Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Personal Prayer Language

 

I pray for you to be FILLED with HIS WISDOM that must be applied to every part of your life/existence. I want you to think about one of the ways that He transfers/imparts that wisdom to man. It is through the prayer language that He has given to those who have been baptized in the Holy Ghost w/the evidence of speaking in tongues.

First Corinthians 14:14 speaks of our prayer language. The verse says that the mind is “unfruitful” when we are praying in tongues but our inner man/spirit is edified. For the mind to be unfruitful, simply means that it is NOT PRODUCING the content of the prayers. It does not mean that the mind cannot receive benefits. I believe that the mind benefits in an indirect manner, via the edified inner man/spirit.

Please stay with me here; recall Romans 8:26, 27 that teaches us the following principle: when we do not know how to pray (when our mind does not know how to pray), the Spirit makes intercession for us. And that intercession will always be “according to the will of God”. Again, I believe, this means the Spirit of God/the Holy Spirit within us, intercedes for our needs (those so close that we can’t begin to frame them into sentences). And, I believe that He intercedes for the needs of others on our behalf or in our place, as we yield to Him. For example: I am praying for you to receive His wisdom. That is a good prayer and wisdom is always a necessity. However, you may at that moment, actually be in need of a physical touch from the Great Physician. If I have you on my mind and begin to pray in my prayer language, the Holy Spirit will make the request to the Father for your physical healing.

Now consider John 14:26; the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance the things that the Father has spoken to you. He will bring to your MIND, the things He has spoken to you in both the reading of the Word of God and the revelation that He gave to you through the Holy Spirit. I believe this is part of the EDIFICATION that your inner man/spirit receives as you use your prayer language.

In short: I’m encouraging you, as a co-laborer in the Gospel to pray in the Spirit more than you ever have. It is in those conversations with the Father that you are EMPOWERED for the work of the ministry. And one more thing…. one of the best parts of our prayer language…. that ole devil has no idea what we are praying and what we are receiving. He can’t distort the requests nor the answers that are made as we converse in our prayer language. In other words; our prayers are encrypted and protected from unauthorized access.

If you have been born again, then you have the Holy Spirit residing within you. That means you are eligible to receive the power that comes with being baptized in the Holy Spirit. When you experience that baptism, there will be evidence of it. You will speak in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance

Friday, December 31, 2021

Not This Year

This morning, I re-read my sister, Cindy's post, this post, entitled "Mama's Christmas Fudge".  It brought back bittersweet memories of our annual candy making day. Our mother died in August 2001.  Making candy that year, was difficult; yet my sisters and I turned out some very tasty treats. It was a tear filled day, but one that brought much comfort. Through the years, candy days have been filled with memories and laughter. Every December we have continued with the tradition; each year perfecting the craft, adding different flavors, & making more than the previous year. 

Our fudge has been the prized gift received by family & friends. But not this year......We tried; Cindy & I. We gathered the ingredients, the utensils, and cooking vessels. But I just couldn't bring myself to be in the kitchen, much less to try to make the sweet confections. My broken heart refused to make candy without my little sister. I resigned myself to the couch, with no consideration of Cindy's feelings. I closed my eyes, covered my head, tried not to even listen to the voices in the kitchen.

My nephew and his wife had come over to visit with Cindy. Since they were visiting and I was not, Cindy enlisted their help to make the fudge. They followed the recipes, they did everything that our notes had added to the process, everything smelled & looked great. But, the fudge did not "set" properly. It tasted fine, but was too soft to cut and place in separate containers. 

Cutting the fudge had always been my job, so I forced myself to try. It was just too soft. We tried putting it in the fridge for a while to see if that would help. Even tried the freezer. I managed to get a few pieces cut, but soon quit trying. It wasn't right. I wasn't right. It wasn't going to get right. I wasn't sure that I was going to get right, either.

Finally, I just couldn't handle my feelings any longer. I said my good byes and headed home. I later texted Cindy and apologized for my behavior. I admitted that I was sad. Her reply let me know that she too, was sad.

Grief has many facets and the duration of its effects varies from person to person. Some people never recover from its devastation. Sometimes I feel as though I have had enough grief for one lifetime. Yet, I know that as long as I am earth-bound, grief will be with me in one form or another. HOWEVER, I KNOW THAT JESUS IS WITH ME, REGARDLESS OF THE TYPE OR LEVEL OF GRIEF THAT I MAY EXPERIENCE.

It is in that "knowing" that I find COMFORT. So maybe the fudge didn't set this year.... it is not the end of my world. And so, my baby sister moved into her heavenly home.... I refuse to remain sad about that. For one day, (whether by the grave or the rapture), I WILL SEE HER AGAIN.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Found Within the Beam of God's Light

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ Luke 15:8,9 NIV

Too many times, we focus on the loss rather than the opportunity for gain. What I mean is this, when we lose something of value, our first reaction is one of questioning. We question why it had to happen. We ask ourselves what could we have done to prevent the loss. We even interrogate God with the question, "why?".
This woman could have sat down and cried over losing the coin. She could have complained about how desperately she needed the coin. She even could have blamed others for the missing coin.
Instead, she grabbed a light and a broom and set about to find it. And she focused her search within the area in which she had it last.
In short, you will have to take action, (get into motion) in order to find it. If you have lost your joy, go back to where you last had it. If you have lost the desire to pray, go back to the time when you prayed the most. If you have lost your resolve to go forward ( your are going backwards), then go back to the altar where you first committed to serve the Lord.
And do all of this within the beam of God's light. WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, WILL NOT BE FOUND IN THE DARKNESS.
Be encouraged today....Many times what we gain is far superior to what we have lost. God will supply all that we need, with exactly what we need.
There's much more that I could say about this passage, but I'll save it for another day.
Let us press on in God as we enter the new year. He will supply whatever we need..... Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.... That's His promise to those who will simply BELIEVE.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Next Time

The following sentence is part of the last paragraph from my August 25th post. "Next time, it may be me, standing in the need of prayer".  Little did I know how soon that "next time" would be. 

On ,September 3, 2021 my baby sister, KK was diagnosed with c0vid* pneumonia. It was the beginning of Labor Day weekend. The Convenient Care Clinic where she was seen, sent her home in the same shape that she was in when she entered their door. She was told to use her home oxygen and go to the Emergency Room if her symptoms became unmanageable. Additionally, they told her that she qualified for the monoclonal antibody infusion, but couldn't get it until after the holiday.

In the days that followed, her symptoms worsened. She had to increase her oxygen usage from 1 liter  to 3 liters. She experienced head ache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Yet, she insisted that she would be alright; her hope pinned on prayer and the infusion that had been scheduled for September 8, 2021.

Weak, but unwilling to call an ambulance, she gathered enough strength to get into the car to go for the infusion. Once we made it to the Infusion Clinic, she was taken inside via wheel chair. I had to remain outside of the building.  For the next two hours, I waited, worried, prayed, texted, and drank coffee. Time passed. I could only wonder what was taking so long. When I was finally able to talk to a person who actually knew her whereabouts; I found out that she had been taken to the Emergency Room. Fortunately, it was in the same building complex as the Infusion Clinic.

Another hour went by and then two. By this time, she & I had exchanged a few texts. The last of which read, "I'm going to the big house**, bra-less and with only one flip flop". Despite the gravity of the situation, she had retained her sense of humor. At this point, I scrambled to gather a few personal items for her; phone charger, toothbrush, tooth paste, deodorant, etc. Next hurdle; how was I to get these items to her when I wasn't allowed inside the building?

God smiled on me & helped me to arrive in the correct ambulance bay, at the right time, to get her stuff to the ambulance driver. He would not confirm that she was the patient in his care. However, when he did not deny it, I took that as a sign that she was, in fact, in his ambulance. I will forever be grateful to have made that connection in time. Due to c0vid restrictions, it would be nearly three weeks before I would see my sister again. 

Text messages were our only means of communication with baby sis. First she was on high flow oxygen, but soon after, was placed on a Bi-Pap, We tried talking on the phone, but she could barely talk and breathe at the same time. On September 12, 2021, she was intubated and placed on a ventilator.

Then the roller coaster ride of day to day health changes, ensued. She was fully sedated into coma to tolerate being on the ventilator, so she could no longer text. No visitors allowed, due to  C0vid restrictions that would not be lifted until September 24th.

At some point we got word that we could set up a Zoom sessions with her. We were allowed one, ten minute session each day. While she was unconscious, there was little to do but talk to her and hope that she was hearing us. We closed each session with prayer for her and for her caretakers. Once they doctors started decreasing the sedation, she was able to interact with us with nods, smiles, and hand gestures. We had some good visits, but we longed to see her for longer than 10 minutes at a time, and we wanted to see her in person.

On the 19th day of her admission, we were allowed to visit face to face. But restrictions only allowed one visitor per twenty-four hours. Those visits were like pure gold to us ( middle sister & me). Some days, she was able to interact freely and we could see that she was improving. Then at times, there would be set backs and the sedation would be increased. And once again, she would not be able to communicate with us.

On the home front, we cried, we prayed, we leaned on our family and  friends, and we set our eyes on the miracle that we fully expected to take place. We proclaimed our faith to all that we met. We shared the testimony of her previous illness and recovery.*** We held on to God's unchanging hand. And even in all of that, we felt utterly helpless.

The days and nights seemed to run together. We basically pieced together the reports each day. Sometimes a nurse or doctor would call me with an update. Sometimes I would call the night nurse and get a report. And then, there were times while I was visiting her, that I actually was able to talk directly to a doctor. She had some very good ones and one or two that were just "okay". Same with the nurses; two of them ranked very high in our esteem and yet others barely made an impression at all. But we were thankful to know that she was receiving good care.

In general, the longer a person is on a ventilator, the less likely are they to recover. Yet, we held on to our hope that KK would be miraculously healed. All in all, she was on the ventilator for 35 days. In that stretch of time, she endured the following procedures; urinary catheter, central line placement, arterial line placement, tracheotomy, chest tube placements, feeding tube, and an untold number of peripheral sticks for blood tests. She suffered from anxiety, fevers, infections, frustrations with trying to communicate, body aches from being bed-ridden, and pain from procedures. Yet, she remained strong in the assurance that God was working on her behalf. 

How do I know that she knew this? On the day before she passed away, I was able to sit with her for about 4 hours. In that time, I held her hand, I talked to her, prayed with her, and at some point, I said, "God's got you, baby girl and He is working for you. Do you know that?" And she responded with a smile and a nodding of her head. On that positive note, I said my good byes and headed home. Little did I know that would be the last time that we would be together.

On the following morning @ 7:40 AM, my sister entered into the joys of heaven; never to experience pain again. She had completed forty days in the wilderness of a critical care unit. Did we cry? YES. Did we mourn? YES. Yet, we rejoiced in the miracle of her full recovery. It did not happen in the way that we wanted, but it happened in God's timing and in His way. Are we still crying? Yes, at times. Are we still grieving? Yes, each in our own way. Are we still rejoicing? Yes, for we know that we will be reunited with her one day.

KK's wilderness trial helped me to re-evaluate my purpose, realm of influence,  faith, relationships, testimony, and ministry. I discovered areas in my life that needed some attention. And I found great strength as I prayed for others who were going through the ordeal of C0vid and its devastation.

Dear reader, be encouraged today. Nothing is too hard for God. There is no sickness that He can not heal. No broken heart that He can not mend. No grief so deep that He can not ease it. And when the answers to our prayers are delayed or come in an unexpected way, He will be there to help us to rejoice in the aftermath.

* I refuse to spell it correctly. When spelled correctly, it shows up in search engines and then it is flagged for review by the Internet police. I'm not a conspiracy nut; but I have seen first hand censorship on other social media sites.

** refers to the flag ship hospital, Jackson Madison County General Hospital which has 600+ beds

*** In 2017, she was diagnosed with Dematomyositis, DVT, Pulmonary Emboli, CHF, Pulmonary Hypertension, and other related conditions. She was told that she would be permanently disabled and that she would be on oxygen the rest of her life. In November 2018 at CrossRoads A/G, she testified of God's healing power. Then she sang, "God is My Refuge" with the same gusto that she had enjoyed prior to the string of illnesses that she had endured. She went back to work part-time in 2019 and full-time in 2020. And was working full-time when she contracted C0vid.  - https://youtu.be/PlgRMJXcgtc

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Heart to Heart

"Good grief", was an exclamation that originated with Charlie Brown, but it was commonly said by his peers. It was used  an expression of exasperation or disappointment. Sometimes it was in response to something frivolous. Other times, it was uttered regarding a serious matter. Knowing when and how to say something, is a virtue learned through experience.

I don't always get it right. However, the following is an example of how the Holy Spirit helped me to relieve a friend's exasperation and gently point her back to  The Comforter.

The other day, I was visiting with a dear friend who had recently lost both of her parents. She shared with me about how the grief came in various forms, at odd times, and with or without any particular prompt. I did what I have learned to be one of the best things for helping someone who is grieving; I listened.

She talked about how people offer sympathy in ways that pale in comparison to someone who offers true empathy. She said that she could always tell who had lost someone dear to them versus someone who had not dealt with death, up close and personal. My friend went on to talk about the uselessness of cliche's; how in general, people mean well, but offer no more than a band aid for a broken leg. I nodded in agreement.

Then, "what's worse", she added; "is when someone tells me that I should be getting over it. When they say something like, 'you have to get on with your life' or 'you have to think about your children'. That stuff really makes me mad." Again, I nodded; figured I would let her pour it all out, before offering my two cents worth.

When my turn rolled around, I looked her and said, "yep, that's about right". And she began again. She was grieving and somebody had hurt her feelings. I listened. My mind was filled with all sorts of comments. But my heart told me to be quiet. Once her venting was complete,our conversation flowed freely.

Fast forward to the close of our visit. We hugged and said, "love you" to one another. She added, "I feel so much better. Thank you". We parted, each, enriched from our fellowship. 

We are Christians, she and I. We believe in the power of prayer. We know the scriptures. We walk by faith and not by sight. Yet, her relief did not come from an open display of any of those things. It came from the simple trust that we share as sisters in the Lord. The confidence that I would give her space to share her heart and her hurts, and that I would understand.  

Empathy is not about the sound of your voice or content of your replies. It is the listening to the heart's cry of another, that coveys understanding. Never underestimate the power of bearing one another's burdens. It is one of the most rewarding ways of fulfilling Christ's law of love. 

This time, it was I, who did the consoling. Next time, it may be me, standing in the need of prayer. I'm thankful for the friends/sisters that the Lord has given me. If it has been a while since you told your loved ones that you love them; today would be a good day to do it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Worship Song?

 Psalm 55 is a Psalm of David, initially submitted to the Director of Music. It was to be played upon the stringed instruments and sang as part of the services in the temple. In short, David presents this piece as his prayer regarding the hate mongers that have lifted their voices against him. He tells of their deeds. He identifies them as wicked, malicious, and destructive. And all; reacting to the railings of one who David calls a peer, companion, and friend, who once joined him in worship in the temple. He completes the piece, declaring his dependence upon the Righteous Judge, and urging his hearers to cast their cares upon God.

In the first verse as recorded in the King James Version, David refers to his request as a prayer or supplication. In the second verse, he says that he is mourning in complaint to God. I looked up the word for "mourning" in the Strong's Concordance. In the original language, it means "to wander restlessly". Put it all together, he is restless, agitated, and complaining to God; without focus, he is just making a noise. 

In the next twelve verses, he shares how his life has been impacted by the wicked ones. And how he would flee as a bird, if he were able.  He goes on to suggest various punishments for them. Again, he reiterates the continuity of their evil deeds. David even prescribes death and hell for them.

Then he pauses to state his plan of action. He has found the proper focus. He sets himself to call upon the Lord day and night. He assures himself that he will be heard. And he recalls the faithfulness of God.  As David continues to pour out his soul to the Lord, he again mentions the deeds of his oppressors. But quickly adds an admonition to all who will hear/sing this song. Verse 22 reads like this: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." No doubt in his mind of who is ultimately in control.

Personally, I know of no worship team that would be brave enough to add this piece to the order of worship in their church. But just imagine what would happen if they did....... I'm sure some would find it offensive. Even the dearest old saint, might have something negative to say about it. Surely, anyone that had contemplated speaking evil against a fellow member, would be convicted. And the wicked.... many would become more vile than ever. It might even bring about a much needed purge of the membership rolls.....Yet, David thought it proper to include it in the services of the temple. 

If it is never included in a public worship service, it is certainly appropriate for our private utterances unto the Lord. Our prayers are much like David's. Often we begin with complaints rather than adoration. And in pouring out the depths of our anguish, we utter what we deem to be appropriate punishment for our offenders. If we continue on in prayer, we too, will find a place of reflection upon the goodness/faithfulness of God. We will gain the focus necessary to give him the praise and worship that He is due. Ultimately, God is faithful to hear both what is verbalized and what issues forth from our hearts.

Dear ones, don't be worried about saying an "ugly" prayer. God is not looking for the eloquent. He is looking for the humble. David was a man "after the heart of God". As long as we are after (straining to obtain) the heart of God, He will hear & answer our prayers.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Dismembered & at Rest

If you are like some folks, the word "dismembered" causes you to have the distasteful thought of a human body being mutilated by a deranged killer; a reaction I suspect, that is from watching too much crime TV.  But that is another post for another time. For the purpose of today's post, think of "dismembered" in its most basic meaning, that is, something that is separated into parts. 

Hebrews Chapter 4 has some very familiar content, yet its verses are often taken out of context. The verse I want to concentrate on today is verse 12. In the King James it reads, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."   

To take this verse in context, you must read the entire chapter. In doing so, you will see that each verse relates to the idea of the whole chapter. That idea/thought is all about entering into the rest that God has designed for believers. Rest, now that's a subject that everyone is interested in, these days. However, few are interested in being dismembered in order to obtain that rest.

Bottom line: the Word of God is the instrument that God uses upon us to separate our carnal/flesh desires (soul) from the part of us that is regenerated at salvation (spirit). The soul part of us is our human intellect and base desires. Our spirit is the part of us that was created when God breathed into Adam and made him a living soul. The soul, then, consists of the spirit and is housed in a body.

God is not interested in dismembering our physical body. Yet, scripture says that His Word is sharp enough to divide the joints from the marrow. Our skeleton is made up of the bones. Within our bodies, the bones are attached with ligaments and tendons, creating the joints.  The marrow is the inside part of the bones. Within the bones, the red blood cells are manufactured. Without healthy bone marrow, a person will die for lack of on-going production of red blood cells.  So the marrow is what makes the body to live. And the bones/joints are the structure/stability of our body. His Word is sharp enough to separate our structure from our life source. That's a heavy thought. But it is exactly what is necessary to transform us into the new creation that He wills at our time of salvation. That is the point in which we realize that apart from Jesus (Life- Giver) our human structure (flesh/soul), has no means of living.

God is in the business of helping us to distinguish between our soul-ish desires and the righteousness that we have in Him, that is our spirit. One of the ways that He does this, is through the reading/hearing of His Word. When we read/hear His Word, faith is built and our spirit is quickened ( made alive) to what God desires us to be and do. When our thoughts are separated from our intents, we can see the goodness or deceitfulness of both.

We can have a good thought, but deliver it with the wrong intent and vice versa. We can have good intentions, but negative thoughts. It is God's Word that will help us to reconcile our thoughts and intents. In general, modern translations of Hebrews 4:12 state that God's Word is alive, active, and powerful. The Word lives forever, will always work for our good, is more powerful than any force, and is what we must have to live. We can not survive without the Word. We can not enter into God's rest without total dependence upon the Word.

It may hurt to be dismembered, but the pain will subside as He/ the living Word, mends you back together in the way that is most pleasing to Him.

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