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The Power of Words

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What if what I wished for was not what I wanted?  — Me

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This post could turn into a liturgy of unanswered prayers to thank God for, followed by a country song to that effect.  However, that’s not what I meant when I thought this thought.  My focus here is on the words we speak.  For example, I used to wish my husband would change an aspect about himself that I didn’t like.  Well, he has changed, but that’s not what I meant.  I wanted him to keep doing things, but I wanted the attitude to change.  I guess I should have been more specific when I prayed about it?

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Just fix it please!

Sometimes we don’t totally think through the things we think we want.  We don’t look at the aftermath, the unintended consequences, or God’s wisdom and timing in His plans for our life.  We don’t even know what we really want, we just throw out a generic “help, change it” because we’re stressed or worried about something in our life.  As we have discovered in the last few years, you can’t just wish for “change”, because it might not be the kind of change you want to have.  In a way, this is a very shallow form of thinking where we look for a way out of the pain of today.

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And fix it now!

Have you ever wanted something, even asked God for it, and then set about making it happen yourself?  I think we all have.  We want it and we want it now.  When we go ahead of God things just don’t turn out like we envisioned them.  God may have wanted that for us too, but the timing was not right.  So we move ahead of God and wind up losing that thing we wanted or realize it’s not what we really wanted at all.  Sometimes we miss the best God has for us because we won’t wait.  We go ahead and finagle answers for ourself.  God says, “Ok, if that’s how you want it…”.  He gave us free will and won’t force us to wait.  But how many more blessings would we receive, how much less pain, if we would only wait on His timing?

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Communication

When we talk to God, to others, or even our selves, it’s important to think through what we say.  We’ve discussed many ways communication can go wrong in this blog, and this is another.  Someone I know (who does this a lot) brought a project over to the house and said, “This is what I’d like to do.”  What she meant is “This is what I’d like YOU to do.”  I make it a policy not to jump in when people don’t specify what they really want (most of the time) because I’ve learned that it enables that other person to make assumptions he or she should not make.  {If you want something from me, come out and ask me.}  Sometimes speaking in generalities works fine, but when we really think we want something, it pays to get specific with yourself, with others, and with God.  This is not for God’s sake; He already knows what we really want.   Awareness of what we really ask for and what that means helps us not to get what we wished (prayed) for when that’s not what we really wanted at all.

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Take It

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When a yearning rises up inside

And pulls your heart toward

Just put it in the Master’s hands

And be in one accord.

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Those things we want and think we need

Must haves and ‘rescue me’s

Come from a desperately sinful heart

We must seek Him on our knees

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And surrender every want and need

to His amazing, well-mapped plan

For He’s the one who knows us best

And has since before time began

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We speak our thoughts and wait

For His blessings in His time

Hands clasped in supplication

as He works His plan sublime

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For we know not the future

nor what will cause us pain

So we trust Him to know us better

Our trust won’t be in vain

~*~

Angela Masters Young c 2012

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Time for a Checkup

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I have been a very bad girl.  I recently ran out of medications, and with no refills available, I had to call my doctor.  I’ve actually only seen that doctor once, and have debated about going back to him versus going back to my other health care provider or seeking someone else entirely.  He was busy, so I was scheduled to see His wife.  I think this was a God thing.  You see, it had been a year and a half since I had been to the doctor.  I had not been taking care of myself for a long time for various reasons, and it’s time to get this back under control.  The good news is that my blood sugars and my asthma are both doing well.

 

Another issue I struggle with is weight.  I had lost about 70lbs and was doing well.  Then I got it in my head that I would start taking my diabetes medications like I’m supposed to.  Big mistake?  I don’t know, but I gained all that weight back and more in a matter of a couple months, even though I stopped as soon as I realized what had happened.  With a bum knee and all the extra weight piled on, I am in worse shape than ever.  And I am discouraged.

 

English: A doctor listens to the lungs of 3-ye...

English: A doctor listens to the lungs of 3-year old boy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do I tell you this?  Sickness of the body (or lack of physical good health) often keeps us from being the people God created us to be.  My struggles keep me chained, in a sense, and hold me back from being/doing what I would like to do.   Even ministry items have to be thought out carefully before taking them on.  Many of those things that a normal 54 year old woman can do, I cannot.  I’ve had medical issues all my life and have had to adjust my life to accommodate them.  But, I often get frustrated because I want to be like everyone else (or as I perceive them).  Fortunately, many health issues can be taken care of by medication or just waiting for them to pass.   Sometimes, God chooses to completely heal.  All the time He is in the process.

 

So, when it comes to doing things like playing with the grandkids, going to the mall with my daughter, having a party for my Sunday School Class, and much more, I often have to pass or get help.  In one sense, that keeps me dependent on God, and that’s a good thing!  On the other hand, it limits my ability to relate with others doing every day things.   It’s amazing how God uses my ‘dis’ abilities at times, so I trust Him that He’ll give me the ability to do what He wants me to do, but I also wonder how many times I’ve let Him down because I just can’t do some things.

 

How’s your Health?

All of the above, a struggle I have on a daily basis, got me thinking about spiritual health.  God is much more concerned with my spiritual health than my physical health, and the only disability there is me.  How do you measure spiritual health?  How often do we miss out on ministry opportunities because our spiritual health is not very good?  How do we get healthy once we realize we’ve become spiritually sick?

 

http://www.freeclipartnow.com/science/medicine/Sin Sick

The first way spiritual sickness strikes is common to man:  sin sickness.  Those who have not accepted Christ have a sickness unto death, and the remedy is to let Jesus cover your sin with His blood and make you white and whole again.   Sin sickness still lurks in the natural man while we’re on earth, however.   If we are not progressing toward becoming like Christ, we may have allowed our sin sickness to taint our spiritual health again.  We heal this problem by keeping short accounts with God, confessing our sin, and getting right with our God.

 

Busy-ness

Another way we can become spiritually sick is through busyness.  Are you so busy you let your quiet time slip?  Do you go through the motions, looking churchy, but feeling bankrupt inside?  When we get busy, especially busy doing “God’s Work”, we may let our relationship with said God (and others) slip without even realizing it.

 

Wrong Thoughts

We can do all the right things but for all the wrong reasons.  If we do things to be seen by man, because we feel like it’s an obligation, or to be with our friends, we may have a problem.   All of those things are ok, but not if they are our motivation.  Our thoughts determine so much about us.  They also act as a barometer or thermometer to tell us we’re having problems and need to get help.

 

7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…”  Proverbs 23:7a

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Luke 12:34

Fortunately, the Great Physician is always on call, 24/7.  He gave us a prescription for spiritual maladies in the Bible, and sends His Spirit to help us understand the medications and convict us let us know when we’ve become spiritually sick.

Here’s hoping you find yourself healthy after this check up 😀  If not, I recommend you put in a call to the Great Physician.

Prayer Continued: Quotes and Scripture

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prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

I apologize for any wonky formatting.  WordPress is misbehaving today 🙂  Enjoy!Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbour on our knees. Charles Bent

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Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. Corrie Ten Boom

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Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon. George MacDonald
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As a people of faith, we know that prayer is a powerful instrument. And as one Nation under God, we know that many times our most powerful tool is prayer. Nick Rahall
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By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way. Malcolm Boyd

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Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them. Mahalia Jackson

 

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For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God. Saint Teresa

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Grudge no expense – yield to no opposition – forget fatigue – till, by the strength of prayer and sacrifice, the spirit of love shall have overcome . Maria Weston Chapman

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If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word – prayer. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell. Charles Spurgeon

 

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In our home there was always prayer – aloud, proud and unapologetic. Lyndon B. Johnson

 

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In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words with out a heart. John Bunyan
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More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.   Tennyson
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A Scripture Resource on Prayer
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The Lord's Prayer (1886-1896) from the series ...

The Lord’s Prayer (1886-1896) from the series The Life of Christ, Brooklyn Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God knows the need            Matthew 6:5-8

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How NOT to pray           Matthew 6:5, 7-8

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How To pray           Matthew 6:6; Matthew 6:9-13; Mark 11:25; James 1:5-6

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Pour out your heart in prayer            Psalm 62:7-8
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Pray without ceasing/continually           Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 18:1; Luke 21:34-36; Luke 22:40; Luke 22:46; Romans 12:10-12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; I Thessalonians 5:17; I Timothy 2:8
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Praying for Others          Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27-28; Ephesians 6:18; I Timothy 2:1-3; James 5:14-16; I John 5:16
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Praying in the Spirit          Jude 20
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The Prayer Faith and of a Righteous Man and of the upright           James 5:15, 16; Proverbs 15:8

Ten ways to love: Unceasing prayer

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prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

4th on our list is:

4.  Pray without ceasing.   Colossians 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

 

Ok, I get that, but how in the world do you pray without ceasing?  Don’t you have to sleep and do other things with your time?   Praying without ceasing is doable, but it is more of a heart attitude than a running prayer.  Prayer should never be out of your thoughts in one form or another.

 

One way to put this: 

Imagine walking with your significant other (or someone you love very much).  You may not be talking with your mouth, but you are constantly aware of that other person.  You reach over to touch them on occasion; you share observations as you go.  You are hyper-aware and know you can instantly have conversation with him or her.  Multiply that by more than you can imagine.

 

We are to be so aware of our Father, that we converse with Him all the time.  You become aware of a need — you talk to Him about it.  You see someone in trouble — you talk to God about it.   You notice a blessing – you thank God for it.  You get the point.  It is an intense, intertwined relationship with Him.  A relationship so deep, He is in your thoughts at all times.  Instead of worry — you pray.  Instead of trying to fix it — you pray.  Everything in your life revolves around Him.

 

Prayer Space.JPG

Prayer Space.JPG (Photo credit: bhsher)

How this works for others is that we constantly pray for them.   My son once screamed at me to stop praying for him, because he knew prayers work.  I personally consider facebook (and other social venues) a ministry.

 

When you:

"Praying Hands" (study for an Apostl...

“Praying Hands” (study for an Apostle figure of the “Heller” altar) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

see needs expressed — lift up the person/situation to God.

see people struggling with sin — lift up the person/situation to God.

a group has covenanted together  to pray for our country and leaders at least once a day.

posting only things that honor — praying for self and discernment to lead people to Him, not away.

pray for people having birthdays

as you read the blog posts you follow, lift up the person in prayer.

be known as a prayer so others will come to you when they have needs.

. . .

 

You get the picture.  When we love someone — we pray for them.   When we pray for someone — we will begin to love them.

 

I hope this post makes sense, and I hope you show love by praying without ceasing.

Just do something!

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“Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.”– Franklin D. Roosevelt

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When I posted this quote as a draft for a future  post, I didn’t think I’d be writing about this.  Some of you will identify and others may not, but this quote works very well as a philosophy of teaching for middle schoolers.  I teach 7th, 8th, and 9th grade in my Sunday School Class on Sunday morning.  I often leave the room after class wondering why in the world I keep doing this.  This age group is difficult at best in so many ways.  They are very conscious of themselves and how they fit or don’t fit into the world around them.  They are quick to point out when someone else doesn’t fit in.  They like to talk and prank each other and put their feet on the table and poke holes in milk cartons and anything else that pops into their mind.  —->(“Ah, that’s a good idea!  Oh, well maybe not.  Where are the paper towels?)

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I used to think these behaviors indicated boredom.  Nope, it just means they’re middle schoolers!  I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered if my presence in that room makes a difference or not, especially after a difficult hour of Jr. High hijinks.  Then one of them will say something that warms my heart and gives me the fuel I need to keep going.

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You see, while they act as if they do not hear a thing I say, they really listen (mostly).  Every once in a while, something will click with them and they’ll get an ‘aha’ moment that makes them think differently about something.  They love my SS class!  They love me.  I love these kids and my ministry with them.

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Back to my quote.  This is how it works:  I see a problem or a need and I try something with the class.  If it works, we keep doing it.  If it doesn’t work, I spend more time in prayer and contemplation and try something different.  Occasionally, something that has worked for a while stops working.  (This frequently happens in the new year when the group remixes as older ones leave and younger ones come in.)  Then the process begins again and I try new things, gauge how well they do or do not work, and readjust.

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This works in life too.  The only real failure is not trying at all.  If we see a problem or have a dream or whatever, and we try something.  If it doesn’t work, we abandon it (or put it on the back burner to try at another time) and try something else.  I personally expend a lot of prayer in the things I try in my class, and that helps.  I have pictures of my rugrats students up on my prayer wall in my bathroom to remind me to lift them up daily.   They face trials too and often don’t have the maturity to deal on their own.  When they come to me and ask me to pray for them or remind me to have our class prayer time,  I know something has worked.  When I see evidence of spiritual growth, I know something worked.

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However, this ‘try and try again’ attitude works on all things.  This has always been my philosophy of education and one reason I work well with non-traditional or special needs students (and middle schoolers).  If they can’t learn like others, you try something.  If it works, you keep doing it.  If it doesn’t work, you  try something else.  Sooner or later you will hit the ‘aha’ moment with each child that lets a little of the light of education into their lives.

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How does this quote work in your life?  Do you keep trying different things?  Do you give up if the first thing doesn’t work?  Do you allow discouragement to drag you down when you’re still in the ‘try something else’ stage?  Is there a time in your life when you can see that trying something new actually worked?  

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If only we would remember this when we get into a reactionary rut with the spouse, kids, friends, others.  If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. 🙂  (definition of insanity)   If something isn’t working, don’t look to place blame on others.  You can’t change them, but you can change you and how you respond.  Often changing our response to others in certain situations makes all the difference in the outcome.  It at least makes a difference in us and how we think about the situation.

So get out there and try something new!        {and here’s a peek at some of my class 🙂 }

Christian Soldiers Sunday School Class

Prayer is not…

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“Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us.” –William Barkley

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