“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
Our study during this journey is called The Circle Maker. Its basic premise is that we should dream again and ask largely of our God who desires to give us good things. As I have launched into the deeps of prayer during this season God has been enlarging my personal prayer list on almost a daily basis. I am finding that as I pray God is building my faith by giving me steps to take in order to put me in a position to see His hand move in my ever-increasing list. Part of praying in faith is behaving in belief…that is acting like I expect God to answer to my prayers.
One of the prayers on my list is about a trip I would like to take this year. I have told God I would like to go if I get a certain amount back in my taxes. Now my tax appointment is not for another two weeks. Yet in prayer yesterday God told me that if I hoped to go I must set the dates aside. Planning for the trip is my step of faith.
My heart asks “But what if God doesn’t meet you with the money?”
The world may indeed fall apart. We don’t have to crumble with it. But holding it together is going to involve letting go of the things of the world that we have come to love.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. I John 2:15
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Rev. 2: 3-5
As I face the New Year and prepare my heart for the time of dedication our church is heading into I am making a list of the things God would have me release this year. How would God have you simplify your life in 2013 to release yourself from the burdens of the world…the love of the world?
I have a minister friend whose dad recently suffered a debilitating stroke. Her mom died suddenly the next week all this mere days before the Christmas holiday. In the midst of these trials she writes:
Recently someone told me: “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. I’ve been thinking about that and I can’t find it in scripture … What I do find is that over and over God brings humans to the end of themselves so that they have nowhere to go but to Him.
The Bible does say “throw all your cares (worries, fears, anxiety, problems) onto Him (God) because He cares for you.” and “In this world you will have trouble but don’t be afraid I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” and “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him. and “He will never leave us or forsake us” and “He is with us to the end”. Rev. Deb Meppelink Kerr
I’ve been thinking about these words in light of our Scripture passages today. I doubt David thought he was equal to the troubles that faced him in I Samuel 29 and 30.
Maybe God does give us more than we can handle so that we will have to turn to Him.
Here’s what I see in today’s chapters:
I Samuel chapter 29 sermon topics/ titles:
1. When God Sows Trouble: I Samuel 29:1
2. Your Reputation Will Proceed You: I Samuel 29: 3-11
3. Your Past Will Touch Your Future: I Samuel 29:3-11
I Samuel chapter 30 sermon topics/titles:
1. The Overflow Of Another’s Disobedience: I Samuel 30 : 1-2
2. Weeping Your Way To Bitterness: I Samuel 30:3-6
Sometimes the best way to launch a new venture is by capitalizing on the victories of the past. I am determined to believe great things of 2013 in spite of the significant challenges I see ahead. For the God who did such great things in 2012 is still the God of this moment and of all the moments that lie ahead. His power is not diminished by our national debt, or by the threat of winter storm G—– coming soon to a state near you. In the face of future tragedies his love will not pale or lose its potency. He is God, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End. He is the same yesterday today and forever! Let’s believe Him for big things in 2013 as we thank Him for what He did in 2012.
Here is a brief list of my Thanksgivings for 2012:
1. I am thankful that God met my sister’s budgetary needs so she could move to The Netherlands for the work of missions.
Brenda and Leqad Missionary Judy Mensch
2. I am thankful that God supernaturally healed Brenda from a terrible sinus infection in one minute with no medication just before the Easter play was scheduled to go up!
3. I am thankful that God provided an eight week internship for my daughter to Thailand for $700.00.
A trip down the river, Thailand
4. I am thankful God provided for a thirteen week internship for my son in Myanmar.
Joe in the air control tower at Yangon. He has been helping air traffic controllers with their English.
5. I am so thankfu God gave me time to visit relatives in both Maine and The Netherlands.
I visit Maine
St. Bavo’s sits in the center of Haarlem Sqare.
6. I am thankful for the opportunity to minister in music at Special Touch Camp in Connecticut with my daughter.
My first year working at Special Touch
7. I am thankful that after being hospitalized four times last year my daughter Amanda’s migraines are under control.
8. I am thankful that the grammatical edits on my book are done!
9. I am thankful that after a bad tomato harvest in my own garden someone gave me a enough tomatoes to make a gallon of sauce!
10. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit has been showing up in service when our church gathers. I am so blessed that our church is alive with His presence!
11. I am thankful that our lead pastor took the staff this fall to the Cape for a ministers retreat with Mark Batterson
Sunset DIamonds by JE Lillie Cape Cod
11. I am thankful that our artists community has continued to meet.
second annual art show
12. I am thankful for the wonderful team of people God has allowed me to work with all these years.
Praise God for the big and the little in 2012. It will cast a better glow on 2013.
We humans are frail things. Sometimes the rapids of life take hold of us, spin us around, turn us under and cough us up on some unknown shore so quickly we hardly have time to ask “How did I get here?”
In such times we often make choices not because they are good but because they are limited. Have you been there? The two men in our chapters today both faced the experience of being backed into corners where choices seemed few and far between. The different ways they plied the few choices they had tells us a lot about how different these men were at the root.
Here’s what I see in today’s chapters:
I Samuel chapter 27 sermon topics/ titles:
1. When Running Away Is the Best Answer: I Sam. 27:1,2
2. A Fortress In the Presence Of the Enemy: I SAm. 27: 3-7
3. Is it OK To Be a Double Agent For God? I Sam. 27:8-12
I Samuel chapter 28 sermon topics/ titles:
1. Dead In a Lofty Place: I Sam. 28:3
2. Between Repentance and Wilfulness: I Sa. 28:4-13
3. The Results Of A Polluted Faith: I Sam. 28: 4-19
Our church begins every new year with 21 days of fasting and prayer. I am sensing that the season of prayer in 2013 will be perhaps the most significant of them all. Our Lead Pastor has asked the congregation to join him in a Daniel fast. We are also going to be participating in a church-wide Bible study campaign called The Circle Maker.
Last night I received a call about yet another death in our congregation. Maybe it’s just my vantage point but it seems that all our world is shaking. I sense deep in my heart it is not going to stop. Prayer is our solid ground. Let me encourage you to find your secret place of prayer with Jesus as 2013 dawns! For He is our hope and a mighty source of strength! As Robin Mark has written “Though these are days of great trials, of famine and darkness and sword, still we are the voice in the desert crying “Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.” Days of Elijah
I appreciate those of you who have commented about praying for this season of mourning for our church. I sense the power of those prayers. Here’s the thing! I am determined to claim victory in the face of every enemy that confronts the church in Winchendon. In this mighty battle we have the high ground for we have Jesus. Our Savior has defeated even Satan’s greatest weapon which is death. Those who have passed from this realm in the last months have gone onto glory according to their Christian testimony. Theirs is a mighty overcoming. In the light of that, though Satan’s weapons sting in the moment of their release our shield of faith quenches every fiery dart.
In 2013 let the church raise up a constant praise to silence the foe and the avenger wherever he may gather against us to battle! Be brave my friends! Be brave and advance against this present darkness!
I am so grateful to be able to come away from the work for a bit and just answer some simple questions. It has been a rather heady week and my mind is still spinning. Thank you Cee for giving me these queries to kind of bring me back to a normal space. It means more than you know.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions, or not? If so, what one have you made and kept from the past? I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions as such. But our church has 21 days of fasting and prayer starting at the beginning of every year and I feel like these are times to gather direction from God about what I am to do in the year to come. I suppose the result is the same except if I don’t do what is set out from the fast I kind of feel it’s not just me I’m letting down but God. MAybe that’s better incentive 🙂
Do you prefer Nuts or no Nuts? Depends what it is in. I like nuts in my brownies and they are pretty good on Sundaes but I’m not a big fan of the nut sauce they make for spaghetti (pesto). But maybe you were referring to the emotional kind of nuts? Some days I feel a little nuts and I like that less than pesto. 😉
Do you like winter, or not, and why? I love winter. It’s going outside during winter that I abhor.
Do you prefer to receive gifts or give them? I like giving and receiving but I love gifts that have a purpose… things I can use and I like to give gifts that others find useful.
I am preparing myself for a funeral this morning. Not three days ago I was celebrating the birth of the newest member of our congregation along with the birth of the world’s Savior, Jesus.
What is the message as we approach 2013? In this world darkness and light will continue to vie against each other. Darkness may grow but as long as the church is in the world…as long as the church trusts in the strength of the only hope then light will be overcome the darkness however strong it may appear.
As the last flames of Christmas pass the entire world turns its gaze to the beginning of a new year. What will 2013 require of us? A call from the Holy Spirit rings through the rafters of our churches. Before the trumpet sounds and the voice of the great arch angel calls us home we have work to do. We have a message to proclaim to the world which comes from the very throne of God.
Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross in our place, rose from the dead breaking the chains of sin and death, ascended to the right hand of God the Father where he ever makes intercession for us. Now if we will confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead we shall be saved from the wrath which is to come. Mankind cannot save itself. No government on Earth can stay the tide of what is coming. Only Jesus can rescue us from what lies ahead and He will rescue those who put their faith in Him.
Our message sounds like a no-brainer. An offer has been made. A way out has been provided. But Jesus has made it clear that the good news will surely be rejected by many and those who reject it will become increasingly oppositional. It’s a mess for sure! But as my blogging friend J.S. Park has said “We need game-changers. Words about love sound pretty; actually loving people is messy. Be part of the mess.”