A Prayer


Heavenly Father, I thank you for hearing me.  You always hear me.  I love you and enjoy the time that I spend with you in Your Word and in prayer.  Your Word is alive and illuminates Your truth.  You are holy and righteous.  I know that You sent your Son to the world so that through Him, we would have salvation.  I praise your Son, Jesus, for being the Lamb of God who takes our sins away.  You have covered us with mercy and grace as we trust You daily.  Thank you for Your love, Your comfort, Your protection, Your guidance, Your shelter, Your provision, Your peace and Your great and precious promises.  

In response to dropping off my oldest child at her high school yesterday for a morning orientation, I was excited but also a bit nervous for her.  Everything is new for her and for me.  She has some reservations.  I have concerns, but I pray this truth over her and my rising fifth grade child that nothing shall separate them from your love.  Your word says that height or depth can’t separate us from Your love so I ask You to help her as she walks up and down flights of steps at her large high school and to not only keep her safe, but to also allow her to manage her time and materials then allow her to reach her next class and be on time.  Please help my children to grow in knowledge and understanding so that You can fulfill Your purposes in their lives.  You are our foundation so show them how to stand on your truth.  Help them to serve you with their whole heart by the choices that they make.  Please help them to grow in the talents that you have given to them and to improve in any weak area.  Help us, Father, as we learn a new morning and afternoon routine as the new school year approaches.  

Your banner over my girls is Love.  You love them and have already called them to You.  I ask that You would speak to their hearts and allow them to know You better and talk with You more in prayer and through the reading of and meditation on Your Word.  They are your children which You’ve entrusted to us.   Help them, my husband and me to know how to go through our days with joy and peace.  Your glory fills the earth so I ask that your glory fill our house so that my girls, my husband and I can do the work required of us and to have peace that passes our understanding.  

You are able to do more than I could ever ask or think.  I ask that you surround my daughters with the friends that they need and allow them to be known for their joy, their love for You and their respect of You and of my husband and me.  Please protect them from the evil one and from influences that would hinder them.  Allow them to speak truth in love and with grace and to grow in their faith.  Protect them from all harm and anoint them to fulfill each day’s appointments with teachers and friends.  I ask you to protect them from physical and mental harm.  Your word says that nothing shall separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.  

Please fill us with faith, hope and love.  When we make a mistake, allow us all to recognize it and repent then reconcile us to each other and to You. Please protect their purity and continue to mold them into the beautiful young ladies whom you have called by your grace.  Please protect and preserve the hearts, minds and purity of each of my children’s future spouses whom You are preparing for them.

Please protect my children, their friends and families and all of the students and staff in their schools.  I ask that you bless each teacher as they are preparing now for school to begin again.  Please provide for their physical and emotional needs and bless their families.  Please place students together that will be the most optimal environment for them and the teachers and staff.  Please help each educator to use good judgement and wisdom as they interact with each student in all of our schools.  I know that you love children so I thank you for placing each educator in positions to guide and build up children.  You have great plans and purposes for each child so I ask that staff and students work together to have the best school year ever.  I also ask that you protest each school in this country.

I also ask that you bless all of the staff at my school and their families.  A new school year has come and we need Your help.  Thank you for the new start at the beginning of school and for the opportunity we now have to grow in our relationships. Please allow each teacher, teacher assistant, administrator, special area teachers and all staff to work together in unity and to encourage each other each day.  I thank you for my job and for the talented and caring people with whom I work.

The present times in my country and the world concern me, Father.  Your Word says that the present or the future cannot separate us from your love.  Please allow the American people to use wisdom as we select the next president.  Please allow kindness and understanding to flow from our hearts and hands.  Your Word says that we speak out of the abundance that is in our hearts.  Please fill the hearts of people throughout our land with a love for You through your Holy Spirit so that we can show love for each other and offer hope to those who currently have no hope.  I ask that you not let anything else in all creation separate us from you because hurt and hate try to drive a wedge between our brothers and sisters.  You have shown us your love when you sent your Son and when He laid down His life for us.  Please help us to be patient, kind, to not seek our own way, to forgive and to not keep records of wrong.

Father, I am so grateful to live in this country.  Thank you for allowing its leaders to work together in the past to build a country where freedom is valued and all voices are heard.  I ask that you bless our president and all of those involved in protecting us.  Please protect law enforcement officials and give them wisdom as they interact with others.  We need you to calm us and soothe the wounds that have happened in our country.  Please bless the families of those involved in protecting our nation.  Please bring together the leaders and give them a heart to make laws and policies that are pleasing in Your sight.  Please protect us from the evil one and please protect our brothers and sisters across the world.

Father, I ask that you comfort my friends who are grieving.  I also grieve for their loss and ask that You comfort like only You can.  Your ways are not our ways but I trust You and ask that You provide for every need.  Please help them and continually provide Your Strength and Your Presence.  Be with them as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  To those who have no might, please give them strength.  I thank You, Father, for the work you have done and will do through the words and hands of people who love and comfort.

I praise you for my husband and my family.  You have done great things in our hearts and home.  Please continue to bless my husband in his business.  Please guard his heart with your Holy Spirit.  Please anoint us to walk in love, truth and grace, being merciful and kind, tender hearted, forgiving each other.  Please help me to thrive in my teaching and in my health.  

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38–39
Please help every word from my mouth and every meditation in my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer. 
In the strong and mighty name of Jesus I pray.

Amen.

Picture Credit:  https://vimeo.com/124956220

Door Change


Exodus 12:22-23

“You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses…”

Yesterday, my precious mother-in-law painted our front door at my request.  She and my father-in-law like home improvement projects which is a blessing!    I had studied door colors in my neighborhood and decided that I just didn’t want any of them.  My visits to the home improvement store during the past year have given me many color choices. In the end, I loved the color “Poppy”, a refreshing yet subtle blue.  The door makes me smile as I glimpse it when leaving or arriving home.  My husband had encouraged me to look for satin nickel door handles to replace the old ones which were showing signs of age.  Our old door handle and door knocker was brass so the update to satin nickel has been a nice contrast to the “Poppy” blue on the door.

I had a hard time choosing the color for the door and a difficult time in selecting the perfect door handle.  I purchased and returned four different door handles until finally settling on the last one!  I learned during this process that companies which make metal door handles don’t have a standard measure for how far apart the top and bottom of the long handle should be.  Having a standard way to measure would help homeowners who wish to change their door handles without drilling new holes and having to fill in old holes where the previous door handle had gone.  Making a change to how your house looks is a big deal to me so I decided to go with the color that soothed my soul and the satin nickel handle which fit nicely into pre-existing holes in the front door.  Our house is our place to unwind, be together and build a home inside of those walls.  The front door is now redone and ready to greet us!

When I returned home yesterday after returning the third door handle, I had hope that I had selected the handle that would finally fit.  Sure enough, it worked.  As I thought of the many trips and decisions that I had made about the door, it felt really good to know that the work was over.  During my morning devotion, I couldn’t stop thinking about doors.  I thought about the special preparations that the Israelites had to make around their doors to their homes in Egypt so I did a little bit of research.

In the book of Exodus, we learn that the Israelites had built homes with doors.  Before their exile to Egypt, they had been nomadic people living in tents, but had learned to build houses in Egypt.  God taught them to trust Him during their season of plagues but the final test came when God required them to put a lamb’s blood on their door posts and lentils of their homes. The lentil is the rectangular beam above the door which can be for structural purposes or for looks.  Their houses were constructed from brick but their lentil was made from stone because stone would last longer than man made brick.  The practice of etching the house owner’s name into the lentil has been discovered at Egyptian archaeological sites.  I can imagine the Israelite houses having the lamb’s blood painted across the home owner’s name on the lentil and on the door posts beside of the doors to follow God’s requirement.  This was the standard and even now, God has a standard in order to be known as His. 1

I find it interesting that God gave the precious Israelite families a visual in this lesson on faith.  Just having their names on their house was not enough.  They had to apply the blood of a lamb to escape God’s judgement when He came through their neighborhoods on that special night.  They had to offer the animal sacrifice and use its blood to cover their name.  In the New Testament, Jesus became the eternal sacrifice for our sin.  His blood covers us and protects us.  

We have to believe on Jesus and have faith that when we call out to Him, the Lamb of God, He hears and applies His blood to us.  Our sins are removed because of His gift to us.   I can see what a difference a coat of paint made and how new hardware that my father-in-law installed on our door looks.  What does our Heavenly Father see when He looks at me?  Because of my faith in Jesus, I know that I am covered and am secure.  I am held and protected.  

Last week when I was a camp counselor at church camp, I felt like asking my own children, one of whom was a junior counselor and the other a camper, to share their stories of how they came to faith in Jesus during a cabin devotion with 23 rising fifth grade girls.  I also encouraged the girls to accept Jesus whenever they felt Him calling.  The next night after hearing teaching from our children’s pastor, one of the girls in our cabin told one of my co-counselors that she wasn’t sure if she was saved from her sins.  She finally realized that even though she went to church regularly, sang praises to God and listened to the Pastor speak, she had to make a decision for herself.  She now has a faith story!  My co-counselor, Alesha, prayed with her and the girl accepted Jeus as her Savior.  She is covered by the blood of Jesus and is assured of her salvation.  This sweet child shared her story with us back in the cabin later that night.  We, like the angels in heaven, rejoiced with her.  

My heart knows that only the Holy Spirit of God calls us.  It is up to us to answer and accept the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus on the cross 2,000 years ago. Just like the door posts and lentils were covered by the blood in Exodus and the Israelites escaped God’s judgement, we too can accept Jesus by Faith and He will cover our sins.  Once we accept Him by Faith, we have a blessed hope and His love to cover us daily.  I go to Him and pray which allows fellowship and a relationship.  I am covered by His Blood. My name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!  

Revelation  21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

1 My understanding of the door posts and lentils was given by an article I found here:  https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2009/09/covered-with-blood.html

Heart Work

While at the beach with my family this summer, my father-in-law was hospitalized with chest pain.  After arriving at the ER late one night, he was admitted and scheduled for a heart stress test for the next morning.  The doctor told him that he failed the first stress test so they needed to admit him to another area hospital where a heart catherization could take place.  We prayed with him and waited.  During the waiting period, I began to think of the many possibilities that could happen once the problem was diagnosed:  A stint could be placed to help his blood flow better, but open heart surgery could also have been an option.  Miraculously, the heart catherization showed no problem with his heart.  We were thankful, while also unsure of why he had pains in his chest a few days earlier.  I know that God does His own kind of work on human hearts and am grateful for the healing touch that he gave to my father-in-law.

I have had my share of heart pain, not with my heart organ but with my spiritual heart.  I asked Jesus into my heart as a child and have been a follower of His all my life.  During the past five years, however, God has used circumstances to help me evaluate my heart.  While enduring what seemed to be the worst of times, God allowed me to see what was in my spiritual heart.  One area in my heart was a place of sadness and hurt.  I longed for the Holy Spirit to work on my hurt and over time, the hurt is healing.  His Word and His Holy Spirit are helping me in my daily journey to live in restoration.  

I woke up recently with the following Scripture on my mind:  “Where sin did abound, grace much more abounded.”  I looked it up and found it in Romans 5:20.  After doing some study on this verse, I realized that the verb “abound” in the first part of the verse refers to amounts of sin.  In the second part of the verse, God’s grace “much more abounded”.  In the second instance of the verb “abounded”, the word has the idea of abundance and overflow.  The New English Bible says it this way:  “Where sin was multiplied, grace immeasurably exceeded it.”  My heart has rejoiced in these words as they have helped me to see that although sin caused hurt in my heart, God’s Grace has provided a healing that is not just for one day, but for everyday.  His healing extends into each day and is more than enough to restore the brokenness.   His abundant Grace overflows in my heart.

I am so thankful for the restoration that God has given to me.  The circumstances happened in the past to cause the hurt, but God has brought and continues to allow peace to settle into me.  His peace has been there in the middle of my turmoil and distress.  Once you travel though tough times, it takes a toll on your heart resulting in a loss of peace.  I am thankful for the moments when God has caused me to see evidence of restoration in my life which has now allowed me to praise Him for the healing of my heart.  The open heart surgery that He performed on my spiritual heart caused me to not only deal with the hurt, but also to allow Him to fix it.  Unlike my father-in-law who spent just two nights in the hospital, my heart work has taken five years.  I trust the Lord to continue filling me with His Presence and Peace for it is only with His help, that I have been restored and can live in His abundant Grace.

From the instant when the trauma started, to now when I live in His abundant, overflow of Grace and Peace, I am confident that He was and still is with me.  I know that He carried my burden at times during the worst of the trauma.  Otherwise, my heart would have failed. During the pain, I cried out to Him.  When you’re hurt, you cry and that is okay. There is a healing balm that He creates in us as we cry out to Him.  When healing comes, it will be because of His expert handling of situations beyond our control and because we open our hearts to release the hurt. During the post trauma, my heart has to be filled with His peace or it can be too observant of the scars left behind.  I try to be thankful and praise Him for bringing me through the trauma and hurt which positions my heart to receive His Grace and Peace.

My heart rejoices in truth and in His mercy.  I am filled with His abundant Grace and Peace.  

I have also found great strength and courage to walk through other traumas in my life such as when my mother had cancer when I was 12 by reading this Scripture found in Isaiah 43:2:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

The Lord guided my mother to this verse in His Word when she faced cancer and she shared it with me which helped us all go through her difficult time.  I have recently been brought back to this verse as a reminder that when I “pass through” deep water or “walk through” “hell”, God will be with me and keep me.  I also love the fact that He has summoned me by my name according to this verse.  I summon my kids and they respond.  It is so comforting to me that he calls me as my loving Father and redeems me through Jesus.  I pray that I will respond to Him and be willing to not only obey His direction, but to daily receive His Peace and Grace.

I invite you to ponder how much Grace and Peace that is found in Him today. Listen to Him. Believe that He heals, restores and fills. It may take two days or five years. Trust that He knows each one of us by name and that He is with you now.

Image credit:  http://velvetlimedesign.blogspot.com/2013_09_01_archive.html