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Archive for March, 2011

I loved this from Oswald Chambers today. I don’t always agree with him, but this one really resonates with me.

He . . . wondered that there was no intercessor . . . —Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work-work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.

The website that posts his devotionals can be found here!

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Sometimes Bible passages strike me funny. This little gem from Acts 20 cracked me up this morning!

Acts
Chapter 20
7 On the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread, Paul spoke to them because he was going to leave on the next day, and he kept on speaking until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were gathered,
9 and a young man named Eutychus who was sitting on the window sill was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. Once overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and when he was picked up, he was dead.
10 Paul went down, threw himself upon him, and said as he embraced him, “Don’t be alarmed; there is life in him.”
11 Then he returned upstairs, broke the bread, and ate; after a long conversation that lasted until daybreak, he departed.
12 And they took the boy away alive and were immeasurably comforted.

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There are a good many atheists whom I dearly love. They are aunts and uncles and cousins and friends who simply don’t believe. I don’t hate them, I don’t quarrel with them, I don’t “condemn them to hell.” I pray for them in private because I love them so much and try to be open and honest whenever they initiate a discussion.

I don’t care much for angry atheists … people like Bill Maher who are ugly and in-your-face about it. Then again, I don’t care for angry Christians either … people like the Westboro Baptists who also are ugly and in-your-face about it.

I don’t understand either one. I don’t understand angry gays who disrupt church services. I don’t understand Christians on messageboards who are almost gleeful imagining the end days when the wicked are destroyed.

If you’ve read this blog, you know that I don’t believe in hell or eternal torment.  I believe that those who knowingly reject God will die a second death, never to be raised or “alive” again, eternally. That is a choice they make in preference to spending eternity in the presence of a God whom they hate.

What you may not know is that I am enormously non-confrontational. I once read a personality description that said confrontation was almost toxic to me, and that is absolutely true. I try not to judge others, I hate no one, I wish no one ill, I deeply desire that everyone could know and love God and to see Him as I do.

And this blog isn’t meant to teach nor preach. It is only a place for me to journal as I read scripture. No more, no less. I’ve left it public simply in case there is “something” here that might bless another person.

In His Love,
Lori

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Holy Water

Part of my faith journey as a Catholic has been experiencing the opposition some Christian brothers and sisters feel toward the Catholic church itself … I’ve had people challenge me deeply on its practices, rites, and beliefs.

At one time I was ready to walk away from the Catholic church and seek another, but I made a conscious decision to be still and to pray and seek what the LORD would have me do. “I” was very ready to leave and was anxious to start looking.

I’m so glad I waited on the LORD; I hope I never forget the lesson of not acting quickly on matters of importance – it’s so good to wait and pray and to allow Him to unfold what He has for me to learn.

I don’t at all believe the Catholic church is the “only” one or the best one for every person. I only know that it is where God has placed me for now. I often pray that He seek my heart and mind and show me when (if) He desires for me to leave, I hear and understand and follow.

God uses the church in so many ways to bless me. What others see as dry, dusty, elaborate pretense, I see as another layer of holiness and blessing the LORD pours out on us to help us and to help us draw nearer to Himself.

And sometimes it’s the little things.

Today while I was reading, I came across this passage. Holy water, anyone? “Where is that in the Bible?” “It’s voodoo” “It doesn’t have any effect”

If you realize that the disciples were practicing jews, it really comes as no surprise to learn that many of the things within the Catholic church have been adapted from jewish custom and ceremony. I know we are in new testament times, not old – yet that thread of consistency from Moses to the Catholic church is really so cool to me.

Num 19:9  Then let a man who is clean take the dust of the burned cow and put it outside the tent-circle in a clean place, where it is to be kept for the children of Israel and used in making the water which takes away what is unclean: it is a sin-offering.
Num 19:10  And he who takes up the dust of the burned cow is to have his clothing washed with water and be unclean till evening: this is to be a law for ever, for the children of Israel as well as for the man from another country who is living among them.
Num 19:11  Anyone touching a dead body will be unclean for seven days:
Num 19:12  On the third day and on the seventh day he is to make himself clean with the water, and so he will be clean: but if he does not do this on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.
Num 19:13  Anyone touching the body of a dead man without making himself clean in this way, makes the House of the Lord unclean; and that man will be cut off from Israel: because the water was not put on him, he will be unclean; his unclean condition is unchanged.
Num 19:14  This is the law when death comes to a man in his tent: everyone who comes into the tent, and everyone who is in the tent, will be unclean for seven days.
Num 19:15  And every open vessel without a cover fixed on it will be unclean.
Num 19:16  And anyone touching one who has been put to death with the sword in the open country, or the body of one who has come to his end by a natural death, or a man’s bone, or the resting-place of a dead body, will be unclean for seven days.
Num 19:17  And for the unclean, they are to take the dust of the burning of the sin-offering, and put flowing water on it in a vessel:
Num 19:18  And a clean person is to take hyssop and put it in the water, shaking it over the tent, and all the vessels, and the people who were there, and over him by whom the bone, or the body of one who has been put to death with the sword, or the body of one who has come to his end by a natural death, or the resting-place was touched.
Num 19:19  Let the clean person do this to the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he is to make him clean; and after washing his clothing and bathing himself in water, he will be clean in the evening.
Num 19:20  But the man who, being unclean, does not make himself clean in this way, will be cut off from the meeting of the people, because he has made the holy place of the Lord unclean: the water has not been put on him, he is unclean.
Num 19:21  This is to be a law for them for ever: he who puts the water on the unclean person is to have his clothing washed; and anyone touching the water will be unclean till evening.
Num 19:22  Anything touched by the unclean person will be unclean; and any person touching it will be unclean till evening.

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I recently read Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. It is the true story about a 3-year-old boy whose appendix burst and went undiagnosed for 5 days. He nearly died, and when he fully recovered he began telling his parents amazing things about “being in heaven.”

I don’t know that there is anything astonishingly “new” in this book, but I really did enjoy it a lot and highly recommend it. It’s just … joyful, I guess. As believers, we already know heaven is for real, but a book like this is just a really great reminder of the promise we have.

The book is a very easy read – one or two sittings – and I think it’ll uplift you. It sure did me!

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I’ve always loved this Aaronic blessing. I remember in my NC women’s Bible study of Numbers, one of the questions was, “Do you see the trinity in this prayer?”  I hadn’t before, but thought it was really cool once I did!

24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.
25 The Lord shew his face to thee, and have mercy on thee.
26 The Lord turn his countenance to thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6)

This psalm really sang to my heart this morning too … no commentary on it, simply basking in it.

25 For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth?
26 For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.
27 For behold they that go far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee.
28 But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God (Psalm 73)


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One Word

In January, as I was driving across Iowa one weekend after a visit with my mom, I was listening to K-Love radio. They were talking about a NC pastor who encouraged his congregation to pray about “one word” that would have meaning for them in the coming year.

It was really interesting to hear the different words people were given: redeemed … present … grow … do … attitude … dream …

I thought about the way the LORD has spoken to my heart over the past few years. “Wait and watch;” “Be still;” “Focus, pray.”

Those are very revealing, as I look at them again. I have had a long stretch of walking through the valley with Him, spiritually struggling with depression and surrender. He has been oh, so gentle and kind and patient, walking with me and leading me even when I am stiff-necked and quarrelsome.

Finally over the last year I’ve felt like I’ve been emerging from that dark spiritual struggle, and He has been rebuilding me. God has been leading me deeper into a prayer life, teaching me more and more and more. It’s been wonderful!

So as I drove and listened to the radio, I asked God what my “one word” would be for 2011.

I was surprised and delighted with the reply … “Dance!”

I love that … moving forward, joyfully, in the new steps He has so patiently taught me. God is so good!

 



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