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A Speeding Ticket Lesson

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?
When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.

Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he’d never seen in uniform.

“Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this.”

“Hello, Jack.” No smile.

“Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

“I’ve seen some long days at the office lately. I’m afraid I bent the rules a bit – just this once.”

Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. “Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?”

“I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct.” Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

“What’d you clock me at?”

“Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?”

“Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65.” The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

“Please, Jack, in the car”

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.

The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad.

Why hadn’t he asked for a driver’s license?

Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

“Thanks.” Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke?

Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

“Dear Jack,

Once upon a time, I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it – a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I had only one, and I’m going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.

A thousand times I’ve tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left.

-Bob”

Jack turned around in time to see Bob’s car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

~ Author Unknown ~

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My little girl, Chloe, was hospitalized Friday/Sat morning to the hospital.  They have ran all sorts of tests, but aren’t sure what’s going on.  Friday night they did everything from cat scans, brain scans, to a spinal tap and tons of blood work etc… but still can’t pin down the problem.  They’re now treating her heavily with antibiotics and her fever is down, but she’s still a sick little girl.  We would really appreciate any and all prayers.

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Gently Speaking has been more than “gentle” in her speaking lately…. downright silent would be a more apt description.   Shortly after the beginning of the year, I made the big decision to go back to school.  I decided to attend Luther Rice University and Seminary and get my BA in Religious Arts with a minor in biblical counseling.    I’ve always been interested in counseling, and God really just started pushing me in that direction, pushing me to take it seriously.   Being a dog trainer too, I’d like to combine the two and help people train their dogs as Service Dogs for issues such as severe Anxiety, Bipolar, Aspergers and other illnesses like them, as well as help them in terms of counseling.

In addition to getting things in line to start attending school for the summer quarter, there have been tons of other things going on at our house.  It’s been totally crazy!   Good stuff, as well as lots of bad (illnesses and injuries etc..).  Oh and I also ran (umm… actually walked…. lol) with my youngest daughter in our very first 5 k race in April!   We were so excited!   We helped to raise money for wells to be dug in Africa.   It also started a love for walking in us!  We hope to be able to turn the walking into running (for real) one day – God willing 🙂

The summer semester starts this Monday (June 3rd) so I don’t know how crazy my schedule will become, but I hope to be able to get over here more often than I’ve been able to lately!

God is doing a lot of work on my whole entire family right now, no doubt.  He’s refining us all, one by one.  What I love though, is the being closer to Him and gaining in trust through all the hard times.   He’s there for us, always.   My family and I would greatly appreciate prayers as we are going through this time of new things, old things, beginnings, endings, joy and sadness, hurt and hope.

May the Lord totally bless you and yours daily!

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Ran across a post on Facebook this morning that really grabbed my attention.  I’ve seen it, or those like it, many times, but this morning it just struck me as so sad.  I know it was meant to be “funny”, but often times it’s more true than we realize, and when you sit and give it some consideration… it should be very un-funny to Christ Followers.

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The ONLY one that our attitude should depend on is Jesus Christ.   Think of the power that’s handed over to people if we allow them to control our attitude!   I don’t know about you, but I feel that my attitude is more important than that and should never be handed over to just anyone.   Jesus, my Savior, should be ruler over my attitude.   I pray that the next time someone upsets me, hurts my feelings, makes me angry, annoyed, or whatever else, that my attitude stays under the control of the One I follow – my Savior, my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

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armor of God  Put it on

There is so much out there these days on spiritual warfare and what all it entails.  Lots of practices and methods for dealing with the devil and his sneaky, evil, ways.  But let us not get side tracked from what God’s Word clearly tells us in regards to resisting the devil and dealing with him.

Paul spells it out plainly in Ephesians 6:10-18 when he says:

10 A final word:  Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  15 For shoes put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  17 Put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 

We need to do as Paul said in Ephesians and put on all of God’s armor, pray, pray, and pray some more, and keep our minds focused on Jesus and what He’s already done for us, which is win the battle.   We have no need in concentrating on the newest fad in spiritual warfare.  The important thing is to concentrate on doing what God’s Word says and keep our minds solidly on Him in order to resist Satan and all of his tricks and games.  God is with us when we are with Him.  He’ll never let us down.

Now, let’s do this!  Praise God!   🙂

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I feel so at peace for the first time in my life.  For as long as I can remember I’ve felt this inner unease.  I couldn’t have explained it or come anywhere close to having anyone understand how I was feeling.  I’m not sure I would’ve had the words to use to truly express what was going on inside me; my mind, heart, soul.  Such conflict.  Confusion.  A battle.

I searched and searched for an answer to it all and kept coming up short.   No way to end the war going on inside of me.  At least, none that I could see.

I realized that I was trying to find a fix to the issue on my own and that, quite simply, it was impossible.  Wasn’t going to happen.  I needed help.

So, who or what might help?  I tried all sorts of various things.  None worked.  Nothing.  I tried talking to lots of different people from friends and family to even doctors.   Help me?  Quiet all of it down, please?   They couldn’t.   Tried, sure.   But they couldn’t help me.

Why does it take us so long to find wisdom?  He makes it so easy to find, yet we still look everywhere else first so very often.

I figured it out.  No doubt He helped by shoving me in the right direction.

Prayer.

My Bible.

All I ever needed was Him.

He created me; knit me in my mother’s womb.

He knows me because I am His.  All His.

I wasted so much time.   Time that I’m not sure was even mine to waste, but I know He’ll take care of it.

I found Him, and there is where I found all the answers.  It was always there.

He is always there for us when we’re ready to find Him.

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I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.  Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!  Psalm 116:1, 2

Such a special word!   So much amazing comfort in 2 small verses.  Does this touch you that way too?

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Below is a post from Facebook by a friend and pastor that I know.  He speaks the truth in such an easy to understand and plain way that I felt the desperate need to share this with all of you too.  

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This is long but the Lord told me to post this today… so I am doing so. This comes after listening to Cornelius Lindsey‘s message again last night and a long night of just hearing God share some things with me. This is for many of you… likely even most who will take the time to read it.

The most heralded message to the Christian believer today is on having faith. Many churches preach it constantly… turn on Christian Television and preacher after preacher is telling you how to increase that faith. There are books we purchase and read… read the Bible a little bit more, listen to some more preaching, give more money, just jump out there and give as they build up your emotions with great sounding words and promises of crazy increases. The music plays a happy song or that Hammond organ plays just the right rift and folks start really feeling it! The problem is… none of that stuff is what grows and truth be told… most of the mess called faith today is rejected by God.

We expend and are taught to expend much of our faith on material things often with the mindset of a child that as parents we scold because everything thing to them is “MINE, MINE, MINE!” Want a new car… have enough faith! That bigger house you dream of… have enough faith! Looking for that perfect man or woman… sow that seed of faith! Your kids and Uncle Bob are on the path to hell… sow that salvation seed into this ministry and God has to honor that seed! So much silliness out there being taught and so many buy into the mess because let’s be honest… it appeals to our greedy little foul hearts. We have made it about gain with studying… gain with giving… gain with about everything else except the gain Scripture speaks of and that is GODLINESS with CONTENTMENT is GREAT GAIN.

Great gain isn’t that fancy car, bigger house, or large holdings in bank accounts. Great gain is being godly with contentment meaning… He is enough and I am content be it with little or be it with much. Anything else (and I am saying this regardless of the fact that many of you follow this mess) is FALSE teaching… heresy.

True faith comes from having an intimate relationship with God. When we look at Scripture and the men like , Abraham, … A man of great faith and great wealth. Then we look at other men of that same great faith like Elijah… yet there is nothing that leads anyone to believe or assume that he had very much at all wealth wise. These were men that Scripture says… “they walked with God.” Always walking with Him… Elijah we know as a man that prayed diligently. Constantly seeing things through truly spiritual eyes. Wealth wasn’t the gauge of their great faith… it was their relationship with God. All those spoke of in Hebrews 11… even those wandering around in caves who were destitute, poor, and without but yet still they refused to forsake their Savior.

Think of the disciples… men who decided that they would follow Jesus. They saw miracle after miracle and yet when the wind blew and the boat started to rock and roll… WAKE UP JESUS they cried! He wakes up and then tells them… your faith is so small. I can hear their minds too… “WHAT! We follow you don’t we? Everywhere You go we’re right there with you!” But then look at what they said when the storm ceases… “what manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him? They knew Jesus… but they still didn’t KNOW Him. Ministering right along side of Jesus… blind seeing, deaf hearing, lame walking, leprosy disappearing, feeding thousands on very little… and they still didn’t know really who Jesus was. Is it any different with most of us today?

We don’t know Him because we still don’t get what Jesus was telling us in Luke 14. “If you want to be My disciple then you must love Me more than mom, dad, wife, kids, even your own self. Get rid of your possessions (because be real… you possess them because at the end of the day they possess you) and come… follow Me. ”

When you love someone it is almost impossible for someone to drag you away from that someone’s presence. You share everything with them in your life… telling them all about you… your ambitions, dreams, desires. You bend those things, even giving them up just to find a common ground with that person so that your goals and the others goal can work alongside each other so that you can share the rest of your life with this person. The thought of them never being around again causes your brain to malfunction, your stomach is tied in knots and your knees get weak. You give up time with even close friends and family whom you have a love for but not a love like this! You want your friends in your life because you enjoy them and the fun that you have with them… but when it comes to my baby… those guys can’t interfere. Mom… dad… I love you guys but listen! This one is special! He/She is the one!

Let the reality of that set in because in reality… Jesus said, “listen… you have to love me even more than that.”

Who is always on your mind? How often do we go through life without His presence and truth is… we don’t even really miss it that much? Husband… Wife… remember when you first fell in love? Think of all the crazy things you would use as an excuse just to spend another little bit of time with them. Think of when you went to work and pined away much of the day anxiously waiting for work time to be done so you could see that beautiful face again and just be there in his/her presence. Even when away, you spend countless minutes… even hours talking on the phone and you don’t even like talking on the phone that much. You already talked about everything there was to talk about so now… you aren’t talking that much but in a weird way… you are at least electronically together.

Remembering all that… is that how you really are with Jesus?

You want to grow your faith then grow your relationship with Jesus. Prayer, study, worship… all of those are important in this relationship with Him and if you truly desire more of Him then there is no way you will not do those things. But don’t forget that it also includes Him constantly being on your mind… close to your heart… waiting on Him…. longing for just another little bit of private and intimate time alone with Him… even if He’s not talking to you… That presence alone is enough. His desires now trump your desires… You will do anything you can do to please Him no matter the personal cost to you. It is not any longer about seeking more for you… it is about godliness, content with what you have. That is great gain because the gain is that intimate relationship with a Savior who will never leave you nor forsake you.

*Posted on Facebook by Pastor Ken Smith

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I used to smoke,  a lot.  I started at the tender age of 14.  My mother smoked and back in the day it was thought to make you look cool, and older.  I was a terribly rebelious teen so smoking seemed like a grand idea.  A good way for me to look cool and rebel parental authority all at the same time.  Everyone knows a teenager of 14 wants more than almost anything else to appear more grown up, so smoking helped me with that too. At least in my mind, if not in reality.  In reality, I’m sure I just looked foolish and silly, if not stupid.

Over the years I deeply regretted having started smoking.  They cost a ton, they stink, they make you stink, and they make you sick.  Even so, I still loved smoking  – so I was in a mess.  I knew they were making me sick, yet I loved them.  I knew I had to go to the Lord and request His help in wanting to quit smoking first.  Without the desire to quit, nothing I did would make any difference.  Sounds silly to want to quit, yet not, but that was me.  My desire to smoke was just larger than my desire to quit.

I began asking God to please give me the desire to quit the nasty habit and then I picked a date.  I chose to simply give the whole mess over to the Lord and let Him deal with it.   After all, I knew He’d want me to quit and He tells us to ask and He’ll give us our heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:3-5) 

The date I set was November 1 of 2007.  I told everyone I knew that I was going to quit (not one single person believed me either – that’s how much I LOVED smoking at that time of my life – sadly) and that the Lord would help me accomplish it.  I knew He’d help.  I just KNEW it, deep down in my heart.  I didn’t know if He’d make it easy for me, or if He’d just hold my hand and walk me through the process, but I just knew He’d stay with me the whole time.  I was prepared for it to go either way and simply told any and everyone that would listen that I was going to quit on that day and that was that.

And I did.  I was blessed by my complete and total belief in Him and His promises, and He made it much easier than I’d ever dreamt of.  I’ve been extremely thankful ever since.  Thankful enough to know that I can never pick up even one and smoke it…. ever.

Now, it seems like I’m going to have to go to Him again and get His powerful help with another apparent addictiion – anger.  Seems kinda out there to call anger an addiction, but I honestly feel that it fits.  Anger is like a drug, like nicotine.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not running around punching people or anything, but still… I know that anger (and pride) are some serious issues that I need to be delivered from.  I hate the way it makes me feel.   It’s so hard to let it go while in the midst of whatever issue has upset me.  I don’t like that feeling.  I’d much rather be more humble and less concerned about myself.

I had a work issue come up recently and, at first, couldn’t wait to tell one of my close co-workers all about it.  But then I got to thinking that no… I shouldn’t talk about it and fuel that fire.  I felt like I needed to just give it to God instead.  So, I decided to not speak about the issue the next day when I’d see this co-worker.  However, she brings up an issue closely related to the one I was upset over and even though there was a part of me screaming out, “Be quiet!!!!  DO NOT go there and complain or gripe or whatever you wanna call it!  Just don’t!”  Sadly, I found myself doing it anyway….  Ugh!  I hated that!  I felt just like I had in all the many times I’d tried to quit smoking in the past when I was trying to do it all by myself. There was the whole argument going on inside of me of “Tell her!  No!  Don’t, it won’t help anything and will only get her upset too!  Tell her!  No! Don’t…. ”  I felt like I’d failed myself, but mostly like I’d failed my Lord and Savior.

The experience has reminded me though that, just like when I prayed for His help to desire to quit smoking, I first need to go to the Lord and ask Him to give me more of a desire to let go of silly annoyances and the effect that they can have on me,  more of a desire to see His will done, rather than my own.  To be more concerned with loving His people, than what’s “fair” in my own eyes and understanding.   I need His help in desiring to lay down my hurt and pains at His feet, rather than seeking a way to make myself feel better through “making people pay” in any shape form or fashion.  After all, God tells us that vengeance is His.

There are times when anger is appropriate, but often times, our actions when angry aren’t.  I need Christ’s help in knowing what’s what and in choosing appropriate reactions.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:22 (the words of Jesus) But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!  If you call someone an idiot,  you are in danger of being brought before the court.  And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”    In Romans 12:14-19 We’re told, Bless those who persecute you.  Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other.  Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.  And don’t think you know it all!  Never pay back evil with more evil.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  Dear friends, never take revenge.  Leave that to the righteous anger of God.  For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

69286_554861371205447_1968733517_nIt’s not nearly as hard once the force of the feelings of the anger have calmed down some.  Once that’s happened, then I’m able to pray for those that have hurt me or angered me.  It’s during that “heat of the moment” that I’m having trouble with.  But I know that I know that I know that I can take this problem to Jesus and lay it at His feet and He’ll give me a strong enough desire to get past my “feelings” no matter how strong they may be at the time.  I KNOW I can trust in Him.  Please, won’t you also pray with me on this?   If this is an issue for you, please feel free to comment and we’ll pray for you too!  Or if you need help with quitting smoking, please feel free to comment and request prayers for help with that too!  With Jesus, we can all quit smoking and giving in to anger!

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Quotes 448I think that perhaps the fear of not mattering is one of our biggest all time fears.  It’s the root of many of our problems and the way we attempt to deal with it, well… it only makes it worse.  The following is from Max Lucado’s book, Fearless, which is available on Amazon for Kindle for only $1.99.  (Don’t you just love all the free or, at least cheap, books you can get now that we have devices like Kindles?? Yesss!!!)

Perhaps you don’t know,
then, maybe you do,
about Stiltsville, and the Village,
(so strange but so true)

where people like we,
some tiny, some tall,
with jobs and kids
and clocks on the wall

keep an eye on the time,
For each evening at six,
they meet in the square
for the purpose of sticks,
tall stilts upon which

Stiltsvillians can strut
and be lifted above
those down in the rut:

the less and the least,
the Tribe of Too Smalls,
the not cools and have-nots
who want to be tall

but can’t, because
in the giving of sticks,
their name was not called.
The didn’t get picked.

Yet still they come
when villagers gather;
they press to the front
to see if they Matter

to the clique of the cool,
the court of high clout,
that decides who is special
and declares with a shout,

You’re classy! You’re pretty!
You’re clever or Funny!
And bequeath a prize,
not of medals or money,

not a freshly baked pie
or a house someone built,
but the oddest of gifts–
a gift of some stilts.

Moving up is their mission,
going higher their aim.
Elevate your position
is the name the their game.

The higher-ups of Stilsville
(you know if you’ve been there)
make the biggest to-do
of the sweetness of this air.

They relish the chance
on their high apparatus
to strut on their stilts,
the ultimate status.

For isn’t life best
when viewed from the top?
Unless you stumble
and suddenly are not

so sure of your footing.
You tilt and then sway,
Look out bel-o-o-o-w!
and you fall straightaway

into the Too Smalls,
hoi polloi of the earth.
You land on your pride-
oh boy how it hurts

when the chic police
in the jilt of all jilts,
don’t offer to help
but instead take your stilts.

Who made you king?
you start to complain
but then notice the hour
and forget your refrain

It’s almost six!
No time for chatter.
It’s back to the crowd
to see if you matter.

– Max Lucado, Fearless

Wow.  Doesn’t that just nail it, especially here in the U.S.?  Obviously, God doesn’t want us to fear anything remotely like this, but so often we find ourselves right there anyway.

If fear is a big problem for you in your life, then perhaps you’ll want to go take a peek at Mr. Lucado’s book – Fearless.

And no, this isn’t a paid advertisement. It’s just me sharing something I felt others might be interested in 🙂

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