Saturday, April 28, 2012

Prayer and Bible Study

When I was growing up…OK I know I am still in the least when I was in my teens, we realized that on the “few” occasions when we were not necessarily paying close attention to the Sunday School or Training Union lessons that if a question was asked and we answered, “Prayer and Bible Study” that most of the time that was the correct answer.  It was amazing how often that was the appropriate response.   

A few weeks ago, I was reminded of that revelation when Larry and I spoke at a prayer retreat at Tallowood.  Each person enlisted to speak at the conference talked about prayer, but also mentioned something God had taught them while they were reading His word which helped clarify a prayer request, offered a solution, or encouraged them during the process.  Once again, prayer and Bible Study went together.

What started out as an easy answer for questions at church has proven itself to be truth for Sunday and every other day of the week.  Praying and studying the Bible are ways that God uses to communicate, encourage, convict, teach, and love us on this journey called life.  And after praying and reading God’s Word, in obedience it’s important to apply it.

Oh, and by the way, if you want to increase your prayer life just say you’ll be glad to speak at the next prayer conference at church.

Proverbs 15:8
 The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
   but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

I Samuel 15:22
But Samuel replied:
  “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
            obey is better than sacrifice,
            and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Lost Ring

Last Sunday, in the Bible reading plan Larry and I are using this year, the scripture was Luke 15.  For as long as I can remember, I have heard the stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.  But that same day the story took on new meaning as we experienced it ourselves.

Sunday night, Larry could not find his college ring.  At first, he checked the pocket in his pants and coat.  Since he had been at church and meetings all day, the possibilities for where it could be were endless.  I thought maybe I had accidentally brushed it into the drawer when I was putting away the t-shirts, but after the drawer was emptied, there was still no ring.  Larry searched under the dresser, behind the dresser, and any other place that I said, “Have you checked there?”  He even went through all of the trash cans.  Reluctantly, he discontinued the search for the evening.

The next morning as Larry was leaving for work, he picked up a piece of paper with a telephone number he needed to call and there was his ring…right where he usually puts it each evening.  There was much rejoicing in knowing that his college ring had been “found”. 

Can you imagine if there was that much joy in finding such a little thing the celebration that occurs in heaven when we “find” God’s way, repent and are ready to listen, trust, and obey?  Now that’s something worth searching for.

Luke 15
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Saturday, April 14, 2012


One of the ways that God is choosing to heal me with the stem cell treatment is through improved vision.  When my eye doctor performed the vision test last week, she stated that this was the first time she had seen my vision at 20/20, with contacts, in all the years she has checked them.  Another blessing is that I no longer see double when I look to the far left.  Vision correction is one of the known benefits with the infusion of fat cells.

This was the week for doctors.  I also had an appointment with the dermatologist.  For four years, we have tried to find a solution to correct the irritation that is caused by the electrode “shocks” to my leg from the leg stimulator.  Since having the stem cell procedure, the skin has now completely healed and is no longer irritated by the device. 

Just as it’s important to have 20/20 physical eye sight, it’s very much needed for spiritual vision in order to see the way that God views people and situations.   And it’s also a priority to have a single focus of what God desires and not be distracted with the “double vision” of the world.

John 4:35
Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

Philippians 2:4
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Getting Ready" for Easter

For as long as I can remember, I have been taught to “Get ready” for Easter.  Growing up, Mom made each of the four girls a new dress to wear for that day.  My brother had his Easter attire.  Even if rain was predicted, Dad would make sure that the car was washed, cleaned out and looking its best for Easter Sunday, too.  (Larry does that as well).  Although we went to church every week, we knew that Easter was a special day because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross when he died for our sins and then three days later rose again. 

Most of our Easters were celebrated in Pasadena, but there were years where we made the 560 mile drive to Lubbock to spend the weekend with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We would worship at First Baptist Church and then go to my grandparent’s house to eat a big meal together.  Even with the long drive, it was always great to spend that special weekend with family.

During college days at Texas Tech, because of distance and a short holiday schedule, most kids stayed in Lubbock for the weekend.  First Baptist Church made arrangements for the 2 hour college Easter Celebration service to take place at the Tech Coliseum each year.  There were weeks of planning, preparing, practicing, visiting and inviting friends as we “Got ready” for Easter.  More than 2,000 college students gathered for worship on those Sundays.

As our boys were growing up, Easter continued to be an important time to teach, celebrate and prepare for.  Seven of those years, Tallowood presented “Celebration of Life”, a drama and musical presentation, in preparation for Easter.  It was an incredible visual of Jesus’ ministry on earth as well as a reminder of God’s love for us, Jesus’ sacrifice as He willingly died on the cross for our sins and three days later came back to life.  Larry portrayed the role of Jesus each year and the boys were also a part several of the years.  

In recent years, the Maundy Thursday service, receiving the Lord’s Supper, and Good Friday service have been an important part of my “Getting ready” for Easter.

Through the years, I’ve realized that even though I want to dress my best, attend Easter presentations, take the Lord’s Supper as a way of remembering what Jesus did for me and you, and even have a clean car, the most important part of “Getting ready” for Easter is to have a clean, forgiven, and obedient heart.

Luke 24:1-8
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!