Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do I Really Believe?

Reading chronologically this year has become interesting as I get to the four Gospel accounts.  There are days when it feels like God is trying to hammer some truth into me as I read because I read it two or three times in one sitting.  It feels like He is saying, "Did you get that?  Here let me say it again.  How about now?  Let's try it one more time."  Very familiar passages are hitting harder than ever.

On Friday I wrote in my journal:

  • Matt. 19:26b- With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
  • Mark 10:27-But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
  • Luke 18:27-The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Now I had something very much on my mind that morning.  I was hoping for some direction in how to pray and it seemed like God was leading me to pray for that which is not possible with men.  I shared that with a few people over the weekend and was so discouraged by the response. 

Monday found me wondering if I was being foolish with my request.  Here is what I wrote down in my journal on Monday:
  • Matt. 20:31- Then the multitude warned them (two blind men crying out to Jesus) that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more.
  • Mark 10:48- Then they warned him (blind Bartemaeus) to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me."
  • Luke 18:39- Those who led the way were sternly telling him (a blind man calling out to Jesus) to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more.
These people were asking for the impossible, to receive their sight.  The people all around them were telling them to stop, but they persisted and Jesus heard them and gave them what they asked for telling them their faith had made them well.  I felt like God was saying to me, do not get discouraged in your prayers-keep the faith.

This morning I still struggle with doubts.  This is what I wrote in my journal today:
  • Matt. 21:21-22- So Jesus answered them and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.  And whatever you things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
  • Mark 11:22- So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
It brings me back to my question from yesterday.  Have I become like Nazareth, where Jesus could not do many miracles because of their lack of faith?  Do I really believe that God still works this way--even through my prayers?

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Question of Faith

My thoughts are very brief this morning.
The following verse is very much on my mind right now, "And He (Jesus) could do no miracle there (Nazareth) except that He laid His hands on few sick people and healed them.  And He wondered at their unbelief."  Mark 6:5-6, NASB.
It simply has me asking the question, "How much could God accomplish if we only had more faith?"  It has me praying for an increase in my own faith because I do not want to live in a Nazareth of my own.  I want to believe and not doubt.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Delights of Discipline

I just cannot escape that word-discipline.  I need it to stick with my morning quiet time.  I need it to stick with my get fit plan.  I need it to make progress on my UFO's.  I even need it to stay on top of the laundry.    But it's not a dirty word if I focus on the benefits, the joy that results in being disciplined.

Starting my day in the word and prayer is such a blessing.  This morning I spent some time wrestling with those verses about "if two of you on earth agree concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19-NKJV)  Well, I have had a whopper on my mind since last night, and I know that there are even more than two of us who are in agreement.  But when word comes that cancer has taken over someone's body...I pray but do I really believe?  Wrapped up in all of this is the will of God, and I sometimes use that to whimp out when I bring my requests before the Lord.  This morning I came asking for help with my unbelief, for Him to reveal anything that might hinder my prayers, and that I would have wisdom to know if I am asking amiss.  I know He can do incredible things when His people pray and I want to be a part of that.  More than that however is that when I wrestle with these things I am drawn closer to the Lord, I get to know Him even more as I seek to be serious about my prayers.  I also read in Luke the parable of the widow who keeps coming to the judge about her case.  Jesus told this parable to teach "that men (and women) always ought to pray and not lose heart." (Luke 18:1, NKJV)  So I press on.

This week was the beginning of Leslie Sansone's 21 day walk at home challenge.  Discipline.  So far so good.  My body tried to be a little rebellious yesterday but was feeling good after the end of a two mile walk.  It surprises me how energizing this step is to my whole day.  And if you are not familiar with the Walk at Home method--it is not your ordinary walk, which makes it a whole lot more fun than hopping on the treadmill.

As for my quilting- I love the encouragement I am getting from a special group of women to tackle those UFO's.  It feels wonderful to be able to share the accomplishments.

This is my version of a Rail Fence.  I have a couple of borders to add and then it will be ready for quilting.

Today I am setting up my machine for quilting and will start with the Debbie Fields chickadee table runner.  I picked up this great Maywood Studios fabric on sale and it will be perfect for the back of my Harvest Time quilt.
purple with pumpkins!

So I am off to walk and quilt, and looking forward to the results of being disciplined about it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Because We Never Know What the Day Will Bring

I hesitate to say I learned a valuable lesson last week.  I have the feeling that it is one that will need repeating in the future just because of the way I am about my prayer life.  I found myself making lots of excuses last week for not journaling through my prayer time.  When I did actually continue in my journal, after my daily Bible reading plan, one person came immediately to mind.  This is not someone I know particularly well, but she was on my mind as well as some specifics to pray.  As I went about the rest of my morning I checked in on FB and there she was, and her status was a prayer that said exactly what I had been praying for her- I tell you I got chillbumps.  I have had similar things happen in the past.  This was different in that it was so specific.  This one really hit home to me the importance of not growing weary in intercessory prayer.  It was a double blessing for both of us that day, we were both encouraged by how the Holy Spirit moves us as we pray, and the joy that only comes from being obedient to those gentle proddings.

In my own life the Lord really used it to emphasize to me how important that time with Him is each morning because I do not know what lies ahead.  What if I had not prayed that morning?  I would not have been able to share how much the Lord cares for this friend and has caused others to be in prayer for her very specific needs.  (and how cool is that- He can direct someone to pray so specifically!)  Sometimes we just need to know that we are not alone in our battles.  Sometimes we are just crying out for the Lord to show us somehow that He cares about us.  What if I had not prayed?

The day before I had come to my prayer time and just asked if it would be okay not to journal.  I was so tired.  I was soooo not motivated.  I was just not in the mood.  In my mind I heard that it was okay- I could go on with my day.  Everything seemed to go wrong that day- I could not even sew a simple seam without having to rip it out.  All afternoon I had that niggling thought, "you should have taken time for the Lord this morning."  But then I kept thinking that God really does not work that way.  However, that is why I was willing to sit quietly and pray the next morning before I got my day going.  I was still tired.  I was still not particularly motivated. I just chose to be obedient.
The two days were like night and day.  It does not always happen like that for me.  Spending my quiet time has never guaranteed a smooth sailing kind of day.  This day though, as I sat and reflected while sewing a quilt, everything coming together very well once again,  I kept thinking, "what if my friend had posted her prayer yesterday?"  I would not have prayed for her.  I would have had no encouragement to give when it was needed.  I actually think I had the kind of off day I had so that I would not miss the opportunity to pray when I needed to, because I was not having the kind of week where I was seeking first the Kingdom.  It all reminded me of how important it is to come each day for my time with the Lord, to sit at His feet and listen to His word, to seek His will, to share my heart, to know Him more...because He knows what each day will bring.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This and That

Yesterday I had a wonderful time with our Sunday School class.  We do a breakfast potluck once a year.  Good friends, good food, good fellowship-what more could you ask for.
I had the opportunity to visit with nearly everybody as I had a lot of photos to take to update our class directory.    Miss Shy One got to be the social butterfly, and had a wonderful time doing it too.

some tracing and cutting to do
This morning it is back to work on some UFO's.  Netflix is keeping me company as I trace some applique pieces for the McKenna Ryan BOM I am working on.  When I need a break I am moving to my machine to do a little applique work on a baby quilt I have going.  On Friday I was able to complete the top for the Harvest Time quilt.
Completed Harvest Time top
Applique blocks for baby quilt
Today is the first day of Leslie Sansone's 21 day walking challenge which I am taking part in.  I am having to split up my three miles into two segments during the day- but am enjoying the way she has us move our bodies.  Hoping that having some others as accountability partners will encourage me to stick with it this month.

Break time is over and it is time to get back to work.  Tomorrow I hope to share some lessons I learned last week about seeking first the Kingdom.