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Father, I lift up to you, this morning, parents of adult children. It’s one thing to be a young parent – to wonder if you’re “doing it right”; if you’re making the right decisions for your children – for their present and their future. But Lord, as I am now a parent of adult children, I can see, “I didn’t know, what I didn’t know…”

I didn’t know what my parents were feeling and worrying about when I became an adult. I didn’t know how they still worried and prayed for me when I was no longer the child. I didn’t know how difficult it was to completely trust You, while having absolutely “no say in the matter” of my decisions.

God, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

But, now I know…

Father, I thank You for our children, for the Christians they are, and the sound decisions they are making. I pray for them Lord, that they would always turn to You, listening for Your voice and then serve You.

And Father, I lift up to You, young adults all around us, yes, indeed, all over the world, but particularly those we know. I pray for their safety, and their choices, and their relationships with You. Though I often pray for teenagers, I mean now, those who are clearly “adults” with lives, marriages, children and careers of their own. Those who are, where we’ve so clearly been…

But Father, I especially pray for their parents. I smile Lord when I think of the phrase, “I are one, now…” And, most all my friends “are one”, too.

How Lord, do we turn them over to You; totally and completely to You? When our children were young we “said” we “gave them to You”, but still, we were responsible for their daily care – for making the decisions about that care.

But now Lord. We’re no longer responsible for that care, and we truly have to turn them over to You. For some it is easier – they have found their soul-mates, they have careers and are settled into “life.” It’s easy to say, “Lord, I give them to You…

But for some, Lord, it is a very difficult statement to make. Some are making bad decisions that we know will come back to haunt them. Some are in bad relationships that break our hearts. Some have turned their backs on You, or if not outright rejection, then lackadaisical attitudes and apathy. Lord, some are lazy, some are indifferent, some have difficult and dangerous jobs and some, oh God, some are going off to war…

How in the name of all that is Holy, how, do we turn these over to You? How in the world did Abraham do it? I thought I understood his story. Indeed, even now it’s still mostly a “mental” understanding, because “I” am not having to commit “my” children’s lives to you – well, I am, as they could be in harm’s way at any given moment, but not like this, Lord. Not in the way that my friends are.

God, I can’t even imagine the anguish they feel; the sheer sense of “help-less-ness.”

Once, I had a child lying near death. And the complete surrender I had to make to You is the only thing that carried me through that, but, that was an “instance”, a “happening” that took place in a matter of days – but this Lord, this is a way of life – this is their “job”, this, will be months…

How have the parents of soldiers always felt, Lord? My mind began at Vietnam, then drifted back to Korea, and the “Great” wars. But then You carried me (in this moment of prayer) back further still to the Civil War, the Independence War, and indeed back through the ages, for every war, conflict, “police action” or confrontation that has ever taken place – for every young person who went into battle – there has been a parent crying, worrying, praying… for their care.

How did our parents do it? I didn’t know, that I didn’t know they were struggling to “let go, and let God…”

How did Mary watch Jesus on the cross? How in the world did she do that? If I think of it literally, I can’t even imagine…

How did Abraham raise his arm with the sword in his hand? Again, if I think of a sword, literally in my hand, poised over the heart of my child, I can’t imagine…

Thankfully, we don’t know what we don’t know… And when the time comes for us “to know” then You are there – as the song says, “Just when I need Him most…” “Just when I need Him, Jesus is near; just when I falter, just when I fear; ready to help me, ready to hear; just when I need Him most…

Father, I lift up to You, “parents of adult children”. God! It’s so hard to give them to You. “God I believe, help Thou my unbelief…”

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Questions Along the Way

Do you ever have times when you feel like the ground is completely giving away beneath you? Perhaps this message, taken from the series “From Supper to Sunrise” will encourage you.

Jesus and the disciples have just left the Upper Room and are headed to the Garden of Gethsamane – and they are feeling the weight of the moment… and they have questions.

Do you also have questions when times are troubling. May God use these words to encourage you. Amen.

 

The word “privilege” has been brandished around in the news media lately as if it is a bad thing. The word actually means “a gift” or “a privilege”. When we meet someone new they may say, “It’s nice to meet you”, and we might reply, “The privilege is all mine!”

A privilege is a gift for which one does nothing to deserve it.

We live on a farm. It has been in my husband’s family since the late 1700’s. We did not buy this farm, we have done nothing to deserve this farm. It is a PRIVILEGE to live here.

As I am sitting here early this morning I do not hear traffic or people or anger or conflict – I hear the birds singing and see the fog wafting through the valley. I feel a gentle breeze and smell the freshness of the morning. I do not deserve this – it is strictly a privilege – a gift that came simply by marrying a man who was born here.

Is it wrong for me to have privilege? No, but it is a great responsibility. On my Facebook page Newman Valley or on my blog with the same name, I often use the hashtag #farmstewardship because my husband and I feel that we are simply stewards of this great privilege, and we pray that God will direct us to use it to praise and serve Him.

In John 1:12 we read, “But to all who believed Him [Jesus] and accepted Him, He gave the right (the word can be translated “privilege”) to become children of God.”

Being a child of God is a privilege. It is a gift for which we do nothing to deserve it. Jesus paid the price for our free gift – but with that gift – that privilege – comes a great responsibility for He said, “To whom much is given – much is required”.

The context of that word (Luke 12:48) is the coming Day of the Lord. I do believe we are nearing that blessed Day and those of us who have privilege and even great privilege must be living and serving in a way that is commensurate to that gift for it is indeed a precious gift!

Gracious Lord, make me ever aware of the great gift of Your Love for Your Son sought me and bought me with His precious and redeeming blood.

While we live on this good earth, direct us to ever serve You in the fullest capacity of our ability – for You indeed are worthy – and we are not… we have simply been given the privilege of being called sons and daughters of God.

We thank and forever praise You – in Jesus’ Name – Amen!

Our Wednesday night women’s Bible study group continued our study through the book of Joshua this week. We were on chapter 7 which I titled “The Battle at Ai – Part One”. The subtitle was “Sin in the Camp”. (Note: I have another blog post titled “Sin in the Camp” therefore this one is #2).

Looking back at the battle of Jericho we said that Jericho represented that type of battle where we are facing something we’ve never faced before. The Israelites had fought a few battles through the wilderness wanderings – but those were “normal” types of battles – hand to hand combat. Jericho, on the other hand, was a “walled city”. They’d never battled an enemy in a walled city before.

And sometimes we face battles and circumstances that we’ve never faced before either. We saw in chapter 6 how to fight such a battle as this.

Ai, however, represented a completely different type of battle. This represents a battle of the flesh. This is a picture of those types of battles that we go into thinking, “I can handle this… This will be ‘a piece of cake…’ There’s no need to pray about it or  bother God with this dinky battle. I’ll just take care of it…” And then we get routed and are forced to run from the enemy with our tails between our legs.

I shared a poem (of sorts) with the class titled “I saw a little worry” which describes how we can get caught up in thinking “I can handle this”. (To read “I Saw a Little Worry go to https://prayerlogue.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/i-saw-a-little-worry

The battle at Ai also shows us what happens when there is “sin in the camp” – and that is – we’re defeated before we even begin!

Read the last verse in Joshua 6, and then chapter 7 to discover what sin caused Israel’s defeat, and what God’s response was.

Is there sin in your life that is causing your defeat?

To read more on “Sin in the Camp” go to https://prayerlogue.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/sin-in-the-camp

Today I lift up teachers.
As it is coming close to the end of the school year, I lift you up in prayer. As you struggle with students who are thinking of everything but school, I pray for continued success in the classroom. I know you, you care deeply about your “work” (I know it should more appropriately be called your “calling.”) And so, I pray for you.

I pray for the students that you are concerned about – the ones who are failing as well as the ones who are just not living up to their potential. I pray that God may use you to reach them, or give you comfort in doing the best you could have done.

I pray for tensions in the schools, whether in yours or surrounding schools, for tension in any creates tension in all. I pray for those students whose lives are filled with the tension that they bring to school. Perhaps it’s family oriented, or perhaps it’s internal, and the family is as concerned as you are – whichever, I pray for these kids.

I pray for you as an individual. I know that you are “real people” too, and have issues and other concerns outside of the schoolhouse. I pray that God will give you strength and wisdom in dealing with your struggles. I also pray for your praises – those things that bring you great joy. You give so much; you should be filled with joy.

And I pray for your prayers. May God hear the questions of your mind and give you wisdom. May God hear the cries of your heart and give you peace.

In the Name of the One who was called “Great Teacher” (oh teacher, what a noble profession and model you have chosen to follow.)
In His name I pray, Amen.

**************************

Except for the part about the school year coming to a close, this prayer could be prayed every day for teachers. I originally wrote this prayer about 10 years ago when our boys were still in school. Today, they are grown men with sons of their own. Oh – and one of them is married to a school teacher!

(This is a rather long blog post – but one that has been on my heart a long time. God just now provided the words. Feel free to share if you feel the same.)

Why I Need to Hear Hymns

The phone rang early one morning and one of our sons had some disturbing news. My first reaction was, “I must tell Jesus!” So, I fell to my knees and began:

 

I must tell Jesus!

I must tell Jesus!

I cannot bear my burdens alone.

I must tell Jesus!

I must tell Jesus!

Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

 

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;

I cannot bear these burdens alone;

In my distress He kindly will help me

He ever loves and cares for His own.

 

I must tell Jesus!

I must tell Jesus!

I cannot bear my burdens alone.

I must tell Jesus!

I must tell Jesus!

Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

 

At the time of this writing, I am in my early 60’s. Hymns have been a part of my life for – well – more than 60 years! From “Jesus loves me, this I know” to the Bible school favorites, “Deep and Wide” and “Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man”:

 

Zacchaeus was a wee, little man,

And a wee, little man was he.

He climbed up in a sycamore tree

For the Lord he wanted to see.

 

And as the Savior came that way,

He looked up in the tree,

And He said,

“Zacchaeus! You come down from there!

For I’m going to your house today.

For I’m going to your house today.”

 

When I was going through a difficult season in my life with caring for ailing parents and in-laws; teenage sons in school and trying to keep my business running as well as food on the table and clean clothes in the drawer – it was one special hymn that encouraged me every day. I made two copies of the hymn on yellow legal pad paper. One went on the refrigerator (where it stayed for years – despite stains and discoloring!) And the other I kept folded in my billfold. There have been many nights that I sat in a hospital room, reading these words over and over.

 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say, than to you He has said,

To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.

 

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

 

When through the deep waters I call thee to go

The rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow

For I will be with thee, thy trouble to bless

And sanctify to thee, thy deepest distress.

 

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie

My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply.

The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design.

Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

 

The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose

I will not, I will not desert to its foes.

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”

 

 

Actually, it hasn’t been that long since I removed the faded, tear-stained, and worn sheet of paper from my billfold – but I know the words by heart now.

 

Another that sustained me during those years was, “When the Storms of Life are Raging”

 

When the storms of life are raging – stand by me.

When the storms of life are raging – stand by me.

When the world is tossing me,

Like a ship upon the sea,

Thou who rulest wind and water – stand by me…

 

In the midst of tribulation – stand by me.

In the midst of tribulation – stand by me.

When the hosts of hell assail

And my strength begins to fail

Thou Who never lost a battle – stand by me.

 

In the midst of faults and failures – stand by me.

In the midst of faults and failures – stand by me.

When I do the best I can

And my friends misunderstand

Thou Who knowest all about me – stand by me.

 

When I’m growing old and feeble – stand by me.

When I’m growing old and feeble – stand by me.

When my life becomes a burden

And I’m nearing chilly Jordan

O Thou Lily of the Valley – stand by me…

 

(My favorite version of this song is from the album “The Trouble Maker” by Willie Nelson – believe it or not!)

 

When I had my first experience with hospice, in the weeks before losing my mother, these words kept me going.

 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know, He holds the future

And life is worth the living – just because He lives.

 

And then one day, I’ll cross the river

I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;

And then, as death gives way to victory

I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know, He holds the future

And life is worth the living – just because He lives.

 

 

In the days after my Mother died, as my Daddy’s health was failing, and with a heart still breaking, I reluctantly attended a county-wide high school honors’ band concert in which our younger son was playing. One song on the program was titled, “An Unknown Hymn”… As O sat in that auditorium, barely listening to the music, I suddenly heard a tune that caused a flood of tears to my eyes, as my mind automatically added the words.

 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot

Thou has taught me to say

It is well… it is well… with my soul.

 

Though Satan should buffet

Though trials should come

Let this blest assurance control

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate

And hath shed His own blood for my soul

 

My sin (oh the bliss of this glorious thought!)

My sin – not in part – but in whole

Is nailed to the cross,

And I bear it no more

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! O my soul!

 

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend

Even so, it is well with my soul!

 

(Even writing these words, I feel tears fill my eyes once again…)

 

That night I cried out to God – “Oh God! It is well with my soul – but it still hurts!” And I “heard” in my spirit – “I didn’t say it would be easy… I said I would be with you…”

 

 

One of our sons suffered from nightmares for years. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve comforted him with:

 

Be not dismayed, what ere betide

God will take care of you.

Beneath His wings of love abide

God will take care of you.

 

Refrain:

God will take care of you

Through every day – o’er all the way

He will take care of you

God will take care of you…

 

Through days of toil when heart doth fail

God will take care of you.

When dangers fierce your path assail

God will take care of you.

 

Refrain:

 

No matter what may be the test

God will take care of you.

Lean, weary one, upon His breast

God will take care of you.

 

Refrain:

God will take care of you

Through every day – o’er all the way

He will take care of you

God will take care of you…

 

 

Later, when that same son lay in the hospital – in intensive care – the words “Whispering Hope” calmed me day after day after day through his recovery. (Again – Willie Nelson’s nasally version:-) )

 

Soft, as the voice of an angel

Breathing a lesson unheard

Hope, with her gentle persuasion

Whispers her comforting word:

“Wait, till the darkness is over,

Wait, till the tempest is done

Hope for the sunshine tomorrow

After the shower is gone”.

 

Refrain:

Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice

Making my heart in its sorrow, rejoice…

 

If, in the dusk of the twilight

Dim be the region afar.

Will not the deepening darkness

Brighten the glimmering star?

Then, when the night is upon us,

Why should the heart sink away?

When the dark midnight is over

Watch for the breaking of day.

 

Refrain:

 

Hope, as an anchor so steadfast

Rends the dark veil for the soul

Whither the Master has entered

Robbing the grave of its goal.

Come then, oh come, glad fruition

Come to my sad weary heart.

Come, O Thou blest hope of glory

Never, oh, never depart!

 

Refrain:

Whispering hope, oh, how welcome thy voice.

Making my heart, in its sorrow, rejoice.

 

 

It’s a proven fact that we remember songs easier than prose. (Think of the number of jingles from commercials that you remember – even though the commercials may be years and years old!) Scripture chronicles many instances when events were recorded in song to help the people remember (Exodus 15; Numbers 21; Deuteronomy 31 and 32; Judges 5 and 2 Samuel 22 – just to name a few). And although we read out of many translations today – most people (at least people my age) can still recall scriptures memorized from the King James Version – particularly because of the poetical flow to the words.

 

 

The powerful words of hymns have sustained my faith through many difficult times in my life. I don’t know how I would have survived without them. Today, however, we seldom hear the hymns of the faith in our worship services. Most services are filed with “praise choruses”. And while it’s important to spend time in praise to God – still – there is little in those choruses to uphold us when times are really hard. But sadly, at other times, when hymns are incorporated into the service, it is often just the chorus or perhaps one verse. What great theological truth is missed for the sake of saving time.

 

We bemoan the fact that much of society (as well as many church members) are Biblically illiterate. May I suggest that we augment our teaching and preaching with the rich message that the hymns of the faith provide? Add drums and guitars to the arrangement if you feel it necessary – but please don’t neglect the teaching of those precious words. We can still sing praise choruses – but as for me – I really need to hear hymns… I need it for my soul.

 

 

 

The Great Mistrial

For your Lenten listening enjoyment The Great Mistrial

 

This CD will take you from the depths of the Garden of Gethsamane to the heights of the Ascension! Download it today!

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