Morning Prayers

Morning Prayers
Daffodils at a roadside rest stop in Michigan

The lives of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Lilias Trotter are a great               inspiration for me. Both spent much time in prayer.  Here are quotes from each.

The morning prayer determines the day.

Squandered time of which we are ashamed, temptations to which we succumb, weakness and lack of courage in work, disorganization and lack of discipline in our thoughts and in our conversation with others, all have their own origin most often in the neglect of morning prayer. Order and distribution of our time become more firm where they originate in prayer. Temptations which accompany the working day will be conquered on the basis of the morning breakthrough to God. Decisions, demanded by work, become easier and simpler where they are made not in the fear of men but only in the sight of God. “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men”  (Col. 3:23). *

The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. May it not be that the human impossibility is just the very thing that sets His Hand free?–& that it is the things which are possible for us to do that He is in a measure to let alone. **

daffodils_5295

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the     Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.                              Ephesians 6: 14-18

This is a practice that I want to embrace. Let me start each day with the Lord!

*Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms: Prayer Book of the Bible, Augsburg Fortress: Minneapolis, MN. 1970

** Miriam Rockness, A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter, Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI. 2003  

Linking with Us Coffee & JesusSeasonsLiteracy Musing Monday, Sue’s Wordless Wednesday,  Weekend Whispers, Word of God Speak,  Grace & Truth,  Thought Provoking Thursday and Whole Hearted Wednesday

The Family is Under Attack

The school board in my town met, and the community was invited. The federal government—specifically the Office of Civil Rights— has demanded that a transgender student be given full access to female locker rooms and restrooms.

School District 211

The meeting place, a high school cafeteria,  was packed.  Seats      extended to the back wall and people were standing at both sides of the room. The meeting was intended for residents of the school district but a large contingent of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community from the surrounding towns and city of Chicago showed up. They were carrying placards and wearing stickers in support of the transgender student.

Attendees were allowed to sign up for a 3-minute speaking slot, to express their opinion to the school board. When the first three speakers were from the LGBT group a gentleman called for a point of order. He walked toward the front of the room and stated that speakers should be living in the school district. The school board president asked him to sit down or be escorted out of the room.

My heart ached  as  one transgender or adult homosexual partner   after another testified to the pain in their life. And when a teenage girl said that she had just discovered that she was bisexual, she was given a round of applause.

A doctor said that it is impossible to distinguish the gender of an individual from their anatomy. Instead there are some internal markers. Really?

Teenage girls stood up to explain their discomfort and the awkwardness of having a transgender student in the locker room when they shower and change for swimming class.

Fathers spoke up in defense of their daughters. Teenage girls have a right to privacy.

One speaker for the LGBT community said that times have changed. The standards that we once had no longer exist. It is a new age.

The air was heavy and I tried to pray.

An article titled Educating for the Kingdom by Gerhard Cardinal Müller is in the current issue of Plough. Müller writes:

Rather, education is the entrusting of a gift from one generation to the next. The older generation’s accumulated culture, learning and skills are given as an unearned gift to the younger. But this gift also carries a responsibility: the younger generation must make the gift a reality in their own lives.

Overnight I have been wrestling with thoughts about the meeting. Families are breaking down. Divorce and single parent families are common. Children are susceptible to deception. We are experiencing spiritual warfare. Images from the Lord of the Rings come to mind. Remember the black riders? They were trying to get Frodo. In place of Frodo, I could visualize them seeking to destroy the family.

Pray for families.

Pray  for  the teens that are seeing so many distorted versions of    sexuality.

Pray for wisdom, compassion and kindness in sharing the truth of God’s design of the family.   God is good, and His ways are for our   benefit.

Lovely Aroma in a World of Conflict

A Sweet Aroma
Last rose in my garden

Are you discouraged by the conflicts and moray decay all around us? I am. The study of the book of Acts is giving me hope. I am glad that this book was chosen for the fall Precept Bible study.

Sometimes political issues stir my emotions. Can political action groups solve the problems? They may have a place, but the problems in our country are spiritual.

It is not wrong to stand up for a point of view—in fact we must pursue truth.  Every life is valuable.  God designed marriage as one man and one woman. This truth comes from the word of God.

As I spend time studying the Bible, I realize that God’s plan of            salvation is woven through the scriptures and this message is most important. The gospel changes hearts. The apostles spoke about Jesus:

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.      Acts 4:12

The apostles and early church were focused on the message of the gospel. Even when persecution began they prayed for boldness.

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.       Act 4:29

Followers of Jesus, the church, have a specific role for this time. We are called to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Through our words, our    attitudes and actions we have a responsibility to have a message that points to Jesus and salvation. Sometimes we fall short. We need to be in the Word, in prayer and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Jesus has     given the Holy Spirit to be our helper.

I know that I am more sensitive to the Holy Spirit when I am studying my Bible, spending time in prayer and joining in fellowship in my home church. These are necessary activities. I encourage you to       embrace these practices.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the        knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God, among those who are being saved, and among those who are     perishing. 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for completing the plan of salvation. Thank-you for forgiving my sins and giving us your Word. Guide me by the Holy Spirit to be a witness for you.

Linking with Thought Provoking ThursdayWholeHearted Wednesday,  A Little R & R,  Titus 2sday,  Hope in Every SeasonWords with Winter,  Sharing His Beauty,  Sunday Stillness,  Grace & Truth and Faith Filled Friday

Beauty in His Grip Button

Birthdays!

Birthday Gifts

Autumn is a season of birthdays. My granddaughters, plus one       daughter and one daughter-in-love all have a birthday in September, October or November.

I was blessed in being able to attend the birth of each granddaughter—one at home and the rest in the hospital. To watch each of these    babies grow into little girls is a delight.

As I look back, each labor and birth was unique. My daughters were prepared for labor and still encountered challenges. In each situation the goal was to minimize interventions, while being open to               appropriate medical care. When the moment of pain and exhaustion came during labor, their husbands and I prayed with them. God blessed them with healthy births.

We have well equipped hospitals in the United States. But along with medical care, wisdom and guidance from the Lord is an invaluable help. I have witnessed and participated in prayers that took place during labor when I attended home births as a nurse. Less often (rarely) prayer was included in the hospital labor and delivery unit where I worked.

My own first labor/birth was an unexpected cesarean section. I still remember the name of one nurse who was supportive during labor, but her shift ended before the cascade of interventions and cesarean section took place. The communication from my doctor was cold and unkind. My daughter was healthy but it took time for me to put the    experience into perspective.

According to Post Partum Support International some women suffer PTSD following childbirth.

Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. Most often, this illness is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum.

Emotional support and encouragement are vital during labor and birth. Prayer provides spiritual support. Here are some ways that an expectant mom can plan for good support.

  1. Consider having a midwife for birth attendant. Do some research on home birth, freestanding birth centers, and midwifery practices.
  2. Choose a doula to attend the labor and birth, in addition to the doctor or midwife. Doulas are trained in comfort measures for labor and     positioning techniques to assist the progress of labor. Some doulas will attend hospital births.
  3. Have a close family member go to prenatal classes with you, being prepared to give support during labor. While Lamaze classes have typically expected the husband to be the support person, sometimes another woman is more able.
  4. Develop a practice of prayer and trust in the Lord.

My daughters’ husbands were with them throughout labor. I was the extra support. Assisting my daughters and praying with them has been a wonderful experience.

If you have a daughter or friend who is pregnant, perhaps you will have the opportunity to pray with her and encourage her.

 

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Linking with Tuesdays with a Twist,  Friendship Friday,   Wedded Wednesday,   the Ladies Collective Link-up,  A Little R & R  and WholeHearted Home

Steadfast in Prayer

Maple leaves

Every year as I begin a new Bible study, the book chosen speaks to me in my circumstances. The book of Acts begins with the disciples and a group of believers facing many challenges. Prayer is mentioned        frequently.

All these [disciples] with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Acts 1:14

The news today is full of unrest, globally and in our country. My       family needs wisdom in providing for my mother and brother—their health is declining. I have a leadership role in our church and we need wisdom in making decisions. I need to pray with my family and with my church. The words of the Psalmist resonate with me.

O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!           Psalm 88:2

A verse in Micah is both a comfort and an admonition to wait on the Lord.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7

Paul gives more instruction in his letter to the Ephesians.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6: 16-17

Prayer should be woven through my day, a pattern in my life. When I have joined hands with family, friends and fellow believers in prayer, we have experienced a bonding, a deepening of our relationship.

Are you stressed? Can you join hands with another believer and pray?

Maple leaves

Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards. Give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out. Give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Thomas Aquino)

Linking with Titus 2sdays,  A Little R & R, WholeHearted Wednesday, the Art of Homemaking,  Weekend Whispers and Sunday Stillness