed with so many grace-filled moments. Times when God reached out through the support of friends and family.  And even strangers.

I met this young couple a couple months ago who told me they’d been praying for me since May. My name was included in an email requesting prayer and, even though they didn’t know me, the Holy Spirit told them to pray. So they did.

And, recently, my husband got a text he forwarded me from an acquaintance who said he had been impressed to pray for me that morning. I’ve never met this man, and what he didn’t know was that I had a doctor appointment that day that had me feeling down. I needed that prayer. And it was encouraging to know God had placed me on someone’s heart.

How incredibly humbling to realize just how personally God cares for me, how He cares for all of His children!

So, this balancing act continues…Me, like Peter, walking on the waves one minute and gargling salt water the next.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve had my ups and downs. I guess that’s pretty normal when going through a trial. Because, the thing is, you can believe and yet find yourself asking, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

But God is mercifully teaching me that He is in control, and He moves in creative and unexplained ways to accomplish what He has purposed to do. He speaks to us through His word, through prayer and even through others willing to listen to the whisper of the Spirit.

Lord, help me and your people everywhere to understand the authority we have in Christ. Help us learn to discern your voice, praying in the Holy Spirit, allowing the manifestation of your power to be revealed. In Jesus’ name we ask these things. Amen!

Below is an interview with John Eldredge, author of Moving Mountains, a book I read this year on prayer that you might enjoy reading too. You can order the book here if interested.

Feel free to forward this post if you think it can help someone you know. God bless you!

Jesus Calms the Storm

FTI Jesus calms the stormWhen you’re faced with tough decisions that affect your life and health, you can find yourself with a head full of information and a heart still empty of answers. This has been my story. Me, feeling lost and crying out to God, searching the scriptures and trying to listen.

I read again how “God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were spoke the world into existence.

“Let there be light, and there was light.”

I whisper this prayer: Lord, be my Light.

I read again the words of Jesus.

“I am the Good Shepherd. My sheep hear my voice.”

Oh, Lord, let me hear your voice clearly.

I keep meditating on the name of Jesus and His power to save, heal and deliver.

Jesus – Yahweh saves. Yahweh from God’s actual name revealed to Moses, YHWH, I AM.

“I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus’ declaration just before raising Lazarus from the dead.

“I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Jesus’ response to the Leper who asked to be cleansed from his disease.

There came a time this summer when I found myself praying with a new boldness and belief that Jesus was not only able, but willing to do the same for me. That through the cross and resurrection, He had provided salvation for me which was complete in every way. I reached out to Him for healing and prayed that He would bring confirmation for His glory and that my husband would be in full agreement of my desire to rely on the Lord for what I now call my ongoing “supernatural natural” wellness plan.

Later, I began to try to share this with my husband (except the last part, about him being in agreement.) He listened quietly. I wondered if he thought I was a little crazy. Then, a while later, he looked at me and said He felt the Holy Spirit speak this same message to him that very day. When I thought back, it was about the same time I was praying.

I sat there with tears in my eyes and praised God for that moment of relief, that moment when you realize He really is listening and He really does care.

Of course I still have questions. I have much to learn. But God has confirmed over and over that He is in control. Even today, I am rejoicing that blood tests show my cancer markers are in the normal range!

Praise the LORD!

I don’t have all the answers. I’m just trying my best to follow the One who does. Meanwhile, I want to encourage others who may read these words to keep praying, keep seeking, keep believing that God will do the impossible for you.

“Even the winds and the waves obey him!” This was the disciples’ reaction when Jesus calmed the stormy sea raging around them.

I hope this new song by Chris Tomlin will stir your heart as it has mine. May this be the anthem we sing in the middle of life’s storms.

My Mess and God’s Mercy

FTI The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

So, once again, I was home just a couple of days after surgery and I was a mess – an overwhelmed, distraught, weeping mess. I thought I was losing it!

But…

God proved faithful to answer my cries for help, and the remainder of this post is my testimony to the fact that The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (By the way, other than my husband, none of the people mentioned below knew anything of the anguish I had been dealing with, so I knew God was speaking to me through them, giving just what I needed at the perfect time.)

First, he used my husband to counsel and console and pray with me. Every once in a while I’d hear him singing that old hymn….“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, new every morning, great is thy faithfulness, Oh Lord. Great is thy faithfulness.”

What a privilege to be married to a man of God!

Then, I got a text from a friend with a song that spoke to me of God’s restoration, mercy and redemption, and I felt Him drawing closer to me. If you haven’t heard Clean by Natalie Grant, watch the video below. Wow!

Next, I got a text from my sister. It was a photo of the Grand Canyon and you could make out a faint image of a man standing on the edge above it. She followed with this:

“It strikes me that from our human perspective, we can sometimes feel so small and insignificant relative to seemingly insurmountable obstacles in our path. When we arrive at the very edge of where our human ability can take us, we are reminded that God is with us. He is always with us, offering to carry us with the very hands that carved these vast canyons.”

She added the scripture from Matthew 19:26, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

A bit later, my husband came to me with something he felt the Lord impressed on him to share with me – a promise from God spoken years earlier would now, through this battle, be fulfilled. He then played a song he just discovered by Lauren Daigle, My Revival, with the very words of that promise in the lyric. Here’s a link to listen. By the way, all the songs I’ve heard are incredible!

As I listened and poured out my heart to my Father, I knew I don’t need all the answers I’ve been struggling to find, I just need Him. His promises are true. I will soar and when I do, “I will soar on wings like eagles,” praising the living God who sees me and hears my desperate prayers and answers with whispers of mercy.

But that wasn’t all. Our extravagant God, who lavishes grace on those who call on Him, decided to send over a couple from our church. They brought food and we visited and they prayed over me.  Then, before leaving, there was another word from the Lord – a clear confirmation of something prophesied over me years ago. I felt His angels all around me – the visible and the invisible ones.

So, at the risk of making this long post even longer, I feel the urgency to share this. With whatever time He gives me on this earth, I want to be a messenger. To tell people about our Lord, speak truth and share grace.

His return is at hand and I believe another Great Awakening is coming. Many will hear the Word, repent of sin and turn to God because they are weary of substitutes. The idols we’ve made will crumble and we will return to our Creator, drawn to His enduring love for us, His infinite glory and the promise of eternal life made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus.

To all who have taken time to read this, I hope the Holy Spirit will translate my testimony into supernatural blessings that are very specific to you so that you will know He is near to you, to save and to help you in your time of need. Truly, His love never ceases and His mercies are new every morning.

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Lord, I pray that it will not be my words but Yours that people hear. Help me, like John, the Baptizer, be “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'” And I pray all those you are calling to follow you, will gladly embrace fellowship with you and find rest from their struggles. Let it be so. Amen!

Can We Trust God Enough to Say “Thy Will Be Done?”

Thy Will Be Done PicI hope what is written here and the song that follows will encourage you today.

 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 every situation, 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

That’s exactly what I need. Peace. A safeguard from dark, negative thoughts and a gateway to joy.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary of this passage, writes:

“Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service.”

I’ve been thinking about the statement at the end of that video I shared in my last post…the part about how if he loses his sister, he knows he will get angry with God, but that basically God would understand. (I’m very much paraphrasing and summarizing here.)

I think he is trying to express his belief in God’s relentless love for us in spite of our doubt-ridden hearts. I get that. At the same time, in case anyone is unclear, I think we all understand that turning away from God in our despair is never a real option, because He is our ONLY hope.

I’ve heard it said that our suffering does not nullify the goodness of God. He is unchanging, after all. So, may our grieving cause us to hold tight to Him, to the truth of His word and to the faith He has given us. May we trust Him enough to say, “Thy will be done,” just as Jesus taught us to pray.

This journey the Lord has me on right now is not easy. My surgery is scheduled for this week and It seems fear and anxiety are popping up at every turn. But Jesus promised that he would never leave me and, with His help, I can do this.

Rejoice. Pray. Ask. Give Thanks. Find Peace.

Life is hard but God is here and He is my hope. I’m thankful that, even when things look bad, I can choose to dwell on the good.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

I’m listening to and loving this new song by Hillary Scott! It’s a timely message for me and anyone else out there who is facing a challenge in their life. If that’s you, take a moment to watch this and be blessed!

Part of the lyric says this:

I know you see me;
I know you hear me, Lord.Your plans are for me;
Goodness you have in store.
So, Thy will be done…

Are you discouraged? I pray the Lord gives you the peace you are seeking right now. Reach out to Him. He sees you. He hears you. He loves you.

His Wonders Never Cease

So I’ve been a little busy lately. Busy trying to make my life make sense. Busy watching the calendar pages turn fast while I keep moving in slow-motion. But not too busy to stop and let that woman pray for me at church this past Sunday.

I didn’t know who she was but it didn’t matter. Sometimes God uses situations and people unknown to us to work out His purposes in our lives. We just have to be willing to receive it.

Then, today, I started thumbing through a devotional book and I found myself lingering on the pages of the entry entitled “The Tune of the Unknowns.”

The author, Calvin Miller, talks about how the heroes of the Bible were just ordinary people who said yes to God’s extraordinary call.

People such as Mary, who despite her feelings of unworthiness, willingly surrendered to God’s plan for her to give birth to Jesus, the Son of the Most High.

What a wondrous moment that must have been! She had to get over her initial shock but, ultimately, young Mary taught us how each of us should respond to God’s calling in our own lives.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Luke 1:38

Maybe you’re feeling unknown and unworthy, like your life is filled with a lot of nothing- special days, one more mundane than the next. If so, this post is for you.

Because you need to know that God is still in the wonder-working business! He sees you. He loves you. And, no matter how it feels right now, He has a purpose for your life, and that purpose will be fulfilled.

I’ll leave you with these encouraging words from Calvin Miller:

“The work of God in the hands of an ordinary you or me is a living picture of God’s grace and glory – His grace, in that He invests Himself in one so frail and faulty; His glory, in that He creates such real art with such raw clay. Are you at the end of your own strength? Have you bottomed out on self-confidence? Trust. Wait. Behold what wonders can be done through you by the Spirit of the Living God.”

Would you like to pray with me?

Father God, your power is unchanging. I know that you’ve been able to do extraordinary things in the lives of ordinary people just like me. I pray that I will always be able to hear your call. And, when I do, help me to say “yes.”

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I’m linking up with Women Helping Women