The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, November 25, 2011

So, How Do You Pray?

Have you ever had someone come up to you and say “I know you are going to say No, but I want to ask you the question anyhow”?

I have had that happen, and I always feel funny when someone starts with the phrase “I know you are going to say No, but. . .”

In the span of one week, I have counseled 2 different women, in regard to their marriages.  Each of them came to me with pain showing in their eyes and tears rolling down their cheeks, telling me that their marriage was over and that they had no choice but to leave their husband.

In each case, I let the woman tell me her story as I sat in silence and listened.  Then I prayed and asked the Lord to guide me as I gave them Biblical counsel.  The Lord brought verse after verse to my mind and I shared the Bible verses with them, explaining to them how these verses applied to their marriages and to their lives.

On both occasions, each of the women seemed to listen intently.  I talked with each woman and then asked them if they would like me to pray with them.  In both instances the woman said “Yes” she would like me to pray with her.

Before I prayed with them, I wanted to make sure that they truly had faith that the Lord could heal their marriages.  I wanted to be sure that as we prayed, that we would be two people gathered together of one mind.  The Bible says, "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you."  Matthew 18:19

As soon as I finished praying with the first woman, she said “My husband will never change.  Our marriage is definitely over.”  And I knew that even as I had pleaded with the Lord on behalf of her marriage that in her heart doubts had lurked, and she had not believed that the Lord would intervene and restore her marriage.

"But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."  James 1:6-8

A week later I met with and prayed with the second woman.  The very next morning I received a text from her.  She was praising the Lord and thanking me for counseling her and praying with her.  She proceeded to tell me that as soon as she had gotten home God had worked a miracle in her marriage. 

This woman had trusted that the Lord could and would work in her marriage, and He did.

Later that afternoon I got a call from her and she told me that God had also answered the prayers we had lifted up about a second issue.  She was so thankful to the Lord for answering her prayers, and truly filled to overflowing with joy. 

"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Matthew 21:22

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."  Mark 11:24

So, how do you pray?



Friday, November 18, 2011

I am So Excited to Hear From. . .

The other day in Bible Study we started talking about how we come before the Lord.

“Do we come before the Lord, like some children come to their parents?” I asked.  The parents in the group all smiled, when I asked that.  They had all ‘been there’, feeling like they were just a wallet to be tapped, or a shoulder to cry on during a hard day.

The parents all said how nice it would be, if their kids:

  • Didn’t want something every time they came to them.
  • Wanted to spend time with them.
  • Actually wanted to have a conversation with them.
  • Believed that their parents had some wisdom to give them.
  • Were as excited about seeing their parents as they were about seeing their friends.
  • Loved and cared about their parents.

So how are we when we come before our Heavenly Father?  Do we. . .

  • Always have our hand out, asking for something?
  • Talk at God, not waiting to hear what He wants to tell us?
  • Try to make our interaction with Him, as quick as possible so we can get on with life?
  • Tell God and show God that we love Him?
After this conversation, I challenged all of them (and myself), to go before the Lord with new hearts from now on.  Everytime!

Instead of reading God’s Word, having morning devotion time, or praying. . .

  • Because we should, or
  • Because it is something we can mark off of our To Do list, or
  • Because as Christians, that is what we are supposed to do.
Instead. . .

  • Really being excited, as we go to read God’s Word, or to pray.

    • In awe, just knowing that The Creator of the world wants to talk to us.
    • Feeling the privilege that we have in having God’s Word available at our fingertips whenever we want to draw near, and knowing that the Lord is always available to us.

    • Excited to hear what the Lord wants to say to us today.

    • Hungry for the encouragement that He wants to give us.

o       Or even, to be admonished.  Yes, I have learned that it is even good for the Lord to tell us about something we need to change in our lives.  Maybe it is something that we need to change in our hearts, or maybe it is something we are doing (or not doing) that needs changing.  "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17 Whatever it is, isn’t it always better to take care of an issue right away, rather than letting it fester and become a habit in our lives, or rather than letting it lead us further off the path that the Lord has laid out for us.  "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 

Wow!  It is so exciting for me to think about the fact that God prepared in advance for me to do good works.  Just like a parent whose child says they want to paint a picture, and then the parent goes and prepares everything for the child.  They gather up all of the supplies, and then they set out the paints, paint brushes, paper and sponges, so that their child has everything they need to succeed in creating their project.  The parent even covers the table and the floor area with plastic and newspapers so they won’t make a mess, so that it will be a good experience for the child.  Hmmmm.  God wants us to succeed in doing good works, and He goes before us and makes preparations so that we can succeed.  He even tries to keep us from making a mess out of our efforts.  As I think about the love the Lord shows through His tender care and thoughtfulness, my heart is just overflowing with joy and gratitude.

o       Joy in having the confidence, in knowing without a doubt, that we can trust His wisdom.  Knowing that He is the source for wisdom.  Sometimes in our dealings with people, we hear them say what seems like the right things, but something just feels off. . .and we wonder, do they really have our best interest in mind as they give us advice?  With the Lord, we do not have to wonder.  We know that He says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

I am praying that each of us will have excitement, love and joy as we have the honor of having a daily relationship with the Lord.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wedding Bells. . .

On Saturday evening Bill conducted another wedding ceremony.  It is such a blessing for me to see the time and care that Bill puts into each wedding he participates in, to personalize it and make it special just for that couple.

Right after the ceremony ended, the Uncle of the Bride came up to Bill and told him that he should give each person a copy of the wedding ceremony because the words he spoke were great advice for every couple.  We do not know if he is a Christian or Buddhist, but how wonderful that he could see the wisdom of the words.

It was a beautiful day, in a gorgeous setting on the beach with the people looking at the Bride and Groom and Bill with the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Thailand as the background.

Lord, please bless this couple.

Mark 10:9 "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."



Thursday, November 3, 2011

Everyday Lessons. . .

Usually the Lord speaks to me in one of two ways, either through reading His Word or by teaching me through everyday life situations.

Take yesterday for instance, it was a nice sunny day here in our area of Thailand, so I did laundry.  I had the laundry hanging out on the clothes line, blowing in the wind.  Generally things dry quickly in the Thailand heat, so several hours later I went out to see if the clothes were dry. 

Some of the clothes were dry so I started to take them off the line, and that’s when I saw it. . .gecko poop.  Ewwww!  There on the collar of two of my husband’s shirts, and on a bed cover.  Yuck!

I immediately thought, I just cleaned these clothes and here they are dirty already!  And that is when the Lord spoke to my heart. . .”Just like when you come to Me asking for forgiveness, asking Me to cleanse you; and then, a short time later you are back again asking for forgiveness and cleansing for the very same thing.”

I stopped my indignant march to the washer to rewash the three items.  Oh, wow!  How true.  Well, of course, it is the Lord addressing this issue with me.   

I immediately thought of how I had gone to the Lord about letting other people’s anger or negative actions toward me lead me to become angry as well.  I know that returning anger for anger is not how the Lord wants me to react, and yet, I find myself returning to the Lord for forgiveness for that very thing.

The Lord then put Paul’s words on my heart.  In Romans 7:15 Paul says "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."

I have been there!  I want to be fast to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, and then I falter.  Thankfully the Lord is doing a work in me on this, and I am getting better at not returning anger for anger.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not walk around angry (my normal disposition is joyful), but I do sometimes let other people’s anger make me react in a way I don’t want too.

James 1:19 says "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;"

Here is, Shoey, a gecko we took a picture of when we first moved to Thailand.  We called him that to remind us to look in our shoes, because you never know what might crawl into your shoe in Thailand.  J

Thank you Lord for the daily lessons you teach me, and thank you for always welcoming me when I come back again and again asking for forgiveness.”