In which Dawn learns to pray…(cont.)

You walk out to go to work and the front tire is flat.  Or you’re welcoming the new pastor to your deliciously prepared Thanksgiving dinner only to remember (while on the doorstep) that he’s vegetarian.

Okay, those are actually easy ones.  How about your son calls from college and his girlfriend is now pregnant with your grandchild?  (And the girl is contemplating get rid of both of them?)

Introducing the Panic Button, and we all have one.  Or for some of us, several.  Big ones clipped onto our keychains that we carry around every day, with glow-in-the-dark coatings and red LED-lit letters that invitingly read PUSH ME NOW.  Continue reading “In which Dawn learns to pray…(cont.)”

Advertisements

In which Dawn learns to pray. (Journal Entry #1)

I’m starting this on April 1, 2018.  Nationally, we call that April Fools’ Day.  It’s also Easter Sunday.  Ironically, the joke’s on those who don’t accept the Resurrection, although it’s no laughing matter.  Not by a long shot.  But that’s apologetics, which I love, and that’s not what this journal is about.

It’s about prayer, communication with God.  Dialogue.  Listening and hearing and following the Shepherd Who “goes before me”.  It’s about learning to really know His voice more confidently, because He promises that in John 10.  More than going off lists, even lists which are for and about other people and serious, eternal situations—lists are good tools, but I think there is more.

And I feel unsafe.  Interestingly, one of the books/video segments (John Eldredge on prayer) just last night talked about the spiritual warfare side of prayer, the personal part.  He says not to shy away from spiritual warfare, but to deal with it.  NOW.  So, I’m realizing, (that is, this morning it comes to me, how do you suppose those dots were connected??), that this feeling of “unsafe” is just that—spiritual assault.  If God sincerely desires for me to be more intimately communicative with Him, more effective in powerful prayer, and if He promises to protect me and guide me, then who d’ya think is trying like the devil to scare me off?

The devil. Right.

So, I need to deal with it. Now.

In the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, in the power of His Resurrection and the authority of His Ascension, I submit myself to Jesus, and in that same power and authority I resist Satan and all his emissaries of fear, instability, timidity, and related demonic powers who now must flee according to Almighty God’s command.  Jesus, I bring myself under Your loving and tender authority and power and ask You to again cover me with Your blood, my heart, mind and soul, past, present and future, all of me and all that concerns me.  I commit this journey to You, for Your glory, for Your kingdom come and will be done, as far as it concerns me.  Make my communication with You as effective as You desire.  Change my thought patterns, old ways of perceiving.  I put my hand in Yours and accept Your guidance and protection.  Here we go.

Speaking of feeling unsafe, I need to explore that a bit more.  I crave safety and stability, but I also crave adventure.  Kinda weird.  Definitely a trust issue, knowing that Scriptures assures me God will guide me and not “forsake” me under any circumstances.

I remember the time as a young girl walking with my dad in a downtown area when we were visiting someplace.  We came upon an alleyway interrupting the sidewalk, and Dad walked on, but I stopped to look and make sure (for myself) that it was safe.  As I caught up to Dad he said, “what’s the matter, Dawn?  Didn’t you trust me?”

Father, I don’t want to lag behind.   

Now, this doesn’t preclude my own due diligence, not by a long shot.  God gave me a brain and expects me to use it.  So, when this prophecy by Joni Ames came down the pipe a few months ago, this “anointing for intercessory prayer”, I’m taking it seriously.  Thus, my lists have taken a sabbatical, and my own personal study is being stepped up.  My lists have been really good and important, but they make me feel too safe right now.  As in, “there, that’s done, now let’s get on with it.”  Not that God hasn’t spoken to me during my “list praying”; He most definitely has, with promises I cling to.  And I know He has heard those prayers; they are still in His heart, like pictures a child would draw, and the parent keeps up on the frig, even years later.

I would like my artwork to become more powerful, like something hanging in the Louvre.

I also dream.  Last night I had another one.  I’ve purchased this brand-new smoke alarms, and just haven’t gotten around to hanging them up yet, (it’s been, what, maybe six weeks now?)  Yesterday, I finally got out the directions and began figuring out what needs to be done.  Yep, it’s going to take more than I hoped, as in drilling new holes to fit the new alarms.  Again, I put it off until today, maybe tomorrow.

Last night I dreamed my dad was in the back room, drilling and hanging a new smoke alarm for me.  (Dad could fix ANYTHING—one of those guys.)  In my dream, I realized I hadn’t gotten enough alarms, and if Dad was here doing this for me, I’d better take advantage of it, and ran out to buy another!

This was not prophetic, at least not in the sense that my father is going to come hang my smoke alarms for me—at this writing, he’s in his late-80’s and lives a few states away.  No, that process is definitely still on me.  However, it does clue me into something very important: my Father (capital “F”) knows what I’ve been putting off getting done, knows that the process of doing it is essential for my safety (and the safety of others), and is doing surprising things under the radar to get me there.

And buying more smoke alarms is like bringing Him more prayers so He can put them in place.

The sunrise is coming up a beautiful dark pink.  I wonder what time it was when the women ventured to the tomb and found it empty.  Was it still dark, or did they wait for the sunrise to find out that the Son had indeed risen?

Happy Rez Day!

Planning…

You know that whole “knock, and the door will be open to you” thing that Jesus talked about?  I’m wondering how many times we stand on that same threshold with the door finally open, but are too scared to step over.

Which makes this story of Nehemiah so informative to me.

The land of the Hebrews, God chosen people, lay in utter ruin and desolation, as predicted.  The people, those who survived, are in exile, servants of the foreign king.  Nehemiah lands the job of cupbearer of this pagan king himself, not particularly a posh position, since at any time the royal loses his cool, Nehemiah could lose his head. Continue reading “Planning…”

“Are we there yet?!?”

When people say, “life is a journey”, they’ve obviously never been on family vacations.  Or maybe that’s where the analogy originated!

If you’ve ever traveled with children, (that’s children, plural), you are experienced in a challenge unknown and unappreciated by your adult counterparts.  This was particularly true in the days prior to the techno-burst of unlimited data on tablets to keep the little balls of energy wirelessly entertained while they are strapped for hours in a seatbelt.

Of course they don’t like the seatbelt!  Nevertheless, it’s your responsibility to get them wherever in one piece, despite the potential assault on your own sanity.

   “Jimmy has his elbow in my space!”

   “I’m hungry again!”

   “Beatrice say she has to go to the bathroom!”

   “Nope, never mind, she okay now.”

trip-307920_1280And the ever-popular…

   “ARE WE THERE YET???”

Triple-A should have an app.

So, when the Old Testament priest named Ezra undertook the monumental task of transporting men, women, and children, plus a hoard of silver and gold, back to Jerusalem after the 70-year exile, no wonder he prayed…a lot. Continue reading ““Are we there yet?!?””

Whoa, hoss!

rodeo-2685568_1920

 “Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!”

This passage encourages me to ask God for His miraculous intervention!  What a God we serve!  Creator of the Universe!  Molder of the everything from the Rocky Mountains to the pebble I skip in the lake!  Designer of the intricacies of the human body as well as an amoeba! 

This dove-tails right into what Jesus said about having mustard seed-sized faith and moving those mountains and asking for “whatever you will and it shall be done”—that suits me just fine, thank you!

Then I realize this passage comes from the book of Job…which gives me pause.  More like slamming on the brake…

If anyone had reason to ask for miraculous intervention, it was Job.  By the time this verse shows up in the narrative, we find our ragged hero drowning in disappointment and sitting on an ash heap with pus leaking from his multiple skin sores.  All of his children and most of his servants have been killed in various assaults, his wealth has been stripped from him, his wife has been less than encouraging, and now his erstwhile friends have showed up to accuse him of being guilty before God for who-knows-what. 

It hasn’t been a good week.

I’m all about asking God for miracles; He knows more than anyone how badly we need them down here.  However, God is more concerned with intervening in my character than with intervening in my situation.  If the trial will benefit my intimacy with Him more than the miracle, He’ll choose the trial every time.

Which sounds pretty scary at first, but then God also says this in the book of Job:

“I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
    Here your proud waves must stop!’”

No matter what the circumstance, my Father is still in control.  His plan for my character and my relationship with Him supersedes my immediate comfort, (and not just physical, but emotional, mental, and spiritual as well.) 

Even the secular segment gets the idea that sadness has a crucial place in our proper development:

Of course, I have choices to make in how I process these difficult times—regardless of what’s happening around me, I have decisions about what is happening within me.  And as a Christian, God says I have internal resources not otherwise available.

Part of that processing has to do with interpretation; that is, how I “see” my circumstances.  It’s very, very tempting to fall prey to thoughts such as:

God doesn’t love me like He loves others.

“For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].”

Or, God’s going to do what He wants anyway, so why bother praying?

 “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];”

Then there’s the age-old: God must not exist. 

“For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

The bottom line is the historical reality of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ—when nothing else makes sense, that does.  The splintered, bloodied pieces of wood and the splendidly empty tomb mean there’s more going on behind the scenes that I’m not privy to…yet.  To think otherwise means my arrogance is peeking through, something God addressed with Job in no uncertain terms.

So where does miraculous intervention fit in to all this?  Jesus’ template of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” is a good start, but I don’t think He meant for it to be a spiritually lazy default.  I like His disciples initial request: “teach us to pray.” 

Which is becoming an ongoing request for me: “Holy Spirit, teach me what to pray specifically, give me grace to pray persistently in the face of disappointment, and help me to engage the power of Heaven for the building of Your kingdom in this circumstance.”

quarter-horse-746979_1280Interestingly, I suspect that’s when something quietly miraculous begins to happen…

…in me.

Romans 2:11; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:16  Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Job 37:14; Job 38:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Told you so!”

Now, there’s a phrase we typically enjoy saying, but  we universally hate hearing!

I love the way Paul does it, however.  Here’s a quick backstory:

Falsely accused by his own countrymen, Paul has played his “I’m a Roman citizen” card and appealed to the Supreme Court, (i.e., Caesar), which gives him a one-way all expenses paid trip to the capitol.  This meant a voyage by sea, which could be tricky based on the time of year.  Putting in at one less-than-luxurious small town port, the sailors think they can make it to the next spot before the weather turns bad. Continue reading ““Told you so!””

Say, what??

windsor-castle-1253197_1920Bob has been a little concerned about my hearing.  Of course, when it comes to watching our beloved British shows on TV, we both have to turn up the volume, if you get my drift.  Our very entrenched Midwest American minds don’t always pick up the subtleties of our Anglo-neighbors, and we end up asking each other—

“What did he just say?”

“I dunno…turn it up.”

Neither of us want to miss any of the important plot developments for lack of communication, y’know.

Which is absolutely what could have happened here, but thankfully somebody was listening closely: Continue reading “Say, what??”

Frogs, and other useful tools

IMG_20150103_172451138I rather like frogs; actually, I really quite fancy them.  (No, not to eat!) 

Along with the crickets, they sing me to sleep at night, and keep serenading me in the pre-dawn mornings on the patio before work.  Bob, my biology-professor husband, likes them also, but has a much more practical bent toward them.  Whereas I always want to catch them, pick them up, look at them eyeball-to-eyeball, the prof always says, “leave it alone, it’s a scared little creature”. 

How does he know if it’s scared? (Turtles, on the other hand, right, I know what they do…)  Besides, as far as I’m concerned, one of a frog’s life functions is to let me pick it up.  So there. Continue reading “Frogs, and other useful tools”

Here comes the bride!

IMG_20150103_172451138Planning weddings has become a multi-gazillion dollar business.  I fancy you could send their kids to college with some of the hoopla that society calls weddings these days!  I mean, c’mon, if half as much time, effort, and financial resources went into preparing for the marriage as it does in preparing for the wedding, well…the statistics would read a whole lot differently.

So there’s my soapbox.

Evidently, however, our 21st century Western culture is not alone in this absurdity.  Take another look at 1st century Judaism—

“The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.  The wine supply ran out during the festivities…

One source I looked at said that wedding celebrations typically lasted five to seven days, and the whole village would be invited!  Okay, they’ve topped us on that one.  I don’t know how much wine costs back then, but over a week, it would’ve certainly driven up the bill.

“…so Jesus’ mother told him, ‘They have no more wine.’”

 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

I love, love, love Mary’s concern for the bride and her family.  True empathy.  It could be that she has already married off daughters of her own, and can feel the coming embarrassment if something isn’t done, and quickly.  Very possibly, her own husband, Joseph, is dead by this time, so she turns to her nearest benefactor, her oldest son Son.  (How convenient.)

Her next remark is brilliant—

But his mother told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’”

Seemingly having just been given a bit of a brush off, albeit polite, she proceeds to clear the way for something extraordinary should God decide, in His wisdom, to do something…extraordinary.

Which, as we know, He did.

I don’t know if the bride and groom, or their parents, ever found out.  (Yet another example of how God comes to the rescue for us when we’re not even aware we’re in danger, but that’s another whole lesson, I suppose.)  However, the disciples knew what happened, and it made a decisive impact.

people-2576936_1920Which leaves me with another impression—shall I ask God for something and not “clear the path” for Him to do what only God can do?  Should I not also listen for His voice in response to my request rather than go on wringing my hands?

I think not.  I prefer Mary’s tack, doing what I can do at present to allow for future heavenly intervention.  Then, listen.  Carefully, and creatively.

(To be continued tomorrow….)

John 2:1-5 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Who’s measuring stick is in your tool box?

IMG_20150124_162302245Bob was NOT pleased.  I don’t remember the exact scenario, something about possible plane tickets I think.  I just remember I had made him very, very nervous by my looking into some potential plans without cluing him in, but not because he’s a control-freak.  It’s simply that after almost forty years of marriage, he knows:

“You have a way of just making things happen!” Continue reading “Who’s measuring stick is in your tool box?”