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Praying for Lionel 

Praying for Lionel

This is a testimony of how God works.
I have a friend who is undergoing chemo. She called the day before and asked if I could take her if the weather became unmanageable for her father to drive from across town. Monday is usually my music studio day and I had just received a text from my producer that he needed the day to work on stuff. Instant free time - I was supposed to go. It would be good to catch up with my friend during the long boring infusion and I could pray for her while I was with her!

My friend went in for step one. While I waited for her, a woman came in and sat beside me. We began a bit of small talk and she mentioned church, weather, etc. I asked if she liked contemporary Christian music. She replied that she did, and I happened to have a copy in my purse which I gave to her. She said something about having been down lately and maybe this is just what she needed. Moments later a couple walked in she was waiting for and she exclaimed, "here's my children." I assumed it was her son and daughter coming to support her. She was thanking me when my friend came out. We were headed to another office to see the doctor for step two. I told the lady that I might see her again when we returned. 

We made our way back to the infusion clinic and settled into a curtained cubicle. The nurse explained that the hospital pharmacy was backed up quite a bit because every patient there was receiving chemo. This was going to be a long visit, which was fine because I had the time that God set aside! As my friend and I chit chatted with the nurse and with each other, I realized that the woman I met in the waiting room and the couple were in the cubicle next to us. They talked some, and then got quiet. I hadn't built enough of a rapport with her to stick my head around the curtain and say, "hey, how's it going?." or so I thought......

The time came for me to leave to pick up my kids from school. My friend's husband would come from work in 30 minute to pick her up and she was doing very well. I gathered my things and turned to leave when I noticed that the cubicle next to me contained the man from the couple earlier. He was reclined, covered up and sleeping. Hmmm, I thought.... I guess I was wrong. When I entered the waiting room, I saw the two women sitting together talking. I waved from across the room to which the woman I gave a CD to said, "Oh no, honey, you are not getting out of here without a hug!" She hugged me tight and thanked me again and said, "God bless ya!" I said "God bless you too!" The woman sitting with her immediately stood up for a hug as well with swollen red eyes full of tears that streamed down her face. I hugged her too.

I then asked, "is that your brother in there?" She replied, "No, that's my husband." I said "Oh, well what is his name, I will be praying for him." She said "Lionel." as she hung on desperate for comfort. I felt the urge to pray there, so I began to pray over Lionel with her and the other woman joined in. I was in a hurry, and didn't want to be late picking up my children, but God allowed just enough time for a waiting room prayer. 

Not getting their names (that's a rush for ya) I bid them goodbye promising to pray for Lionel. As I walked down the hall, I felt instantly sick to my stomach like I was going to lose my cookies. I wondered.... is this a glimpse of what Lionel is feeling? Is this absorbed emotion from his wife? Is this how she feels watching her man go through chemo? I tend to be a sponge. I told myself, "shake it off.... shake it off.... you are not sick." Then I asked God to help me remember Lionel's name and to bring him to mind when he needed prayer.

The following day I decided to tackle the kids bedrooms and get them cleaned out and cleaned up. I went through every toy piece by piece and decided which was staying and which was going somewhere else. This is tedious when the toys include legos, matchbox cars, tiny plastic animals, dolls, and their accessories. As I sorted the box of small toys and matchbox cars in my son's room, I picked up a car ready to toss it into the "going away" pile. I happen to glance at it a 2nd time and saw that the Nascar replica had the name LIONEL on it's hood and side! Are you kidding me?? I instantly began to pray for Lionel from the day before. I wondered how his body was handling the effects of chemo. I thanked God for the reminder.... and marveled at how He used a task I did not want to do to remind me that He is still there, still listening, still answering. If God is reminding me to pray for Lionel, there is purpose in it! I hope I hear from them. But if I don't I know I was in the right place at the right time even if just for a small rushed prayer with two ladies.

You just never know what God will bring your way, or how it will come. Be ready! And say a prayer for Lionel and for my friend!

EXCLUDE-sive Christianity 


And the King shall answer and say unto them,
Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least
of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

 
Matt 25:40 (KJV)
 
EXCLUDE-sive Christianity
 
I recently found myself in a conversation that caused my inner spirit to RISE UP. I have a propensity to be drawn to the underdog, and nothing can I incite me more than when I sense a lack of mercy & compassion. Dare I judge too harshly? Because the bible clearly says that I will be judged according to how I judge others. (check out these scriptures: Matthew 7:1-2 and Luke 6:37) I am not perfect, and I know I make mistakes, but I feel I must say something. Here goes:
 
As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ
and a representative of our Lord and Savior
you do not have the right to be
EXCLUDE-sive
(yes I made up a word)
to WHO you will minister to
 
  • Who do you consider to be “the least of these?”
  • Better yet, who do you consider to be lower than the least of these? 
  • Who do you consider to be beneath you? 
  • Who do you feel is unworthy of hearing the gospel? 
  • Who have you deemed beyond hope? 
  • Who is steeped too deeply in sin for you to reach out and touch them for fear of getting your hands dirty? (personal safety is another matter)
 
We all have different cultural exposures and our personal guidelines will vary from person to person. But, I would be saddened to believe that, at my lowest point in my life, the individual who fell below your personal scale of acceptance could have been me.
 
Jesus himself did not despise anyone. In Mark 2:17, when asked why he would dine with sinners he responded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
 
Jesus did not condemn those he came in contact with who were sick in body or living in sin. In His mercy Jesus forgave sin. He healed the sick without taking inventory of a person’s life. He didn’t pre-qualify someone for His time, His love, or His ministry. He was in constant communion with the Father and did what God told him to do. (Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
 
Here in the book of Matthew in Chapter 25, Jesus tells us that we will be held accountable to how we treat each other.
 
Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats
 
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
 
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
 
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
 
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
 
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
 
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
 
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
 
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
 
Stepping off my soapbox, my point is this: We cannot disqualify any person for the opportunity of salvation, healing, wholeness, hope, forgiveness, restoration, another chance, or God’s mercy. We do not know the beginning and the end. We do not know the calling God has on an individual’s life, and what He will allow them to walk through before they walk into their destiny in Christ. We have not been given the task to be judge, jury and executioner, but instead we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. We are to walk into the places He would walk and we are to reach out to the people He would reach out to, without exception. We are not the people changers. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. We are the light bearers, and the light is needed most in the dark.
 
Consider this:  The person needing God’s grace to find them could be your very own child during a difficult time in their life that you may be completely unaware of. Would you want your child to be disqualified or would you want someone to see them with God’s eyes?
 
Peace to you all on this journey of ministry and “trying not to miss the mark.” I pray that you will examine your heart and take it to God in prayer. Be in communion with the Father and do what He tells you to do.
 
Blessings,
Sandy
 
 

Backyard Revival 

Backyard Revival 
“Bringing the Church to Denny & Irene”
It began when Irene posted pictures of the new ramp installed for Denny’s wheelchair on the back of her home. Her husband Denny had fought and won a long battle with cancer only to then be stricken with a virus. The treatment for the virus left him blind in both eyes and caused dangerous brain bleeds. It was determined that to treat the virus would be more damaging than to not treat. Denny had become very weak and was not able to come to church. When I saw the pictures of her ramp against the canvass of her backyard God gave me a vision of her yard filled with people in worship.
 
How it rolled out
On Monday June 30th I emailed Irene and asked if she and Denny would be up for a worship concert in her backyard. She could invite family and friends and we would in essence “bring the church” to them. I wasn’t sure this would fit in with their lives and I didn’t want to intrude. She was elated! I was leaving for vacation on July 11th and felt an urgency to do this soon. I asked about Saturday, July 5th. She was concerned that attendance would be low being a holiday weekend. I assured her that even if that was the case, this was for her and Denny first and foremost. She agreed to Saturday and the planning began.  On such short notice I was able to pull together a small band (Steve on keys, Rick on percussion, and myself on acoustic guitar) and a fellow worshipper, Joanna, to join me and people were responding to the invitation to attend complete with plans for a covered dish dinner!
 
WOW, What a worship practice! Is God preparing us for something big? Revival?
On Wednesday July 2nd we had band practice for Sunday’s service. Steve, Joanna and I were all on the team for this week. We occasionally have times of “worship” on Wednesday nights, but for the most part we are usually working out technical details of a 6 song set with 7-8 musicians and 4 vocalists in harmony in an hour and a half. Something happened….. we were practicing the song Holy Spirit (You are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere, Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence Lord). Our worship leader, Matt, stepped down off the platform and kept playing. The band seemed to swell in the Spirit, our singing transitioned from singing the lyrics to a love song to God, one of our guitarists in a loud voice called out the name of Jesus several times, and the vocalists love song transitioned to a heart cry. I dropped the microphone from my lips to my side for this had become between me and God. I began to cry out for mercy; on my family, on my community, on my country. I sang, I wept, I prayed…. I asked loudly for revival of my own heart and spirit and for my family, my city, my country.
 
God speaks
God asked me a question. “What are you doing to bring this revival? Perhaps it doesn’t look like what you think it does. Revival is not an event, it’s a heart change and it begins inside of individuals. Revival doesn’t need a platform or a stage. It can happen in someone’s backyard. Some people might come to a backyard that won’t enter a church. Others may not come the backyard, but will hear My message through the worship in the atmosphere. So what are you going to do?” I put my microphone back in its clip and I lay face down on the altar and submitted myself to God’s will. I told him I wanted to do what He asked and I was laying down my pre-conceived ideas and expectations. I asked for His strength and leading and for Him to open the doors of opportunity. Thirty minutes over schedule, when worship wound down we all shared what God was speaking to us. Revival was the main theme. We believe God is calling out to us even louder than we are calling out to Him.
 
Saturday, July 5th with Denny and Irene
The weather was absolutely perfect! The sun was shining and the temperature was unseasonably mild (God knows how sensitive I am to heat). A good number of people began to show up and set up and love on each other in fellowship. There was more than enough food for everyone to enjoy. The worship time was amazing and afterward we circled Denny and Irene, laid hands on them both and had an inspiring time of prayer. It never ceases to amaze me to see the body of Christ come together, even if it is to simply bless two people. I am humbled whenever I can be a part of that.
 
God moves us in church on Sunday!
Sunday’s service sky-rocketed in worship! People were coming to the altar in large numbers to pray. Others were singing and weeping in the pews. Any schedule or lunch plans were laid down as Heaven touched earth for a while.
 
Denny went home to be with God
Two weeks later, we returned from a week at the beach with family on the afternoon of July 19th. When the dust settled from unpacking I sat down to check out Facebook and learned that Denny has passed away that morning. He had left his earthly vessel to receive his healing in the glorious presence of His Father God and His King Jesus! We were hoping for a miracle on this side of eternity, but what Denny received is better than we can ever imagine. One of the songs I sang for Denny by his request was I Can Only Imagine. I immediately thought about that song and wondered what it was like for Denny to step into Heaven. I am saddened for Irene’s loss and I can’t imagine her pain. But for Denny, his suffering is over and he is made more whole than he has ever been!
 
God doesn’t always use a flaming bush to get your attention.
So why write this post? To give you an example of how God communicates. It’s not always a voice in a flaming bush. What has God deposited in your heart? What questions has he asked you? Don’t take too long, or it may be too late. It may seem like a small thing, or it may seem too big. It may feel awkward or even uncomfortable, but I know if God is asking you to do it, He will equip you and give you what you need.
 
I’m ready for backyard revival….will you partner with me?
Maybe you are called to host a night of worship in your backyard. After all, it doesn’t cost you anything but your time. Maybe you are a gifted musician and you want to join me. Let me be clear. This is not about fame or fundraising. This is not a “paid gig” and it is not a time of raising money for any organization. There will be no love offering collected or expected. There will be nothing for sale. This is about worship. This is about making a time and a place for God to revive hearts.
 
Maybe God is calling you to several things, or something different entirely. That’s between you and God. But I would urge you to be open to listen and be submitted and willing to move when He asks you to.
 
Let’s open a discussion here.
Maybe someone will read this that you can partner with. Maybe this post is a bridge or a conduit for God to accomplish his will and move mightily through His people. Leave a comment in the comments section below and start the conversation!

Let us pray.... while there is still time 


Let Us Pray... while there is still time.
Prayer is something that we as believers should be doing on a daily basis and yet can so easily be pushed down the list of "things to do." We live our lives in a flurry of hustle and bustle and fall into bed exhausted each night. We jump up at the sound of the alarm only to begin the flurry once more. We are reminded to pray when we are caught off guard by a crisis or a personal need, but daily prayer can either become numb through ritualistic formula prayer or simply pushed aside. Has it occurred to you that we could be running out of time for prayer?

No one knows when, but a time is coming when God will bring judgment on the earth. For some, it will be too late for prayer. 

Psalm 32:6-11 NLT 
Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.
 
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
 
Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!


God promises to save his people, but he also commands us to act right. We should not have to be controlled or manipulated into good character, we should just do it. We, as believers, live in a glass house. Living justly releases us from guilt and we can therefore rejoice, be glad and shout for joy! But what about the world around us? What about the ones who don't know God and are living in the flurry? We have a responsibility to pray on behalf of them, that they may come to know God. We have to turn from our own "stuff that hinders" and pray for our family, our country, our world so that others will have the chance to find freedom in Christ. I could veer off here on so many side notes, but I feel God wants me to stick to the one idea: "We are running out of time."

He said in His word that He would restore our land. 

2 Chronicles 7:14
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 
 
The Lord is not far away, He is right here. He lives among us and He waits for your prayers (heart-to-heart conversations). He is not shocked at your confessions, He is not overwhelmed at your frequency, and He has not put a cap on the magnitude of our requests. He is not a giant dictator waiting for you to make a mess so He can punish you for it. He is warm and loving and wants to bring you peace and comfort. He is not just a 'mighty' Savior, He is the ONLY Savior. He takes great pleasure in you and sings and dances over you!

Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
 

You may truly "get this." But will you pray for the rest while there is still time?

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Love letter from God 

Love letter from God
My Child... 
You may not know me, but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1 
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2 
I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3 
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31 
For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27 
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28 
For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28 
I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 
I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12 
You were not a mistake,for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16 
I determined the exact time of your birthand where you would live.
Acts 17:26 
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14 
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13 
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6 
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44 
I am not distant and angry,but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16 
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1 
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1 
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11 
For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48 
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17 
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33 
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3 
My thoughts toward you are countlessas the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18 
And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 
I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40 
For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5 
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41 
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3 
If you seek me with all your heart.


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"A Fight to the Finish with the Armor of God" 

A Fight to the Finish with the Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV, The Message)
God is strong, and He wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Our struggle is not against the people you can see, but against the rulers, authorities, the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is a mighty weapon not to be taken lightly. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your friends and family. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
 
The Armor of God 

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes, so that when evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.

Picture yourself putting on:

1. The Helmet of Salvation
My acceptance of Jesus as Lord Savior Son of God saves me. John 3:16 tell me so. Have you accepted Jesus?...Really? Re-claim and celebrate your salvation. Let Christ give you his mind and thoughts

2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
Get right with God by confessing any sin. Ask Jesus to make you more like Himself.

3. The Belt of Truth
Ask Jesus to show you the truth about yourself and about God. Ask Jesus to help you know if you are hearing His voice or the voice of another.

4. The Sandals of Peace
Exhale fully and breathe in the Peace of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you anyone you need to forgive and get right with. Forgive them and seek your forgiveness.

5. The Shield of Faith
Picture yourself with a mighty shield that stops doubt and temptation right in their tracks. Remember, your faith can begin really small, God will grow it for you.

6. The Sword of the Spirit
The Word of God found right inside your bible. Read it, and remember as much as you can. Take the sword to cut yourself free from anything that restricts you from living in faith and health. Praise God for His Word, in the Bible and in life.

7. Pray in the Spirit
Let the Holy Spirit lead you in worshipping God Pray for your friends and family and for others God brings to mind.

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Why Should I Pray? 

Why Should I Pray?
"We got to pray if we gonna make it today!" (M.C. Hammer) Beginning your day with prayer invites God into the details. Ending your day with prayer gives you an opportunity to be thankful for His presence. But there is all that space in between. That space could be filled with busyness, celebration, trials, pain, etc....and all of these are an opportunity to talk to God. The bible tells us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) That simply means that the line between you and God should remain open at all times.

There are many ways to pray, one not super-ceding the next. There are no special formulas or fancy words that evoke the response of God. Remember, God is looking into your heart, He is not judging your diction. Take the time to just be with God, for He knows you intimately, and His desire is for YOU to know Him. It is in the knowing that we find a love that is truthful and honest. You cannot kindle a friendship if you never talk to your friend. It is the same in your relationship with your Creator. Talk to Him, give Him a chance to answer you in such minute details that you cannot mistake His active presence in your life.
  • 1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
  • Deuteronomy 6:25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.
So maybe you think you aren't righteous enough (or good enough) for YOUR prayers to be heard. In the old testament, man's righteousness was based on how well he followed every detail of the laws God put in place to keep us from stumbling all over ourselves in sin. This was impossible for man, so God made a way through His Son that we could become righteous through faith.
 
  • Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
  • Romans 3:21,22 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe

Be careful not to seek only the righteousness, but to seek the One who provided it for us.
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness,and all these things will be given to you as well.
The question now would be, Do you believe in God? Do you believe He sent his Son here to save you from a forever without Him? Give God the opportunity to commit Himself to you for eternity and begin your journey of prayer with:

The Prayer That Changes Everything

Dear God, I want to admit to You that I haven't always done things the way You would like to see me do them. At times I have done things that I knew to be very wrong. I understand this is sin to You and I want to say I'm sorry for every time I have chosen my way, or my own will opposed to Yours. I know now that those choices have only put more space between You and me, and that is not my desire. I do believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, gave His life on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me.

Jesus, I would like to ask You to fill my heart and come into my life as my Lord and my Salvation. I am committing and entrusting my life to You. Please give me the desire to be what You want me to be, and the desire to do what You want me to do. Thank You for choosing to die for my sins, for Your free pardon and forgiveness, for Your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you for choosing to be my personal Savior. Amen.


For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; all things become new.2 Corinthians 5:17

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Pray The Lord's Prayer over your loved ones 


Pray The Lord's Prayer over your loved ones
One of the most beautiful prayers - the Lord's Prayer - may sound simple or traditional, but His prayer has profound and lasting impact, which is fresh and new every day. For a fresh insight into the depth of this prayer and God's goodness you can pray the words of the Lord's Prayer, inserting your name or that of your spouse, friend, child, or parent. You are a mighty spiritual warrior in God's kingdom. The enemy would like nothing more than to keep you prayerless. Instead, pray this prayer for those you care about:

* Our Father in heaven, may Your name be honored in ______'s life. (Desire for your loved ones to be honored, made holy, and cherished through the power of honoring and fearing God. When they hallow God's name in their life that attitude will spill over into their relations with Others.)

* May Your kingdom come soon in ______'s life. (When a person seeks first the kingdom of God, then all else in life is placed in the right order. When God is in control of lives, children, careers, churches, then there will be direction in prayers, thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and attitudes.)

* May Your will be done in ______'s life on earth, just as it is in Heaven. (God's perfect will for your loved one is their salvation in Christ Jesus. In saving us, God changes us, making us new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). Then He transforms us to live in His will on earth.)

* Give ______ the food he/she needs for today. (Daily bread for both spiritual and physical beings cannot be old, stale stuff from yesterday or a half-baked loaf from tomorrow that isn't ready yet. God's grace is sufficient to meet all our needs - one day at a time. When we come to Him in prayer He meets our needs daily. He feeds us the bread of His Word and He provides for all our physical needs as well.)

* And forgive ______, just as he/she has forgiven those who have sinned against him/her. (Forgiving one another opens you up to receive forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an option. Jesus states it plainly, If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt. 6:14-15)).

* And don't let ______ yield to temptation, but deliver him/her from the evil one. (Apply the blood of Jesus in prayer for protection over your loved ones. The blood protects us from the sin of building walls that hinder and even destroy relationships.)

* For in ______'s life You will build Your kingdom and manifest Your glory forever and ever. Amen. (The battle has already been won on the cross where Christ destroyed the works of the devil. Satan, sin, and death have been defeated. Your battle is prayer that claims, establishes, and overcomes the enemy as he seeks to rob, kill, and destroy the Abundant life in Christ (John 10:10). Pray for that abundant life of God's kingdom in the lives of your loved ones.

Prayer minus explanation:

* Our Father in heaven, may Your name be honored in ______'s life.
* May Your kingdom come soon in ______'s life. 
* May Your will be done in ______'s life on earth, just as it is in Heaven.
* Give ______ the food he/she needs for today.
* And forgive ______, just as he/she has forgiven those who have sinned against him/her.
* And don't let ______ yield to temptation, but deliver him/her from the evil one.
* For in ______'s life You will build Your kingdom and manifest Your glory forever and ever. Amen. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PRAYER REFERENCES!
 

Homeless, hopeless, where can they go? 

Homeless, hopeless, where can they go?
I had the experience of sitting in the Catholic Diocese Center for the Homeless waiting room in Richmond, VA for an hour last week. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I talked to a woman who had 2 jobs and 2 kids in school and was being evicted from her 1 yr govt. apt struggling to make ends meet and just keep her children in their school. A young woman sat down in tears who was running from an abusive relationship. There was no one there to comfort her.... "just wait over there, we'll have someone with you in a minute." I went over to her and held her and asked if I could pray for her, to which she said yes. I watched people come and go, dressed in as much as they could put on (including a snow suit in 80 degree weather) just so they didn't have to carry it with all their other belongings stuffed into backpacks or shopping bags. I did look into their faces. I offered a smile, but most did not have one to return. I did everything I could not to bawl as I sat, a helpless witness to the hopeless few I encountered.

I was almost relieved when I was called back into the office to accompany my passenger. I talked to a counselor about options for the person I was with. The thing is..... the options are few. Shelters with cots that move from church to church every week. You can only be in the building from dinner to morning. You have to re-apply every week hoping to get back in, not knowing where you will be. It makes a job search nearly impossible. Housing waiting lists that are over a year long. How parents do this with children in school (or not) I just don't know. I don't have the answers.... and neither do they. Not the homeless, and not the shelters. They do as much as they can with the few resources they are given to work with.

It makes little difference what got you to this point in life once you have reached it. They way out is long and hard, and I can see why so many give up and seek ways to deaden the pain. These people are you and me..... on hard, hard times. Help when and where you can. Even if it's just to offer a hug or a prayer. You could be helping my loved one and not even know it. I could be helping yours.......

Blessings,
Sandy


PS: Please visit this link and watch family walk right on by their own loved ones posed as homeless. This is how immune to them or afraid of them we have become. http://viraljuice.com/best-of-the-interweb/will-this-woman-notice-her-homeless-family-watch-with-tissue/

Peace Like a River 

Peace Like a River
It is Well
Horatio G. Spafford, 1873

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul. (v1)
 
There are few things that are more soothing than to sit back, rest and gaze upon a river that is calm and smooth and reflective of a glorious sky above. You can imagine this scene at sunrise, sunset or blue skies with fluffy white clouds. You take a deep breath in… and exhale a cleansing sigh of relief. For in that moment you can be still. In that moment you can find peace. Stress and worry become distant, if only for a moment and you may even allow yourself to be comforted. It’s during times like these that we can feel, and possibly hear, God. You don’t have to seek a river to find this place. You can find it at home with a candle and soft music, or sitting in your backyard, or simply lying in your bed at night after everyone else is asleep.
 
We all have pain, disappointment, loss…. these are our sorrows. At times they just keep rolling in like massive waves upon the ocean (sea billows). Waves can be beautiful, but they can also be destructive. Some people have become great surfers of these waves, riding the curl only to narrowly escape the crash. This is a skill that takes years of practice. Being tumbled by billows can be painful and exhausting. This encourages the boarder to “stick it” and stay on that board with all their might. For when they do, they will coast safely to shore having conquered the wave. For some, the experience of being overtaken by a crashing wave was so devastating; they simply refuse to get back into the water.
 
Isn’t that really what a sea billow was meant to do?
 
Body surfers are all in. They enjoy the waves and are looking for a full bodied adventure. They can feel the water all around them as they glide in on the power of the water. They might get skinned knees as they scrape their way to the shore. Once in a while they may even get picked up and slammed on the beach by a wave that was bigger than they expected. Waves can tumble you end over end if you aren’t careful, leaving you choking and disoriented in the sand.
 
Isn’t that really what a sea billow was meant to do?
 
Sorrows are like sea billows. They will come. Jesus himself said these words: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart? I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV


The Lord will give you peace.
 
Psalm 29:11
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
 
The peace that God gives you is complete and whole and will protect you. You will feel His peace and it won’t make sense to you. Your circumstances may scream in the face of your peace, but you will be sheltered from the ravages of your storm.
 
Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
For some, your storm may be quieted. The rage abruptly halted. You may have the faith-building pleasure of witnessing a God-sized miracle. Jesus’ disciples witnessed many miracles. This particular one speaks to a storm on the sea.
 

Matthew 8:23-27 The Message (MSG)

Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!” 26 Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass. 27 The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!”
 
Some of us, however, will ride our billows. God has a purpose and a plan for everything under the sun. For you, in this storm, He may have chosen to let you ride. You may be a board surfer attempting to ride the wave to shore.  You may be a body surfer taking your chances full on in the water. But if you are called to weather any storm, then you must be able to experience the presence of God. You must find a place to “be still” and “be fully submitted” before Him. (Even a professional surfer needs to take time to rest and restore!) In God’s presence we find restoration and strength. In our weakness we find His power resting on our life.
 
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
 
I am BLESSED!! B-L-E-S-S-E-D I tell you! I have so MUCH to be thankful for and happy about. I have the JOY of the Lord, Who is my strength. Jesus has set me FREE and I live in His freedom! But let me also tell you friend, I have personal sea billows. My sea billows are different from yours, but they are no less painful. Sometimes I just need to sit at the still water’s edge and cry…. And wait for God, because He always comes. I can pour out my sorrows and He will pour out His lavish love and shelter me with His peace. I am restored and strengthened to pick up my sword and shield and carry on. Sometimes I need to come to the water’s edge to give Him thanks and praise. I can be silent in prayer or I can sing and worship Him. As I sing to Him, I know He sings over me. His word says that he does!
 
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
 
 
Would you like for peace like a river to come your way? Would you like to be able to say “It is well with my soul?” Come to the water’s edge. I can say that “it is well with my soul.” I know with a holy confidence that God has me. He has my life. My concerns are His concerns. My burdens are His burdens. My pain is healed in His name and nothing in my life is wasted when given back to Him for His glory.
 
You can choose what that looks like for you, but just come. I promise you that He will come too. Come and find your rest. Come and find your peace. Come and find your God.

Psalm 34:18 NLT

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Isaiah 59:1 NIV

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
 

Psalm 138:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength. 

Psalm 91:1

New International Version (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.


 

The Hymn:  It is Well, by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
 
1.    When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
o   Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
2.    Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
3.    My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
4.    For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
5.    But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
6.    And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
 
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