Our Savior’s Prayers

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For the next few days, as we meditate on our beautiful Savior and on all he did for us through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, let’s consider some prayers he prayed during the last hours before his crucifixion. While you read these prayers of Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply them to your own personal life.

 “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.’” John 17:1

 “‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one . . . Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth . . . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’” John 17:15, 17, 23

 “‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Matthew 26:39

 “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’” Luke 23:34

 “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice…’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” Mark 15:34

 “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’” Luke 23:46

 Won’t you join me this Easter in committing our lives into the Father’s hands? A blessed Easter to all!

*Which of these prayers of Jesus most resonated with you today?

*I hope this encore post from April 2011 blesses you today!

 The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue , comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

 *Flickr photo by Kimber Photography, Creative Commons License

God Blesses Above and Beyond

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Anyone growing weary while traveling a hard road? Anyone growing discouraged while waiting for God to answer your cries for mercy? Don’t give up. Let me encourage you. God may be getting ready to bless you above and beyond your present hopes. The photos with my post today are our family’s testimony to that very fact.

Before I say more about our family’s story, though, let’s recall a story from the Bible—one that shows how God has been in the above and beyond business for a very long time. We all remember the story of God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites as they made their escape from Egypt, but do you remember that they then traveled for three days in the desert without finding any water?

I’d say traveling in the desert without water is a hard road in anyone’s book. The parched and desperate travelers must have been begging for mercy from the God who was leading them out of Egypt. When they came to Marah, they found water, but it was bitter. Moses cried out to the Lord, though, and he showed him a piece of wood to throw in the water to make it sweet. The Lord heard Moses’ cry for help and met their desperate need.

God was not finished blessing and refreshing the Israelites, though. He led them on to even more. When they reached Elim, they not only found water in abundance—twelve springs to be exact—but they found shade as well in the form of seventy (yes, seventy!) palm trees. God blessed them above and beyond.

God has blessed our family above and beyond, too. Our daughter Kristin and son-in-law Shawn traveled a painful desert road for years as they desperately cried out to God for a baby. As their parents, we traveled a hard road as well as we hurt for them and prayed along with them. And then, when none of us knew how much longer they could endure, God answered our cries for mercy. He blessed Kristin and Shawn with precious newborn twin boys—our sweet grandsons Isaiah and James. Yes, when God answered, he said, “Here’s two!” Above and beyond indeed!

Friends, we have a Father who specializes in above and beyond, who loves to give good gifts. If you are barely hanging on today as you wait for him to answer your cries for mercy, take heart. He loves you. He has the perfect plan in place, the perfect answer for you and your unique situation. Trust in him. Trust in his above and beyond heart. Even though the answer may be different than what you imagined, it will be what’s best. He will not fail you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

*When has God answered your prayers above and beyond what you dreamed or imagined?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photos by Anna Martin Photography; also find Anna on Facebook.

Isaiah and James

Undone by the Gift of Our Savior

4161935408_9b02a46dd9_zLast year at this time, my husband Don was enduring a season of pain like he’d never known before. On November 15, 2014, he fell roof-high from a ladder and fractured his spine in eight places. He was laid up at home for almost two months before he could attempt a return to a modified work schedule. He needed pain medication on a regular basis for a while. It was rough.

One day during December while I had a favorite Christmas cd playing and “Joy to the World” was wafting through the air, I went in to check on Don and he was crying. He was completely undone by the gift of our Savior.

He said, “He could have come down from the cross. He could have come down. But he stayed. He suffered. For me.” Because of the pain Don had been enduring, the fact that Jesus came to earth to die a painful death to pay for our sins took on a whole new level of meaning for him. Our “Joy to the World” came at a great cost. A cost Jesus was willing to pay.

As we listen to and sing the carols of Christmas this year, let’s listen and sing as if it’s the first time we’ve heard or sung them. Let’s be touched afresh by them. Let’s come undone by the gift of our Savior.

Why not start with “Joy to the World”? I’ll print the words below. Let’s glory in its message together today!

“Joy to the world , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.”
*lyrics by Isaac Watts

*Has a carol of Christmas ever taken on special meaning for you?

*Flickr photo by jeffweese, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: God’s Throne of Grace

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I have a tendency to approach God at times like He is a disapproving parent or some other harsh authority figure—a boss or a teacher, etc. I forget how much he loves me. I feel like he’s thinking instead of all my faults.

As a result, instead of running into his open arms with the abandon of a dearly loved child as I pray, I enter his presence with eyes downcast, weighed down by a load of guilt and feelings of failure.

But when that happens, I have it all wrong. This is how scripture tells us we can approach God:

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

What will we find at God’s throne? Grace, mercy, help. God wants us to approach him with confidence so he can freely give us his unconditional love. So let’s lift up our heads and eagerly run to the One who loves us like no other.

*How can we remind ourselves of God’s great love, mercy, and grace?

*Flickr photo by adwriter, Creative Commons License

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Be sure to enter the “Back At It” Giveaway. See post for details!

Midweek Morsel: The One Who Stills Storms

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“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30

One thing I love about scripture is how we can pray it back to the One who gave it. His words can guide our prayers and express our hearts’ deepest desires, requests, fears, joys, and thanksgivings. Won’t you pray back the verses above with me today?

“O Mighty God and Heavenly Father, thank you so much for being a God who is able to still the storms in my life to a whisper. Thank you for hushing the waves that threaten to engulf me.

Lord, the calm you’ve blessed me with is such a welcome relief and lifesaver, and I rejoice in you and your good gift. Thank you for guiding me to the haven I so desperately needed. Thank you for being the One who stills storms.”

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39 KJV

*When has God calmed a storm in your life?

*Flickr photo by Dave

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!