What Good is Prayer?

June 24, 2011

My last post, just prior to this one, was cross-posted on my blog on Open Salon.  It generated a respectful challenge from an individual who sees prayer as a waste of time and does not share my view of the very powerful and life changing . . . world changing impact prayer can have.  I truly believe we have a loving God who wants to shower us with His bountiful love and amazing blessings and that He loves us far to much to force His will on us.  I see our free will and not His lack of love being cause for the problems that my reader on the other blog saw as a challenge to the existance of a loving God and as evidence of the lack of power in praying. 

That being said, I did comment back to this person who has a different spiritual view from my own.  I would like to ask you, my readers and subscribers, to please share  your view on the power of prayer if you would.  I also invite and urge you to seek prayer partners and make prayer a part of your daily life.  We are interconnected and cannot change the world all by ourselves.  Together, we can do so  through the grace of the ever loving God I know and love.   Are you with me?


It’s All About Jesus!

June 23, 2011

 Okay, I was feeling down a moment ago and was having trouble praying about it.  Someone said things that were very hurtful – a troubled person, and I was the one she could let go of this with.  It wasn’t about me.  She needed to blame somebody for how she felt about herself, but regardless of that, it still hurt.   Sometimes when we hurt, coming up with words to pray for healing of the pain is hard and the best I can come up with is “Lord, help me” but I shot off an email to a prayer partner. 

The Lord works fast.  He just reminded me of what an amazing day the rest of it was.  Maybe you need a smile as much as I did.  This reminder that the Lord placed on my heart brought me back my joy.  Today was day 3 of our Vacation Bible School.  It’s an annual event which is prepared for all year and intensely worked on the week before.  We are also, here in Charleston SC having weather in the 100s and humid.  Weeee!  Even the children feel it.  So, imagine what a blessing it was to find a group of 91 children ranging in age from 3-10 singing at the top of their small lungs about loving Jesus.  They danced, they did hand motions, they brought CDs home to sing the songs at home with their families.  Some of those kids who just two days ago were shy and scared now ask to go to bed early so tomorrow will come faster and they can come back to VBS.  They don’t seem anxious to leave VBS and go home either.  The clearest and most exciting thing to see is that they love Jesus and they know Him and know He loves them.  We are called to have a childlike faith.  I’m glad to be part of the “leadership” of our VBS.  I’m learning a lot from those children!


Rough Day?

June 21, 2011

Hey, I woke up this morning and it was just one of “those” days.  Nothing specific went wrong.  Nobody really did anything to cause it to be a bad day, I was just in a funk for no clear reason.  Tossed and turned more than slept last night and why?  Because I was excited for today day to come!  Our church Vacation Bible School is this week and those kids are such bundles of noisy joyful abundance and I was so excited that life enabled me to be a part of the celebration of Jesus this week.  So, all that silly tossing about made for a tired and somewhat off start to the day.  I handled it well, though – NOT.  I drank coffee and rushed out.  Didn’t stop to pray nor did I even open the Bible and seek encouragement.  Not until I got home.  Finally, I did what I should have done in the first place! 

So, if you’ve had a funky Monday, here’s to a great M0nday night and Tuesday.  Here are some bits of joy and peace and His encouragement.  It’s the best kind!

 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
   for you saw my affliction
   and knew the anguish of my soul.   Psalm 31:7

I cry out to God Most High,
   to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
   rebuking those who hotly pursue me;
                         Selah

   God sends his love and his faithfulness.  Psalm 57:2-3

My soul finds rest in God alone;
   my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.   Psalm 62:1-2

 

 


Insomnia Cure?

June 19, 2011

Do you ever have trouble sleeping?  Okay, we have all had a rough night on occasion, but some of us can sometimes have a great deal of trouble sleeping.  I’m referring to what I call insomnia.  Sleeping pills, which I don’t care to use, have not helped on the rare times I’m tried them.  This morning at church we had a couple of friends of mine doing the two readings.  Gina read the Old Testament reading from Genesis which spoke at length of God’s creation of the “heavens and the earth” and she read the entire long piece of His day to day tasks completed, and how (not surprising) that on the seventh day He rested. 

That really got me thinking about sleep.  No, initially it got me thinking she was a wonderful wife since her husband read the New Testament lesson which was a tiny tiny one from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.  Getting back the my point though, I was thinking that sometimes in life when we foolishly think we have it all going on and take our focus off the Lord, we can be busy and tired and yet unable to really rest.  How much more at peace I find I am when I actually surrender myself to Him and focus on the work He has for me.  I bet God rested really well on that seventh day.  As Christ’s disciples in this world, we have much to do and speaking for myself, I sometimes become aware that I’ve missed opportunities to do His work by foolishly focusing on my own agenda.  My way doesn’t work.  I get busy and tired but cannot rest.  On the other hand, when I focus on Him, I find myself in situations I cannot control on my own.  He, when I ask, works through me and enables me.  I work harder than ever at those times and yet feel such peace!  Sounds contradictory, but it’s not as we Christians know.  I can’t recall a single time when I was absorbed in doing His will and suffered from insomnia.  Very interesting . . .


Kids! It’s Almost Time to Go!

June 19, 2011

I’m tired but smiling. Today was the “final” day to set up everything for our Vacation Bible School.   It was  crazy at church today and yes I admit a little less crazy would have been okay with me, but blessings abound like two little 6 year olds crying because “I told you we should have gotten here earlier Mom” having arrived too late to do things to help.  A fifteen year old girl who doesn’t attend our church was the second helper to arrive this morning and spent all day helping in every possible way.  As I mentioned in a previous post, her teacher in the local High School is a member of the parish and this lovely young girl found out about our VBS and wanted to help and has worked so hard for us and has been a joy to be with.  Again, she took on any task needed and quietly sang praise songs and worked away.  If I had a daughter, I’d be so happy if she was like this young girl.  

 One little boy who came to help today and who is maybe 4 has a learning disability – something in his brain, his mom said, causes him trouble.  He is just the cutest and has a bright smile that would melt your heart.  I suggested the kids (who were a bit bored) might like to lay out some small “surf boards” cut out of cardboard boxes onto drop cloths and just paint like crazy anyway they like?  His Mom was worried he’d be sure to mess up, but I assured her he couldn’t as surf boards could be painted any way he liked and would still be amazing and able to be used to decorate.  He did 2 of them and loved it.  Loved getting to wear a smock and crawl about the floor picking colors and he never mentioned a word about thinking he’d messed up.  It blessed me to see how happy he was.  At one point as he covered “everything up” with blue paint, he looked at me told me what he’d done and I replied “oh, that’s one of my favorite colors” and he then asked which the others were and we chatted about geckos and all my favorite colors. 

 It was a long day and at one point I did sneak off for a quiet walk in the hot sunny yard  to just be still for a a couple of minutes, but honestly it was the adults I was dodging and not the children.  One adult who was . . . well, I needed to walk away from for a minute I admit, came out and hugged me.  I told her simply “oh, I had a phone call on my cell.”  I think she believed me.   She has a good heart and wanted to help though wasn’t sure how to do that and wanted everything to be just so . . .  You know, there might be tape in funky places and things might not  be put back exactly as they should be, but regardless of what anyone on this side of heaven might think, Jesus loves the children and He doesn’t mind the disarray a bit.  I’m certain of it.  Come Monday morning when about 80-100 children race in all smiles and laughter for our week long VBS, He’ll be right there with them and will be smiling and laughing with them, and so will I.


For the Children

June 18, 2011
My church has Vacation Bible School this coming Monday, and today – Friday – was the first official “work day” for setting everything up.  Actually,  the preparation for this annual event started much earlier than today.  That being said, I simply must share my experience at church on this “first” day of setting everything up. 
 
Let me share what today was like for me.  It’s only my second involvement in VBS so my eyes are still fresh and the activities are not as familiar and well rehearsed to me as they are to some of the others on the team.  This is what I have experienced in viewing, listening, and participating in the preparations for our VBS.  We have a team of children, parents and grandparents and some who have no children but have love to give.  Our youngest helpers are 6 year old twin girls and work happily and respectfully, keeping busy and with no complaining, whining, or even yawning!  Okay, by 3:30 today (Friday) I was yawning. Not the twins.  I’ve had people call me to see if there was anything they could do to help and insist that I call if anything should come to me that they might do.  I’ve had others chat with me about how “outside their comfort zone” the project they were working on was and yet they took on more of it willingly and voluntarily.  I watched wall murals go from bargain priced bed sheets to art that will bring joy and laughter and learning to small children and these murals were created on the “honor” system by many hands who came during their free hours day and night, borrowed keys to get into the building if needed, and found brushes, paint, and whatever else was needed, found an unfinished (or not yet started) mural and just assessed the needs they could find and got to work.  I watched young and old take broken cardboard boxes, tin foil, paper plates, odd bits of scrap wood, remnants of fabric, and bits of fabric scraps, string, and plastic drop clothes and transform a fairly plain yet functional space into one that laughingly and happily is transforming before our eyes into a “beach bash” with Jesus.  I saw people with pain of one kind or another work through the pain because their heart was with the Lord and the children and the pain was less important.  I saw a crowd of high school students from Fort Dorchester High flock to the church multiple times to help paint, to help move heavy furniture, to decorate, and even to prepare things outside of St George’s and bring them in to add to the festivities – most of these are not kids from our parish, but students of one of our parish who excitedly wanted to help the children that their teacher was helping.   They are also going to perform skits to teach the children about Jesus.  I observed a young girl from this high school class sitting on our kitchen  floor, sore ankles and all, singing Christian comtempory songs to herself and painting a giant beachball onto a scrap of plywood and smiling all the while.  She came before her teacher got to the church and got right to work with the rest of us, never having met any of us before.  As it became late afternoon, a six year old with nothing to do got thirsty, heard an adult say “me too” and after I showed her where the ice was and handed her a scoop and placed a stack of plastic cups on the counter, she poured ice water for every single person she could find in the Christian education building. 
 
It is Friday and I write this jumble of words.  I am tired, I admit.  Like everyone, I’ve spent a lot of time running from place to place and shed to classroom, but it’s such a good tired.  I heard that tomorrow there would be so many more coming to help and I can’t wait to go back and be part of the group.  Regardless of how tired, hungry, or in pain some of the group will be during the day, nobody will give up until the transformation which has begun is complete as Vacation Bible School begins on Monday.  It’s all about Jesus.  Everyone wants to take part.  It’s also all about the children, but somehow I think that they are blessing us every bit as much as we are blessing them.  Next week will be wild, but I can’t wait for it to begin!  I am so thankful to be a part of it!  There is no telling what blessings are yet to be outpoured – Our Lord just never stops!
 
Stay tuned.  I’ll have more to share as it comes to pass!
 
 

Is Trusting in the Lord Enough?

June 15, 2011

Is Trusting in the Lord Enough?

 I found myself questing that earlier today.  Oh, not consciously, but truthfully that was what I was doing.  You see, I have a call from the Lord.  I’ve prayed about it, I’ve been prayed for about it, I’ve taken steps ahead in faith.  I’ve seen the face of Jesus and recognized His heart in total strangers that I’d never have met if I hadn’t followed where He was and is leading me.  However, there are some needs for provision in my life which are very real and feel rather immediate.  My heart’s desire is to follow where I believe He’s leading me.  I also feel as though I need to address the unmet need for provision.  This is not something which the direction of my call seems to be meeting.  My friends and family certainly do not support the path He’s leading me on.  So, I continue to pray and He continues to lead me in the direction I believed all along that He called me to.  However . . .

Oh, yes.  The big “however.”  I know that I need to trust Him.  I know that His ways are best.  I also know that while I’m fully dependant on Him, I also know that we are His body in this world and are interdependent on one another.  That being said, does the lack of support from those close to me tell me that I’m wrong?  Could it be that all the signs and wonders I’ve felt in my heart and soul, all of the messages I’ve received from Him, all of the blessings He’s bestowed . . .  could I have gotten all of that wrong?  Logic says yes.  Faith in Him says that while the lack of support from those close hurts, following Him even when nobody around me finds this to be a “good idea” is still the right thing to do.  This morning I pondered this.  I felt myself beginning to stress over it.  I tried to have some quiet time, but I was too distracted.   I tried to pray in my prayer language, but again was too distracted.  So, I went out to lunch.  As I paid attention to the road and cleared my mind of anything else, He spoke to me.  It amazes me how often He chooses this time, while I’m driving and focusing just on the traffic around me, to speak to my heart.  This is what He said:  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”  Proverbs 3:5.

God ALWAYS answers prayers.  He never holds back.  He answers swiftly.  He answers even when our heart and soul are doing the praying and not our will or intellect.  We do not always listen and thus we do not always hear.  He loves us so much that when a whisper is not heard He will speak louder.   I say this because I realized as I pulled into the driveway on the way home from lunch that this verse had been in my mind all the way home like a song you hear on the radio and just can’t get out of your mind.  That drives me crazy, but THIS brought me peace and answered my question.  Yes, trusting in the Lord IS enough.  He will take care of the rest.  Praise to You, Lord Christ.


If Sin is Popular . . .

June 13, 2011

are we to believe it’s no longer sin? 

Okay, relax.  This isn’t going to be one of those “I am perfect, what’s wrong with the rest of you” posts.  I am not perfect.  Only Christ is perfect, but I’ve seen one too many news stories on TV, in magazines, and on the front page of newspapers promoting sin.  Oh, they don’t call it that.  In  fact they loudly speak of how “dreadful” what a certain famous person did is.  They claim to be shocked and dismayed that he (or sometimes she in other like stories) could ever do such a thing . . . yet, the same “sin” is repeatedly and in great detail spoken of on and in all these media and I’ve noticed the smiles on the faces and the gleam in the eyes of those reporting on television and also the earning potential that seems to be recognized by promoting sin and I’m thinking the heart warming stories of those who’ve gone the extra mile to follow the will of the Lord get a lot of people excited as well.  They don’t make the front page, they are said in the last 5 minutes or the last 60 seconds of the news broadcast, and so on.  The actions of folks we claim to be upset over, however, are on the top of every list of news to share, to discuss at length, and to repeat at every opportunity. 

We claim to want to change the world.  We claim life isn’t “what it used to be” and that some things are “just wrong.”  We are to blame for the mess we’re in.  We are the reason life is what it is, and we truly can change the world.  It begins with one step in the right direction, with one smile, one open heart, one resisting evil . . . who is the Lord of your life?  Is it Jesus?  Can people tell by your actions?  I do not know if I’m reflecting Him the way I should be in a way that “they’ll know” but I hope so and I pray that I do.


Quilts Quilts Quilts – Christian Themed Wall Art

June 13, 2011

I’m designing a series of Christian themed/inspired wall hanging quilts.  I envision them being used to illustrate the book(s) I’m writing, potentially being photographed and printed on notecards, produced as prints to sell, etc., but more on that when He reveals it as his plan is best.  Here is a peek at some of my collection:

This wall hanging was a gift for a friend.  I designed, pieced and quilted it.

I love stained glass windows.  This is another example of my own quilting and piecing.

 

More from the series I’m designing

More stined glass inspired quilting

 


Perspective: Sonshine Versus Sunshine

June 13, 2011

So, I’m thinking that there’s Sonshine and sunshine. Both leave me breathless, and make me hot and sweaty, and lead to an intense desire to curl up and rest in the experience. Thing is, one makes me then fall asleep while the other has my soul dancing and my face almost hurting from the smile that just won’t go away and leaves me torn between the desire to curl up with Him or run out and tell the whole world because this is too great to keep to myself! It’s been an amazing day! You know what else? He has a purpose for me and I am starting catch on – it’s has everything to do with how I feel right now. The fog is starting to clear, the purpose is starting to show itself, now to just get a handle on the execution of the plan! I am, however, walking in darkness but heading toward the light! Interesting thing, too, is that as I stumble along on the path, it becomes more and more apparent that I have an inner source of light and sharing it makes it shine brighter!  I don’t have to journey alone, either.  Anybody want to come?  Oh, how He loves me – know what else?  He feels the same way about you!


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