flashthoughts

Archive for February 2011

Do you remember this hymn? Depending on how old you are, sadly, you may not have ever even heard it. Don’t get me wrong – I love the praise and worship songs as much as the next person. In fact, this song is one that I came to ‘not love’ so much when I was younger and, until last night, the thought of it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Why? Simply because as a young girl it was one of the first songs I had to learn to play on the piano. Isn’t that a silly reason? That’s why it seemed rather odd to me that it was the very song that came to my mind last night immediately after the group prayer for Joanne had ended. (More on prayer for Joanne later) I decided that I would look at the words as soon as I got up in the morning. Here are the words to the first verse…

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, That calls me from a world of care
And bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known!
In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare by Thy return, sweet hour of prayer.

So much truth in that one verse alone! No matter what went on during the day, no matter how you may have been hurting before, once you enter into prayer it just all seems to melt away. He gives us the freedom to come to Him and lay it all at His feet! Hebrews 4:16 says So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. there we will receive His mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (New Living Translation) and I love how Eugene Peterson put it in The Message: So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

How wonderful is that? Knowing that He is ready, willing and more than able to give us what we need, what He knows is best for us and all we have to do is ask for it!

As I was spending time with Him this morning, He led me to the following passage through a devotional that I’m reading and I immediately thought of Joanne. I will be sharing this on Monday, so if you are reading this and you are one that joins our prayer for Joanne on Mondays and Thursdays, then you will get to hear it twice. As for me, I know I need to hear it many times. It is from Philippians 1:3-6 and 12-14. Verses 3-6 (from The Message) Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

This made me think of Joanne because I am asking God to bring her to my mind continually so that I can stay in prayer for her. I do pray for her with a glad heart because of how far He has already brought her. I am pleased because I know that she is continuing in this with us, believing and proclaiming His Message. I know that He has started a great work in Joanne and that He still has plans for her.

While I know that this next passage (verses 12-14) was Paul speaking from his prison, it just hit me as I was reading it that it was Joanne speaking to us from her ‘prison’, as it were. She is able to communicate now but I imagine that she still may feel ‘imprisoned’ due to her left side still being paralyzed but listen to this and imagine that it is not Paul but Joanne that is speaking to us: (from The Message) I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity and now they’ve learned all about Him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.

Oh my word, Sisters (and Brothers that may be reading, too) that passage was really hard to type because as I was reading it to type, I was feeling so FILLED WITH GOD and, even though I’ve never met Joanne, I could just hear her saying these words and I just want to jump up and shout GLORY HALLELUJAH!!! PRAISE YOU JESUS!!!! Now, let me share with you what I hear Joanne saying through this passage to us: My ‘imprisonment’ in this body, not being able to move and speak as I’d like to, has had the opposite effect that the enemy, satan, wanted it to have. For he has not destroyed me, but is making me stronger! He has not squelched the Message of Jesus that I so gladly and willingly share with all. No! He has, indeed, made it even stronger! So many people (nurses, doctors, therapists, sisters and brothers in Christ that I haven’t ever even met) have heard about what happened to me and have rallied around in prayer and bombarded the Gates of Heaven for me for HIS Glory to be shown!!! I’m not sure but maybe even some people that didn’t know Him have come to know Him after hearing about me and the miracle that He is doing in and through me! Because of some of my Sisters in Christ hearing about me and joining in to pray for me, He has given them even more boldness or simply given them boldness where they had none before! Praise with me, sisters and brothers, because God isn’t finished with me yet!!! He still has work for me to do and, with your continued prayers, I know that He will give me everything I need to get it done.

Father, I want to stop and thank You right now, for letting me feel these things this morning. You know that I have never met Joanne, had never even heard of her until I started seeing all the prayer requests for her. I know she must be an amazing daughter of Yours and I thank You so much that this morning You have allowed me to get deep into Your Word and truly feel that friendship, that ‘sistership’ of Siestaville and now it is as if I do know Joanne personally. This has now become very personal for me and I praise You for that! In Your Most Precious and Holy Name, Amen.

I know this may have been a little long, but I had to share everything that was going on inside me this morning. Maybe it was just for me but maybe, just maybe, it will be of help to someone else that reads this. Maybe someone is struggling with prayer in general – don’t worry, God is there with you. Maybe you feel like you don’t know ‘how to’ pray, as I feel so many times – it doesn’t matter. Just speak what’s on your heart, that’s all He really wants to hear anyway. Share with Him all your wants and wishes, frustrations and problems and watch as He does miraculous things in your life. Ask Him to help you make His will for your life, your will for your life but when you do, get ready for things to happen. I know! He is changing me and challenging me but in so many good ways that I can’t even tell you about them all. He has brought me from someone that would never consider praying out loud with others to someone that, while I’m still not exactly comfortable doing it, knows that it gives Him glory and, therefore, is determined to press through – not for myself so much as for others. I want to be able to intercede for others and, yes, I know that involves a LOT and it scares me to death but I know for a fact that God has been calling me to prayer since 2006 and I’m tired of running from it! I want to learn to embrace what He has for me. I know He will not give me more than I can handle at once so I am trying to learn to trust Him with it all and if He can do this for someone like me, I KNOW He can do huge things in your life today – all He’s waiting for is for you to ask Him. Will you ask Him now? I hope so and, if you would like a friend to talk to about it, I’d be honored to be that friend. I promise you I won’t know all the answers but I know the One Who does 🙂

If you would like to learn more about Joanne and how to pray for her, please visit www.thesimplewife.typepad.com

I pray that you will leave a comment here, if any of this has touched you today in any way, and let me know you were here. I may not know you but I love you with the love of the Lord, Jesus Christ!

You know – a thought came to me after I posted this and went to get ready for work: Maybe God doesn’t want me to be ‘comfortable’ in praying for others. Because, maybe if I were comfortable, I might start thinking it was all about me instead of being all about Him. Hmmmmmmm – just sharing the thought that hit me as I started getting ready for work. Something to think about, I guess 🙂

Have you ever had a day where you are made unmistakably aware that your plans are not God’s plans? I’ve had plenty and yesterday was certainly one of them.

My daughter had to go out of town (about an hour away) for a job assignment so I planned to take off at noon (when she finished her last class) and we were going to head that way. I figured we’d go get her job assignment done and we should probably be getting home around 2:30 p.m. at the latest. Therefore, I had made a list of things that I wanted to get done after we got home.

This is a picture of the board where I had written MY plan:

I was going to have a VERY productive afternoon for sure! But all that changed, when we were about 15 miles from the exit to her job assignment. The passenger-side front tire blew out! Yes – here we were, on the side of the Interstate about to have to try changing a tire. Something we know the basics of having to do but neither of us had ever done before! But the Lord sent us an angel in the form of a US Postal Service worker. He pulled over and changed the tire for us. He got the little donut tire on and let the jack down and, you guessed it, the donut tire was almost flat!!! This man then told us we could drive 5-10 mph, down the shoulder of the Interstate, to the next exit as it was just a mile or two up the road and we could get air put in the tire there. He not only told us that, but he also led the way, went to the station with us and put the air in the tire for us. Praise the Lord! We made it to my daughter’s job assignment and headed back home – yes, driving 50 mph on the Interstate! LOL

Needless to say, my head was swirling with thoughts of where and how to get the tire fixed, WHY did this have to happen right now, yada, yada – you get the picture. Then it occurred to me how blessed we were.

The Lord made sure we were on the Interstate when the tire blew out so there was plenty of room on the shoulder to take care of it. The blow out did not cause an accident and He sent someone to help us which enabled us to take care of business and be able to make it safely back home. You see, I’ve known for a while that I needed to get a couple of new tires but was hoping the ones I had would last until I could get my tax refund. It was definitely God’s plan that this happened when and where it did instead of it happening while we were on the way to work/school or on our way home from work/school because on the road we travel there isn’t much of a shoulder to work with and, most likely, no one would have stopped to help.

Yes, I was definitely reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 yesterday – I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Oh, the list of my plans? Well, it is still there, on the board at home as none of it has been completed. We didn’t make it home until 3:30 p.m. and then we had to go get new tires so we were even later getting home than we are when we’ve been at work/school all day. But, there is something that has been added.

Here, see for yourself……

Can you see what it says? It says, “HA HA HA HA HA HA (That’s God laughing at MY plans for the afternoon! LOL)

I have to admit, it was an afternoon filled with lots of roller coaster emotions and I was still reeling from it all last night when I received an extremely unexpected invitation which set off many more feelings that were just a bit overwhelming! Hopefully, I’ll be able to share more about that invitation later but for now, just remember that no matter what your plans may be, God’s plans are so much wiser and better!

Do you ever “think God”? Why am I even asking this question? Here’s why – one of my duties at work is to open and distribute the mail. Sometimes that involves reading a bit to determine the correct recipient. On January 28, I was doing that and saw where someone wrote that they had been “involved in a car accident but ‘think’ God no one was hurt.” My first reaction was a little smile and I thought, ‘I’m sure they meant to say THANK God’ .

I placed the letter in the appropriate person’s slot and finished distributing the mail and went about the day’s business but I couldn’t get that out of my head. Think God. It really got my attention. Maybe I do need to Think God more often. Maybe if I did, it would help me to love more like Him, forgive more like Him and, basically, just live more like Him. In fact, it brings Philippians 4:8 (The Message) to mind: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”  What could be more true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling and gracious than God?

So, my version: Summing it all up, friends, I’d say THINK GOD.


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