Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Greater Work

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” - Oswald Chambers

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” -  
Oswald Chambers
God is reminding me these days that prayer is the greater work that He desires from me before I do anything else.  In recent days, while praying for family and dear friends, I have sometimes been discouraged that I could not do more for them and caught myself thinking and saying, “Well at least I can pray.”  God is teaching me that prayer is the best I can offer them and that he will provide a way if I am to do more.  And He is being faithful to do that.
I am so grateful that we have the privilege of praying any time of the day or night.  Being the recipient of so many of you praying for me, there is nothing like feeling the impact of those prayers and knowing that by believing and asking in Jesus’ name, they have been answered.  Sometimes the response has been “Yes”; sometimes “No”; and sometimes “Wait, I have something else for you.”
Father, please continue to teach me the greater work of praying, trusting, and waiting on you and then to respond in obedience.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
Romans 12:12
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 
Ephesians 6:18
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2
 Be joyful always;  pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
 I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gates & Courts/Thanks & Praise

Whenever we took the boys on vacation or someplace around town, part of the preparation and cause for excitement was finding out about the place.  Whether it was the zoo, miniature golf, Water World, the Alamo, Texas State Capitol, Sea World, Disney World, or a museum, the more they knew about the place in advance, the more they anticipated the visit.  If there were books, brochures, or maps, that was even better.  Hours were spent learning about the place, deciding what to do first, and mapping out what would be next.
 The day of the trip would finally arrive.  One of the first things we usually did was take a picture of the boys standing in front of the place we were visiting.  Then we entered the gates to begin the great adventure.  It was exciting to plan for the trip and even take the picture at the entrance, but I don’t think any of us would have been content to leave once we had entered the gate and saw that there was more to do and see.  Even though the planning and traveling were important in the process, the real experience began once we had walked through the gate at the entrance and into the park or attraction.
You know how you can read the same scriptures in the Bible over and over again and all of a sudden it has new meaning for you.  A few years ago that happened to me with Psalm 100.  That is a chapter I had memorized during my elementary years during Vacation Bible School and have heard and read many, many times since then.  But this time something caused me to pause when I read verse 4.
Psalm 100:4
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
When I thank God for what he does and provides, I’m invited to enter his gates.   And it’s when I praise God for who he is that I’m invited to enter into his courts.  The adventure continues as I experience a relationship with God and seek his purpose for my life.  Thankfully, that’s something I can do every day and not just on vacation.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

We're in This Together

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

On October 26, 2012, Larry and I had the privilege of attending a few of the sessions of the “Houston Stem Cell Summit ‘12” at The Houstonian.  It was fascinating and mind boggling to hear of the research, treatments, and results that are occurring with stem cells.  One of the highlights for me was the panel of patients, some of whom are medical doctors by profession, who have been the recipients of stem cell treatment.  Every person who spoke has had positive, dramatic, health changing results from their procedures.  It was like being given a front row seat and a glimpse into the future of medicine.
Another big blessing for me that day was the opportunity to meet several of the people I have communicated with by phone or e-mail during the past year about stem cell treatments.  You see, we’re in this together.  Some, like me, have had more than one series of stem cells, a few others received their first round of treatment, while others had their stem cells harvested, but have not had the stem cell infusions due to restrictions imposed recently by the FDA.  During and after the conference, Susan Berfield, from Bloomberg Businessweek, interviewed several stem cell recipients, doctors, and the founders of Celltex.  Her article was published this past week in the January 7 – January 13, 2013, issue.  This is the link to Ms. Berfield’s report.

From the beginning, I have asked God to let this be a treatment that he uses to bring about healing and a better quality of life for me, but also for other people, too. At one of my last “regular” doctor’s appointment, the doctor kept saying, “You’re not normal.  You’re just not normal.”  (Larry agreed a little too heartily to his comment.)  When Larry asked him what he meant, he responded, “You are not supposed to get better with MS and she is.  She’s better and I had nothing to do with it.”  I know that stem cell treatments have made a positive difference on my health and quality of life.  In the near future, I want many others be able to say and experience that as well.
And once again, I’m grateful that God provides others to share life’s journey.  So I choose to continue to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians2:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Walking in Obedience

Because of live streaming, and replays, Larry and I have been able to watch sessions from “Passion 2013”, the conference for college students being held in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome.  Our hearts are continuing to be challenged and blessed as 60,000+ students are meeting together for four days because of their desire to know God and to make him known.  They are becoming aware of slavery in our world and learning what they can do about it as they pray, act, believe and trust that our God is big enough to help them do something about it.  And they have given more than $3 million to be the generation that helps end slavery as they make a difference for God’s Kingdom.

Gary Haugen, from International Justice Mission, spoke on Friday.  God used his words to challenge and encourage me at the start of this New Year. 

“There is an awesome God of justice who is ready to move in power if you are ready to move in obedience.”

“God does not give his people a ministry for which he does not give them the power to do it.”

Haugen also spoke about God having a plan for his people to show and share his love with others.  What a difference it would make in our homes, church, city, state, country, and world if we all decided to be part of His Plan.

Extravagant Compassion
Moral Clarity
Sacrificial Courage
Tenacious Hope
Refreshing Joy

Sounds like a great challenge to accept and live in 2013.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26