Prayers for the Parched: Getting Dressed

Let Us Put On the Full Armor of God Every Morning to be Ready for Whatever Comes Our Way

Let Us Put On the Full Armor of God Every Morning to be Ready for Whatever Comes Our Way

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13


Oh Lord

I am putting on my spiritual battle clothes today

Let these protect from the fiery darts of the enemy

Let these serve your purposes today


I put on the helmet of salvation

I put on the breastplate of righteousness

I put on the belt of truth

I pick up the shield of faith

I take your word with me as a sword

I put on the shoes of peace


I’m ready for the day

Let’s go together

Three Day Fast Renews the Entire Immune System

Fasting can Boost Your Prayer Life

Fasting can Boost Your Health, as well as Your Prayer Life

Sarah Knapton with The Daily Telegraph and National Post Wire Services wrote an article on the benefits of fasting for three days.  The title of the article is “Fasting for three days Renews entire immune system, protects cancer patients, “remarkable” new study finds. Conducted by scientists at the University of Southern California (USC), the study shows that fasting “flips a regenerative switch” that prompts stem cells to create white blood cells, essentially restoring the immune.

They see this as good for cancer patients under chemotherapy in that fasting can generate, literally, a whole new immune system.  The age of the patient doesn’t impact the results.

Certain trials required volunteers to fast regularly for between two and four days over a six month period.  Scientists found that this prolonged fasting also reduced the enzyme PKA, which is linked to aging and a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumor growth.  “We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic [formation of stem cells] system,” said Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the university..  “When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.”

Fasting for 72 hours also protected cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy.  “The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some o the harmful effects of chemotherapy,” said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital.

All the more reasons to bless you body with fasting.

See also Why Should I Fast? 10 Reasons to Consider Fasting – Part 1

See also Fasting Series Part 1 – How do I Fast?  Fasting Foundations





Revisiting Divorce Rate Statistics

Wedding Rings are symbols of two people being married.  Let the Quantum Entanglement begin

US Census Bureau statistics show that 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse.

Have you ever been surprised by the commonly quoted statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce?  Closer inspection shows otherwise For many of us, the statistics don’t line up with our experiential knowledge.  Shaunti Feldhahn disputes these statistics in her new book, The Good News About Marriage, with a forward by Andy Stanley.

Shaunti Feldhahn writes, “Perhaps most surprising, half of all marriages are not ending in divorce. According to the Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse! And the 28% who aren’t, includes everyone who was married for many years, until a spouse died. No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20-25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31-35% range, depending on the study.

“Now, expert demographers continue to project that 40-50% of couples will get divorced – but it is important to remember that those are projections. And I’m skeptical because the actual numbers have never come close, and divorce rates continue to drop, not rise! Even among the highest-risk age group –baby boomers—seven in ten are still married to their first spouse. Most of them have had 30 years’ worth of chances to get divorced…and they are still together.”

One of the other common statistics that we hear is that the divorce rate is the same for Christians as it is for non-Christians.  Feldhahn spoke directly with George Barna about this.  He said that the Barna Group studies were focusing specifically on the divorce rates of those with Christian and non-Christian belief systems. And didn’t take worship attendance into account. Their statistics actually show that if the person was in church last week, their divorce rate drops by 27%.  “Overall, regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25-50%, depending on the study you look at.”

You can ready more by getting her new book from

Lord, come help and heal our marriages.



Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 4

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

From gratitude, we move gradually move to loving what is good and honorable.  I don’t believe we have to love what isn’t lovable.  We don’t have to honor what isn’t honorable.  Seek God on what He sees as honorable and lovable.  Ask God to give us His love for the person.  I find He doesn’t love any of people’s bad behavior.  But He knows how to love beyond the bad behavior part. He may show us things about our parents we never knew.  Sometimes when he shows us what broke in them, it brings compassion.  Compassion helps fuel the journey of honoring.


The Good news about this commandment is that it comes with a promise. “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you; that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you…”  Deuteronomy 5;16. During difficult circumstances that seem like they will never end, it may not seem like much of a promise.  Yet, the promise talks about “living long in the land the Lord Your God is giving you.”  It indicates a promised land which is something all the people wanted.  It reads like a recipe for a long and good life.  God keeps the promises He makes.  So let’s figure out how to honor or father and mother, no matter how difficult it may seem.

To catch up on the earlier parts of this theme, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 1 and Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 2 and Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 3

Everybody is Welcome at the Communion Table

Everybody is Welcome at the Communion Table

Everybody is Welcome at the Communion Table

In church this week, we looked at what makes a church a place for people to come and be community together.  Three things stand out:

1.         Everybody is welcome.  No one is left out.  Truly everyone is welcome.

2.         Nobody’s Perfect.  So many people think that we have to be perfect to join a church.  Or if we are members, then we become perfect.  Anyone who visits a church will soon find out no church has perfect members.  We come together knowing we are not perfect and we need God to be our God.  We desire to hang our sin on the Jesus’ cross.  And we long for the revitalization of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

3.         Anything is Possible.  More specifically, Anything is possible with God.  This truth reminds us that we serve an amazing God.  He still does miracles, signs and wonder.  He is worthy of our praise.

Our church service closed with communion for the entire church.  We come to the table welcomed by Jesus, no matter who we are.  The Bible says God is not a respector of persons.  He knows us all individually and accepts us for who we are, not for what we’ve accomplished.  We come to the table with our imperfections to our perfect Savior.  We give him our sin and receive His righteousness, fresh, once again.  And we leave reminded that no matter what we are facing in our lives, All Things are Possible with God.  The visit to God’s table reminds us to of these truths and refreshes us for the week ahead.

Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 3

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

The third step in the process is gratitude.    It helps to be grateful for the little things.  Let these build till there are larger streams of gratitude.  One man started with the simple fact that he was thankful that his mother didn’t abort him.  It took a long time to come up with other things he was thankful for about his mother.  So start with the basics and build with specifics.

Gratitude gets easier when we stop demanding perfection from our parent and start being thankful for the things we did receive.  Eventually we realize there are things our parents will never be able to fulfill that seem normal for any parent.  Maturity comes when we realize that we may never get our parent to do or be the parent we needed.  If we turn to God and ask Him to fill the gap, we give Him permission to meet our needs.  In doing so, we can collect our needs from various other sources till we are filled.  We can receive healing in healthy community, and sometimes directly from God.  There may always be a longing to get what we need from our parent.  But if we allow other people to accept us, encourage us, nurture us, compliment us, support us, and believe in us, then our needs can get met.  God Himself may meet the need directly.  No parent is perfect.  Allow God to fill in the gap.  His loving and surprising ways bring healing and wholeness.

To Catch Up, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 1 and Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 2

To continue, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 4

Fresh, Flourishing, and Bearing Fruit in our Old Age

God Designed Us to Flourish in our Old Age

God Designed Us to Flourish in our Old Age

When do we get old?  At what age do we get categorized as old?  My pastor John Ortberg asked the congregation last week, “Who thinks they are old?  Please raise your hands.”  Some people raised their hands.  Then he asked “Who thinks they are young?”  More people raised their hands. What do we do if we are neither? Is there a category for this? Or at least I don’t feel “old” yet.

It didn’t help that latter that Sunday I went to get my nails done and a shy 6 year old girl was walking around the shop while her mother was getting her toes done.  She wanted to show me a photo of her “way older,” who is 16.  I asked her if she thought I was old.  She froze at the question at first, and then studied my face.  She looked at my eyes and pointed to where there are lines on the outer edges.  She started to nod slowly. Then she smiled and said it was okay.  I didn’t have very many lines.  I thought, “Wrinkle creams are worth every penny.”

The Bible has a few things to say about growing older. Consider Psalm 92: 12-15.

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

I really like the verbs in here.

I’m starting to declare this out loud, “I will flourish in my old age.  I will bear fruit in my old age.  I will be fresh and green.  My youth will be continually renewed like the eagles.”  Amen.



Olives with Fennel Seeds and Orange Peel Make A Very Tasty Appetizer for Dinner Parties

Olives with Fennel Seeds and Orange Peel Make A Very Tasty Appetizer for Dinner Parties

Once again, I’m reaching for this recipe from Linda Neff as I get ready for a dinner party. These olives are a great appetizer and they can be made ahead of time.  They are very tasty.  People often comment on these and try to sit near them as they converse and nibble.


6 cups black and green olives, imported
Kalamata, Scilian, garlic stuffed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
2 T. minced orange peel
1 T. fennel sees crushed
1/2 t. dried red pepper crush

Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
Cover and chill overnight, stirring occasionally
(can be prepared 5 days ahead)
Bring olives to room temperature before serving


How to Deal with Sin – Part 3

Many people sweep sins under the rug, which is never quite big enough

Many people sweep sins under the rug, which is never quite big enough

Some Christians believe that because Jesus died on the cross for people’s sins, forgiveness is automatic.  They skip the step of taking their specific sin to the cross because it’s already been handled.  Without repentance, there is no forgiveness appropriated.  Forgiveness is available to all who bring their sins to Jesus’ cross, but it is not automatically given out.  It must be asked for to be appropriated.  God graciously lets the innocent blood of Jesus cover our sin.  Then He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And we enter into a closer and closer relationship with God.  Sin hinders our friendship with God.  We may ignore the sin; God does not.  Sin stops the progression of relationship.  That’s why God designed a provision for our sin:  so we can enter back into relationship with Him.

Psalm 51:6-7 reads with King David speaking for all of us, “Behold You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.  Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness.”  Pursue truth about our sin, bring it to Jesus, receive forgiveness.  Enter into the joy and gladness of relationship with God.  Go and sin no more.

Of course, it’s impossible to never sin again. The good news is that there’s something we can do when we do sin.  As Christians, we invite the Holy Spirit to point us in the direction of the path that takes us to Him.  As we journey on this path, we walk with less and less choices for sin in our lives.  In some areas, we can receive complete victory.  Other areas take longer and we walk out the process of becoming less and less cluttered with sin.  The fancy five syllable word is sanctification.  Sanctification is a process.  It’s like cleaning a glass jar filled with black gunk with hot water.  It starts to flush out the black gunk and get clearer and clearer till there is no more black gunk in the jar.

Previous Published:  How to Deal with Sin – Part 1 and How to Deal with Sin – Part 2

Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 2

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

Have you ever wondered how Biblical characters might have told their stories to therapists?  Moses might have warranted abandonment issues when his mother floated him down a river for adoption.  Joseph was kidnapped and sold into slavery by his brothers. He could relate to any betrayal, jealousy and stolen identity case studies.  Isaac probably struggled with trust issues and complained that his Dad tried to kill him, “I don’t know what would have happened if that ram hadn’t happened by.”  Only God knows the prayers of the children of the Hebrew 11 heroes.


With all of the faith heroes, God cuts through their lives to find the redemptive threads in each person and calls it good.  He does the same with us.  He sees the good and the bad and looks for the redemptive threads.  One benefit of accepting Jesus as our personal savior is that God sees us through Jesus’ righteousness.  Whew. For the people who have hurt us, we might need to meet with a counselor, and we might need time to heal.  With God’s help, we can seek His perspective on the difficult people in our lives.  Ultimately, God calls us to forgive those who have trespassed against us.

The next step in the honoring process is acceptance.  The first step is honesty, and the second is acceptance.  The word, “process” indicates that coming to honor is a journey.  Accepting our parents for who they really are is a choice to love them honestly.


To catch up, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 1

To continue, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 3