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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I have the BEST kids in the world! Breakfast in bed- cranberry orange scones, omelets, pudding with mint sprigs, and chocolate milk. And flowers. And cards that made me bawl. That is truly their goal with cards. Like mother, like daughters. :-) 

My favorite gift was a card which read: you are such a good example of learning to live like Him. So, for your birthday, here is our biggest gift to you- we donated $100 of our own money to buy a share of a deep well. You've inspired us and led us to learn how to change the world and live more like Jesus. This is our way to say thank you." 

Here are some of my other favorite lines...

"Thank you for being there when I needed you, hearing me when I cried and being at my side." 

"You are a great example of what faith and hard work and trusting God looks like, and I'm so proud to be your daughter." 

"Though our family could have been destroyed in the past years, you helped us see the truth: storms are God given blessings in disguise. God held me up by my right hand, but you were always at my other side, ready to help me up and on. I am who I am because you taught me to never give up and give it all to God... Never lose hope because God never forgets His children...

You and I were meant to dance
Through oceans deep to the Promised Land."

May I always be the person my children see.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Praying Dangerously May Week Two

Use me. 

A dangerous prayer that we can only pray if we trust the One to whom we pray. 

We can only trust Him if we truly believe He loves us. 

I don't know if you struggle with believing the truth about who you are or believing the truth about God's love for you.

I do know I'm not alone in needing a reminder that I am loved unconditionally and perfectly and forever.

A few days ago one of my kids was struggling, and God gave me some words to encourage her heart. Words to remind her who she is and how much God loves her.

The words resonated in my heart too.

I pray they speak to your heart as well and help you rest in the security of being forever and unconditionally loved.

For you...

I am a person of worth.
God created me. Jesus died for me. The Holy Spirit lives in me.
I am a PRINCESS of the King of kings.
I BELONG to Jesus.
NOTHING can separate me from God's love.
God REJOICES over me. God WATCHES over me. GOD is WITH me ALWAYS.
I am SAFE in God's hands.
God has a good plan for me.
Jesus is my Savior, my Lord, my Friend.
I will worship and PRAISE GOD all my days.
I will believe the truth- I AM GOD'S. 

(John 3:16, Romans 8: 38, Zephaniah 3: 17, Psalm 45: 11, Psalm 121: 5, Matthew 28: 20, Jeremiah 29: 11) 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Praying Dangerously May Week One

What does it mean to dream big? 

My children sometimes think it means to have lots of fun superhero dreams overnight and recount them the next morning.

They have some dreams Marvel would find impressive.

But I dream more when I'm awake. 

Some of those dreams have become books. Some of them are active prayers I'm waiting to see how God will work out. 

Whatever and whenever you dream, it's important to remember that we were created to dream. 

Not just at night.

But to pray and dream and live.

Not that living a dream is easy. Nor is it easy to wait for God to make a dream a reality.

I think too many of us forget to dream. Life gets busy. Bills have to be paid. 

And our hearts die a little bit every day we push aside the dreams we have for one day. 


How would life be different if you were living a dream? 

Not the American dream, but God's dream for you.

Finding the cure for cancer or diabetes or chronic fatigue or a host of other diseases that steal people's dreams.

Ending hunger. 

Providing clean water to those who have never had it. 

Praying for people and seeing God change lives. 

Buying a little less so some kids you'll never meet have food on the weekends. 

Saving change so some homeless people have a place to stay tonight. 

Praying for a child halfway around the world to come to know Jesus because you gave so she could be fed and taught God loves her. 

Teaching students God has an amazing plan for their lives and that they can change the world, one word, one story, one heart at a time.

Running an orphanage so children can heal physically and spiritually.

Showing people God through science.

Healing people outside and praying God heals them inside. 

All of these are my family's dreams. Some we are living. Some have not yet happened.

What are yours? 

What dream resides deep in your heart? 

Will you pray and ask God what His dream is for you? Will you take that first step and share your dreams with God?

Let yourself dream. Leave how the dreams come true up to God. He'll show you what to do when. 

Just dream. And pray. 

God is changing the world for good through dreamers who gave their dreams to God, and He did more than they could have ever imagined. 

What about you?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Praying Dangerously April Week Three

Lord, prepare our hearts to walk in Your footsteps this Easter.

Monday You cleansed the temple and drove out those who turned Your Father's house into a den of thieves.  Cleanse our hearts as You cleansed the temple and drive out anything that doesn't honor You.

Jesus, You spent Tuesday teaching- through parables, answering questions meant to trap You, and the questions of Your disciples. We have so many questions, Lord, continue to teach us. Open our ears to hear Your Word. And may the story our lives tell glorify You.

On Wednesday You were betrayed. When we sin, we betray You too,  and turn our backs on the price You paid on the cross. We betray who we are, acting in opposition to Your Spirit who lives in us. Fight for us, Lord, that we might see the enemy is a defeated foe and sin has no power over us. Teach us to see sin for what it is- a lie. There is no lasting happiness in sin, no good, no joy. Only in Jesus is there real Life. Teach us to be faithful and true, to allow You to live Your life through us. Fix our eyes on You, Jesus.

On Thursday You fed even Your betrayer. You washed the feet of Your followers. You served and prayed and healed- even as Your entire being grieved what was ahead for You. Make us more like You, Jesus, that we would be so focused on the Father that You find our hands and feet and mouths willing and ready for You to serve through.

Friday is only Good because we know what happened on Sunday. Friday it looked like all hope was lost. Jesus, You were beaten and mocked and spit on and tortured. May we never forget the price that You paid. In full. May we remember Your words, spoken in physical agony, yet full of Life. You invited sinners into paradise and split the veil of the temple in two. Your Words thundered through time for all who will hear- Praise You, Jesus, it is finished.

Saturday was silent with shock and sorrow. Though we know Sunday's coming, may our hearts weep in true conviction over our sin and in repentance.  May we remember Christ crucified and dead and buried and arisen. May we never forget Your cross and Your complete forgiveness.

Sunday changed the world- past, present, and future. You are RISEN! You are ALIVE! And one day You will come again to take Your children home. May we live looking forward with excitement to the day when sin no longer separates us, where our human frailties no longer get in the way of unbroken, forever, complete fellowship with the Lord of lords and the King of kings, the Lamb who was slain, the Lion who reigns forever. All honor and glory and praise to You, Jesus! Amen! 

He is risen indeed! 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Praying Dangerously April Week Two

Heal me.

What do you need healing from?

Most of us have an answer to that. But do we ask specifically for God to heal us? 

I thought I did. Until I read these words by Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle: "God does not answer vague prayers." 

Batterson went on to say that when we pray vaguely, there's no way to know if God answered, and God gets no glory in that. 

He also said, "Our responsibility is to simply discern what God wants, and then humbly yet boldly to ask God for it."

So my kiddos and I discussed this idea in terms of asking God specifically. They had no problem at all naming exactly what they want God to do for them...

Raise 15K for a deep well.
Conviction of sin and reconciliation with some very hard people.
Healing from a dairy allergy.

I struggled. I'd rather pray God's Word or pray specifically for my children or my family and friends. 

But voice my deep dreams to God and ask Him specifically to fulfill them?  

What if I ask and God says no? That's happened.

What if I ask and follow God into those dreams and they turn to dust? That's happened too.

And every time I ask and the answer doesn't come the way I'd hoped, it gets a little harder to voice the dream and hand it over to God again. 

But since I'm a closet optimist, I keep asking because God keeps stirring the same dream. 

I want to change the world, point people to healing in Christ, and provide for my family through the ministry of writing. 

I long to see God's people healed of addictions that destroy them and those around them one slow step away from God at a time. 

I long to see God's people healed from the pain caused by the sins of others. To see people who live in fear free to trust and believe God loves them and will use them to do amazing things. 

And so I pray. For myself and the dreams that won't go away. For my children. For my family and friends. For strangers I pass along the way. 

For dreams to live and grow and bear fruit.

For healing.

One verse I go back to often and insert loved one's names in or my name is Isaiah 53:5...

You were pierced for Amy's rebellion, crushed for Amy's sins. You were beaten so Amy could be whole. You were whipped so Amy could be healed.  I believe Your death and resurrection accomplished Amy's healing. May Amy receive that healing from fear, from the past, from rejection, from constant shoulder pain. By Your wounds Amy is healed. 

God may still say no to the specific requests for healing.

I've asked for healing from diabetes for over twenty years. And God has been clear He is using this disease for my good and His glory. Every time I go to the eye doctor and there's not even microscopic damage from twenty-six years with diabetes, God gets glory for that because that was one of my biggest fears and prayers.

I may not always like the answers I receive. But I believe God is honored when I ask. 


Until He answers. 

And He does answer.

So ask. Feel free to take the Scripture above and pray your name or a loved one's. 

God is honored by honest, bold, God-sized requests. 

After all, He's the only One who can answer those. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Praying Dangerously April Week One

Teach me to enjoy You, God.

At first glance this doesn't sound like a dangerous prayer. But it is.

Especially when you consider what you enjoy most.

I'm reading a book  entitled "not a fan" by Kyle Idleman. Chapter four rocked my world- one of many or your one and only?

Idleman asked these questions:

When you're hurt, where do you go for comfort?
What disappoints or frustrates you most?
What really gets you excited?

Then he made this statement, "Jesus wants to be your one and only. Not the first of many."

I've grown up hearing "put Jesus first." But only? 

That left me speechless...and smarting a little. Okay, a lot. 

Because what excites me most, where I go for comfort - if I'm 100% honest- isn't Jesus every day. 

What I want at the end of a long, lonely day isn't reading my Bible. It's a TV show that makes me laugh and some chocolate. Or a book. Or talking to a friend. Or just going to bed early.

Not horrible choices. 

Unless you consider the alternative. 

What I've passed on is spending time with the most loving person in the world, who knows every thought in my head and never stops loving me. 

He's never too busy. He always understands- everything. 

I've passed on praying prayers that change the world. 

I've not taught my kids what it means to enjoy God more than people or TV or food.

So I'm praying dangerously and asking God to be my only Source. 

The only place I run when life hurts a little or a lot.

The only one who fills me.

The One who excites my heart more than anyone or anything else.

Today I started praying...

Lord, teach me to pray. Teach me to enjoy You, God, that You would be the only place I run to be filled. Teach me to never stop praying- to pray instead of complain. To run to You and find the rest my soul requires.  (Luke 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 11:28)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Praying Dangerously Week Four

Let's pray...

Heavenly Father, Your Word says You are Protector, but life is sometimes scary and it's hard to follow You into those dark places. Help us remember You are also King, Commander of untold heavenly hosts, completely in charge. You have never worried about anything. To live like Jesus in complete faith that the God who calms the storms is in the boat with me seems impossible. Good thing You are the God of the impossible. Teach us to pray big prayers and little prayers and everything in between. And to be good stewards of Your answers. May all we pray and all we do bring glory to You. May people be drawn to You because they meet us. Remind us to focus on You and follow You. Thank You that You are God, in control, King, Ruler, faithful, Love, our Daddy. Thank You for loving us. May we live loved and love you in return. Amen

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