America Shall be Saved

Watching Reinhard Bonnke’s Memorial Service today brought me to my knees. It’s incredible how the anointing on one man’s life, even through video or a picture can bring such conviction, and power it ends up leading you into praying for the lost, for the harvest of souls. Oh, how he had a heart for the lost and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I was praying and catching a deeper heart for the lost, pictures of his life in ministry were still playing at his memorial service in the background. As the images kept rolling, I began to think about what God can do with an image. I realized a picture could bring salvation. I believe images on phones, laptops, televisions, and any screen which previously may have brought destruction will now bring redemption.

Lou Engle even described this type of redemption in a pre-recorded video that played before Bonnke’s service. Lou explained his prophetic act of putting Bonnke’s picture next to stadiums and believed “Stadium Christianity” would be born. And Stadium Christianity is happening now with SoCal Harvest 2019, The Send in Orlando 2019, and most recently Passion 2020, where over 65,000 young people gathered to lift high the name of Jesus!

There were opened Heavens at these events, and the pictures, whether selfies, worshipers, or the crowd, were viewed on the news, Instagram, and other social avenues. These pictures and pictures to come will bring curiosity and then spark a hunger for Jesus, which will ultimately lead to salvation. And just as Bonnke desired, All of America will be saved!

To watch Bonnke’s memorial service click here: https://content.cfan.org/livestream/?office=us.

Crucial Questions

On Thursday, while watching the news, I heard a reporter ask a student, “What are your drills like for an emergency?” One of the students answered something to the extent of: They don’t do anything to prepare you for a school shooting like today. After I heard that question and response, I thought I am going to ask my kids the same question when I pick them up. So I did, and they said the teacher turns off the lights and they close the windows and try to go into a corner. I asked, “What if you are not in a classroom? What if the door didn’t get closed in time? What if the teacher is in shock or hurt?” As I continued to flood them with different scenarios, they said, “Well, I don’t know?” I responded, “I don’t know either.” One thing I do know is when you don’t know what to do, ask God. So I urged them if you are ever stuck in one of those situations, I want you to ask, “God, what should I do?”

I think even as adults; we don’t ask that question enough. We stress about things and may ask for God’s help, but we don’t directly ask, “God, what should I do?” For instance, today, I wanted to hurry and go to the next thing in my day, but I heard, “I want to talk with you, but I want to hear you first.” Then I opened up my Bible and read 1 Kings 3:5, where Solomon had a dream that God said to him, “Ask what I should give you.” That’s a specific question, just like “God, what should I do?” Asking these questions brings wisdom because it’s a question that requires more than just a yes or no answer. These types of questions put us in place to receive instruction, and instruction is what we need.

What are you asking God today?

James 1:5 TPTAnd if anyone longs to be wise. Ask God for wisdom, and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures, but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.

Asking for More through the Four Steps of Prayer.

If you have been in Moms in Prayer for awhile you are well versed in the four steps of prayer which are: 1) Praise, 2) Confession, 3) Thanksgiving, and 4) Intercession. As a priority, this last year while driving my oldest son to middle school, I have invested in teaching him how to pray. We quickly go through the four steps of prayer, and it’s by no means an hour, it’s probably at the most – two hot minutes!

Once I start the car, or we get on a main road I say, “Praise Jesus for something.” He often says, “Creator” or “Savior.” When I want him to think of other answers, I simply ask, “Who is God?” As other ideas start to spark in his head like this morning, he answered “Mountain Mover.” I loudly proclaimed, “YES! He is our Mountain Mover.” While gazing out the window and having a breathtaking view of the snow-capped majestic Rocky Mountains, I say again, “He is our Moutain Mover.”

When we moved on to confession, I asked him to confess something silently. A few seconds later, I jokingly say, “I bet we are both confessing the same thing because we were arguing so much last night.” (Raising teenagers is hard especially ones with special needs!!!) I continue to joke and say, “You probably felt like saying a lot more things you shouldn’t say, and I can’t deny I felt the same.” We both laugh and were thankful to confess.

As usual, as we went on to Thanksgiving, my son said something goofy like, thank you God for donuts, snowdays, or not having homework. I too was thankful for the snow after looking at the beautiful snow-capped mountain range. I didn’t feel like I needed to pry more thanksgiving out of him because sometimes the little things are the big things like mountains, or the little things are the things we forget to be thankful for the most.

Before we started intercession, I asked my son to ask God for something. Often he usually says silly stuff like more donuts or no homework, but today I wanted him to go deeper than just superficial things. I said, “Why don’t you ask God for something you can’t physically do. For instance, you can easily buy donuts if you wanted to; also, you don’t necessarily have to do your homework. There are consequences for not doing your homework, but these things are all things that you can do in your power. What is something you can ask that only God can do like opening the sea when chariots and people are coming in to kill you? What is something only God can do?

Now we were just around the corner from his school. I questioned, “What about forgiving that boy who really hurt you? I know forgiveness is so hard, and it’s truly a miracle when we get to experience the freedom of forgiving someone that has hurt us so deeply.” He said, “Mom I don’t even know if I can forgive that kid, he did so many hurtful things to me. Even threatened my life.” I replied, “I know, I am not asking you to be his friend, but I would love for you to experience the freedom of forgiveness. What that boy did nearly three years ago is still holding you back today. Why don’t you ask God to help you learn how to forgive.” As he was getting his backpack from the back seat and about to leave the car, he says, “Okay, mom.”

Friends, that is asking for the more. That is asking God to do above what we can do. That is asking God to separate the offense like the sea was split in two and then put back together as a unified body of water. God can do the more so let’s ask for those things that are not by might, not by power but by the Spirit of the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6)

Click on Moms in Prayer to find out more about this life changing international ministry.

Scriptures to read for a more in-depth study Exodus 13:17-22; Exodus 14, and Zechariah 4:6

Five Stars for “A Prayer Journal” by Flannery O’Connor

A Prayer JournalA Prayer Journal is a quick, passionate discovery on what it looks like to seek God in prayer. In this writing, there are only 42 electronic pages, if reading on a Kindle. It’s simple but profound. Elegant like gold, yet practical as a silver utensil. Overall, it illustrates a heart that is hungry for God. A hunger that isn’t satisfied with anything in this world other than to know God. O’Conner’s last words describe the intimate longing her journal portrays, “If I could only always just think of Him.”

The Tipping Point of Christmas

It’s Christmas time and I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed. This time of the year there is pressure on our finances, getting gifts, going to parties, buying outfits for those parties, sending cards, preparing food, meeting with family and all our routine responsibilities on top of it all. These layers of duties make me think of recently putting up and decorating our Christmas tree. As you may know with fake trees, there are layers to assemble, and then at the top, the tree comes to the highest point where one may place a star or angel. On the top of our tree, we have a star and it kind of fits, but it IMG_2971seems to lean to one side and will suddenly tip over.

When I feel overwhelmed, I feel like I am going to tip over. It’s like how Malcolm Gladwell talks about how things usually don’t gradually tip, but things suddenly tip. Malcolm says in his book The Tipping Point, “Most people think that life is full of steady progressions. However, in fact, many of the most important events in life happen suddenly and unexpectedly, so that there’s no way to predict them in advance.” Waves of emotion can happen this way, for instance, the stress of the holidays just creep up, and all of a sudden you have been tipped over and caught off guard!

Similarly, I remember feeling this way when I was pregnant like I was going to tip over. When you are pregnant, you have to balance all this extra weight, and there is a lot of additional pain and pressure. I am sure Mary felt this way too. Not only the weight of the baby inside her but the weight of responsibility, of carrying the son of God. I could not imagine that pressure.

Thinking of all this and trying to put things into perspective I ended up thinking about the positive tipping point! In fact, I heard a message from Sarah Bowling about what Mary said when she found out she was pregnant with Jesus. In Luke 1:46-47 Mary said, “My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Although I am confident she was feeling pressure, she still magnified the LORD, and the world’s greatest miracle came to earth.

Today I am choosing to think of all the memories and miracles which are about to come. In fact, the miraculous tipping point is just moments away; we will experience the joy of all our hard work. Soon it will all be done – the shopping, the food, the giving, and gathering will all occur. Then we will rest and take delight in the joy that will radiate off our children’s faces as they open their gifts. We will embrace one another. We may light a candle and pass it to someone next to us until a whole room is lit up. All this will happen so fast. It will be a tipping point, and then we will wait for the season to come again. So push aside the stress and the worry and anticipate the joy that will unexpectedly surprise your soul. Look forward to the tipping point and tell your soul to magnify and exalt the LORD.

Blood Suckers

Giving is a necessary part of life. In fact, if you are reading this post, you have been given something, you were given life. From the moment you and I were conceived, we were given nourishment, time, and room to grow in our mother’s womb. This conceiving process of giving and eventually laboring occurs every day throughout the world. In fact, you may be very familiar with this fatigue, pain, love, sleepless nights, heartache, joy, cost, sacrificial giving and so much more that comes along with having a child.

I remember when I was pregnant with my firstborn, I would often say, “This kid is sucking my blood! He is taking EVERYTHING from me!” This statement wasn’t always a complaint, but a reckoned truth. I was GIVING my all, my everything, at every moment. There wasn’t a minute in which I wasn’t giving. Even in my sleep, I was providing nourishment for my son to grow and develop.

A  paradoxical analogy that has recently come to me is pastors give this same kind of constant nourishment. Being a pastor is like being pregnant ALL THE TIME! They are fatigued, experience pain, have sleepless nights, anticipate the future with both joy and hesitation, sacrificially give and so much more.  Each congregation is a growing body that continues to develop and receive from their pastor(s).

As I conclude this paradoxical analogy, my plea is simple. Although we are a body, a body of believers, we aren’t stuck in a womb. We are out, and we can give back! This month, October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and since pastors give their ALL, let’s give to them in return. Let’s appreciate our pastor(s)!

If you are in need of some ideas, here are a few:
1) Cash – green goes with everything!

2) Gift Cards – find out a place your pastor likes. Ask them! I know my pastor like Chic-fil-A.

3) Speaking of food who doesn’t like food?!? We all need to eat. Bring a meal or take them out for lunch, coffee, tea, etc.

4) Presents – again ask! If you are in a large congregation and you don’t personally know your pastor call his or her secretary. Maybe your pastor likes movies, archery, books, football, or collects small antique cars. Amazon is always there for you. You don’t have to go out of your way to get a present!

5) A card, phone call, text or thank you in person is a refreshing change from all the other Monday (or any day ending with y) emails regarding some complaint. Seriously pastors get more complaints than thank you’s. Give a thank you!

6) Team up with your home group or entire congregation to give your pastor a much-deserved vacation!

7) Last but not least, pray for your pastor! Prayer could be the greatest gift of all.

National Day of Prayer

Yesterday I was praying with a friend, and while she was praying, she used the word “resist” to describe something. Once she said, “resist” my mind went straight to America, and the Resistance Movement. As my mind thought of how America is tangibly resisting, my spirit echoed in how it is not resisting. James 4 clearly states we are to RESIST the devil.

Therefore on this National Day of Prayer, I am praying we RESIST!
IMG_6225~We resist pride.
~We resist envy.
~We resist addictions.
~We resist adultery.
~We resist prejudice.
~We resist murder.
~We resist false idols.
~We resist quarrels
~We resist jealousy.
~We resist sickness.
~We resist hate.
~We resist confusion.
~We resist lust.
~We resist depression.
~We resist fear.
~We resist lies.
~We resist false accusations.
~We resist torment.
God, we resist EVERYTHING that is not of or from you.
We want to resist and now submit, solely to you. Knowing that you are the only thing and One worth drawing toward.
Amen

*This is not a political post. Please don’t make it a political post. It’s a prayer post.

A Hug Can Change Everything

When my youngest was just a baby, and my oldest was in preschool, we were just at the beginning stages of figuring out what it means to be a fragile medical family. I was working part-time, trying to help with medical bills while the kids were in a program called Mother’s Day Out.

I loved Mother’s Day Out. In fact, one day I came to pick up the kids, and the preschool teacher said something about it being book day. As she described the day, she handed me the book, “Hug.” I quickly said, “I can’t pay for this!” She replied, “No, it’s a gift.” I started to cry: First, because I couldn’t even afford a simple paperback book and second, the kindness of teacher Sachi blew me away.IMG_4680

The other week while picking up our weekly Costco pizza, I stopped by the book aisle and lo and behold I saw the book “Hug.” Since “Hug” changed my life in so many ways, I had to pass “Hug” along.

You see, “Hug” was given to us at one of our lowest points, at least the start of our lowest points. I never imagined not having enough money for a small paperback book. I also never planned “to not plan” to get my kid a book, on book day. This just wouldn’t be! However, it was our reality.

Teacher Sachi changed and saved the day by giving “Hug” to my oldest son. She also hugged me while tears rolled down my face. “Hug” was a tremendous gift to our family. It was one of the biggest hugs we ever received.

You never know what may change someone’s life; a small paperback book named “Hug” changed mine.

Life is a Highway

Often, when I take my dog out, I pray. Today was no different. When I heard my dog bark, my natural routine took place. I got my dog’s leash, and I told him to sit. Once he sat, I gave him a treat.

When I walked out my front door, I thought about texting my husband, but then I remembered how much I’ve been wanting to “stop before texting” I decided to change my plans. I didn’t text my husband. We all know we shouldn’t text and drive, but I’ve been thinking about stopping before I walk, sit, stand, or do anything.

Actually, STOP.

All this to say, I have wanted to question the moment, the necessity before I text and ask myself these questions: Do I need to text him/her at this very instant? May this wait, and I talk to him/her later? Do I even need to say this at all? Could I just stop and pray?

Since the text, I was thinking about sending my husband wasn’t urgent and didn’t matter at all. My next thought was the goal I’ve been trying to reach – Will I stop and pray? Will the moment I grab my phone to text, someone, be a trigger for me to pray for someone?

This idea to stop before texting is kind of a form of fasting because it is saying no to something we do so easily. Without much thought, we grab our phones like we grab food. In fact, I might say it is harder for some to fast their phone, then to fast a meal.

As I put away the idea of texting my husband, I started to pray.

This one person came to mind, and I didn’t know precisely why I was praying for this individual, but I did. I prayed for her, her daughters, and her son.

As for a funny paradox, when God puts someone in my mind I often text the person and say, “I am praying for you.” I hope to encourage the individual as maybe they are having a hard day? Some days I never know. So after I technically stopped. (I put down my phone to pray.) I started again. I texted the individual who I just prayed for. I didn’t say much of anything, but, “Praying for you as I take out my dog.”

Ironically, all of a sudden my dog decides to stop, and sit right next to the black hot pavement.  He didn’t even go pee. I began to laugh, and texted the person again (along with the picture below), “I guess God or my dog wants me to pray longer.”IMG_2841

I needed to stop again. I needed to keep praying.

There are so many times in life where we need to stop. Alternatively, our society has been trained to move fast. It’s even declared in our music, “Life is a highway, I want to ride it….” I’m convinced that life shouldn’t be a highway ALL THE time. That is chaotic.

We need to stop.

We need to stop and pray.