Posted in The Way, Thoughts & Musings

BLOOM

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

A commonly heard and used verse. But this morning as I read it, it suddenly dawned: this verse comes to the Israelites in a hard, dark place! They are exiles, living in Babylon, far from their homes, far (they think) from their God.

But, God tells them HE is the one in charge, not their captors. HE placed them in Babylon. They are to grow, prosper, expand – IN CAPTIVITY! In fact, He tells them they are to pray for their captors and empire because their prosperity and future is linked, by God, to Babylon for the time frame He has determined. They are TO BLOOM WHERE HE PLANTED THEM.

When we get into hard or difficult times, when life throws us a curve ball, we have a tendency to think, “God how could you do this? Get me out!” What if that hard place is for your benefit, your growth, or even, gasp, for your protection? Nothing, let me repeat: NOTHING, is unseen, unknown, unexpected by God. If you are a believer, if you are His, you are never out of His hands.

And it is in the depth of this dark place God says “I know what I have for you, and it’s for your good, your benefit. BLOOM where I placed you!”

Posted in Thoughts & Musings

A Promise Updated

Gentle readers,

November of 2020, I made you all a promise. Well, two years later – the world has grown more stupid, more intolerant, more idiotic, and more ignorant of the truth. So I find that I must update the promise I made then.

No matter how much the world chooses to ignore TRUTH, freedom, and common decency, these promises hold true:

1. I will respect the office of the President of the United States and the government thereof. BUT, I reserve the right to disagree with policies and platforms that do not conform to the TRUTH of God’s Word. And, until and unless the US Constitution is altered or abolished, that remains my right under law.
2. I will respect your right to disagree with me. But if your statement is contrary to the TRUTH of God’s Word, I will lovingly point that out. If you choose not to believe it, that is your right.
3. I will continue to love all of you, no matter who you are. I will love you because Jesus said we are to love as He loves. I will also pray for any and all of you that need prayer. This is not a negotiable item.
4. I will acknowledge that God and only God is the Almighty Ruler of the universe, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is my LORD and Savior. This will NEVER be a negotiable item.

I felt the need to state these promises publicly, because things in the world can always get worse, and I want you to know where I stand. Before and above everything else, I am:

A Christian; a daughter of the Almighty God by right of adoption through the completed work of His only Son, Jesus; a sinner forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross; and a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Posted in The Way, Thoughts & Musings

‘I’ll Pray For You”

How often does someone say that to you? How often do they really mean it or do it? On the other side of the coin, how often do you say that to someone you meet? Then, do you follow through?

“But that’s a lot of people!’ Or, “how am I supposed to remember all that?” or even, “So I prayed then. Why continue?”

I get it. I am not a prayer warrior by any means. But remember this, you just gave your word to someone that you would do something. Well? DO IT! If you know you won’t do it, either don’t say it, or at least, pray for them right then and there. Don’t be the person whose word is worthless before God and man!

As far as remembering, guys! We hold more technology in our hands than IBM did in the first working computer! Use it! Write or record a note in Google Keep, or a similar app. Use the Prayer List function in the YouVersion Bible app. There literally is no excuse for not being able to keep track of your promise to pray. “But how,” you ask. Here;s what I do. It isn’t perfect, but it works for me.

First, in my phone, I have a Saved Note in Google Keep labeled Prayers. If I’m out and someone says they need prayer, i write a note there. At home, on my tablet, I use the YouVersion Bible app, which has, SURPRISE, a Prayer section.

This is where I have had to make some adjustments over time. And this is nothing definitive, you need to find what works for you. It started with just a list, but quickly grew so long that I felt overwhelmed. I figured the best way for me to handle it was to divide it up into the days of the week. So I created seven prayer lists and saved them.

But what then? For me, the best solution was to sort the names into groups defined by how I related to the people in the group. Your groupings will probably be different. But here are mine:

  • Sunday: Church leadership. Currently, there are 2 groups here because I am in transition: first are the elders and pastors of my current church; next the board, pastors, and core team at the church where I am heading.
  • Monday: my family
  • Tuesday: my church family
  • Wednesday: my late friend’s family and extended family.
  • Thursday: anyone on Twitter who asks me for prayer
  • Friday: other friends and their families, neighbors, etc
  • Saturday: people I meet when traveling

Those of you who I know on Twitter already are saying, cone on, we know you pray for the Oak Ridge Boys, and they’re not there. Sorry, guys! They are indeed there – they are my Wednesday focus. I first et them through a dear friend who prayed for each on of them daily and specifically Since she went home to the LORD in 2014, I’m standing in the gap.

So, each day one of these lists displays, and I pray. then during the day, I find that person coming back into my mind and I continue to pray for them. This may not be the way you will choose to handle your prayer list, but I find this gives me focus and allows me to remember the most important thing about prayer: It is my conversation with God. It is a privilege He allows from His abundant grace and finished work on the cross.

Now, what can you expect if you ask me to pray for you? One, No one else will ever know UNLESS you tell me to share your request. Two, you will land on land of these lists. Three, each week I will be lifting your need to God. And four, you will remain on that list, until you ask that I remove your request. If you do, I hope your do two things: 1. tell me why and how your prayer was answered, but most importantly 2. tell the world how God has worked in your life through prayer.

So now you know that you will be prayed for every week, and I pray that God will pour abundant blessings on you!

Posted in The Way, Thoughts & Musings

An Upwelling of Faith?

One mark of revival, during which God comes to His people in power, is that God’s people are compelled to offer their lives for His service.

Experiencing God Day by Day; Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby

About two years ago, a passage from Isaiah came repeatedly into my notice.  Isaiah 6:8 says “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:  ‘Who should I send? Who will go for us?’ I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.'”  First it was in my daily devotional, then it was part of my daily reading plans.  Then came several different pastors, both at my church and online, who used it in a sermon.  Every time, I felt God looking at me, waiting.  But I was not certain what was going on – I felt like saying, “Send down the memo please!”

Today, my day began with the above statement in my devotional.  Considering my current situation, how apt is this!  How so, you ask, gentle readers?  Well, let me tell you…

In December of 2020, I completely left my comfort zone and went off to Nashville for Christmas.  On my own. Tickets for 2 dinner shows in my hand, and no other plans.  Around the same time, a young couple announced they were opening a new church and ministry in Nashville.  Since this young man’s great grandmother had been a a dear friend, I started listening to the sermons he posted.

Nearly every time he spoke, I thought, wow, I never thought of that scripture in that light before.  I felt God drawing me towards this vastly different type of ministry, while thinking, Lord, you can’t mean me! I don’t fit in there.  But God is consistent and persistent!  I finally gave in and said, OK, if this i what you want, give me confirmation.

So, Christmas of 2021, I met this lovely young couple.  And we talked.  And talked.  The end result is that I finally said, “OK, Tyler, you find me a place in your ministry, and I’ll find a realtor.” 

Now none of this seems earth shattering or of major importance. Except….  First thing that happened was at the hotel I was staying at.  When I was talking to the gal at the desk with whom I’d made friends and told her my decision, she said that she was meeting more and more “people of faith” who were being called into the Middle Tennessee area.  She had been thinking of moving OUT of the area, but decided she wanted to stay around to see what was going on!

Then there was the realtor I talked to who said nearly the same thing.  Why do you suppose, gentle readers, that this is the case?

Well, I have been reading and working through Henry Blackaby’s book and study Experiencing God.  One point he emphasizes is that God is always working and we are to respond to that by serving where He is working. 

As I scan social media these days, there is more and more of a  backlash to the chaos and destruction and sheer evil we see around us.  Could it be that God is calling His people to revival? Could He be drawing people to areas where He is ready to do a mighty work?  Could this and other migrations be an upwelling of faithful responding to God’s call? I believe that the answer is YES,, and that we need to respond YES and AMEN. So be it!  If God is doing something, I sure want to see it and experience it. 

Does it set your heart on fire to think about a new birth of love, righteousness, harmony?  Do you feel a tug in your heart when you hear stories of God’s work in someone’s life? Then you need to start listening to hear God’s call,”Who will go for us?” You need to look around to see where God is at work. (Spoiler alert: He is at work everywhere.) And you need to pray about your response.  Will it be, “Here I am, send me!”  Or will you say,”Sorry, God, too busy.”  Answer carefully – your eternity could depend on it!

Do you want more information? To hear more about the ministry, go to DFRNT or to Different Church