Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged prayer
Marching Orders on Dark Days

sd Lord I read Your promises…I believe Your words…

A bruised reed He will not break Mt. 12:20

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit – a shattered heart placed before You – these You will not despise. Ps 51:17

He heals the wounds of every shattered heart – binds up their broken hearts. Ps 147:3

I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited.  Ezek 34:16

So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship…strengthen your weak knees for as you keep walking forward on God’s paths as all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed.  Heb 12:12-13

God is here, right here…He’s on His way…He will save you.  Isa 35:4

Promises made…promises kept.

Be still , and know that I am GodStep out of the traffic!  Take a long loving look at Me, your High God, above politics, above everything. Ps 46:10

Keep your mouth shut and let your heart do the talking.  Isa 30:15

Let me sit in Your stillness and soak in Your love and dwell in Your words of promise.

The comfort we are so desperate for, especially in times of suffering, is not found in answers.  It is found in the abiding presence of God.

 Don’t stop marching on.

Lovingyougood…sd

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How It's OK To Be Forgetful

Is there something in the future of your life you sometimes wonder?  And even worry a little bit – hey we’re human and I know Jesus tells us not to, but we just do sometimes. What is yours?  I admit I wonder when I get older if I'll be diagnosed with dementia and have memory loss.  After college, I worked for several years in a retirement community in the health services where the residents who did have dementia lived.

I loved spending time with them and keeping them active, but I understood when anxiety arose in situations because they couldn't remember what they said one minute earlier.  I just wonder if I’ll be one who asks your name five times in one minute!

Even now, I can be forgetful.  But I think that has to do with how filled my noggin is with the mile-long to-do list, raising teenagers, work and other responsibilities.  Or maybe it’s just being a mom.  Anyone else out there who calls your daughter your son’s name or your son your dog’s name?!  Or you forget to send your cousin a birthday card for no good reason.

Just last week though, I decided that I want to be forgetful and to see things from a different perspective.  I want to be self-forgetful.

I want to be SELF-forgetful and always remember who GOD is, all HE’s done for me, and how much HE loves me.  Moses wanted all the people with him wandering through the desert searching for their Promised Land to forget about their selves and instead thank God for all HIS goodness and holiness.  They were good at that right after He split the river for them to walk though and when He provided them manna but after a while they complained having to walk so far and ran out of ways to cook manna and started grumbling because they got tired of it and forgot the blessing God had continued to provide them.  (Exodus 16, Numbers 11)

Instead of forgetting what God has done for me, I want to forget how to put myself before Him.  I want to forget about my selfishness.  How I think of myself more than my family, friends and other people I may not even know, how I’m self-absorbed in my busyness and make little time for prayer, how I’m self-centered, pitch a tent, and won’t let anyone in, including Jesus.  Somehow, I easily forget the faithfulness and sovereignty of God.  I once read a book by Alan D. Wright, God Moments, and he addresses this disorder and called it spiritual amnesia - forgetting God’s goodness in our lives.

Can you find yourself being one of those wilderness wanderers and grumbling how things aren’t going the way you want it to because you had forgotten God’s goodness to you earlier?  If so, you’re not the only one who has a case of spiritual amnesia because I do too.

There’s been times, and maybe for you, too, where I’ve had a spiritual mountain-top experience – and grown closer and become more intimate with Jesus.  But then after a few weeks back into work or school and day-to-day life, a challenge will arise.  Or something will occur that I wasn’t expecting that bombs my world.  Why, God?!  Then tension and stress take over and somehow I forget the many ways God has been there for me.  Those memories somehow vanish!  As Christ-followers with spiritual amnesia completely forget about those moments when God was evident and obvious.  We begin to whine, moan and groan and even become frustrated, resentful or angry at Him.  We forgot the small and big blessings that God continues to give us every day.

I think we’re all subject to be forgetful of God’s faithfulness in the past.  We’re all subject to laziness instead of acting on the promises of God and we’re probably all guilty of putting off until tomorrow what Jesus has asked us to do today.

I just finished reading a book where I underlined sentences and drew big circles around sentences on almost every single page.  Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God by Brennan Manning.  He wrote this:

Our trust in Jesus grows as we shift from making self-conscious efforts to be good to allowing ourselves to be loved as we are (not as we should be).  The Holy Spirit moves us from the head to the heart, from intellectual cognition to experiential awareness.  An inward stillness pervades our being, and the time of prayer is characterized by less rational reflection and speaking and more contemplative quiet and listening.  Self-absorption fades into self-forgetfulness as we fix our gaze on the brightness of the Lord. p. 92

So, self-forgetfulness is an act of worship.  It is a gift to God. It allows us to feel His presence, hear His Voice and “gaze on the brightness” of Him.  God desires us to replace self-centeredness with self-forgetfulness and put Him first in our lives.  He wants us to live in the moment, in the present, in the NOW – not dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future.  Manning said, “Self-forgetfulness is a prerequisite for truly being in the now.”

Will you join me and help hold me accountable to be self-forgetful?  I'm going to close this with prayer if you'd like to join me:

Abba, I surrender my will and my life to you today, without reservation and with humble confidence, for you are my loving Father.  Set me free from self-consciousness, from anxiety about tomorrow, and from the tryanny of the approval and disapproval of others, that I may find you and delight simply and solely in pleasing you.  May my inner freedom be a compelling sign of your presence, your peace, your power, and your love.  Let your plan for my life and the lives of all your children gracefully unfold one day at a time.  I love you with all my heart, and I place all my confidence in you, for you are my Abba.  Amen.

(from Ruthless Trust p. 132)

 

 

How Is Kindness Like Snow?

Last week, the day after our wonder-full, snowy day, I was scrolling through Instagram and sawa picture of one of my daughter’s friends, who was throwing a handful of snow in the air, added

“Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers.”

The kindness of God covered a small group of people about 4000 years ago and here’s their names and a little bit about them:

• Eliezer was Abraham’s head-honcho servant because he trusted Eliezer the most. So much, that if Abraham had never had a son, Eliezer would become his heir. They had a good relationship due to years of being together and the promises they gave each other were honest and sincere. • Isaac was Abraham’s son • Rebekah was a young woman who would become Isaac’s wife • Laban was Rebekah’s brother who spent some time with Eliezer.

God made sure this happening made it into His Book, the Bible, to use as a teaching moment for generations to follow and I think one of the main lessons is about kindness – simple and sincere acts of kindness.

Here’s a summary of Genesis 24, but I suggest going and reading all of it after reading this. Abraham wanted to find his God-given son, Isaac, a wonderful wife, so he asked Eliezer to assist him with this endeavor. Abraham was very serious about Isaac having a godly wife, so he was serious when he had Eliezer give an oath to do as he asked. Eliezer didn’t give this oath begrudgingly because Abraham had always been kind to him and he wanted to return the kindness. To promise Abraham that he’d do his best, Eliezer put his hand underneath Abraham’s thigh and swore he would. Yes, I think it’s kind of strange, but maybe they’d think us shaking hands as an agreement is odd.

So on a camel, Eliezer took off to find a wife for Isaac with 10 other camels and servants to assist him. When they arrived at the town of Nahor, he had the camels kneel down near the well, where women came to gather water.

Eliezer was not only Abraham’s servant, but he was also a man devoted to God. Just in the one chapter of Genesis, he praised God and prayed several times. He prayed to God before he made any actions. He asked for God to direct him in this endeavor and that God would receive the glory for whatever happened. He prayed, “Oh Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” (24:12) In that prayer alone, it shows the kindness he had in his heart praying for Abraham and his family. God returned his kindness by answering Eliezer’s specific prayer.

Before Eliezer finished praying, he saw a young woman (Rebekah) at the spring and when she finished filling her jar with water, Eliezer asked her if he could have a small drink of her water. With kindness in her voice she said, “Yes, lord…and I’ll also get water for your camels”. Now let’s do the math. There were ten camels. One camel often drinks up to 20 gallons at one time. Now multiply that by 10. That would add up to be at least an hour of hard work. She didn’t have to offer that kindness but she did.

The kindness of God, Eliezer and Rebekah flowed out like water pouring from a jar into the mouths of thirsty men and camels.

Eliezer had no idea she would offer them water as well. But he offered her jewelry and asked her if her family had room for him to stay the night. She said there was plenty of space and he of course could come and stay. Before he took the first step to follow her, he prayed and praised God for answering his prayer. “Praise to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness…as for me the Lord has led me on the journey here.” He gave God all the credit.

Once arriving, Eliezer met Rebekah’s family, including her brother Laban who loved his sister. Kindness must be in their blood because he invited Eliezer to stay the night, provided a place for the camels to rest and water for the other servants who traveled with Eliezer to wash their feet. Laban then fed all of them. He opened his home as a place to stay the night and fed a bunch of strangers. That, my friends, is an act of kindness. As they ate, Eliezer just had to tell them how God was so good and answered his prayers and how all of this fell into place because of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

The next day Eliezer was ready to head back to Issac and Abraham, but Rebekah’s family wanted her to wait for ten days before she left. Eliezer was persistent saying he really wanted to leave that day. Rebekah replied to everyone, “I will go.”

One of the most remarkable things about Rebekah is her total willingness to leave all to be with a bridegroom she has never seen. Her words “I will go” are worthy words of faith. Haven’t we also heard many others in God’s Word who have said those same words? I think Jesus has the desire for us to say that to Him, too.

At the end of this holy encounter, Eliezer and Rebekah arrived close to home, and Isaac, who was meditating out in a field, saw them approaching in the distance. His heart skipped a beat and with excitement imagined what she looked like and wondered if she would love him. But he trusted the Lord because He was good to his father Abraham, and had faith that God would bless him, too. I can see Rebekah, with a veil over her face, gracefully being lowered off the camel with a humble smile on her face as they saw each other for the first time. I like to think that they fell in love at first sight. The got married and Scripture says, “Isaac loved her.”

So what are we to take from that? Most of us don’t ride on camels for transportation, have servants who live in our house and manage it, or get married a few days after you meet someone.

For me, it’s been a lesson about kindness. It’s about being humble to our authority and to others. It’s about the kindness of the Lord who bestows blessings on those who praise Him and give Him the glory for all things. It’s about the kindness of being respectful and kind to strangers. It’s about being sincere and selfless instead of selfish. And kindness and love are a match made in heaven. Kindness IS a beautiful thing.

Beth