Fighting On Your Knees

He pulled it out and tossed it in the garbage.  The colorful Bird of Paradise plant in front of the house had become infested with ants.  We had not noticed, but our landlord did.  He got on his hands and knees and pulled out the corrupted plant, its beauty destroyed by a silent invader.  In its place stood a big, gaping hole.  I was sad to see it go….
+++
I am sharing over at Missional Women this week.  Head on over here to read the rest of this post. 
+++
Photo Credit:  Angel Lopez

Top 10 Quotes on A Woman’s Call to Prayer

wedding rings curtis pic

I am in a battle.  The enemy is out to destroy.  I wage war on my knees.

I must be vigilant and not let myself grow unguarded in the fight for my marriage.  That’s why I recently revisited a book I’d read many years ago called A Woman’s Call to Prayer:  Making Your Desire to Pray a Reality by Elizabeth George.  In 2012, the book was re-printed using the updated title The Heart of a Woman Who Prays: Drawing Near to the God Who Loves You.  Elizabeth has written tons of books, and her writing encourages me and equips me to live a more effective life for God.  I don’t know about you, but I love books that are practical and teach me how to “be a better me.”

Here are my Top 10 Quotes from the Book:

1.  “…prayer and praying give us a measure of immunity against the world.  For instance, I’ve noticed that when I get up early and make prayer a priority and take time to seek God through His Word and prayer, a fire of passion for Him is ignited, fueled, and fanned until its flame is brilliant and fiery.  My time spent answering God’s call to prayer causes everything to point upward.  My thoughts, my heart, my concerns, my focus, my desires all become more noble when time is taken to lift my heart heavenward through prayer.”  pp. 24-25

2.  “When the going gets rough, we’re not to faint, lose heart, give in, and cave in.  Instead we are to pray, to ask God in supplication, to trust Him and move forward.  It’s true that ‘he stands best who kneels most.’  And, dear heart, we can always pray in helplessness when we can’t do anything else!  That’s what supplication is.  So put this prayer-weapon to good use in your times of trouble.”  p. 58

3.  “You are to pray for others…period.  You are to pray for those you love…and for those who don’t love you.  You are to pray for those you appreciate…and for those who have disappointed you and failed in their love.  You are to pray for those who faithfully serve God…and for those who have stumbled in their walk with Him.  You are to ‘bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2).”  p. 73

4.  “…realize that the means to answering God’s call to not worry is entwined with His call to pray.  Therefore, do not fail to pray… Prayer sets you free from fear and worry.”  p. 103

5.  “Give God a daily time tithe.  A spiritual mentor encouraged me to set aside  ten percent of my ‘awake’ hours to the Lord.  Doing the math reveals that such a time tithe adds up to about one-and-a-half hours per day spent in these three activities that help a woman fortify herself for each new day and its challenges:

  • Preparing — your heart for what’s ahead by reading and studying God’s Word,
  • Praying — about the specific needs in your life and day, and
  • Planning — how to best live out your God-given day.

These three daily exercises ensure that something is going in (your heart), something is going up (your prayers), and something is going on (your plan).” p.124

6.  “Wisdom applies God’s Word to everyday life — Sometimes we don’t think that a day is all that important.  Yet in reality, all we have is a day — today!  Today is all we have for doing God’s will…In other words, managing and handling today with all of its demands, quirks, and surprises in a godly and righteous and wise manner will require all of our wisdom.”  p. 144

7.  “I’ve personally discovered that praying about people problems usually results in tapping into God’s great mercy…and then my  heart is changed and I approach the matter in an entirely new way.  Surprisingly, I begin to feel empathy and compassion for those I’m praying about.”  p. 153

8.  “You will need to pray now for God’s help to say no… to yourself, to your flesh, to spontaneous invitations, to your excuses.  Pray to God to help you make it through just this one day of walking in His plan — not yours!”  p. 169

9.  “…you are to be praying all the time, to make your every breath a prayer.  As my former pastor loved to say prayer is ‘spiritual breathing.'”  p. 266

10.  “Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth.  And you, dear one, will resemble a diamond when you gather up the conditions and concerns of your life and ‘take it to the Lord in prayer.’  You will become, in a good sense, hard, tough, solid, powerful, confident, full-of-faith.” p. 272

Q4U:  What’s the best book you have read on the subject of prayer?  Do you have any advice for a sister who is trying to create a more consistent prayer life?

+++
I am passionate about the subject of marriage and write about it frequently. Check out all my marriage posts here.

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.” Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Top-10-Marriage-and-Motherhood-Quotes-1024x669

Photo Credit:  Curtis Copeland, Copeland Photography

Beating My Head Against the Wall

PicMonkey Collage for Blog July 12 2013

Last night, I decided to back up the pictures on my iPhone to my laptop to clear out some space on my phone.   I must admit it had been quite a while since I had done this — basically because every time I plug my phone into my laptop something horrifying happens.  The last time I remember syncing my phone, I lost all of my contacts — I have no idea why, but it took me three hours to get them back.

So, I have backup avoidance issues with my iPhone.  Just thinking about it gives me a headache.  I should have had the extra-strength Advil close by last night, but for some reason, I was hopeful that this time would be different.  I was just going to move my pictures from one device to another.  Simple, right?

Ha!  Somewhere the ghost of Steve Jobs is mocking me.  (Theological Side Note:  I don’t really believe in ghosts or haunting, but I guess I have watched too many episodes of Scooby Doo…).

For some reason, only half of my pictures transferred when I synced.   All my lovely pictures from April to July were safely stored on my hard drive, but pictures from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter were trapped in an iPhone jail.

After many failed attempts, I decided my only recourse was to e-mail myself the pictures one at a time in order to save them to my computer.  Really?  Do you know how long that would take?

I finally closed my laptop in frustration and went to bed.   My husband had been happily snoring beside me for quite some time.  He looked so peaceful while I brooded beside him in  my cyber-infused melancholy.

I sighed deeply and closed my eyes.  As I lay there listening to the melodic snores, I finally stopped striving.  I just rested.  I breathed out a simple prayer from my heart to God:  “Lord, help me with my dumb phone.  I can’t make it work, and it’s driving me crazy.”

Y’all, tonight I got home, sat down with my laptop, clicked one button and boom — all my sweet pictures moving happily from one place to another.  It was a beautiful moment.

Why do I strive?  I try to make things work.  I beat my head against the wall.  I worry.  I fret.  I think situations and people are beyond help.  Then, I finally give up trying, and I pray.  I surrender my impossible to God.

Boom.  God makes everything new.

Why do I doubt?  It happens every time.

But you, dear friends,

carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith

by praying in the Holy Spirit,

staying right at the center of God’s love,

keeping your arms open and outstretched,

ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ.

This is the unending life, the real life!

Jude 1: 20-21, MSG

Q4U:  What impossible situation are you praying about right now?  Do you have a verse that gives encourages you as you wait?  I would love to hear your story…

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that meanhere.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Tell His Story, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday and Playdates with God.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Two Young Friends

I met her when I was in grad school.  We had class together all day on Saturday — two four-hour courses back to back with a 90-minute lunch break in between.  She hopped in my car to go grab a bite to eat a few times, and as the weeks went by we learned a little bit about each other.  She taught Spanish.  I taught English.  She taught in a public school.  I taught in a private school.  She was divorced.  I had never been married.  She was seeking spiritually.  I knew well who she was seeking.  She had questions.  I shared my heart.

One Saturday, she mentioned casually that she had visited a church close to her home a few times.  She wanted to buy a Bible.  She asked me if I could help her.  I met her for lunch, and we hit the Bible bookstore.  I was delighted to find her a Spanish-English Bible with parallel texts in two languages.  Perfect.

Every week, she came with questions:  Where in the Bible does it talk about this?  What do you say to the Jehovah’s Witness people who come to your door?  How do I tell my family about my faith?  She was blossoming right before my eyes.  Beautiful.  She was in love with my Savior.  Simply beautiful.

Christian radio became her school.  “Do you know about this speaker?  He comes on Friday evenings at 6:30.  I listen every week.  Yesterday, he talked about the gifts of the Spirit.”  Her appetite for spiritual things started to challenge me.

“Do you have an accountability partner?”  she asked one day.  Grad school was far behind us, but the friendship had continued.

I thought about her question:  No, I don’t have an accountability partner, but I wanted one.  I had prayed about.  I had prayed off and on for years.

That was over a decade ago.

We still meet.  Two women looking each other eye to eye and answering tough questions:

  • How has God blessed you since we met last time?
  • What thought has consumed your thoughts this week?
  • Are the “visible you” and the “real you” consistent?
  • How is your relationship with Christ changing?
  • How have you helped someone in need?

I am indebted to my friend.   She helps me stay on the straight path.  She prays for me.  She knows my ugly stuff, and she loves me.  She believes in me.

This past week, I sat on my couch with eyes glued to CNN absorbing the horrifying details of a monstrous injustice.  Neighbors, family members, band mates — a whole community stood close by but never really knew a man.  They talked about superficial things.  They stood in his doorway, but never shed light in dark corners.  For a decade, darkness grew and poisoned a neighborhood without anyone taking notice.

I don’t want to make that same mistake.  I want to open my doors wide and let the sun shine in.  In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul urges us to “walk in a worthy manner”  — he elaborates by stating:

“Therefore, having put away falsehood,

let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor,

for we are members one of another” (vs. 25, ESV)

The life of a disciple requires some form of accountability.  We must speak truth to our neighbor and allow our spiritual sister to come “sit for a spell” in the parlor of our heart.  She will have “an eye” for things that you might miss — letting her in will make your heart a more inviting place to visit.

Q4U:  Do you have an accountability partner who regularly visits your neighborhood?

Here is a free gift for you to share with your neighbor:  ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTIONS

2 friend with wording

 

 

 

 

+++

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.

+++

Photo Credit

Continue: “Into the Word” Week 39

I love playing cards and board games.  My newest passion is Skip Bo.  My dear friend did her best to explain the rules to me, but it took a few rounds before I got the hang of it.  Not until I was immersed in the game did I truly understand how to play.  

This week as I was digging  “Into the Word” I thought about how this truth applies to the spiritual discipline of prayer.  The best way to learn to pray is to lift your heart and voice to God with regularity and sincerity.  In one of his epistles, Paul expounds on this principle:

 Devote yourselves to prayer

with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Colossians 4:2, NLT

   To “devote” implies consistency, steadfast attentiveness, perseverance, and a readiness of will.  God asks us to pray with a cautious spirit that is overflowing with gratitude.  This is a delicate balance gained through practice.

Q4U:  What do you think is the key to a solid prayer life?

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

Photo Credit