Prayers for the Parched: Graduation Blessing

Congratulations to the Graduate

Congratulations to the Graduate

Graduation Blessing

All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.  Isaiah 54:13

I declare fearlessness for these graduates

I declare courage for them

Put your hand upon their heads and give them life

Put your word upon their heart

Give them the desire to pursue your will

When the enemy comes, they will Stand!

They will stand and lean into you

Anoint their feet

…To walk in your pathways

…To walk in your steps of righteousness

…to not walk in any compromise

Compromise is to the past, while victory is to the future


Forgiveness and Healing Go Hand in Hand

Let Prayer be Part of the Journey from Forgiveness to Health

Let Prayer be Part of the Journey from Forgiveness to Health

I had a good girlfriend call me yesterday to tell me about her health journey for the last 4 weeks, including surgery.  She had been cleaning her bathroom and bent over scrubbing when a searing pain gripped her body and has not left.  It stems from the lower part of her back and goes into her legs.  She has seen spinal cord experts, orthopedic doctors and muscle experts examine her, doing their “work” and still the pain.

In the midst of this excruciating pain, she thought back to her stepmother.  This woman rivals the stepmonster in Cinderella.  She made my friend’s life miserable for years, prevented relationship with her biological father, lied to people and to her government about ownership of land…many evil deeds.  Her daughter was raised to be just like her.

As the pain my friend is experiencing continues, she has realized her desire to forgive everyone in her life everything.  Being in continual pain reminds us of the descriptions of hell.  My friend commented that “No one deserves to go through what I am experiencing. I choose to forgive everyone everything and pray for their salvation- even my stepmother.”

So we walked through several forgiveness and bondage breaking prayers in the courtroom of heaven.  I sort of expected the pain to improve immediately.  I asked her what her pain level was at the beginning of our prayer time between 1 and 10.  She responded immediately with, “20.”  Okay.  At the end of our prayer time, she was grateful to feel the cleansing of the Holy Spirit over her and in her. But the pain was still present and we hung up so she could take her pain medication. I still believe her body will improve the commitment to forgive everyone everything.  She is still walking out this new path toward health.  Her mind and emotions and spirit feel clean and free.  My prayers and expectations continue on her behalf for physical healing.  But I know she’ll sleep free tonight.

 

 


Finding the Right Mother’s Day Card for Difficult Mothers

Finding a Mother's Day Card for a Difficult Mom is No Easy Task

Finding a Mother’s Day Card for a Difficult Mom is No Easy Task

Why is it that I meet so many people who have survived difficult Mothers?  I have thought of creating a Difficult Mother’s Club.  I meet so many women that come through sozo appointments who didn’t have easy, great Moms.  Neither did I.

It takes hours for find a card appropriate for Mother’s Day.  None of those sugary sweet cards fit that talk about the wonderful qualities in a mother.  That wasn’t our experience.  I search for something truthful.  One time I settled for a card in a foreign language since I couldn’t find one in English that said it truthfully.

We all have to honor our parents.  It’s a commandment, no matter what.  And the promise is for a long life, which we all want.  So how does one fulfill this?  My brother says to honor what is honorable.  No matter how short a list this might be, it makes sense.  One man got to the point by saying, “Thank you for not aborting me.”  That’s honest and direct.

Years later, I learned to see beyond the poor cyclical behavior part of my Mother to see her as a very wounded little girl.  It gave me the ability to forgive her and to love her.  She still said upsetting and harsh words.  Nonetheless the love was genuine for the rare glimmers of the person that I rarely saw.  I learned to honor and genuinely love her. My mother is in heaven now.  Every once in a while, I write her a love letter.

This year, in my devotions on Mother’s Day, I read Luke 8:35.  I see her now as sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed in righteousness and in her right mind.  Someday I’ll join her at Jesus’ feet and get to know the mother I never knew on earth.

 


Prayers for the Parched: Spirit of Gratitude

Let us join the Heavenly Hosts on Praising you

Let us join the Heavenly Hosts on Praising you

Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:7

Lord,

I pray for a spirit of gratitude

Develop in me an attitude of gratitude

I pray for a willing heart to say thank you

Forgive me for my grumblings and murmurings

Teach me to speak in thankful terms at all times

Help me change my heart so I can change my words

 

Lord, it is your goal for me to be firmly rooted

You are instructing me on how to be established in Christ

In all things, I am learning to give thanks

Thank you for the privilege of giving thanks

May you be glorified in this process


Determining to Believe God is at Work – Part 3

Determining to Believe God is at Work in our Circumstances Brings Hope

Determining to Believe God is at Work in our Circumstances Brings Hope

This series is looking at hope and how to have hope when our circumstances don’t seem to be changing.

Hope believes that right now things are changing, even if we can’t see the difference.  Hope believes that right now God is working on my circumstances.  I can align my belief with a choice to believe that God’s got a plan at work on things even as I see no change in the natural.

Sometimes just saying out loud a truth can be very helpful.  “Right now God is bringing conviction to people.  Right now God is working on getting the attention of my loved ones on Him, even if they don’t believe in God or attend church.  Right now God is working on our government.  Right now God is giving me favor with my boss.  Right now, God is at work on my prayer requests that agree with scripture.  Right now, God is fulfilling His words in scripture and prophecy.”  These sentences are true and cut through the soulish doubts to the spirit part of us, and we are strengthened.

2 Corinthians 3:18 confirms that “we all, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  This is ongoing, not just on good days or super spiritual days.  We are constantly moving forward every day, little by little.  With the Holy Spirit, we can believe He is at work and it is for good purposes.

Click here to see Determining to Believe God is at Work – Part 1

Click here to see Determining to Believe God is at Work – Part 2


It’s All About the Bragging Rights Part 1

Parents Love to Brag About Your Students

Parents Love to Brag About Your Students

Have you ever been at a red stop light behind a car with a bumper sticker that says, “My Kid was #1 at Main Street Elementary?”  People brag about their children.  They brag about their nationality.  They bear bumper stickers and clothing about the college they attended, or about their favorite sports team.

Taking it up a notch, there’s family reunion moments.  This is when it really is about who’s the smartest of all the kids.  The youth outdo each other at sports contests. Kids will make up a sport or push a rock to prove who’s the strongest. And the adults quietly talk about stocks going public, housing values, and retirement accounts.  Apparently, people have been doing this for thousands of years.

The Bible says, “Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

My extended family doesn’t compete with each other about how much about the Lord we know or understand.  We may share stories of what God has done in our lives or the lives of others we meet. We may talk about answered prayer requests.  We may talk about our churches or a good Christian book we’ve read lately.  There’s always more to learn about God.

To continue, see It’s All About the Bragging Rights  Part 2


Prayers for the Parched: Reverential Fear and Awe

Who Makes the Clouds?  Who Makes a Cloud Give Rain?

Who Makes the Clouds? Who Makes a Cloud Give Rain?

He will bless those who fear the Lord – small and great alike.  Psalm 115:13

 

Lord God Almighty

What a a privilege it is to come before you

Your holiness produces in me reverential fear and awe

Forgive me when I lose perspective of your glory behind the familiarity of friendship with Jesus

May I not forget the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice as I bask daily in the benefit of relationship

Restore unto me the balance between walking in your grace and love and walking in reverential fear and awe.

Amen


The Grief of the Unknown Dad & Bringing Fathers’ Hearts to their Children 1

Why Doesn't Dad Want to Come Home and See Me?

Why Doesn’t Dad Want to Come Home and See Me?

The Grief of the Unknown Dad & Bringing Fathers’ Hearts to their Children Part 1

Do you know what the theme of the last two verses of the Old Testament is?  After God addresses this issue,  He gets really quiet for 400 years.  God talks about a future time when the hearts of the fathers will be turned toward their children and the hearts of the children will be turned toward their fathers.  See Malachi 4:5-6.

Some call this youth generation the Fatherless Generation.  Everyone has a father, right?  Yet, with divorce and with “free love,” there are many kids growing up today who don’t have fathers.  Some have fathers, but don’t know who they are.  Some have fathers, but the fathers have walked away from the mothers of their children.  When a man leaves a family, he makes two decisions:  one is to leave the wife or girlfriend for various reasons.  The other decision is to leave the children of the union.

Many kids grow up without Dads.  Their concept of a father is clouded with rejection and abandonment.  I’m always amazed at how these kids get to know Father God when their own fathers left them with such a poor example of a caring and committed father.  Worse, some kids have stepfathers or foster dads that come into a situation and choose to abuse children under their care which further compounds things.  Another rubric includes kids who have great Dads who aren’t there for them emotionally or are absent most of the time.

Many wonderful men step in the gap.  Even a partial role goes along way toward bridging the bottomless pit of rejection and abandonment.  Some men offer positive role models through coaching.  Good stepfathers are God’s gift to kids, even if not appreciated at first.  Teachers can be good role models of character and kindness.  Other adults in churches, neighborhoods or community affairs can take an interest in kids.  All of these are appreciated for years to follow.

The truth is we have a perfect, loving Heavenly Father.  Some people can not bring themselves to get to know him because they have to overcome horrible images of earthly fathers.  God designed us to need and benefit from a Heavenly Father.  To the extent we can trust God, this relationship undergirds and sustains us.

See Part 2 of The Grief of the Unknown Dad & Bringing Fathers’ Hearts to their Children


Determining to Believe God is at Work – Part 2

Determining to Believe God is at Work in our Circumstances Brings Hope

Determining to Believe God is at Work in our Circumstances Brings Hope

No matter what our circumstances are, our God is bigger.  No matter how bad things look, God can turn around any situation.  When we pray for people who don’t seem like they will change, we need to remember that God is actively at work as a result of our prayers.  They still have the freedom to respond to God’s nudges or not.  He invites the person every day to do the right thing.  Sometimes our prayers are making them miserable, even as they keep clinging to their destructive patterns.

After we pray, we wait.  While waiting, we have an important choice to make.  Are we going to wait expectantly, or are we going to wait suspiciously wondering if God will do anything or not.  Do we believe God has heard our prayers and is actively working on the situation?  Do we believe God is who He says He is and can be depended on? Depending on our answer, we either walk in confidence with God or fretful and uncertain of everything around us.

The Patriarchs in the Bible waited patiently for the Lord.  David had to wait for God to make David king, while being hunted by King Saul.  David got anointed years before the promise was fulfilled.  Abraham had to wait as he and his wife aged past child bearing years for the  promised baby to arrive.

If we can wait expecting to see God’s goodness at the best possible time, by God’s standards, then we develop hope.  Faith believes it will happen one day in the distant future.  If it feels like God doesn’t care, and we won’t see something in our lifetime, then it can lead to discouragement and bitterness.

If we believe that God is at work on our issues even if we can’t see the changes, we walk with a different hope.  I’ve wondered if this is how David directed his thoughts when he “strengthened himself up the Lord.”  The whole verse is found in 1 Samuel 30:6  “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

To see Part 1, go to Determining to Believe God is at Work – Part 1

To see Part 3, go to Determining to Believe God is at Work – Part 3


Steph’s Recipes: TABBOULEH

Delicious Tabbouleh with Fresh Ingredients from the Garden

Delicious Tabbouleh with Fresh Ingredients from the Garden

We grow fresh mint year and lemons year round, so this is a delicious recipe to use these ingredients.  In the summer we also have fresh tomatoes for this recipe.  It has become a stable in our house.   This recipe follows the Lebanese tabbouleh tradition.

TABBOULEH

½ cup fine bulgur wheat

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 cup boiling water

2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (2-3 bunches)

½ cup finely chopped fresh mint

2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 –inch pieces

½ seedless cucumber, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ -inch pieces

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

3/4 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Stir together the bulgur and 1 Tbsp oil in a heatproof bowl.  Pour boiling water over, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes.  Drain in a sieve, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.

While the bulgur is cooking, chop the flat-leaf parsley, the fresh mint, tomatoes, cucumber and add to the bulgur after draining.  Mix lemon juice,  remaining two Tbsp oil, salt and pepper together. Then add to the  parsley mixture.