Chapel Prayer

I went to college at Mizzou. That seems like the appropriate thing to do for a Missouri Girl. Back in the 80’s MU was known as a party campus to the kids in my high school. As a young lover of Jesus, my motivation to go there was definitely not to party, I wanted to be a light and witness to my generation.

A.P. Green Chapel

One thing I loved about the campus at Mizzou was the A.P. Green Chapel, next to Memorial Union. It was like a small candle flickering light on a campus with so much darkness in it. I would go there frequently to pray and read my Bible. It was in that chapel during one of my times of prayer that I wrote this poem.

Chapel Prayer 

Let me see the world as You see it.
With the compassion of the Cross
That's a heart of Love that breaks
For the dying of the lost.
Let me cry as You cried and
Break me as You were broke
Make my heart like Your heart
And let me wear Your yoke.

Let me be as You are Full of love and kind,
Gentle and compassionate,
Sweet as the New Wine.

Let me see the world as You see it,
Through the eyes of the cross.
Willing to give my all for You
So others won't be lost.
(originally written January 21,1990)
Inside the Chapel

This morning as I started my time in prayer memories of that chapel and a young, wholly devoted heart that I had started to flow through my mind. I know that at that time if God would have told me to pack up my bags and head to the corners of the earth, I would have. I wanted to do whatever He wanted no matter what the cost. Over 30 years have went by since I sat in that chapel writing those words. I’ve had my times of living a life for God that I felt like I was red hot on fire and then lukewarm since then. I have often wondered If I heard God say, ” Pack up everything and go,” would I be willing to obey like my younger heart would have? Then I thought of the poem above that my younger heart wrote during a time of prayer.

Things haven’t really changed much since that day. The world I live in is still dark and full of death and destruction. Just this week two shootings have occurred in my country for no real reason except evil in the hearts of mankind. However, I know the remedy, Jesus. It seems like all that I can do is like a tiny band aid on a gaping wound.

In Isaiah 6 the prophet Isaiah saw a vision of the Lord. His way of going about life was wrecked by what He saw. He saw a God who was so holy, glorious, and awesome in power, that all he could think of is how sinfully human he was. But he also heard the voice of God asking, “Who will go for Us?” Sitting there realizing how unqualified he was he replied, “Here am I. Send me!” Sitting in the presence of Jesus has that effect on a person. Seeing what Isaiah saw, a God who is so much bigger than us and yet so loving and so kind, I also can hear His voice calling to me. “Who will go for Us?” Although I have no idea what that will mean for me, may my heart say as Isaiah’s did, “Here am I. Send me!”

As it usually does during my times of contemplation, I come across a song that stirs within me. The lyrics of this song are so powerful. May it be my prayer. May it be the prayer of all of us.

God has given us so much to be thankful for this season. Let us purpose in our hearts to not only give thanks, but give ourselves to Him fully! Taking the remedy to our brokenness to the world around us! Come Lord Jesus!

“If it’s bandaging the broken
Or washing filthy feet
Here I am, Lord, send me
If it’s loving one another
Even when we don’t agree
Here I am, Lord, send me
If I’m poor or if I’m wealthy I’ll serve You just the same
Here I am, Lord, send me
On the mountain or the valley
I will choose to praise
Here I am, Lord, send me
If I’m known by how I love
Let my life reflect how much I love You I love You
And before You even ask
Oh, my answer will be yes ‘
cause I love You I love You
If the truth cuts like an arrow
I will say it anyway
‘Cause here I am, Lord, send me
And if it’s means that they’ll reject me Lord, I will still obey
‘Cause here I am, Lord, send me
And if I’m known by how I love
Let my life reflect how much I love You I love You
And before You even ask Oh, my answer will be yes
’cause I love You Oh, I love You
When I’m standing in Your glory
I’ll be glad I chose to say
“Here I am, Lord, send me”
“Well done, good and faithful” I live to hear You say
Here I am, Lord, send me”

“Send Me” – Bethel Music

WOW Devotion- 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

I have been writing weekly devotions for a local ministry, Women on Wednesdays.

https://www.wowjcmo.com

Here is the latest written about how a heart that is wholly devoted to God loves:

Click on Link Below

https://mailchi.mp/a47ce29726bb/wow-devotion-for-our-scripture-reading-romans-5853097?fbclid=IwAR2PhSkja0bJwsk8YsYPm90d_1YwG_7uASFcKLlylt7HoA6N8lqRmvg6HEM

Hope that Makes Me Bold

“Therefore since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” 2 Corinthians 3:12

Our God is soooo good! I have been contemplating the goodness of God lately. Something that in my 40 years of walking with Him I have never done. I’m not sure why not, but here we are… I have been awed by a definition I heard of love in a class I am taking, “Living Life Live” at WOW- Women on Wednesday. “Love always wants the very best, the most excellent, and the most profitable for another to benefit them for their own sake.” In other words since God is love, He wants the most excellent, the most profitable, the most beneficial for me. Mind blown. Especially if for some reason you have lived your life with a distorted image of God, looking at Him as a taskmaster of sorts. One who demands work from us in exchange for His blessing that He occasionally doles out to keep us plodding along like a donkey following a carrot on a stick so it will pull a cart. Not so with our Loving Heavenly Father who has set His affections on us and gives so many rich gifts of love, joy, and peace to the heart who is open to receive.

This leads me to the verse above: “We have such a hope…” hope- the confident expectation of Good. Our God is the God of Hope- when we trust Him and believe Him He pours out a confident expectation of GOOD- Hope because all His ways are GOOD toward us, EVERY single one! He never acts as the false gods of ancient times did. They were known for manipulating their subjects, punishing harshly for any misstep or act that displeased them. Their ways were not able to be known because they simply cared only for themselves.

Our God is good! And He is our hope, confident expectation of Good, because Good is the essence of who He is. This goodness makes us “bold”- free from timidity, confident, brave! We are told in the word we can approach God boldly because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We can be confident of His heart towards us, because it is filled with His great love. And Our God is always good!

I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to fill me with Boldness the past few months: Boldness to obey God fully, boldness to say whatever He places in my spirit to say, boldness to do whatever He asks.

Yesterday I was in a break out session at the Inspire Women’s Retreat and this verse was one of a section of scriptures being discussed. It stood out in my heart as I heard it read: God’s hope- my understanding of just how GOOD He is and expectation of that GOODNESS to be poured out in my life moves me. It makes me free, free from timidity and fear. It makes me BOLD! It makes me willing to go wherever God leads me, to do whatever He asks. Because I am living a life close to Him, basking in His goodness. I am anticipating with hope His love has gone before me, goes behind me, and is in me. It makes me unable to fail! That Hope truly does make me bold!

He is Good!

Praying With Your Eyes Open- originally written October 2011

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God”….. Brother Lawrence

This morning I was reminicing about how my life has been since having 4 kids and homeschooling them. “Busy”, is the best word to describe my days. Usually it is an early morning cooking, teaching, cleaning, driving, refereeing fights, trying to spend one on one time with each of the kids, grocery shopping… the list could go on and on. I was reflecting on how life was pre kids and then pre marriage, how I had time.

In all this, there has been a gift given to me.Something I did not recognize as a gift at first.It has been how my relationship with God has changed. Out of necessity I have found myself praying at all times of the day in all situations. I find myself praying while doing dishes, cooking supper, waiting for my kids to finish their assignments, cleaning toilets… It is the “continual converstation” that Brother Lawrence was talking about, and it is the most sweet and delightful thing in this world.

Here lately, I have been trying to pray for people if I think about them. If I find myself thinking about situations that a loved one or friend is in I breathe a short prayer for them. I’ve also placed a list of people on my refrigerator that I feel particularly impressed on to pray for. I figured that with my job, that is the place I will see the list the most.

In all this God has shown me that spending time with Him is not complicated. He is there waiting all I have to do is speak and recognize His presence with me.

This gift is not for me alone, but for anyone. God loves it when we reach for Him. His promise is to fill us if we hunger and thirst for Him.

In saying all of this, I am reminded of a funny story about a time of prayer that I had…One time, while I was driving, I began to pray under my breath for something. One of my daughters was pretty little and asked me what I was doing. I replied, ” I’m praying. ” She then asked me, ” You do have your eyes open right?”

So remember if God draws you into this ongoing blessing of a life of prayer to always pray with your eyes open while driving : )

Take Up Your Cross

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The cross was well known in Jesus’ day. Not as a decoration we hang on the wall of our home or set upon the top of a church steeple, but an instrument of execution and torture used by the Romans. It was used to punish the most hardened criminals. Jesus had not yet been to the cross when these words were spoken, but it was understood that a prisoner sentenced to death must first carry their own cross to their site of execution. It was a way of showing total submission to the ruling authority, Rome.

Jesus speaks of His followers being willing to follow Him in His act of total submission, not to Rome because at any time in His own execution He could have called a legion of angels to rescue Him from the cross, but to God and God’s will. Jesus knew what it would cost for Him to fulfill His purpose for which He came, a humiliating and horrendous death. He did so for the “joy set before Him”- you and me.

He requires no less in wholehearted devotion and commitment from us. All we are, submitted to God and God’s will- For all He is Life, Joy, Peace, wholeness. That is a life lived “taking up our cross and following Him”. Living in submission to Jesus and His will for us. With the promise that if we “die with Him (spiritually) we shall surely live with Him and reign. (2 Timothy 2:11-12).

The Pharisees and ME

“Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.”

Matthew‬ ‭12:9-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It amazes me the heart of the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders of Jesus time. First of all, they were looking for a reason to arrest Jesus so they could stop Him. He didn’t fit their religious mode. They could see the miracles Jesus did, but did they really see? In this miracle they watched a man’s hand that was “shriveled” be “completely restored, just as sound as the other.” I can’t imagine watching in an instant a hand that was obviously messed up restored right before my eyes. But what blows me away even more is how the Pharisees didn’t stand there with their mouths agape saying “WOW!!!” Instead, they watched, they saw, and they “plotted how they might kill Jesus”. That is unbelief!!

Now before I get all self-righteous saying, “I would NEVER do that!” The question that I am dwelling on today is “Would I NEVER do that?” Would I NEVER see the hand of God in circumstances around me and still refuse to believe? Would I NEVER try to discredit God’s miraculous in my own life?

Here’s what the Pharisees and me have in common: the desire to be in charge/ rule me.

They wanted control of their lives and the religious life of the Jews and themselves. All too often I want control of my life, following my own ways, my own opinions, my own desires- not fully obey. The only way I can do that is to discredit Jesus, not believe. Because a follower of Jesus must see what He has done, believe He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and follow Him whole heartedly. Not reason away His lordship of our lives and seek to figure out ways to “get around” obedience. The Pharisees tried to reason away Jesus so they could remain in control over their lives.

God grant me to stay close to You, obedient, always believing, submitted to You and Your will!

“I Will Rise”

Every once in a while, a memory of hard, traumatic, unexplainable events of the past will raise its ugly head inside of me. It tends to rock me to the core. Sometimes taking a while to get my mind off of it.

Today I was reading in Luke 24:1-12. It is the account of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary Mother of James going to the tomb of Jesus to put burial spices on His body. They find He isn’t there. Suddenly, Angels appear and one says “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This phrase resounds in my heart today. The women had seen some of the most traumatic events of a brutal death of a loved one. They surely were processing what had happened trying to make sense. But they were instructed that there wasn’t anything there for them in the dead things of the past. Jesus was living! He wasn’t in the past He has risen!

Whatever we have walked through that was hard, painful, and death to us is not where Jesus is. He has risen!! He is not in the dead things of the past. He is alive now and forever more!

The song “I Will Rise” by Bethel has been on my play list this week. This morning has been a morning that I have it on repeat. It speaks of what I read in Luke.

“Beyond the burial, there's a resurrection
Your will be done in me
Oh-oh, Let my roots go deep
And I will rise, I will rise
He holds the time that I will rise”

Jesus calls us out of our graves of the past to stand in the present with Him! “I will Rise! God through my life be lifted high!” We have no time to be looking intently into the graves of our lives! Jesus is not there! The living life of Christ cannot be found in the graves of failure and pain! He is risen and we are seated with Him in the heavenly places of His victorious Kingdom! I will rise! Let Jesus rise in me!

He Paints the Skies

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭19:1-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The view off the upper deck

My grandma was a painter. She painted some of the most beautiful country scenes. Many of them were memories of years past, trips to other states, or scenes she dreamed about after looking at magazines or pictures. Often when she would paint she would have the recipient of her painting in mind. The painting was to be a gift. I received several of her gifts of love. I have a small ornament she painted for me that was a memory of me when I was a toddler being an Angel in the church’s Christmas pageant, the painting she painted for me when I went to college, and the painting she gave me as a wedding gift. One painting she gave me was one I begged her to make. It was unique because it was of the ocean. It turns out that it was her last painting before she went to her heavenly home years ago.

This morning I finally got to spend some time on my upper deck. (It hasn’t been safe to go on for awhile. Thanks to my husband and son for fixing the flooring.)It has been a beautiful sunrise this morning. It reminded me of something my grandma might have tried to paint. But this one was painted by the Master Artist, God. As I sat here listening to the doves cooing, roosters crowing in the distance and various other birds awakening their song, I was struck by how momentary that scene was. In seconds it would change and minutes later it was gone.

It also occurred to me that Grandma painted the same reason that God paints the sky, love. That momentary sunrise was placed at that specific time so that I would happen to glance at it out my window and think. “I believe I’ll go and spend this sunrise with You, God.” So I did. His momentary painting that even a picture on my smart phone cannot do justice, and the sounds of my world awakening were there to allure me to the upper deck for a moment to feel held in His love by Him.

How often I miss the moment with God! He calls to us all if we only will listen. Longing for us to stop our struggles and toiling just to receive. The same God who stretched His arms across an old rugged cross and rolled a stone away in order to empty a tomb invites us to a momentary sunrise so He can whisper His love. May we not miss our moment with Him! He paints the skies so we might for a moment think of His majesty and worship Him!

Desperation for Jesus (Poem- originally written 7/20/2010)

This morning I was thinking about desperation for God. How I lack it. I am the queen of trying to do things in my life all by myself and leaving all the “Big Stuff” to God.

The story of the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible came to my heart. How she saw her desperate situation and knew if she could only reach out to Jesus and just touch His robe she would be whole.

She could of just lived her life with the problem she had and tried to work things out to the best of her ability (i.e. coped). Life never would have been what it was meant to be for her. She had the desperation for more, for more of Jesus. I need that kind of desperation. The kind that will press through a crowd of life’s busy circumstances, and will reach out a hand just to grab hold of Jesus. It’s the only way I’ll ever be what I was created to be: Whole In Jesus.

Desperation for Jesus (7/20/2010) 

So much crowds around me
That keeps You and me apart.
So many thoughts and feelings
Deep inside my heart.

I know if I can just reach out.
Your healing touch is there.
If I can only grasp your robe.
You will meet me here.

I take my heart and I reach out.
I'm crying out for grace.
My heart desires more of You.
Please look upon my face.

I'm tired of doing things my way.
Because my way doesn't work.
I stretch my hand towards you.
You're there. You heal all that hurts.

Dangerous Prayers

I’m not sure when it started, the drift. My best guess is 5 years ago, maybe more.. That’s why it’s called a drift. You just slowly give up on or slowly release your determination to believe one way and shift another way. Then all of a sudden you wake up and realize you’re not where you used to be spiritually. Those around you may not even know you’ve been evolving slowly because you’ve been looking for and developing reasons to justify your unbelief.

My drift has stopped! Thank God! The past couple of years God has pulled me out of it and set me back on course. But every once and awhile I find myself thinking like I did when I was adrift. God has been faithful to point out “Is that really the truth?” To me over and over.

The past few weeks my eyes have been opened to another area I had let drift away- a desire to listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction, to hunger for Him to show me His will, and the earnest prayer for Him to fill me full of Him. I had put them in a file in my head called “Dangerous Prayers”.

In my mind “Dangerous Prayers” were… well… dangerous. Dangerous because it would require me to step out in faith as opposed to hovering in the shadows of fear. Dangerous because I would have to let go of my plans, my choices, and my will and obey God. That’s the irony of it all “Dangerous Prayers” are dangerous to a heart that wants to drift. Because once you pray them, sincerely and from the heart you are no longer drifting and flirting with unbelief.

“Dangerous Prayers” are really only dangerous to one person, our enemy, Satan. Our enemy knows the moment we sincerely pray from our heart to the Holy Spirit asking Him to fill us full of Him and to make us sensitive to His voice with a heart of sincere obedience, his plans for our demise are done. No wonder the enemy wants us to believe that prayers of surrender are dangerous!

Maybe it’s just me the enemy tries this on, but I bet it’s not. He tries to convince me that if I pray “Dangerous Prayers” then he will put me in his crosshairs and aim his firey darts more frequently. I assure you as one who has been there and done that, this could not be any more false. His attacks are relentless no matter if you cower in a corner afraid to pray or stand boldly declaring God’s Word and His Power. All the more reason to pray the “dangerous prayers”. The only safe place to be is “IN THE LORD our refuge and fortress”, and the best way to get there is to pray the “Dangerous Prayers”. Prayers for the Holy Spirit to help me to hear, obey, and abide in His presence alone are the only safe place to be. They are prayers of safety for the believer. But dangerous to our enemy.

I’ve discovered a pretty good rule of thumb to operate in here lately. If I hear a fearful voice shouting that praying sincerely from my heart, “I want the Holy Spirit to lead me in every area of my life” is dangerous because… “What will God make you do…” Then DUH… PRAY IT! That’s just another “Dangerous Prayer” that needs to be prayed. Why would I not want to follow the only voice that promises to lead me in “Paths of Righteousness for His names sake” i.e., “Good paths/ Peaceful ones” the voice of the One who promises a “Future and a Hope” for me? So, when I hear the lying voice say, “Don’t pray that! That’s a Dangerous Prayer!” May my reply be, “Well thank you for the reminder I believe I will.”