On their behalf

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about how we should show love to those in pain and trials and not offer judgment and accusations, in the way that Job’s friends did.  I also mentioned how we can pray for those we know who are in pain.  I wanted to talk more on that today, because that is probably the one of the most important things we can do, and yet sometimes we neglect it.

In Matthew 8:5-13, we find the record of Jesus and a centurion.  The centurion’s servant was lying at home paralyzed, and in terribly agony and pain.  (Some versions of the Bible say he was dreadfully tormented.  yikes!)

The centurion came to Jesus, asking Him to heal his servant.  This story is powerful in so many ways.  If you haven’t read it in a while, or ever, I encourage you to read it.

The centurion knew, and acknowledged that Jesus was powerful enough that He need only speak the word and His servant could be healed.  He didn’t even require that Jesus come to his home to do it.  He knew Jesus could do it from right where He stood.

And this is the part I want to stress:  The centurion’s faith alone was great enough that Jesus marveled at it.  (vs. 10)  The servant’s faith was never called into question.  Perhaps his was just as great.  Maybe it wasn’t.  All we know is that the centurion interceded on the servant’s behalf, and that the servant was healed that same hour.

We are called not only to love our neighbors as ourselves, but also to pray for one another that we may be healed. (Ja. 5:16)

Unless they’ve told us it’s the case, we never need to tell someone that they aren’t being healed or delivered from their trial because their faith isn’t strong enough.  We need to intercede on their behalf.  We never need to accuse someone of being sick or in trials due to sin, but we need to pray for them.

What the centurion did on his servant’s behalf is an excellent example of how we should live.  Job, as well, before his children died, offered up offerings to the Lord just in case his children had sinned.  These are excellent examples of people who are going to the Lord on behalf of others.

Not everyone will be healed.  Is that hard to hear?  God has plans for people that sometimes do not include healing, because He uses people in so many different ways.  But that should never stop us from asking.  We do not know His plans.  We need to ask.  We need to seek.

Above all, though, what we need to seek, for ourselves and for each other, is a relationship with Him, which will keep us calm in every storm, every trial, and every sickness.

Let’s be interceders and never accusers,

jamie

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Scripture/prayer journal

One of my favorite types of prayer journals is one where I write down scriptures that speak to me as I’m reading.  Then I often write out a prayer after the ones I feel led to pray about.

This type of journal has some good benefits.

  • It can help you focus on what the scriptures are really saying, instead of just skimming over them.
  • It can help you memorize scriptures
  • You can use your journal as a reference when trying to find certain scriptures in the future (This can help you become more and more familiar with the scriptures)
  • When you choose a scripture to pray about, it helps you become closer to the One who wrote the scripture

Here is an example of a scripture/prayer from one of my journals:

3-12-14:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9  Lord, perfect Your strength in my weakness which I give to You to use for Your glory, and as Paul said, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

In 2014, I also chose John 15:4 to be my verse for the year:  “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  I began to pray that God would show me how to abide in Him.  Then I began to research vines, and the pruning and training of vines.  I began to look up every verse I could find that talked about God being the vine, about us bearing fruit, or about abiding in Him.  I wrote all of it in my journal.  It was a journey that I desperately needed and my journal was my lifeline to the Lord.  I can now go back and see the progress I made and the ways that God met my needs during that time and brought me ever-closer to Him.

I encourage you to keep your journal open beside you as your read your Bible.  If a scripture speaks to you, simply write it down.  Give the Lord a chance to draw you closer to Him through this practice.  I think it will surprise you.  His Word is powerful enough to speak something new to us on a daily basis.  It’s even better when we can record those new discoveries!

Praying for you,

jamie

Also see previous blogs about prayer journals:  Prayer Journaling 101  and Traditional Prayer Journal and Art Prayer Journals

 

A completion

“And in this I give advice:  It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.”  2 Cor. 8:10-11

In this verse, Paul was speaking to the church in Macedonia about generosity, but it got me wondering what I was desiring to begin a year ago.  Interestingly (and conveniently) enough, a year ago is when the Lord encouraged me to blog a Month of Prayer, so I was able to go back and read through my blogs from last year.  What exactly was I desiring?  Had I not recorded those prayers, I can honestly say I wouldn’t remember my desires from a year ago.

The Lord has been faithful this past year.  He has not only been answering prayer, but stretching and growing my family and me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  Most of the prayers were things I will need over a lifetime:  to increase in prudence, depart from evil, know Him more, honor Him with my possessions, etc.

I also asked that contentions, gossip, and greed be kept far from me, and that I would be slow to anger.  Truly, the Lord has been faithful in those things; although, like everyone else, I am always a work in progress.  I prayed about my children’s desire to serve Him.  There is an excitement inside them when it comes to serving that warms my heart.  Now, to see them seek after Him as they would seek after treasure.  (that’s coming…)

The desires I had a year ago and things the Lord began when I prayed are not to be forgotten.  This verse in 2 Cor. reminds me that there is not just to be a beginning, but a time of completion.  It is good to take time to revisit and re-evaluate those old desires and monitor our own progress on the journey, as well.  Am I still seeking after the wisdom that I desired last year?  Am I still doing all I can to leave a legacy of integrity and godliness for my children and grandchildren?  Have I been teaching my children how to give when it’s in their power to do so, like I prayed I would?  Have I been trusting in God’s provision?

Do you know what you began or desired a year ago?  Is it time to complete it or to seek God’s guidance?  If the Lord has already completed something for you, or is in the process now, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!  If you have forgotten what you desired, I pray His Holy Spirit will bring it back to your remembrance.  We don’t want to make hollow commitments to the Lord or His work.

When it comes to remembering the things we pray (what we ask for or say to God), a written record can be a very helpful thing.  I will be posting about prayer journaling next.  If you’ve never tried it, or want to try something new, I encourage you to check it out.

Complete it,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 2

Oh, Lord, let Your Word change me.  Let it seep into the deepest parts of my heart and my soul and renew and transform me.  Let me receive Your words and treasure Your commands within me, so that I may incline my ear to wisdom.  Help me to seek for Your wisdom and understanding as though I am seeking for hidden treasures, so that I will understand the fear of You and find the knowledge of You.

Help me hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  Help me to cleanse my way by taking heed according to Your Word.  When I seek You, Lord, I will want more of You and will not want to wander from Your commandments.  Oh, Lord, that I would seek You more.  Lord, that I would look for the wisdom You have stored up for me.

Lord, let me hear the wisdom, the knowledge, and the understanding that comes from Your mouth.  Then, Lord I will understand righteousness and justice, and every good path.  Lord, when those things come into my heart, they will preserve and keep me.  Those gifts from You will deliver me from the way of evil and keep me to the paths of righteousness.  With Your Word hidden in my heart, Lord, I will walk in the way of goodness and dwell with You forever.

I love you, Lord, and I long to know You more.  I want to be close to You now and forever.  I want You alone to be my God and my King.  I want You alone to be my Father and my Savior, my Redeemer and my Guide.  Guard me as a shield as I walk on Your paths, Lord, according to Your Word.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Lord wins the battle

Ps. 33:16:  “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength.”

This morning I read the story of the army of the Midianites being defeated in the sight of Gideon and 300 Israelites.

It was not their large #’s that defeated the Midianites.  It was not their education, their strength, or their skill.  It was the Lord.  While the Israelites watched, the Lord set every Midianites’ sword against his own companion throughout their whole camp and they fled.  The Lord saved them and delivered them.

We all face battles.  In the face of the battle, we can become afraid.  We can worry that we don’t have the resources we need, that we’re not strong enough, or that we’re not skilled or special enough to win.

This morning; however, let me remind us all.  It is the Lord who saves us.  It is the Lord who delivers us.  We don’t have to have the multitude of an army.  The Lord is our help and our shield.

As you face this day, remember that the Lord who delivered the Israelites, and who spoke our world into existence, is walking before you.  His angels encamp all around you, and His ears are open to your cries.

Walk confidently in Him today,

jamie

Call your Father

“Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Ps. 73:25-26

First thing this morning, my husband had a Face Time call on his phone.  Our son stayed with his grandparents last night, and when he woke up this morning, they weren’t in the room.  For some reason, he thought they left him at the house alone, so he was crying and very upset.  He called his dad.

His dad was able to calm him down, speak logic and assurance to him, and give him the courage to go look for them in another room.

Sometimes we feel alone and upset.  Sometimes life just overwhelms or weakens us.  We have a choice to make.  We can sit in the dark room, crying and feeling hopeless.  Or, we can call our dad.

Our father hears our voice from His temple.  Our cries come before Him, even to His ears.  (Ps. 18:6)

Feeling afraid?  Call your Father.  He will calm you, reassure you, and give you courage and strength.

Thanks, Abba.

jamie

Grieving the one who is lost

Pr. 15:8:  “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

My friend’s mother passed away yesterday morning.  She was a Christian who had lived a full life.  She was ready to go home to be with the Lord, and what more fitting day than Valentines Day to go home to her true love.  

Even though her family has some peace in her passing, she is now very absent from their lives, and there is still grief in loss.  When someone we love dies, we are keenly aware of the fact that they can never be replaced.  We experience a void that can never be filled.  There is no one who can step into the place of anyone who has passed and fill their spot.  The person we have lost will always be lost, and that brings us very real pain.

There are also families who have a loved one who is missing.  The family has no clue if their loved one is alive or dead; they just know they are gone.  The void that’s left if palpable…unrelenting.  The grief they experience is never-ending.

This made me think about God and how He must feel when we are lost to Him.  Sin separates us from the Lord.  He is Holy, which means He cannot tolerate sin.  Even as Jesus hung dying on the cross, the Lord could not look upon Him.  The sin upon Jesus separated them.  When we live our lives in sin, and are separate from God, do you think He grieves the way we do when we lose the one we love?

In the parable of the lost son, Jesus illustrates what happens when a sinner, who was lost and dead, comes back.  When the father saw his son, he ran to him, fell on his neck, and kissed him.  He was overjoyed and called for a celebration.  He said, “for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”  Isn’t that how we would feel if we could possibly be reunited with the one we love who was lost or dead?  Imagine the joy we would feel!

The Word tells us that when someone who was lost comes to the Lord there is rejoicing in heaven.  I truly believe that being created in God’s image means that our emotions are not unique to us, but are part of His own make up.  This brings new meaning to the fact that the prayers of the upright are His delight.  If our loved one, who was lost or dead, comes back to us, wouldn’t we delight in their words, as well?

This makes me look at living a life separate from God very differently.  If, in understanding grief, we can put ourselves in His place…imagine His grief for one who is lost…could we more understand His love for us?  We are His children.  He desperately loves us!  He wants us to be with Him—forever.

His,

jamie