Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's in a Name?

A name is not merely a word to reference things. A name is an identity, and as much as some would like to believe it "is only a name", it is a definition, a blessing, or a curse. Something to live with or live in spite of. A name can alter one's life drastically.

Change Miss to Mrs, and see the hope in a woman's eyes.
Change Mrs to Miss, and see tears pool as loss and grief spill from the heart.
Change Stranger to Son, and you have the story of salvation. If that doesn't change a life, nothing will.
See a child named Stupid, Ugly, or Unwanted and witness the impact of such names. Change those names to Creative, Beautiful, and Beloved and watch a miracle grow before your very eyes.

A name can be everything.

About a month ago, our family had to deal with the imposing of a name.

My husband and I have been married 17+ years. He is a wonderful man. Most women I know would love to have a husband like him, and I understand why. He is a fabulous dad. He is generous, kind, has a servant's heart. He doesn't go to bars, doesn't drink, doesn't gamble, doesn't do drugs. He is faithful and trustworthy. He truly is wonderful.

He's also confusing.

Despite the wonderfulness of my husband, he has an odd inconsistency about him, and over the years I have sought counsel from multiple church leaders, women's mentors, all kinds of Christian sources. For the most part, I was told it was my fault. I was too demanding. I was too negatively focused. I just refused to see the good thing I have. I just didn't want to follow. I needed to repent of being too headstrong. You get the idea.

My general thought has always been that it is hard to follow someone who walks sort of a messed up drunkard's path. I always felt I was standing on sand that could change at a moment's notice. Not Rob's character, but his thinking, what had his interest, and what was important.

He would assure me he supported something I wanted to do and then seemingly sabotage it by putting in so many other things it became impossible for me to whatever it was. I could go and on, and as most of you read it, you would see each puzzle piece and give it an explanation and dismiss it. I know because it has happened to me for 17 years. However, my friend Debra listened as I explained all the puzzle pieces that had finally grown to the size of Mt. Everest, and she new the real name of the mountain. The real name is Asperger's.

Asperger's is a form of autism. It isn't like most of us think of when we think "autism". Most of us think of children locked in their minds unable to talk, respond, or function alone. Asperger's doesn't fit the classic picture at all, which often makes it hard to identify.

Asperger's is often found in geniuses. It has nothing at all to do with intellectual ability. It does affect emotional and social ability. Imagine someone with an IQ in the genius level who gets "stuck" with the social and emotional maturity of a teenager. Imagine the things that characterize teenagers: the impulsivity, being driven by gratification, the emotional maturity, the short-sighted thinking, only see the details without seeing the big picture--like the consequences (the trees but never seeing the forest), inability to see others' point of view, inability to empathize. Now, imagine adults capable of doing adult things, having adult lives, but still think and respond as teenagers. Now, think about being married to one of them.

While it is true that having a name for our insanity is helpful. It says that under the circumstances, we are normal. It also means we are doing really well. 80% of Aspie marriages end in divorce (thus, we are thankful for the 20%). It means nothing I could have done in the last 17+ years would have helped Rob respond differently. It took a lot of guilt and responsibility off me and hopefully him.

It also means Rob isn't simply being insensitive and will one day get a clue. It means all the things he has done for 17 years that has broken my heart he will most likely continue to do because he still won't know better. Try that realization on from the side of a man who wants to be a great husband and from the side of a woman who simply hoped for another adult to help carry the load and be her support. There are no words for the sense of grief that washes over you at that moment.

It's just a name. Nothing has changed. And yet, everything is different.

There is no cure, and if you read most articles about Asperger's, it'll leave you horribly depressed and hopeless because it points out that there is nothing you can do. Thankfully, we are not ones to care about what we can and cannot do. Instead, we care about what God can do and what He wants to do in and through us.

We believe He can accomplish His plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future, plans to do us good and not harm.
We believe He can be glorified in our hearts and our marriage.
We believe He can give us strategies to not just survive but to flourish.
We believe Asperger's was defeated on the cross, and we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.
We believe He can use us to show others that Asperger's is not a death sentence but just another mountain that offers a great view from the top.

Yes, a name changes things. Sometimes the changes seem bigger than us, but no matter what name gets thrown at us, we are sure that the name of Jesus never changes, and that is what changes everything.
Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jericho's Walls

This is the 100th post on my Jerri Phillips blog. How wonderfully appropriate that it would deal with healing and the fall of the enemy!!!

As some of you may remember, back in February, I had symptoms indicative of a heart attack and went through a battery of tests. Thankfully, there was no heart attack. However, we were shocked when I was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. The Lord poured peace out on us, though, and we trusted Him to handle it. I watched my blood pressure, and really, there was nothing more I could do. It was up to the Lord.

A week ago Friday, I had my repeat echocardiogram to see if there were any change. Friday I went in for the results.

In short, he said it had not changed. The echo showed my left ventricle wall was thickened. The doctor asked me about my blood pressure, which is fabulous. He asked why it was elevated at his office, and I gave my explanation (it was not done with the correct protocol, but if he wanted to use the correct protocol, it would be fine). He agreed my explanation would truly explain it. Then we got into serious discussion about why the wall was thick, and we discussed my workout routine. Rob and I play tennis 3 times a week, and I walk 20-25 minutes every morning (yes, EVERY morning), and I do toning exercises every (yes, every) day. He said that could explain the thickness.

Then I brought up my bigger concern. When the nurse called in February, she said the wall was “significantly thickened”, but when the nurse called Tuesday, she said it was “slightly thickened”. There seems to be a large difference between “significant” and “slight” in my mind, so I was disappointed that there was no change. He decided to pull up the results so I could see the numbers, and he could explain better.

For those who like numbers:
Outside wall went from 1.3 to 1.1.
Septum wall sent from 1.2 to 1.0
(stuff I don't remember) 4.3 to 4.8

Those looked good to me, but then, there was a huge jump in the next number. He was quiet a moment and then said, “Uh, I have to change what I said. Your heart is a lot better. The thickness measurements have dropped, and the volume your heart is pumping has increased. Your heart is doing great. And after comparing these, I would say had I known your exercise routine and then looked at your latest results, I would say they were normal. Your heart is what it should be for your exercise load.”

I just said, “Thank the Lord.”

I asked when I needed to drop back in or have another echo, and he said, “For what? There’s nothing to check. You’re fine.”

Isn’t God absolutely amazing???!!!!!!!

So as you celebrate the season of Christmas and God’s gift of Jesus, celebrate with us this gift of healing that the Lord has given, too.
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gratitude 10--Finding My Way Back

When I posted about my shoulder on November 17th, I knew it might take quite a bit of time before I was able to post again. The pain I experienced was unbearable, and I knew a great deal of healing had to occur before I would be able to write again.

I had no idea that the return would be delayed further by emotional pain that at times would feel utterly unbearable and would require healing before I could write again.

As I sit to write this, I feel as though I am learning to walk again. Perhaps that is because I am. A different path has been laid out before me. To the casual observer, it might look like the same one, but to those who have walked here or have walked with me, it is obvious the path I thought I was one is merely a mirage. This one is laiden with landmines, heartache, and questions. Some days the very thought of it leaves me overwhelmed and heart broken beyond words. Other days, a determination to believe in the promises the Lord has repeatedly given forces me to keep moving. And on other, days that are coming more and more often, an excitement that this journey is not one of loss but one of joy, victory, and prosperity propels me forward with an anticipation that only God himself could put in my heart. It is on those days that I know we will not merely survive, but we will flourish, and we will teach others to flourish as well. The question then becomes how to walk this road, not the one I thought I was on or the one I hoped for, but this one. I confess that I don't know. I am learning.

My writing has always been about my journey, and with a new journey and learning to walk it, I find myself learning to write again as well.

On one hand, it is tempting to simply write as though as were well and nothing had changed. I could do that. I know how to perform well. I am quite adept of presenting a lie. I've done it for many years.

On the other hand, I am shakey as to what to say or how much to explain at this point. And frankly, I'm tired of the clouds that have settled over us for the last month. I am ready to see some sunshine, and the fastest road through the clouds is not denial, but gratitude. It doesn't fix things, but it certainly does wonders for one's hope during the journey. And so, I offer thanks.

Thank you God in Heaven...
1. For your forgiveness when I blow it huge.
2. For not walking away when I get mad and ask why.
3. For catching every tear and sitting with me as I cry.
4. For folks who say, "Yep, it's that hard."
5. For your faithfulness.
6. For your promises that are always yes and amen in you.
7. For being with us in the middle of the night when sleep eludes us.
8. For giving different kinds of "crazy" specific names.
9. For friends who pray fervently and love deeply.
10. For strategies to overcome.
11. For the determination to watch the enemy fall under our feet.
12. For the conviction that we can overcome and teach others to overcome as well.
13. For Debra who wouldn't let me be in denial. :-)
14. For people who prayed when all I could do was cry.
15. For laughter.
16. For Christmas.
17. For children who love this time of year.
18. For the 4th Writers, who offer grace.
19. For Mary B, who calls in reinforcements.
20. For Vicki, who googles and arms herself so she can stand with me.
21. For whoever had the great idea to put lotion in Kleenex.
22. That Anna's pathology came back with "Benign" on it.
23. That Robert's foot wasn't broken.
24. For Christmas songs that we can turn up really loud and sing to--even louder, of course.
25. That you never waiver.
26. For the hard times.
27. For the easy times.
28. For Christmas lights that transport us beyond...
29. For 60 dozen cookies that went to our soldiers in Iraq, and all the women who made them.
30. For peace.
31. For the 20%.
32. For knowing where I am and being with me...even when I feel I am having to find my way back.
Monday, November 17, 2008

Injured Reserve

Good morning!

I am making a quick post to let y'all know I will be mostly offline for a week or two due to a shoulder injury. Typing is extremely painful, and it is prohibiting my healing, so I need to spend as little time online as possible.

Feel free to leave comments or email me. Rob is going to help me check messages. Just know responses will be extremely short or even delayed until I can reply without pain.

As always, prayers for healing are desired!

Blessings and health to you and yours!
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gratitude 9 -- Rob, The Man of my Dreams, part 1

Notice I said "part 1". I hardly think I could list all the things about Rob for which I am thankful, and even if I listed everything that came to mind today, tomorrow I might have a whole new list. That is one of the wonderful things about gratitude, it is ever seemingly redefining itself when in truth it has only set itself against a new background that highlights yet another piece of its glorious countenance.

Such is also true for my husband.

So, here, today, on a chilly Sunday morning in North Texas as our daughter, who has a head cold, sleeps on the couch and The Man of my Dreams sleeps snuggled up in our bed--this is my list of gratitude with such a backdrop.

1. He hears Anna sniffle from her room and can't sleep through it.
2. He jumps on the trampoline with the children.
3. He plays computer games with the children.
4. He will watch chick flicks without grumbling.
5. He writes down Anna's medicine schedule so I don't give meds at the wrong time.
6. He never accuses me of having the easy job.
7. He thinks tickling little boys is hysterical fun, and since the little boy in our house agrees, it works.
8. He thinks sitting in the recliner reading a book while a stuffy little girl reads on the couch is just what a daddy should do.
9. He knows where the vaporizer is and how to set it up.
10. He turns on the small fan in our bedroom and closes the door so I don't hear the sniffling, coughing, sneezing, and prep work coming from the rest of the house.
11. He will sit and watch as many videos as the children desire and never complain about boredom.
12. He always finds something to color on that blank piece of paper so we can all gather round for "non-demanding" family time.
13. He always has the energy to go get a fountain drink from Sonic to help break up congestion.
14. If you'll eat it, he'll make it or get it for you.
15. He snuggles.
16. If the video store is open, he'll get whatever you want to watch.
17. He doesn't fuss about how tired he is.
18. No matter how sick you are, he'll still kiss you on the forehead and smile at you.
19. His laughter is good medicine.
20. He never grumbles about being needed so much.
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pray for America

This election has made me realize more than ever the importance of Christians actively obeying the Lord to bring about godly results in our nation.

One of the most obvious and too often forgotten acts of obedience is prayer. How much difference can prayer make? All the difference.

Zechariah 4:6 says, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. " The Lord is telling a king that the battle is not determined by physical presence or ability but rather by the move of God.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Where is the healing to be found? Not in a political platform. Not in a government program. Not in a court judment. But in the humbling of hearts before God and the outcry of need for His lordship.

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing." --1 Timothy 2:1-6, 8

Notice Paul doesn't say to pray for just the godly leaders but all those in authority, every level, evey leader. Notice also that Paul never says, "It pleases God when these leaders make the right laws or form the right programs." No, Paul says God "wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." It is easy to pray for specific issues, but the real issue is the lordship of these leaders. If they are walking with the Lord and receiving revelation from and about Him, the symptomatic issues won't be issues.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. -- Colossians 1:9

To help focus prayer for the United States and her leaders, I have created a new blog entitled simply Pray for America. I hope you come by often. If you want us to pray for the leaders in your area, send me an email via my profile.

We stand at an amazing point in American history. We have the opportunity to not only heal our heritage but to also reclaim our godly inheritance that previous generations either did not understand or simply did not value. We have the power to make a difference in our country.

We have the power of prayer.

Let us use that power with boldness and passion, ever seeking the Lord in praise and humility for His goodness.
Friday, November 14, 2008

Prayer for President-Elect Obama

I read an article a few minutes ago that makes my stomach hurt. Simply put, president-elect Obama has had more personal threats made toward him than any president in history, and it isn't about ideology or political affiliation. It is because he is African-American.

Dear ones, I am asking you to pray for president-elect Obama and his family. Pray for his secret service officials to have wisdom. Pray for a healing in America.

This is not about politics, folks. This is about heartborn hatred, and nothing less.

We need healing in America.

And whether you agree or disagree with the man's philosophies, the Bible says clearly to pray for our leaders. Right now, one of our leaders and his family face very real dangers, and they need our prayers.

Gratitude 8 -- 6:00 am

Most folks are thankful to sleep through 6:00 am. Sometimes I am, too, but on this particular morning as I sat on my deck, I was thankful to be awake because I'm thankful for the wonderful things 6:00 am brings with it. Such as:

1. The quiet in the house.
2. Two sleeping little ones and a sleeping hubby.
3. The smell of coffee.
4. The birds waking up.
5. Squirrels chattering away.
6. No traffic.
7. Needing--and having--a blanket to wrap up in.
8. Fred, our Lab experiment, sitting close by.
9. My rocking chair.
10. The sun splashing into our backyard.
11. Prayer time.
12. God, who is always there waiting...
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gratitude 7--Fall

I love fall. I love the whole woner of it. There is something amazingly peaceful about fall, like settling down for a long sleep after a hectic day, and who isn't thankful for that?

But there's more. I have other reasons I am thankful for fall, including...

1. The acoustical joy of walking across the blanket of brown leaves in our front yard.
2. The bright red leaves that fall from our neighbor's tree and mix with the brown oak leaves that carpet our yard.
3. Cooler days.
4. Chilly nights.
5. Sleeping bags when we camp out...even when it is only in the backyard.
6. Cozy jackets.
7. Having lunch outside and not sweating.
8. The spindly arms of trees as they slip out of their spring and summer garments and drop them at their feet.
9. Mums.
10. Long walks any time of day.
11. Keeping the windows open.
12. The explosion of colorful leaves. We've missed those some this year in Texas, but some years it is like fireworks just above our heads.
13. Warm blankets to wrap in when I have my quiet time on the deck.
14. Apple cider.
15. Pumpkins.
16. Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 10, 2008

Gratitude 6--Headcolds

No, I'm not thankful for headcolds. However, when I have a headcold, there are things which normally get overlooked or taken for granted that suddenly evoke immense gratitude.

Some such things include:

1. Hot fluids to drink.
2. Sonic cokes. I have no medical reason, but the fizz helps my head.
3. Sweats.
4. Hoodie jackets
5. Fuzzy slippers
6. Ibuprofen
7. Recliners to sleep in so I can breathe and my ears don't hurt
8. Hot water bottles
9 Steamy bathrooms
10. Electric blankets
11. Soft quilts
12. My mom's chicken and dumplin's. Life simply doesn't get much better than that, folks.
13. Good chickflicks so I can stare mindlessly and not think.
14. Snuggly hubby.
15. Prayers of others
16. The knowledge it will pass
17. Kind emails, phone calls, and cards
18. Lap throws that were given to me by students in my signing choir
19. Humidifiers, vaporizers, and moisture in the air
20. Mashed potatoes
21. My husband's stepdad's gumbo. No, it isn't quite up there with the chicken and dumplin's, but it ambrosia, folks.
22. Cool wash cloths
23. Massagers that vibrate on my cheeks and foreheads to break up the gunk in them
24. Lotion endowed Kleenex
25. A cozy bed
26. A soft pillow, lots of them stacked up.
27. Naps
28. That my children are old enough to let me take a nap.
29. Apple cider, made with real cinnamon sticks and a bag of spices. Oh, yeah...
30. That my children don't have it
31. My husband can cook
32. Silence

Never realized how grateful being sick could make me.

Isn't God so good?

Here's hoping my headcold makes you grateful you don't have one. :-)
Friday, November 7, 2008

A Whole Response to the Election

Election 2008 Realities
By Jerri Phillips

In the last three days I have received numerous emails from friends concerning the results of the presidential election. Some of stated their feeling of grief, disgust, discouragement, and a range of other emotions. A few friends have stated they have been blessed with peace. All have questions.

In answer to these questions, emails from well-known speakers, leaders, and prophets are zipping through the internet and finding their way to thousands, if not millions, of email boxes across America and maybe even the world. Unfortunately, I think most of these letters only address one aspect of the election. They look back and ask what happened. We need to know. It is imperative to learn from past mistakes lest we repeat them. However, the other half of the issue is rarely considered. That being, what do we do now? If we do not have that answer, we will fail just as miserably the next time. And it is my opinion that spiritual maturity and understanding of God’s strategy and character to reveal His truth and wholeness makes it impossible to separate the necessity of the two questions.

What Happened?

1. The first question I asked the Lord was, “Were we to do more? Did we miss something? Was there a strategy that was ignored or not released?” I believe the Lord said the Remnant was strong. We were not perfect, but we were strong, and He honors that. Unfortunately, the Remnant cannot prevent the choices of the nation as a whole. Repeatedly in the Old Testament the Lord allowed the nation of Israel to go into exile and experience judgment despite the Remnant. The Remnant was blessed, and in fact, in some cases given extreme favor so that they could do the Lord’s bidding. Nehemiah and Jeremiah were two examples of favor during times of judgment.

2. The fact is the church, as a whole, handed this election away. That is not judgment. It is merely fact. There are enough Christians that had we all voted righteously, this election would have turned toward God. However, the church has fallen down at its post. Either fear of losing money or being persecuted has caused the church to grow apathetic on strong teaching. A doctrine of righteousness has been set aside for a palatable teaching of humanism. When the church refuses to address the sins of homosexuality and abortion as absolutes, conviction of “lesser sins” falls to the wayside as well.

The simple fact is, the church is not teaching righteousness as a lifestyle, and the nation is paying for it.

3. Demographics say the population that turned the tide were the people in and right around their 20s. This tells me we have an entire generation with no clear moral or spiritual compass. When clear truth is not taught, lies are given room to flourish. We will now reap the fruit of flourishing lies.

4. The church is too short-sighted. We cannot think that we can fast for a month every four years and turn this nation toward God. That is even more naïve than thinking Christianity is a Sunday lifestyle. Both are roads to hell. And yet, the short-sightedness is not being addressed in the church.

We are in danger now, not just because we lost a war for president but because we have not been fighting the ward for the House or the Senate. We have not been fighting the war for our state and local governments. Had we not lost the House and Senate in the last elections, would Barack Obama have as much power as he does now? Perhaps, but at least there would be road blocks in the way to slow him down or prevent some of the devastation he has planned for our country. We have got to stop being naïve and believing we can rush to the battle lines when the enemy is at the gate. We have to stop thinking defensively and start thinking offensively. We have to see that the governors or senators who have no fear of God today could be our president in 8 or 12 years. The church cannot afford to sit naively by hoping for disaster to pass. The Passover was an event of action, not passivity, but the church seems to think if we all smile and think happy thoughts we will be protected. We are wrong.

We must have a larger vision and a long-term strategy.

What now?

1. We must refuse the apathy that comes with the clichés the church likes to toss around. “God is still on His throne.” Yes. “God is not shocked.” No. However, God was on His throne when He told Israel to take the Promised Land with strategies of war, some were physical, some not. God was on His throne when David fought viciously against the enemies of God. Being a Christian is not a passivity that waits for God to toss good things in our laps. Being a Christian is an active lifestyle that understands warriors do not stand around wearing an armor of God (Ephesians 6) but rather uses that armor to advance the Kingdom of God.

Apathy is what got us here in the first place. Let us not be fooled into thinking it will get us out.

2. We lost a battle, but we need to learn from what happened.

There is an entire generation of people who have no moral or spiritual compass.
There are people in the church who do not understand the precepts of blesses and curses. They do not understand that God is the one who blesses, not a politician.
We cannot afford to wait and whine another four years and do nothing.

Yes, we lost this battle huge. However, we can learn the strategies of the enemy and turn them back on him. We have to think war-oriented thoughts, not battle thoughts.

3. We need to seek the Lord on the strategy now. No one will convince me the outcome of this election was God’s will, and no one will convince me it is hopeless either. We have a hard battle ahead. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise. However, we also have a battle tested King, who has a strategy for the Kingdom. We need to ask Him what our part is and do it. It is not enough to know the strategy. We must be obedient, and it cannot be only during the election. It must be everyday of our lives. The war for this election wasn’t only lost in 2007 and 2008. It was lost on many battlefields. It was lost:
--when the church did not stand against a young man who would be known as the most liberal senator in the nation.
--when a liberal president forced banks to make loans that were errant.
--when leaders in the financial area of America were allowed to act at will rather than being laid on the Lord’s altar in prayer.
--when the Senate and Congress were given over to liberal leaders rather than righteous ones

Make no mistake. This is not about a political party. This is about righteous that has fallen under foot of humanistic thinking that promises promotion and prosperity without responsibility. How do we stand against that?

How do we turn the hearts or our governing bodies to God?
How do we turn the hearts of our church goers to God?
How do we reach the lost generations?

What is the Lord’s strategy for dealing with these issues and others that we may not realize?

I have said in many of my emails that I am not shaken. I’m not. My faith in God is not shaken. My faith in His character I not shaken. All this has done is make me more determined. It has given me greater focus and clearer vision. It has revealed the vessels of the enemy, and allowed me to see him more clearly. I believe my God will use this for his downfall, not his glory. As a warrior for the army of God, I have not stood down, and I will not. I encourage you to be of the same mind.

We lost this battle. However, it is not time to slink away and hide in shame. It is time to go before the King and ask, “What now?” and do it.

Stand strong, warriors.

Blessings,

Jerri Phillips
www.jerriphillips.net


Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Caleb Friends

Robin left a comment asking what a Caleb Friend is.

A Caleb Friend is
...one who believes the impossible with you.

These friends are the ones who believe the Lord will give you the Promised Land--whatever that is promised to you by Him--no matter how big the giants are that stand in your way.

They have a different spirit about them, one of simple faith and undaunted passion.

These are the ones who jerk you up by your collar and shake you out of your pity party. They are the ones who stand over you when your heart is broken and you would rather walk off the battle field than stay there.

They are the ones who don't quit--even when you wish they would.

And when you cry, they hand you a few kleenex, listen patiently, and then say, "Okay, so the bully pushed you. Stop whimpering and go kick its butt. Your Daddy's bigger than it is."

Their phones work and are answered all hours of the night.

They rejoice in your victories.

They are not competitive but know you both have promises of God, and they will stand fast to help you realize yours.

They are the ones you want with you when you go into battle because they know Who controls the battle.

They are the ones who see the best in you and don't let you forget who you really are.

They are priceless...

Gratitude 5--Sunshine in the Midst of the Storm

Storms happen. It is easy to get caught up in the blustery wind and pyrotechnic display and forget the blessing of the rain puddles that call us to dance, splash, and laugh.

Today, I invite you to join me in a few puddles for which I am grateful:
1. Tennis--or some very untrained version thereof
2. Being a Sheep--Are you feeling sheepish?
3. For permanent markers so I can write on my forehead.
4. That my pants are getting too big.
5. That the scale finally acknowledged what my pants have been telling me for over a week now.
6. Caleb friends
7. Showers where the temperature is adjustable. Sometimes any shower is good. When I helped drill water wells, showers were good period, but last night, a warm shower was good.
8. Ibuprofen.
9. Comfortable tennis shoes.
10. For friends who laugh with me and aren't afraid to laugh at me

Feeling Sheepish

Yesterday my friend Debra posted a wonderful post--two of them actually--but one in particular helped me get refocused. It's title is "I Am A Sheep".

Her next post was perfectly focused, THE Shepherd.

Flock on over and read them both. :-)

Then I got inspired and wrote my own version of Psalm 23 as a comment. I hope it bless you if you, like some of the rest of us, are feeling sheepish right now.

--From this small sheep

Psalm 23
(as it has meaning in my life today)

The Lord is my Shepherd, and He provides me with everything I need.

He gives me rest in abundant places that are soft and gentle to my weary body. He leads me beside waters that refresh my soul without my being overcome.

He restores the very core of who I am and holds together my trust in Him. He leads me in the paths that are right and merciful because He is the perfect Shepherd and can do nothing less.

Even though I walk through dark places that I wish I could avoid, I do not fear the outcome or what might come my way because you are with me and make your presence known to me. Your rod and staff lead me to safe places and protect me from my own wandering ways. You are ever vigilant, and the enemy cannot reach me.

Nothing keeps you from meeting my needs and providing for me perfectly.

Surely your goodness and mercy will stay with me and you will hem me in by going before me and behind me all the days of my life, and I will be blessed with your presence always.

--personal paraphrase by Jerri Phillips
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Peace

This morning Debra and I talked, as we do nearly everyday, and she aked me if I noticed a difference in the atmosphere, like the tension and darkness had dissipated. I knew what she meant.

Leading up to this election, I have been in my prayer place early each morning, often spending 30 minutes or more praying for the election alone. I did not know how I would respond with these results. I responded differently than I expected. I thought I might grieve, crawl back in bed, at least cry uncontrollably for a bit. Instead, I looked at the results, thanked the Lord that He is maturing His army, and asked, "Now what?"

It seems rather simplistic, I suppose, and as I have received a myriad of emials from this well-known leader and that one, I realize they only use several paragraphs to say what I said in a few sentences--Well, that wasn't what I wanted, but I trust my God to handle it anyway. Now, I just need to listen to His voice and follow.

My job has not changed. My focus has not changed. My enemy had not changed. But most importantly, my God has not changed. And in that alone is my peace.

As is obvious from my post Gratitude 4, I am walking through a fire I never expected and have tried desperately to prevent for a long time. It was my own naivete' that said I could fix the problems that have brought me to this place. I could not even fix the symptoms little less affect the issues. In fact, if I am truly honest, I quite possibly made things worse in an effort to avoid the fall out that had to come.

And, no, I can't go into detail, and, yes, I am aware the people's minds roam and imaginations happen. I can't help that unless I choose to hide, and honestly, I'm tired of hiding. I don't see the benefit in it. It does not fix my problems, and it offers no glory to God. Rather the glory goes to God when we are honest about our desperation and need and others see Him meet us right where we are.

Where I am is a painful place with a lot of questions. And yet, I am in peace.

Why? Because God meets me where I am, and in Him is peace.

Peace is not a state of denial but a state of Truth.

It is the truth that God loves me and is with me. The truth is the desert is a place of purpose, not abandonment. The truth is He is not surprised and has been working to bring the ick to the surface so He can address it with the only touch that will make a difference--His own. The truth is...things that look overwhelming and crazy somehow come out making perfectly good sense when He is finished. The truth is I wouldn't have chosen this path because it looks so stinking hard, but He chose it because it is the easiest and most merciful.

The truth is God is God, and even when the waves loom high and big, He speaks peace.

God's Word is the Only One that Matters

Last night when I arrived home from my small group, I saw the news that Obama was voted in as President. I don't know that I can articulate the conversation the Lord and I had. It doesn't really matter anyway because He reminded me of a vision and word He gave me months ago. I shared it with a few friends then, and I share it with you now because I think it is pertinent and will encourage some of you.

As I was praying over the Democratic choice of candidates, He gave me a word for Hilary and told me how to pray for her. He also gave me a vision for Obama.

First, the Lord said the leadership of this country goes the way of the prayers of this country. Folks, that puts the power back in our hands.

Second, I saw Obama walking down one road, and the road forked. He took the right fork.

Did you get that? He took THE RIGHT fork. Our prayers or lack thereof determine the path of the king because our prayers and our faith release the power of the the KING.

I know it is easy to see this as chaotic, a defeat, and mortifying. I have said it before, and I will say it again, God is bigger than Barack Obama. The army that stands with us is greater than the army that stands against us. We are not defeated. We may not like the giant that stands before us, but it will still fall if we are faithful to stand in our authority.

I want to leave you with one last thought.

The Lord said the real warriors are the ones that stand—not because it looks like they’ll win—but because they believe in their cause too much to accept losing.

Keep standing.

Refusing to stand down,
Jerri
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gratitude 4--In the Darkness

When life is rosey and all is well, it is easy to be thankful. Gratitude often gets lost in falling in tears. However, even in the darkness, the goodness of God shines. Even in my darkness, I am grateful...

1. That broken hearts heal.
2. That Truth is still truth no matter how the circumstances look.
3. That His plans are good, and no matter what happens He can do great things with it.
4. That His love for me isn't dependent on my "keeping it together" and walking through this perfectly.
5. For people who have walked this road before me and stand along the way with an encouraging word, large hug, and a tear on their cheek, too.
6. For people who say, "Yeah, it is hell." And they don't minimize how hard it is.
7. For warriors who stand over me when I'm eating dirt on my knees trying to get my footing again.
8. For the ability to pray.
9. For friends who
--hug me while I cry,
--immediately get off the phone with one look at my face as I stand at their door late at night,
--pick up the phone when they've already fallen asleep,
--tell me it's going to be okay...and believe it
10. That God can restore anything.
11. For the faith that God has it under control and it really will be okay.
12. For the peace that this may not be what I expected, but God is not at all surprised.
13. That I can still sleep well knowing I'm a beloved daughte of the King, who is her Father's delight and the joy of His heart.

Prophetic Words the Lord Had Me Pray over Different States

The Lord gave me words to pray over different states today.

Florida—Come forth righteous tribes of Christ

Georgia—Peach State, produce fruits of the Spirit, be resplendent with them

South Carolina—You are no longer “below” anyone. You are not beneath. You are exalted. Come up to the heavens and sit with the King

North Carolina—You are not what people have said you are. You no longer have to live under those curses. Stand up in your true identity that the Lord declares over you.

Virginia—I looked at the map and one side of Virginia has mountains while the other doesn’t, and the Lord said, “No longer be divided. Be equals and with equal authority and passion take the hand of the instrument of my purposes.”

West Virginia—Mighty Mountaineers, this is the time to look to the mountains from whence comes your strength.

Michigan—The “thumb” of the US. You are an opposable thumb. Oppose the enemy. Oppose the one who wants to steal from you. Oppose the one who would destroy you. Oppose all the lies of the enemy.

Missouri—Let the Big River of the Spirit flow through you.

Ohio—Farmers, break up your fallowed ground and sow righteousness. You will be blessed in your wombs…in your fields…in your lifestock. Problems you are seeing in your climate that is preventing strong harvests will be broken and you will bring forth a harvest that can only be of the Lord

Illinois—There is much to come from you. Creativity abounds in you. Innovation is your gift. You will bring forth such things that the United States will look at you and say, “This is from Illinois?” They expect little from you, but I know who you really are and what lies within you.

Arkansas—You are known for being centered around a Little Rock. Now be centered around the boulder of my truth. I can build great things with Little Rocks. Many doubt your heritage and family lines, but I say I will bless you until all around you will be amazed at the blessings that pour forth from you and the good things that come from you.

Iowa—Swing State—swing wide the gates of heaven that the King may come in.

Colorado—My rain and snow go forth in season to bring about what I desire, to bring about a harvest. Receive the harvest. Turn to me. CLING TO MY WORDS that cannot return void, and see what I do for you.

Nevada—You are always seeking water. How to control it. How to have more of it. Turn to me and receive the never ending water. You cannot receive what you need through the economy of men. Come to me and get what man’s money can’t buy you and see if I do not give you more than enough in all areas.

Idaho—You have been known for producing a staple food. I want to be your staple food. Some of you have received me on occasion, but you are still hungry. I want to be your everyday food.

New Mexico—Some of your ancestors have touched me. They have known me in small amounts. You are hungry for the mysteries—the mysteries are Christ. Come forth that I may pour out on you water, fountains of water for your dry lands. Lands that produced nothing, lands where there was death and barrenness will pour forth water and food. No longer will people need to pour into you but they will come to you for your overflow.

North Dakota and South Dakota—No longer be known for your badlands. You are a good land. No longer look up to men (Rushmore) but instead look up to me and see if I do not hear your prayers, pull down the walls that have blocked blessing, and restore to you promises I have made that you have held in your hearts but have lost hope for.

I anointed each state on my map with oil and prayed over it. I encourage you to do the same.
Blessings,
Jerri
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gratitude 3--Jerry Kelley, My Dad

Gratitude 3—Jerry Kelley, My Dad
My dad did a lot of things right.

If you hear me talk about my dad, you might hear more of what he did wrong or ways I felt he could have or should have done better, but if that is all you know, then it is an injustice to him and you.

There are many reasons I am thankful for my dad. These are just a few.

1. He took me to church.
2. He prayed for me.
3. He prayed with me.
4. He taught me to pray at meals.
5. He put up a basketball goal where he would have rather parked his car.
6. He took me coon hunting.
7. When we talked about wildcats “screaming” at night, his hair on his arms stood up…just like mine.
8. He took me to dog shows.
9. In the early ‘70s he refused to sell a 6-month old pup for $3,000 cash because the man who wanted to buy the dog had children who wore torn clothes that were either way too big or way too small, and when they asked for something to eat, he said he didn’t have money to feed them. My dad bought the children sandwiches.
10. My dad was a blue-collar worker that barely made ends meet. He rarely had new shoes but had his old ones resoled. One year my dad saved all year for a new pair of boots for Christmas. They were the family’s gift to him.

That year a family came to our church. They were from the East in Mill Country. The dad had lost his job due to layoffs. He moved to Texas hoping for a job that never materialized. Without money to buy gas, he walked the 5-15 miles between towns to find a job. The soles of his boots were gone. He was walking on duct tape. His feet were the same size as my dad’s.

My dad never wore his new boots. And he never mentioned it.

11. My dad has the opinion coffee should be strong enough to have the option of crawling out of the cup and walking away if it so desired. Not many folks could handle more than one cup of his coffee. I liked it.
12. My dad liked sugar with his coffee—actually, he liked coffee with his sugar. I think the reason it didn’t crawl away is because of the diabetic coma caused from the level of sugar in it.
13. My dad sat with me on the front steps of their home on fall and spring morning before I had to leave for the day, and we would talk. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished for one more morning or for another cup of his coffee.
14. Hauling hay. When I was little, they still had small square bails, and I would make sure they were lined up with the hay loader so they could go up to my dad and Daddy Norman. My mom usually drove. I still love the smell of fresh cut hay.
15. December 13. My dad’s birthday when I renew my commitment to fulfill my dad’s greatest prayer for my brother and me—that we would be better than him.
Better spouses.
Better parents.
Better friends…
...Better people.

And that isn’t easy because in so many ways, they just don’t come any better than my dad.

Gratitude 2

I'm also thankful for:
21. Albert Einstein who understood, "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge."
22. Coffee.
23. Warm jackets.
24. 38 degrees F.
25. Blankets
26. The sound of my children moving around the house.
27. Majestic leaping.
28. My son's conch shells.
29. Quiet time on my deck.
30. The paradox of feeling so small in the universe and so hugely important to God.
Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Fundamental Difference in Perspective

Last Wednesday I watched the debate. I hope y'all did, too, and I hope you listened closely.
John McCain said Sarah Palin could understand the needs of special needs family. He talked about the need to help these families so that folks with special needs could reach their full potential.

Barack Obama's focus was about the money these programs would suck down.

Do we see a fundamental difference between one who sees imperfect people as still having potential and one who sees them as a financial burden?

That leaves me with some questions:
1. At what point does someone go from being a problem to having potential?
2. Do I want a leader who sees the problem of people (not wanting his daughter "punished" if they get pregnant) or the potential of people?
3. According to Obama, where do you fall? Are you a problem that burdens America, or are you do you have potential to make a difference in your life and others'?

Just so you know, God says you are part of the solution, and He doesn't see you as a problem.

The foundational question is whether you want a leader with God's heart or man's agenda.

Something to seriously consider...

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008

Warfare--Helmet of Salvation

This morning I was praying, and as so many others, I felt the weight of the deception that says this election is lost. I immediately took it to the Lord and confessed it. He told me to put on my armor and stand.

That is what we tend to say, but do we know what it means?

First, the helmet of salvation. What is that, and what kind of weaponry does it offer? The helmet covers our head and protects our brain-the part of us that thinks and responds. Simple. The Salvation aspect means we will think and respond as someone who understands the power in the sacrifice of Christ that bought our salvation. Often we try to make this much more complicated than it is.

Salvation is the defeat of the enemy’s work in our spirits and lives. Period. Salvation means the power of the devil is broken at the very core level of our identity. Simple.

If Christ’s death defeats Satan in our spirits and lives, He must render him powerless in every other way and in every other circumstance.

The KEY is our choice to think, act, and respond accordingly. Salvation does not mean we no longer have self will. It means we are no longer prisoners.

Authority does not mean we cannot hand our spoils over to the enemy as Hezekiah did in the Old Testament, but it means when we choose to stand our ground, our grounds is ours.

What does this have to do with the election? If we believe the same God who loves us so much wants the best for us, wants to lead us in paths of righteousness, wants to give us a godly leader, wants us to use our authority to hold our ground and set free prisoners and captives, we will act, think, and respond accordingly.

We will spend time in prayer. We will fast. We will not give in to the weight of the deception but trust God for a turn around.

Look, folks, there was a Friday when the earth was dark. Folks declared things hopeless. The ultimate battle had been lost. Only two days later, on Sunday atonement was fully declared for all who believed.

Salvation says, “I’ll believe it when I can’t see it.”
I didn’t see Jesus die, but I believe He did.
I didn’t see my sins wiped clean, but I believe they were.
I didn’t see my name written in the Lamb’s book of Life, but I believe it was.
I believe the same God who rendered Satan powerless at a tomb can do it in the elections in November.

Praying daily to keep my helmet on straight and align my thoughts with His….
Jerri

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008

The Real Issue

I like to believe that Christians understand the real issues of this election because we stand again at a crossroad where we can choose a leader whose heart is set on God and one whose heart is set on wickedness. Some might find that statement harsh, but this is way too serious to throw out some subtleties and hope folks get them.

I'm not the only one who thinks so.

There is a video that addresses the issues of the election. I tried to embed the link here, but I think it is illegal for me to do so. I strongly encourage you to visit this video, remember the big issues, and vote accordingly.

Remember, this election isn't about an economic plan or a tax benefit. This election is about whether our nation chooses God or godlessness.

A godless nation will never prosper no matter how good the plans are.
Thursday, October 9, 2008

1000 Gifts--1

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has started a Gratitude Community. It started with her desire to recognize 1000 Gifts the Lord has given her. Other jumped in and chose to become consciously aware of the gifts they have been given as well. I am choosing to join as well.

In truth, I think I recognize the "small" things the Lord gives me, but becoming more aware and choosing to seek Him in the small things of everyday life can only bring good things to my heart and family. Also, I want to help all of you focus on the 1000 Gifts He's given you.

That is not to suggest you are not thankful. I am, however, aware that some days and some seasons can make it hard to see the good stuff hiding under the demands and weights of life. The irony is, the good stuff isn't hiding at all. We just have to choose to see it and receive it. Prayerfully, in my list, you can see some of your own as well.

Join the community if you want, and if you don't, it's okay. Just don't miss the chance to enjoy your 1000 Gifts.

1. My laptop--it's in my lap, so I thought of it first. :-)
2. The opportunity to have quiet time on my deck without armies marching by or bombs going off.
3. Sweats that keep the chill out on fabelous fall mornings in Texas.
4. My washing machine that I can toss my sweatshirt into so I can get the chocolate frosting off that found its way from the bowl and spoon to the edge of my sleeve.
5. Fall in Texas.
6. My friend Debra, who may show up a lot in here, for giving directions to A Holy Experience.
7. A Bible in my language.
8. Journals that document my journey.
9. The ability to read and write.
10. Joy Davidson, my class called her Daisy because she was as wondrous as one, who taught me to type.
11. A comfortable chair.
12. Fuzzy slippers.
13. Warm blankets.
14. Our sunroom that allows light in while keeping heat/cold in.
15. A kitchen where a knob allows me to cook instead of my needing to build or stoke a fire.
16. The luxury of being a stay at home mom.
17. Coffee.
18. Microwave.
19. Understanding of how to make my sinuses drain.
20. Programs that make editing my posts easy.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Debate Tonight

Please keep Senator McCain in your prayers today and tonight. This is a huge debate. For specifics needs or suggestions on how to pray, please visit Blessing Sarah Palin.

Also, states to be praying for--Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. These are considered key states that are uncommitted.

I am also posting a request by the McCain/Palin campaign requesting callers.



Dear Friend,

As you know, this year's presidential race is likely to be extremely close. And the stakes have never been higher. Every door knocked, every piece of literature distributed, and every phone call made can literally make the difference in the election of the McCain-Palin ticket. (In 2004 some states were won by less than 2 votes per precinct!)

This election is going to be won in a handful of "battleground" states. That is why we are asking Senator McCain's friends and supporters in other states, states where the polls show the race is not quite as close, to "get in the game" by making phone calls into those battleground states. Your effort could help ensure a McCain-Palin victory. We need your help and we need your help now.

The campaign has organized what we call "Virtual Phone Banks" that you can access from anywhere. You simply need to log onto your computer, sign up as a member of the McCain "social conservative" coalition (Americans of Faith for McCain), pull up a list of potential supporters in a target state, and, with the use of the prepared script that will be provided, you can begin your calls. It's that simple. Click here for direct link: www.johnmccain.com/phonebank.

Please also send an email to Americansoffaith@mccain08hq.com to let us know that you are willing to serve as a McCain-Palin volunteer on our virtual phone bank. We want to make sure that John McCain and Sarah Palin know that you and other conservatives across the country are logging on the "virtual phone bank" to help.

Thank you in advance and may God bless you and your family!

Sincerely,

Americans of Faith for McCain Steering Committee
Monday, October 6, 2008

Debate--Truth

PRAYER FOR SENITOR MCCAIN AND SARAH PALIN

Pray that John McCain will know how to balance the aggressiveness he needs to bring truth to the surface (inlcuding Obama's associations), and still be presidential. John McCain is so gracious that it seems tough for him to be perceived as hitting hard - but I so strongly believe more Americans need to know more in-depth what both Pres. candidates stand for.

John McCain will go through the same thing Sara Palin went through during debate prep - a whole lot of different answers from a whole lot of different advisors... and it could get overwhelming and frustrating. Pray he can just speak truth and that Americans will hear John McCain's heart, his record, his experiences and lessons learned, his intentions, his good character, his boldness...

And also, the mocking that goes on in the media through all of this is funny on the surface, I guess, but pray that it won't affect John McCain or Sarah Palin or supporters or prayer warriors... it may paralyze some because sometimes it makes them want to just close their mouths and not say anything, knowing that whatever they say will be roundly mocked. If it weren't for Sarah Palin's faith letting her know God is in all of this, I know that she would feel humiliated every hour of everyday on the campaign trail. Help her pray through that constant mocking.

And finally, the circus and political goat rope that has become "Tasergate". Truth has not been revealed there, still. It is so wrong, distracting and grossly unfair. Todd and Sarah Palin and her staff have nothing to hide. No one's done anything wrong, but opponents have seized on an opportunity to spin and twist so many things that it's absolutely ridiculous. I know she is sick of what's going on with the false accusations and politics in Tasergate. Please pray that truth will surface! That this will end! That there will be justice and conclusion. Todd Palin had to get off the campaign trail to get back to Alaska because of opponents pushing so hard on this issue in Alaska. Not only distracting, but hurtful and harmful.

Enough is ENOUGH. ENOUGH!

Thank you so much for your prayers.
Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fireproof

Fireproof may be the only movie in which I left feeling like what I learned can have eternal impact if I allow it.

In the movie, Caleb Holt and his wife Catherine are on the brink of divorce. He has a pornography issue, a love for a boat, and the idea he has rights and Catherine has obligations to meet them. She has a full-time job, parents in financial and emotional need due to her mom's stroke, and a desire to be helped and validated. It is the perfect mix for a nasty divorce.

The plot thickens with gossipy gals at work and the attention of a doctor who is all too willing to validate Catherine and give her the attention she is craving. Things look bleak, but there are the heroes...

Caleb's best friend at work shares his testimony of God working in his life, but Caleb doesn't care. He doesn't buy into that God stuff. Caleb's parents step in to help, but instead of simply talking and doling out advice, Caleb's dad gives him a tool--the 40 Day Love Dare. Caleb takes the dare, and the real adventure--and battle--begins.

I tend to be nervous about Christian movies because they tend to be sappy and leave me feeling like things went too right to be real. This movie left my heart in my throat by showing how easily it could have gone all wrong. There were multiple opportunities for the characters to make one choice that would change everything, and that is the life changing truth--life is a series of choices, made one at a time, that determine the end whether it be for good or bad.

In the movie, a marriage is in question, but the truths and tools offered can be related to any relationship. The steps of reconciliation and healing are not given as one magic package but rather broken down into steps, a new one implemented each day. The results are not naively offered as a McDonald's instant fix but shown as a progression of the heart as trust is restored.

Kirk Cameron's performance was powerful. The supporting cast was solid, too. Award winning performances aren't needed to carry this film, though. Truth carries it just fine.

If you choose to see it, and I hope you will, take a few things with you--an open heart, a willingness to hear, and a box of kleenex. I even heard some men sniffle.
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paradox

I find myself fighting within my mind because an event I did not want has occurred. On one hand, I hate it and wish it had never happened. On the other, my faith leads me to ask with expectation, "What next?"

It is the end of so many things, and yet, I embrace it because I know there is a bigger picture, and nothing ends that the Lord does not bring something new and good out of it.

And in the midst of sadness and questions of today I find joy knowing that this is a step toward tomorrow when more of the grander scheme will be revealed.

It is within this paradox that I find the ability to laugh through my tears because I trust in the greatest paradox of all--my God.

Only God would let one man die so others could live.

Only God would say if you want me to think highly of you, think more highly of others.

Only God would say to have it all I should give it all away.

Only God would love me so much that He refused to let me remain who I was.

Only God would command us to worship Him by resting in Him.

Only God would offer a priceless gift of grace for free.

And only God has the power to redeem horrific wrongs by using them to make things right.

And only God can tell promise to make sense of all this seeming insanity and me believe Him.

And I do.

Wondrously, that too is part of that paradox.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our A-Mazing God

Today The Man of my Dreams took of work, and our family headed to a pumpkin patch about an hour from here. Today was homeschool day, and they were open from 10-2. We were there the whole time. Need I say we had an absolute ball?

I watched my children run, climb, and laugh. We wandered through mazes, slid down a 100 ft. slide (very bumpy but FUN!), and enjoyed a hayride. The three-story treehouse was a huge hit, too. Even the adults were enthralled. And, we got to roast marshmallows over an open fire. Does it get any better than that?

We even brought home pumpkins. Three are bound for decoration, and one is bound for pumpkin desserts.

It was a glorious day, and I am thankful to have experienced it.

Oddly, the favorite part was one particular maze. It was made of tall wooden panels that twisted and turned to make halls that twisted back on themselves. As we were going in, we met a mom who had gotten lost and had returned to the beginning because the end was too hard to find. Still, we ventured in with anticipation of dead ends, backtracking, laughter, and eventually making it to the other side. We were not disappointed.

At dead ends we laughed. When another turn led us into more open area, we cheered. When a panel stood in our way, we were somtimes confused or frustrated, but we kept going. We knew somewhere in those winding passages was the other side, and we found the challenge of finding it exciting.

Some folks didn't enjoy the maze. They tried to get through, and when they couldn't they'd go to the tower and look down to find the path. Then they simply walked from one side to the other, proud of themselves for not guessing or getting things wrong. Some folks would stand on the tower and call down to the folks below, giving instructions on how to get out. Sometimes they made some missteps, but for the most part, they did okay. At least, no one was still missing when we left.

Life is a lot like that maze.

It has open areas, twists and turns, and dead ends, but on the other side of the confusion is a big open place where there is freedom. For some folks, the challenge seems too big, so they try to escape. It doesn't make the maze go away, though.

And then there are those who simply wander, figuring if they wander enough they'll find the way out. Sometimes that works, and sometimes they simply end up where they started.

And then there are those who listen to the voice who sees the bigger picture, the one who says, "Yep, there's a maze, but I know how get to get you through safe and sound." Those people had the same maze, but they moved through far more eaily and with much more confidence. They knew where they were going, and they got there.

In mazes, that might seem light cheating, but in life, it is wisdom. In fact, that is the joy of knowing the Lord and listening to His voice.

Knowing God and listening to His voice does not remove the maze. There are still deadends, changes of course, and questions. He never said He would remove the maze or that the way would be made clear before us. However, He did say if we listen and obey, He'll get us where we need to go, all the way to the end.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Can you help me?

This is not a test. I'm just wondering where I missed it, so I'm asking for someone to show me.

Where in the Bible does God say healing and death are the same thing? Where does it say, "And Jesus healed them by letting them die?"

I keep hearing folks say of people who died of different things, "God healed them, just not the way you wanted." No. The body dies on its own. It is the natural process of the human body to die. Healing indicates a different course of action--that the sickness has been removed and health restored. Otherwise, how do we know when Jesus healed those crowds of people it wasn't a mass killing/healing experience?

I'm not trying to split hairs. I'm not trying to judge. I haven't found where dying and healing go together, but I don't have the Bible memorized, so someone help me out. Where did I miss God's promise of healing by letting folks die?

40 Days before the Election

Tomorrow, September 25th, marks 40 days until the election for our new president and vice president. I strongly encourage you to ask the Lord if He would have you fast those 40 days and if so, what He wants you to fast.

Before you quit reading, let's talk about the purpose of a fast and the many forms it can take.

A fast has on primary purpose--to focus you on God. Period. Fasts tend to do two things for you: 1) Kills off false idols such as food, tv, computers, telephone, etc.
2) Makes you look to God to be filled. The escapes collapse, so your needs are laid bare. You have no way to avoid them, and the only place to take them is God. Your focus becomes God, not everything else.

Fasting isn't complicated. A person gives up something so that he/she can spend the time usually given to whatever to the Lord in prayer and study. It's that simple. You are giving up something so you can spend that time focusing on the Lord.

While most people associate fasting with only food, I encourage to think beyond that to things that might be even harder.

When I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn't food. It's email. When I want to relax because of a stressful day, my thoughts aren't food. They are TV or movies. Lisa Whelchel fasted all literature except the Bible for 40 days one time. Maybe it's fishing or scrapbooking. Frankly, it's pointless for me to fast lunch when I'm at the table talking to my children, BUT my thirty minutes of reading in the afternoon is uninterupted. Perhaps the Lord will ask for that. There are a myriad of things we use to fill our days.

Ask God what He wants you to offer to Him so that you can have time together. Then do it.

Don't try to rationalize or make excuses. If it isn't something you would just think to offer, then it is probably Him, so just obey.

Some of you may be wondering what to pray for or about. Here are a few thoughts:
Our leaderstheir marriages
their children
wisdom
compassion
salvation
encouragement--call forth some folks to bless them. Maybe the Lord will pick you.
intercessors for our leaders
intercessors for different levels of government
think all levels of government
think about what you would want folks to pray about if they were praying for your family--I guarantee you others want the same for their families as you do.
pray for our leaders to be people of vision
pray for specific issues--foreign policy, insurance for folks, economy

I could go on, but you get the idea, and if none of those things appeal to you at the moment, stop and ask, "Lord, what do you want me to pray? I want to be in agreement with you about my leaders and nation. What is your heart?" And then, go to town.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to post them. They will not appear without approval, but I will check them daily.

Be blessed!
Monday, September 15, 2008

Fast Computers and Dead Power Packs

Last week the Lord told me to turn off my computer and phone for a week, so I did. Within two days, the peace in the house was obvious. The peace in my heart, moreso. As the end of the week drew near, I found myself getting antsy. Not only did I enjoy the quietness, I enjoyed how loudly God seemed to speak, or maybe, it was simply so quiet, I could hear Him more clearly. In either case, I didn't want to give that up, but the Lord had only said seven days.

Friday I came home from a writer's conference, and I pulled up my email. The battery icon kept flickering on and off--mostly on (which translates to a blinking icon with a big red X screaming it's going to die soon if major resucitation isn't done). When I jiggled the cord to my power pack, I heard a sizzle. This is great on a cool morning when bacon is in the skillet, but not good around 10:00 pm when your trying to talk nice to a computer.

A nuisance but not a real issue. We'd simply by another one in our instomatic, whatever-you-need-right-now world. Except, my power pack is an older model. It has to be special ordered. It should be in--when? Yep. In about seven days.

Amazing how God makes you want to laugh and cry in the very same moment.

And so beloved ones, I am typing away today on my husband's computer, so I can let you know where I am and give a glimpse of what God is doing--although there is TONS more to tell when there is time and a charged battery to do that.

You can still email me and comment on any of the blogs. However, I might not see any of it until Friday, so don't feel I'm ignoring you. On the contrary, I praise the Lord for you.

Blessings of hearing His voice clearly be yours as well...There's nothing that gives life like He does.
Monday, September 8, 2008

Something New

I have twelve minutes before our lunch break for school is over. I have chosen to use it to share some of what the LORD is doing and speaking--and the revelation of both.

There are a few key phrases that continue to be spoken into my heart and spirit:

1. It is time to take the land.
2. Do not be afraid or discouraged because I AM with you.
3. I'm doing a new thing. Don't expect it to look like anything else you've seen, and don't expect others to understand.

I have thoughts on those three things:
1. The first is thrilling.
2. The second a bit unnerving.
3. The third is like being pregnant when you are thrilled at the prospect of a new baby but remember all too well the labor pains from the last time around. It's worth it, but getting that baby here is painful and hard, and while others may be along for the ride, it's all about you and God.

There are two significant chapters the Lord has given me (besides Joshua 1 that I referenced earlier this year). I want to share them with you for your to ponder. I printed them out and have put them in my journal to pray over, meditate on, and seek the Lord for. If you have thoughts, insight, or revelation, feel free to share. Your new thing may be different than mine, but I'm smart enough to know labor hurts for everyone, and having someone to tell you to breathe sure can help.

Isaiah 43
Israel's Only Savior
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth-
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."
8 Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
9 All the nations gather together
and the peoples assemble.
Which of them foretold this
and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
so that others may hear and say, "It is true."
10 "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD,
"and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God.
13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?"
God's Mercy and Israel's Unfaithfulness
14 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"For your sake I will send to Babylon
and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,
in the ships in which they took pride.
15 I am the LORD, your Holy One,
Israel's Creator, your King."
16 This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 "Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.

Isaiah 42
The Servant of the Lord
1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands will put their hope."
5 This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 "I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."
Song of Praise to the Lord
10Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them.
11 Let the desert and its towns raise their voices;
let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
let them shout from the mountaintops.
12 Let them give glory to the LORD
and proclaim his praise in the islands.
13 The LORD will march out like a mighty man,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.
14 "For a long time I have kept silent,
I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
I cry out, I gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
17 But those who trust in idols,
who say to images, 'You are our gods,'
will be turned back in utter shame.

New Blog

Hello!

I want to invite you to visit a new blog the Lord has led me to create. The blog is Blessings Sarah Palin. On it you will find prayers, blessings, and prophetic words for Sarah, her family, and America.

This blog will remain my personal blog, so don't stop visiting here. I know I've been absent, and I apologize for that. I believe good things are coming from the wilderness. I believe the Lord is placing in my heart and spirit more to share with you that will bless and encourage you.

Thank you for your prayers and patience.

Blessings of His presence and revelation be given to all of you,

Jerri
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Doing the PRACTICAL to Release the SUPERNATURAL"

The following is rather long. However, it is good, and I think some folks who don't feel like they are on the level with "the spiritual big guys" will be set free to know they have huge impact and give God great freedom in wonderfully simple ways.

Bill Yount: "Doing the PRACTICAL to Release the SUPERNATURAL"by Bill Yount Aug 26, 2008
2 Kings 3:11-12, "But Jehoshaphat said, 'Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?' And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, 'Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, WHO POURED WATER ON THE HANDS OF ELIJAH.' And Jehoshaphat said, 'The word of the LORD is with him.' So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him."

It is believed that Elisha spent his first ten years ministering to Elijah. Even after Elijah departed, he was known as "Elisha...who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."

Elijah was known as a lonely prophet and ended up battling depression in a cave thinking he was the only one left that was living for God at that time.

Elisha's ministry doubled in miracles, seemingly with less fanfare with the emphasis more on serving compassion to people. Elisha seemed to even downplay the "hoop de dah" of miracles and seemed to weave the practical side of life into the miraculous, showing that in our everyday, ordinary activities lie the "stuff" that lead us into the supernatural realm of miracles, signs and wonders!

THE SUPERNATUAL AT WORK IN OUR EVERYDAY ORDINARY LIVES

The word practical means "pertaining to be useful in ordinary everyday activities or work."

In 2 Kings 5:1-14, you can read the whole story of how Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, a great man with his master and very honorable, received his miracle in a very practical, ordinary way. It starts with a little maid who was taken captive out of the land of Israel who waited on Naaman's wife. She said to Naaman's wife (verse 3), "Would to God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy."

This great miracle begins with a little maid wanting to do good to Naaman, although she had been taken captive by his soldiers. It must have been humbling to Naaman to listen to this little, captive maid and start his journey for his healing to see this prophet, Elisha. 2 Kings 5:9, "So Naaman came...and stood at the door of the house of Elisha."

Elisha sends a messenger to him saying (verse 10): "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." Naaman gets upset for he doesn't even get to see the prophet make a big deal of his healing (verse 11): "I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper."

Naaman even thought that this prophet picked the wrong river to go dipping in. He knew of better rivers that he preferred, and anger rose up in Naaman (verse 13): "And his servants came near and spake unto (Naaman), and said, 'My father, if the prophet had bid thee to do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, "Wash, and be clean?"'" Naaman finally obeyed and was healed of his leprosy.

Can you see the practical things the prophet told Naaman to do to receive his healing? Naaman never even got to see the prophet Elisha until after his healing! I believe Elisha learned through serving Elijah many years by doing many practical things, such as pouring water on Elijah's hands, that supernatural miracles and healings begin right there.

JESUS WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD TO PEOPLE. AS A RESULT HEALINGS AND MIRACLES HAPPENED!

Acts 10:38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him."
Lately, as I've read this verse, the words "doing good" jumped out at me. Imagine Jesus being filled with the Holy Ghost and power and all He wants to do with all that power is to just walk around "doing good" to people! It sounds like healing and miracles were not the first thing on His mind. Of course, healings and miracles took place, but it was the result of His love and compassion to help people.

His passion was people, not healings or miracles. Whatever it took to do good to people would then take place, even if it took a miracle or healing, for He wanted to do them good! Signs and wonders followed Him as His compassion moved Him towards people. It seems that "doing good" things, which included practical things like holding children in His arms, eating with publicans and sinners, and letting a prostitute wash his dirty feet, often released revelation that others needed to experience the supernatural.

Recently, I had a dream of a crying child that someone was holding that could not be comforted. As the person handed me the child to hold, it became calm and peaceful in my arms. As I was holding this child, I saw a small gift wrapped at my feet that began to leak out like a small drop of oil from the inside of it. I thought at first some kind of liquid bottle inside the gift must have broken and caused this drop to appear on the ground.

As I continued to hold the child, this dripping continued out of this gift until it began to flow freely all over the floor without stopping. People's attention was drawn to what appeared to be oil flowing from this gift that was still wrapped up. I could see that many were drawn to this oil flowing out of it, but I knew that by me just holding and comforting this troubled child was what was causing this awesome anointing oil to be released from this small gift.

God was showing me something. "Bill, if you are willing to begin to take your eyes off of your so-called gifting and are willing to do some practical, needed things in people's lives, My anointing will begin to flow out of your life as a result of you getting closer to people, instead of you focusing on your gift." I, for one, plan to be more sensitive to small children.

DID THE FIVE THOUSAND EVEN KNOW THAT THEIR 'MIRACLE' MEAL WAS CATERED BY A LITTLE BOY'S BAG LUNCH?

In Luke 9:13, Jesus said to His disciples when they wanted to send the multitudes away, "You give them something to eat!" And then He told His disciples to make the multitude sit down by fifties in a company.

Imagine the practicality of having the disciples getting five thousand men, besides the women and children, to sit down by fifties! And then as Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fishes, He gave them to His disciples to hand out...now that's "practical hospitality."

Notice the practical things the disciples did which were woven into this miracle. This all seems so practical, but watch what happens...here comes a miracle on the heels of "practicality"!

I don't read anywhere that a big announcement was made to the multitude that their meal was catered by a little boy's bag lunch. Jesus didn't seem to make a big deal out of the miracle. He even made it look like the disciples fed them all! This miracle looked so practical in the making.
Of course, the miracle of multiplying the food took place, but His priority was to get those five thousand growling stomachs so full that there would be twelve baskets left over! Since it took a miracle to feed these people, that's what Jesus used. The miracle was just part of the journey of His goal to feed them.

This miracle seemed to have practical applications woven all throughout it, beginning with the mother who fixed an ordinary bag lunch for her son. Was Jesus teaching His disciples that in doing the practical, everyday, ordinary, mundane things of doing good for people lies the ingredients of the supernatural?

Here's a quote from Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment Vol. 2: "Work Can Be Worship":
"Have you seen the painting 'The Angelus' by Jean-Francis Millet? It portrays two peasants praying in their field. A church steeple sits on the horizon and a light falls from Heaven. The rays do not fall on the church, however. They don't fall on the bowed heads of the man and woman. The rays of the sun fall on the wheelbarrow and the pitchfork at the couple's feet. God's eyes fall on the work of our hands. He blurs the secular and sacred."

IT SEEMS THAT THE FIRST WEDDING MIRACLE OF TURNING WATER INTO WINE WAS INTENDED TO MAKE THE BRIDEGROOM LOOK GOOD! John 2:1-11

This miracle is performed with such practicality that the bridegroom gets the credit for throwing a great party!

John 2:6, "And there were set there six waterpots of stone..." In verse 7 Jesus says to them, "'Fill the waterpots with water.' And they filled them up to the brim." Jesus then says to them (verse 8), "'Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.' And they bare it (to the governor)."
Continuing in verses 9 and 10, when the governor of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, he didn't know where it came from, but the servants which drew the water knew. The governor then calls for the bridegroom to praise the bridegroom for serving the best wine at the end of the party!

Again, I hear no announcement of a miracle from the lips of Jesus or His disciples. No one seemed to know but the servants and the disciples that Jesus turned the water into wine. Again, the miracle of this feast wasn't the goal, but it seemed Jesus wanted to do good to the bridegroom and to bless the party with the best wine. Since it took a miracle, that's what He did. This, of course, did help His disciples to believe on Him (verse 11).

Again, was Jesus teaching His disciples practical steps in creating this miracle and getting other people involved to help someone else receive the blessing from it? In a way, He was letting His disciples know that "you can do this," if it's in your heart to do good to people!

LIGHT DOESN'T SAY A WORD...IT JUST SHINES!

Matthew 5:14, 16, "Ye are the light of the world...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."

When you walk into a dark room you don't start fighting the darkness so light can come. You just turn the lights on. The light of the world does not argue with darkness, fight, or even try in any way to remove the darkness. It cannot be extinguished by any darkness. It is the light! Darkness can only exist in the absence of light. Light is a symbol of spiritual presence and power.

I know a pastor who was continually counseling a dear woman who seemed to be turning her husband off by always preaching to him and telling him how he should be living. After many counseling sessions with no change in the wife or her husband, the frustrated pastor finally said to the wife, "Sister, do you see that light bulb up there in the ceiling? It is giving out light without saying a word! Jesus wants you to be the light in this house for your husband. Just let that light shine and your husband will be drawn to that light inside of you, which is Jesus."

AS I WATCHED MY NEW NEIGHBOR'S GRASS GROW TALLER, THE LORD SPOKE CLEARLY TO ME, 'MOW IT WITHOUT TELLING HER I TOLD YOU TO!'

Psalm 72:5-6, "They shall fear (the Lord) as long as the sun and moon endure (as long as the light is shining), throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth!"

I started to mow my neighbor's yard several times and no one seemed to notice it. I found out later the neighbor woman had no husband or lawn mower. She was too busy to even thank me at first, for she was never home having to work two jobs. She finally did thank me and said she couldn't afford to pay me, but I knew that as I mowed her lawn that something was happening in the Spirit. Every place where the souls of my feet were coming down, God was giving me favor and influence by just mowing the lawn. And as verse 7 says, "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass."

With each rain that fell upon this neighbor's mown grass, God was coming down upon this family! At first, I wanted to tell her that God had spoken to me to mow her grass for the summer, but the Lord seemed to stop me and wanted me to just let His light shine through me without getting Him involved prematurely. I am sure, like others, she has met Christians like myself and has been turned off by being disappointed in the past.

Now is my time to do something good to help others see the light at the end of the tunnel. I believe it's time for us to show people we personally care about them before we even begin to mention how much God cares.

The greatest mistake I made when I first got saved was to tell my fellow workers in the factory where I worked that I was "now a Christian," rather than let them see the difference in me. They then watched me to see if I really was, and all they seemed to see was that I wasn't perfect. I wish I would have just lived the life and let the light shine, and as they saw the difference in me they would begin to ask what had happened to me.

THE RAYS OF GOD'S SON ARE FALLING UPON OUR 'WHEELBARROWS AND PITCHFORKS'!

Romans 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

I believe the Lord is highlighting the need to be practical in our approach to this lost and dying world. It's overdue time to put shoe leather on our prayers and worship and overcome evil with good.

WHEN LIFE IS OVER WE WILL BE JUDGED BY WHAT 'PRACTICAL' THINGS WE COULD HAVE DONE THAT WE WERE ALL CAPABLE OF DOING!

Matthew 25:31-46, "When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats...
"Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was enhungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me."

As we are moved with compassion to minister to these peoples' practical needs, I believe we will experience more of the power of God upon us to be used to release the supernatural into their lives as well.

Romans 2:4, "...the goodness of God leads you to repentance."

Let's go about doing good and watch the supernatural take place!


Bill YountBlowing the Shofar MinistriesEmail: theshofarhasblown@juno.com

Bill Yount's Itinerary:
August 31, 2008
Bridge of Life Church (10:30am )
14 South Potomac
St. Hagerstown, Maryland
Contact: 301-791-1674

September 12, 2008
Our Father's Heart Ministry (7:30pm)
Calvary United Methodist Church
1321 Calvary Rd.;
Churchville, Maryland
Contact:410-671-9056 or 410-652-7637

September 14, 2008
Living Word Worship Center (10:15am)
12915 Pinehill Dr.;
Hagerstown, Maryland
Contact: 301-665-9011

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Monday, August 25, 2008

United We Stand--Prayer for our Families

Our family is in a time of change, as many of you are. The purpose of change is growth. The Bible tells us many times that we should rejoice in the changes, both easy and difficult, because the Lord is using them to mature us. God brings about change for our good.

Satan, on the other hand, wants to use change to divide us. Many people in the process of divorce say simply, "We've grown apart." I've now been married over 17 years, and what I have come to realize is that statement is truly saying, "We lacked the vision, the desire, the wisdom, or the selflessness required to change together." And Satan capitalized on it.

I have a few strategies and simple truths to remember for going through changes that I have found keep us pretty solid.
1. My vision is for us to come out the other side closer to each other and to the Lord than we were when we started.
2. Grace, grace, and more grace. Ask for it and give it. Moods, tones, and patience will waiver. Don't take it personally. Offer grace.
3. Ask forgiveness. No one else is responsible for the waivering of my moods, tones, and patience. I am responsible for those things, and I am responsible for repair work when they are damaging.
4. Remember I won't get everything I think I want.
5. I don't know the purpose or the destiny, so I better stay really close to the One who does.
6. I cannot pray for my family enough, not that they will do what I think they should, but that we will serve God as a unit embracing the work God does in us as individuals.

This morning I am praying scripture from Philippians 2 over us. Since I know so many who are fighting for their families or simply desiring to walk through change with wisdom and power, I am sharing my prayer with you.

Father, thank you for the gift of salvation that unites us with Christ. Thank you for all the promises that are yes and amen in Him. Thank you that you have promised godly change in our lives as a result of being united with your Son through the blood shed for us on the cross, through His death and resurrection. Thank you for the encouragement you've given us. Thank you for the comfort from His love and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth and works in us according to your will and purpose to bring about your glory and life eternal within us. Thank you for the tenderness and compassion you pour out on us. You are the perfect Father, and you pour out only good things. The circumstances and changes in our lives are for our good, to give us hope and a future, and we know this because all good and perfect gifts come from you. You cannot do evil, but rather you make ways for us to escape the evil one and the temptation he lays before us. Thank you, Lord God.

Father, complete our joy by making us like-minded. Show us your vision that we can be in agreement with you. Give us your heart for each other and for your world. Show Rob, Anna, Robert, and me how we can love and minister to each other and to those around us. Increase in us your love. Work in us that we would become one in Spirit and purpose. If we are acting out of selfishness or vain conceit, show us. Lead us to repentance. Do not let the enemy have a foothold in our lives, but show us how we can love with abandon as you do. Gives us hearts that serve humbly. Show us how to love others as you do. Love others through us. Help us to consider others better than ourselves, and when our flesh rises up and wants the easy road, the cushy road, or the convenient road, convict us and nag us until we turn from the ways of the world and flesh and turn to your ways. In your ways is life, and we want to be life givers.

Father, forgive us for being concerned about self, what we will get out of things, and whether things are "fair" or "equal". Forgive us for being so short-sighted and small-minded that we don't realize or we refuse to see that when others excel and are blessed, so are we. Show us how to bless others and encourage them to do great things for you. Show us how we can be part of the equipping that enables them to accomplish all you have declared over you. There is no greater joy than to see your children being all you desire them to be. Remind us of that because we easily forget.

Give us your heart, and help us to remember Jesus' joy came in serving you with abandon and making a difference in the lives of others, not in living the convenient or easy life. Put into us the desire to be like Him in every way, to give without expecting anything back. Father God, help us to remember all we have is really yours. Our time, our money, our mouths, our hands, our bodies, our very lives. Show us how to use YOUR resources for YOUR glory. Help us to remember investing in others takes time--time TVs, computers, various escapisms steal. Convict us where we waste time, money, gifts. Show us how to be the best stewards of your resources we can. Show us how to invest in the peopl in our families and to those around us.

Thank you for being the One who goes before us and behind us. Thank you for leading us through the changes and leading us back to your way when we wander off into our selfishness and small-sighted ambition. Forgive us for the ways we've sinned against you and each other. Lead us in the ways everlasting for your name's sake, and to you be all glory, power, and honor forever.

Amen.

Relevant

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Red Light Rescue

Imagine being a parent barely able to pay bills and someone comes to your home and promises to educate your daughter and find her a job. You agree, hoping to give her a better life. Then she disappears, and you find out she is not being educated. Instead, she is a prostitute, a victim of human-trafficking, beaten and abused daily. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn't it? For 100,000 girls in India, this is reality. To find out how you can help, please visit Red Light Rescue.



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"It's not the wind in our hair that makes us free. It's the movement of the Spirit, the growth of our invisible side." --Amber Haines

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My simple life plan: To live the kind of life that when asked, "If you could be anybody, who would you be?", I'd choose me.

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