Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The six words that strike fear into every woman's heart

The six words are not "I'm leaving you for another woman." (Although I have heard the words "I'm leaving you for a man," but I got through that with God's help.) The six words that strike fear into every woman's heart are "We saw something on your mammogram."

I heard those six fearful words myself on December 23. (Two days before Christmas - what crummy timing!) My 13 year old son and I were out Christmas shopping that day and when we returned home, there was a message on the answering machine from a nurse at the hospital, requesting that I return her call. I knew that the news would not be good, because they only call if the news is bad. The nurse told me that the mammogram revealed an asymmetrical patch of dense tissue on my left breast above the nipple. I am scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound of my left breast on January 15. My GYN told me that these are benign more likely than not. Some comfort.

I cried for the next half hour after I hung up the phone. My son (a/k/a Mr. Insensitive) said, "Are you done being sad now?" :rolleyes My mother died of metastatic breast cancer in 1997, which means I have a 50% risk of getting breast cancer. Because of my family history, I had a baseline mammogram at age 35 and have had a mammogram every year I turned 40 (I am now 48).

I started prayer threads for myself on 2 Christian message boards, and I have other friends praying for me as well. I am trying not to let fear get the best of me. Whatever happens, I pray the Lord uses it for His glory. If I do have cancer and it is caught early enough, I have a very good chance of survival. I feel the power of prayer as my fear seems to be easing.

I'm not writing this blog post for you to feel sorry for me. I would like to urge you, however, if you are a woman over the age of 40 (or know someone who is), make sure that you get an annual mammogram. There is a widget below that you can click on to help contribute to the American Cancer Society.

Thanks for reading! See you again soon!

Diane

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stressmas, Stressmas time is here

The Christmas season is in full swing now, with only 12 days until Christmas - and I haven't sent out my Christmas cards yet! Or completed my Christmas shopping! Yikes!

Christmas season can certainly be stressful. We have a tendency to overextend ourselves during the season, both financially and with our schedules. There are too many events on our calendars - band concert one night, work Christmas party another night, caroling another night, etc. Our Christmas gift lists seem to get longer every year, and we spend more time and money to buy the perfect gift for each person on our list. We don't seem to have enough time to do what we think needs to be done.

There are other kinds of stress during the Christmas season. Some families are having financial stress. They can't even pay their regular bills, so Christmas presents are out of the question. There are families with loved ones who are sick. And there are families who are missing a loved one, either through death or through absence.

But there is a way out of the stress cycle that the Christmas season can put us in. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, an exasperated Charlie Brown asks if anyone knows what Christmas is all about. Linus Van Pelt then quotes the following from Luke 2: "Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” Then Linus turns to Charlie Brown and says, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." That young man was wise beyond his years, even if he did have a security blanket.

Christmas is not about fancy trees, lots of presents, fancy decorations, cookies, or good food. Christmas is all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth to save us from our sins. In the grand scheme of things, the most important thing about Christmas (and indeed, all of life) is Jesus. Make some time out of your busy schedule to spend time with Him. Spend time with Him in church, of course, but also in your life. When stress threatens to envelope you, remember these words He said: "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." In the end, it's not important how many presents you buy, or what kind food you serve, or what your Christmas decorations look like. What's most important is that we celebrate that Jesus came down to earth in a frail human form to live among us. The rest of the stuff is just, well, stuff.

That's all for now! Have a great day!

Diane

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birthday

They say it's my birthday
One year farther away from youth
One year closer to death

I look in the mirror and see
More gray hair
More wrinkles
More belly fat
I mourn my lost youth.
I pray I will not look like my mother
The older I get.

My life is more than half over now
What have I done? Who have I been?
Is there time to do more, to be more?
Can the rest of my life
Be better than what came before?
Do I still have a chance to follow my dreams?

I long for heaven
Where I will be eternally young
Where looks won't matter
Where age won't matter
There will be no more birthdays
Just time eternal
And I will be free.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tears like rain

When my daughter was little
And scared of storms
I told her that when the thunder sounded
The angels were bowling
And when lightning hit
An angel got a strike

But when it's raining without the storm
What then?

I think Jesus is crying,
Crying for all the lost,
Crying for the ones who knew Him but turned away,
Jesus is crying
For the ones lost in sin,
And for the brokenhearted,
Jesus is crying.

If Jesus collects our tears in a bottle,
And keeps them in His book,
Then where do His tears go?

Tears like rain,
Jesus is crying,
For all the little ones
Who never got the chance to live,
Jesus is crying
For all the children
Abused and killed,
Jesus is crying.

He knows how I feel when I cry
For my lost lamb
Far away from home
For He cries too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Do you like contests?

I found this great new writing blog through the FundsforWriters newsletter. It's called Writing Pays. In yesterday's post on the Writing Pays blog, the author is offering "GUT: How to Think from Your Middle to Get to the Top" by Karen Salmansohn as a giveaway. Check out the blog entry here: http://www.writingpays.biz/2009/10/writing-pays-free-giveaway.html and leave a comment to get a chance to win the book.

Just thought I'd pass it along! I'm working on another blog post that I hope to post this weekend, so stay tuned! See you soon!

Diane

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shield me

There are many names for God in the Bible, both names that describe God and names that are titles for God. As I was reading in Psalms, I was struck by a name for God that we don't hear mentioned much, and that is the name "shield." We usually think of a shield as that large piece of metal that a knight in the days of old would hold to protect him from swords and spears, but according to Merriam-Webster, another definition of "shield" is "one that protects or defends." So "shield" is shorthand for a protector and a defender, both of which are attributes of God.

Below are some verses I found that reference God as a shield. These are some of my favorites, but there are more than just these; a search will turn up several other verses.

2 Samuel 22:31 (NLT): God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

Psalm 3:3 (NLT): But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.

Psalm 5:12 (NLT): For you bless the godly, O Lord: you surround them with your shield of love. (I really like that verse!)

Proverbs 30:5 (NLT): Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to those who come to him for protection.

Just as we who are earthly parents want to protect our children from anything that might hurt them, God our heavenly Father wants to protect us from danger and harm. Instead of using a large piece of metal to protect us, God Himself surrounds us (see Psalm 3:3 above). Not only does He protect us from physical harm, He surrounds us with a shield of love, as in Psalm 5:12 above. That shield of love comforts us when we are emotionally hurt. When we feel God's presence with us, we are feeling that "shield" that protects us.

Thanks for reading! See you soon!

Diane

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Everyday people

Galatians 3:28 (NLT):

There is no longer Jew or Gentile,slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The TV station on which we watch the news every evening has started a new feature where they pick a local community and highlight it for a week on the evening news. Last week, it was our community's turn to be featured. On Friday night, the news anchors, the weather anchor, and the sports anchor came to our town's Oktoberfest celebration and broadcasted that evening's news. My husband, my son and I went to the festivities. My son was awed at seeing the news anchors in person. He said, "They look just the same as they do on TV!" LOL!

This is the lesson that I taught my son that evening. The people that you see on newscasts (and anywhere else, for that matter) are the same as everyone else. They all put on their pants the same way that we do. Some people may have different jobs or talents than we do, or maybe God painted them a different color. Or maybe they have more or less money than we do. But we are all the same in God's eyes. No one is any better than anyone else. We are all put on this earth to help one another, to get along with each other, and to love each other. (Yes, the title of this post is the name of a song by Sly & the Family Stone, which was also covered by Joan Jett. Take the time to Google the lyrics. Not all secular music is evil.)

People idolize those who are famous and/or talented, but the only person we should idolize is Jesus Christ. He is the only person who is above all others. We would do well to imitate the way He treated people in every strata of society. He treated all people with respect and love, especially women, who were second class citizens in the times in which He lived. And He forgave those who sinned, and we are to forgive those who sin against us. And He was filled with humility, even when He was being tried by the Sanhedrin and tortured by the Roman soldiers. If we all acted like Jesus, what a different world this would be!

My son is on a Boy Scout camping trip this weekend, so I may have another blog post soon, since I don't have to share the computer. Have a great day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's your idol?

And no, this post is not about American Idol. This post is related to the "What's your excuse?" post.

God wanted to make sure we knew about not putting anything before Him; He stated it quite clearly in the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:3-5 (NLT)
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods."

No beating around the bush there, huh? (Pardon the pun.)

In Biblical times, idols were statues or poles made of gold, stone or wood. Idols were symbols of a pagan religion, or in the case of Aaron and the golden calf, something to take the place of God - well, same difference, really. The Israelites committed spiritual adultery by worshiping these idols instead of the Lord, or in some cases, worshiping idols at the same time they were worshiping the Lord. (See Judges 17:3-4 and 2 Chronicles 33:7.) Isaiah has much to say about those who worshiped idols and what would happen to those who do in Isaiah 40, 44, and 45. In the New Testament, Paul preached to the Gentiles, who worshiped idols and false gods. Paul writes that idol worshipers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus Himself reinforced His Father's commandment by saying, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33, KJV)

Today, however, people do not worship idols made of wood or stone. A modern day definition of an idol would be anything that we put ahead of God or anything we consider more important than God. Our idols can take many forms: someone who is obsessed with making as much money as possible; someone who spends all of his or her free time online on social networking sites, message boards, gaming, and/or pornography; someone who sits mindlessly in front of a television set all day and night; or someone who is obsessed with their children's lives to the point that they have no time for anything else. If you think hard enough, you can probably think of other idols that draw our attention away from God.

The Lord convicted me of an idol that I put ahead of Him. I'm a big St. Louis Cardinals fan, but a few years back, I was spending too much time following the team online, in the newspapers and magazines, etc. I became upset when the team lost a game or when my favorite players were traded. I was depressed when it wasn't baseball season. You get the picture, I'm sure. This year, the Cards are doing very well and they appear to be headed for the playoffs, and although I'm happy about that, I'm not obsessed with the team like I used to be. I am trying to spend more time in prayer and reflection.

If you are not putting God first in your life, look at yourself to see if there is an idol taking up your time, attention, and/or emotions. When (not if) you find your idol, repent before God and vow that you will put Him first in your life.

That's all for tonight. Stay tuned for my next post!

Diane

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The three hardest words

What are the three hardest words to say? It's not "I love you." Those three words are easy to say (and sometimes cheap). They can be said in the heat of passion, or by a young girl with her first crush. "I love you" rolls off the tongue of a mother or father speaking to their child.

But the three hardest words are "I forgive you." We are wronged in so many ways, whether from a divorce, bad business deals, betrayals, bad manners, etc. We get angry when someone does us wrong, and we carry that anger with us.

But that anger can consume us. We can become obsessed with the hurt and the pain. The bitterness from our anger can ruin longstanding relationships and ruin our health. It can even separate us from God, because He will not forgive us unless we forgive others first. In Matthew 6:15 (NLT), Jesus states: "But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."

But what if you're the one who has done wrong and you need forgiveness? Ask the Lord for courage and guidance. Go to the person you have wronged and apologize for your wrongdoing. Then (hopefully) you will hear those wonderful words: "I forgive you," and your relationship will be restored. If that person chooses not to forgive you, then put the situation in the Lord's hands and pray for that person, that they be released from their anger and bitterness and that your relationship will be restored.

Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we can be forgiven - He paid with His life. His death and resurrection show that we can be right with God and be forgiven for our sins. If Jesus gave His life for our forgiveness, surely we can make the effort to tell someone we forgive them and restore our relationship with that person. Don't delay! Tomorrow may be too late.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

Tonight we're going to look at God's omnipresence. Omnipresence is a big word that according to Merriam-Webster means "everywhere at all times." Let's start by looking at some Scriptures. All of them are from the New Living Translation.

Proverbs 15:3
The Lord is watching everywhere,
keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.

Hebrews 4:13
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

1 Peter 3:12
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.

Psalm 139:7
I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
============================
I am reminded of the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" when I think of God's omnipresence, especially the part where the lyrics read: "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake!" Santa has all of God's watchful qualities. And God always knows if you've been naughty or nice. Perhaps Santa is more like God than people realize.

God knows everything you do because He is everywhere. And the good Christian who knows he or she has sinned feels guilt because of the knowledge that he or she has sinned. For those Christians who have fallen into sin, God's omnipresence reminds them of their sin. You can't run or hide from God - He always knows where you are.

Psalm 121:8
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

But it is also comforting to know that God is everywhere and He watches over you. No matter where you go or what happens to you, God is always with you. He's only a prayer away. Thank you, Lord, for always being there when we need you!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's Your Excuse?

Today, we're going to take a look at Luke 14:16-24, which is a parable by Jesus about a feast.

Luke 14:16-24 (NLT)

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

===========================

The subjects of this parable are the Jews, for Jesus was sent to them first. The Jews were invited to receive Jesus as their Messiah, but they wouldn't believe, so after His resurrection, Jesus sent His disciples into the rest of the world to invite them to the feast. It didn't matter about the social status of those invited to the banquet; they were all accepted. Jesus came to call not the righteous, but sinners. Because the first invitees rejected the invitation, they will not join in the feast.

This parable has a parallel for modern times. So many people have excuses not to go to church and accept Jesus as their Savior. Let's compare the excuses in the parable to some modern day excuses.

The first invitee said he had bought some land he needed to inspect. Today, people give the excuse that they have to mow the lawn, tend to the garden, or clean the house instead of going to church. Their home is more important than God.

The second invitee said he had some new oxen he wanted to try out. Today, people give the excuse that they don't have the money to give for an offering because they bought too much stuff they don't need. People put their possessions before God.

The third invitee said he had just married a wife. Today, people use the excuse of family activities to avoid going to church, such as kids' sports, theater, going to the lake, etc. People put their family before God.

Jesus is to be first in our lives, not possessions, homes or family. People today think just going to church on Sunday morning or on Christmas and Easter is good enough to get into heaven. It isn't! We need a close personal relationship with Jesus. He wants to be first in our lives. If we fix our eyes on Jesus and put Him first in our lives, everything else will fall into place.

So what's your excuse? As you have read above, there is no excuse to not put Jesus first in your life. He's calling you to come to Him and repent of your sin of not putting Him first. And if you haven't repented of your sins and received Jesus as your Savior, now is the time. You can pray this prayer: "Lord, I know I am a sinner, and I need Your forgiveness for my sins. I believe that You died for me on the Cross. Please come into my heart and make me new. I want you to be my Lord and Savior. I give my life totally and completely to You. Thank you for forgiving my sins and making me new."

Did you say the prayer? If so, congratulations! You are now my brother or sister in Christ. Your first step should be to purchase a Bible. Start by reading the first four books of the New Testament, also known as the Gospels. They will tell you about Jesus. The second thing you should do is find a Bible-believing church where you can learn about being a Christian and you can meet other Christians. I would love to know if you prayed to receive Jesus. Please enter a comment to let me know.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day!

Diane

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reflections On A Camping Trip

Oh! How I love God’s creation!

It reminds me of who He is.

He made it to represent Himself.


The tall trees remind me of God’s majesty.

Their high, uplifted limbs remind me

To raise my hands to Him in prayer and surrender.

The lower branches that reach down remind me

That God reaches down to us when we are in need.

The trees give us shelter and protection from storms

Like God does.


The birds calling remind me

Of how Jesus calls us to faith and trust in Him.

The birds hunting for food remind me

That God provides for us.

The singing of the birds remind me

To sing sweet songs of praise to Him, my Creator.


The green of the plants remind me

Of the new life God gives to us after we give our hearts to Him.


The sunshine reminds me

Of the warmth of God’s love.

The burning heat of the sun reminds me

Of Hell, the place that I will not go since I believe in Him.


The rain reminds me of how

The blood of Jesus washed away my sins and refreshed my soul.


The cold weather is like the condition of my heart

Before I believed in Him.

And when the snow covers the ground

It reminds me of how Jesus’ death on the Cross covered my sins

And makes me clean and pure.


The flowers reaching towards the sun

Remind me to look to the Father for all my wants and needs.


The reflection of the sun on the lake water

Reminds me to reflect God’s love in all I do and way

And to lead others to Him.


The clouds remind me that

When Jesus returns, He will comes with clouds

And the whole world will see Him and mourn.

The gentle breeze reminds me

Of how deep God’s love is for us.


The fire reminds me of the Holy Spirit,

Burning out the dross in my soul and consuming me.


All of God’s creation works and lives together in harmony.

It reminds us of how we should live with each other

In harmony and care for each other.


Even when my Bible is not at hand,

All I have to do is look at His calling card of Creation

Created for all the world to see.


God created the universe by just the words from His mouth!

He is the only one who is capable

Of creating the universe and everything in it.


How marvelous!


Even though we humans

Are but a tiny part of God’s creation

He cares for us more than any of it.


He loves humans so much that

He came to earth in human form as Jesus

And died on the Cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.


How can I help but praise Him

For all the wonderful things He has done

And all the wonderful things He has created?


Let all that is within me praise and bless His holy name!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prayer - Part 8

Hello! Sorry I haven't posted more - I've been busy. Tonight's blog post is on Psalm 102:1-2.

Psalm 102:1-2 (NKJV):
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD,
And let my cry come to You.
2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day that I call, answer me speedily.

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD,
And let my cry come to You.

We ask the Lord to be open to hearing our prayers. We ask that there be nothing to impede our prayers from ascending to Him.

2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;

Who should we turn to first when there is a crisis in our lives? The Lord, that's who. We implore the Father to be with us and protect us in our time of need.

Incline Your ear to me;

We ask the Lord to listen to what we have to say.

In the day that I call, answer me speedily.

We ask the Lord to respond quickly whenever we pray to Him.

That's all I have for tonight. God bless you! See you soon!

Diane

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prayer - Part 7

Before I start my post, I would like to wave a big Hi! to my first follower on this blog, Angie! Thanks for following me! I hope you are enjoying the posts.

The Scripture for tonight is I John 5:14-15 (NKJV).

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

"According to His will" is the most important phrase here. If what we are asking for is not in God's will for us, He will not grant our requests. If we do ask for anything that is in His will for us, we can be confident that He will grant our request.

15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

When we petition God for anything that is in His will for us (or for whoever or whatever we're praying for), we have complete confidence that He will hear and answer our prayers. Thanks to the Lord for that!

Well, that's all for tonight. Thanks for reading! See you soon!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day tribute

Every year, we would wonder
What to get hubby's father
He was hard to buy for but
Every year, a variation on a theme
A Cardinals t-shirt, or a Cardinals book
These he received with gratitude.

This year, no need to ponder
What to give
For the only thing we can give this year
Is flowers on a grave
The loss still fresh
Even though he passed in January.

Hubby is stoic - no emotion from him, at least that I can see.
Even though his dad is gone
And on Father's Day
His own son left to go to Boy Scout camp
For a week.
No celebration either way.
How strange he must feel, yet he keeps it inside.

And for me? My own father gone almost 30 years
I put flowers on his grave as well.
He never got to see his grandchildren on earth.
He watches them from Heaven.
And I miss him too, and at the grave today
I said, Perhaps if the Lord comes soon
And calls us all home with trumpet sound,
I will see you soon
And we will never be parted again.

This is the first Father's Day
That both our fathers are gone.
An empty day for both of us.
Hopefully, next year will be better.
We will not sorrow
And we will remember happier times.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Prayer - Part 7

Tonight's post is on James 5:13-14.

James 5:13-14 (NLT)

13a Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.

When we are suffering, the best solution is always to pray to the Lord for comfort and renewal. He will forgive our sins and ease our burdens, if it is within His will.

13b Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.

Are you having a great day? Is everything going well in your life? Rejoice and thank the Lord for His goodness and mercy. You can sing hymns or praise songs that you know, or if none come to mind, you can always go to the Psalms for praises. Make up your own tune as you sing a Psalm!

14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.

When our physical body is suffering through illness, what a comfort it is to have fellow Christians pray for you. Our spirits will be healed and made whole, and our bodies may be made whole too, if it is God's will.

That's all for tonight. Thanks for reading! See you again too!

Diane

Monday, June 1, 2009

Prayer - Part 6

Here's another post on prayer. Tonight's verse is James 5:16.

16(a) Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

If our sins are not confessed, our souls grow sick, which can lead to physical sickness as well. Those who suffer from depression often have physical aches and pains as well. Hiding our misdoings can also make us anxious as to when we will be found out. When we confess our sins to each other and everything is out in the open, forgiveness can happen. Praying for those who have sinned either against us or against others is very freeing and is what our Savior wants from us. If we pray for others, they will pray for us in return.

16(b) The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

In order for your prayers to be heard by the Father, you must be righteous - that is, free from sin. We must confess our sins and have them forgiven before we pray for others. This concept connects to the first part of this verse. Once our sins have been confessed and forgiven, earnest prayer is very powerful and wonderful things can result.

In the next post, we'll go back a couple of verses and focus on James 5:13-15. Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prayer - Part 5

Sorry it's been so long since I posted! I've been busy. Tonight's post is on Matthew 18:19-20.

Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV)
19
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

=========================================
This verse concerns prayers that we say during worship and in small gatherings of believers who have come together to pray for concerns. If a person has a prayer request and the other people who are in the group agree with the person in prayer, then the Father will listen and grant their requests, if the request is in line with His will for the situation. (See the last blog post for commentary on this.)

Private prayer is for telling the Father our wants and needs. You may not want to share this personal information with others. There may be some situations, though, where you feel the need to have others join in prayer with you. There is power in praying in groups.

Well, that's all for now. Thanks for reading and have a great evening!

Diane

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Prayer - Part 4

I thought it was time to get back to the topic of prayer. Tonight's post is on Romans 8:26-27.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
===============================================================
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

When we need to pray the most, sometimes words fail us. The situation we are in may be so grave that we cannot find the words we need so that we can pray. We may be in shock and grief. But the Holy Spirit knows what we are trying to say and He will intercede for us with the Father, with words that are known only to Him. There are some that say that this verse is talking about speaking in tongues, but I disagree. The verse says that the Holy Spirit prays for us; if we were speaking in tongues, the verse would say that we would be praying in the Spirit. The "groanings that cannot be expressed in words" is the second statement that shows that it is the Holy Spirit that is praying and not us, because when you pray in tongues, there are actual words (even though you may not know what they mean) and not groanings.

27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

God searches our hearts to find out our true motives and feelings. He knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit is part of Him.

The Spirit "pleads our case" to the Father on our behalf (like a good attorney). The pleadings of the Spirit for us will line up with God's will for us.

That's all for tonight. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Diane

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I have a dream

No, not a Martin Luther King, Jr. type dream. I just thought it made a nice title. :lol

I'm a legal secretary in the real world. Around three years ago, I started having a mid-life crisis. I'd been a legal secretary for about 10 years at that point, and I didn't think I wanted to do that anymore. But I make more money than my husband, and so I was stuck. I have always enjoyed writing, and thought I might want to write. I discovered the Christian Writers' Guild, headed by Jerry B. Jenkins of Left Behind fame. The Guild offers a writers' course to help you sharpen up your writing skills. I felt the Lord calling me to take this course. I even sent for an information package. It is a 2 year course and you take two lessons a month. I had hubby read over the brochure, but he said we couldn't afford it. At that time, it cost $1,000 for the course, and you had to have MS Word installed on your computer, which I didn't have. So I reluctantly put the brochure in the filing drawer, and filed the dream in the back part of my brain.

Ever since then though, I check out Writer's Digest magazines from the library. A few weeks ago, the dream came back. I feel the writing urge pull at me again. The Lord told me to start blogging so I can practice my writing. And I looked at the Christian Writer's Guild's web site again, although the price has gone up to $1,480 (for monthly payments) or $1,180 (for one time lump sum payment). I now have MS Word on my computer, but the money for the course would be hard to come by, since the store that my husband worked at closed in November. He has a new job, but it's only part time. Unemployment picks up the rest, but we have too many bills for me to even consider it. I am praying that if the Lord truly wants me to take the Guild course, that He will provide the funds and that my husband will not try to appropriate the funds for bills.

Thanks for reading about my dream! I pray it comes true soon. Have a blessed day!

Diane

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Look up!

I'm going to interrupt my regular posts on prayer to post on Matthew 24. The Lord has laid it on my heart to take this passage apart verse by verse and comment on it. I will post links to articles relevant to some of the verses, and comment on others.

Matthew 24:3-14 (NKJV):
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

With all of what was going on, the disciples thought that the end was near. But Jesus told them that it wasn't. The question "Tell us, when will these things be?" actually refers to verses 1 and 2 where Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple, which took place in 70 A.D.

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

The Cult of Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda

Maitreya

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a]these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

World War I and World War II would certainly fit these verses, along with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

7b And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

Famine in Africa

More famine articles

Pestilence - Swine flu - Dictionary.com defines "pestilence" as "an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality." This newest strain of swine flu certainly qualifies as a pestilence.

Earthquakes in various places - This web site shows all the places where earthquakes occurred that were at least 4.5 on the Richter scale.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

As scary as all this stuff is, according to Jesus, it will get worse, especially during the Tribulation period.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

Persecution Part 1
- A website listing areas of the world where Christians are being persecuted.

Persecution Part 2 - Another website listing areas of the world where Christians are being persecuted.

10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

No news articles needed for this verse - it happens in everyday life all the time.

11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

False prophets - a nice website with a list of false prophets and why they're false prophets.

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

There are plenty of examples of this, but click here for just one example. There is another example here.

13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Good news from Jesus! There is hope for those who endure all these things and make it to the end.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Wycliff Bible Translators want to have Bibles in all languages by 2025. Here is an interesting paragraph:

592 new Bible Translation programs have been started in the past eight years. Wycliffe is involved in 490 of these (83%). This is an increase never before experienced in the 2,000-year history of Bible translation. Just this has reduced the timeline for reaching remaining language communities by 112 years.

Don't let all that's been written bring fear to your heart, for if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He will be with you and you will not need to fear.

If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and wish for Him to come into your heart and clean it up and make you a new person on the inside, all you have to do is repent for your sins (or confess that you have sinned). This is called "being born again" or "saved." Here is a simple prayer that you can pray:

"Lord, I know I am a sinner, and I need Your forgiveness for my sins. I believe that You died for me on the Cross. Please come into my heart and make me new. I want you to be my Lord and Savior. I give my life totally and completely to You. Thank you for forgiving my sins and making me new."

Did you say the prayer? If so, congratulations! You are now my brother or sister in Christ. Your first step should be to purchase a Bible. Start by reading the first four books of the New Testament, also known as the Gospels. They will tell you about Jesus. The second thing you should do is find a Bible-believing church where you can learn about being a Christian and you can meet other Christians. I would love to know if you prayed to receive Jesus. Please enter a comment to let me know.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day!

Diane