Monday, January 29, 2018

another post about prayer

I think God is trying to teach me about prayer, even though I thought I already knew about this topic.  He does that, though, and I will notice a theme about something every once in a while in my life.  The theme for my life right now is prayer.  Partly, also because our pastor is preaching on a series called Grow Together, and partly because the Lord is just teaching me all about this right now.

(I think that's the name of the series.  I could be wrong.)

As I was taking notes during the sermon yesterday, I made a note on the next page in my journal, to write a blog post about praying for our kids. but more about this in a minute.

Pastor Chuck's main point yesterday was this: pass on a strong, vibrant faith.  The title of the sermon was Pass It On.  (If you get the chance, in a few days, go to our website and listen.  Our web address is CFBCFamily.org.)

Here are a few things he said during the sermon yesterday:

Everything rides on us listening to God. 

He preached out of Psalm 78:1-7, and verse one says that we should incline our ears toward Him.  How do we do that?  By reading His word.  (My version, the CSB, says, "Hear my instruction; listen to the words of my mouth.")  We MUST be in the word of God daily.  DAILY.

In verse 4 of Psalm 78, we see the PRIORITY of parenting.  "We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, His might, and the wondrous works He has performed."

Our priority is to TELL THEM.

In verses 5 and 6, we see the PRACTICE of parenting.  "He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children so that a future generation-children yet to be born-might know.  They were to rise and tell their children."

Deuteronomy 6:7 also says something similar about teaching them to our children, them being the words of God.

In verse seven of Psalm 78, we see the PURPOSE of parenting. "...so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God's works, but keep His commands."

When Pastor Chuck said those words, I immediately thought about this verse in 3 John 1:4.  "I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth."

My prayer for my boys has always been that they would love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and that they would then love others as they love themselves.  That even though God will NEVER leave them or forsake them, they could certainly leave and forsake God....so I've always prayed that they would CLING to God.  I did that when I was Graham's age, just turned my back on God for a time.  I had received salvation at a young age, but it meant nothing to me.  (Over the years, I've wondered if that really happened, but I know that when I was in Kindergarten, my Sunday school teacher Mrs. Nina McAlpin, led me to the Lord when I asked her about it.)  When He snatched me back to Him, and that is exactly what He did, because my life was falling apart, that is when I began my relationship with the Lord.


It's funny, and ironic, how things happen.  But after this wonderful message yesterday, and when Graham was on his way to play disc golf with some friends (he was driving them in his truck), he was involved in a wreck.  He was going through a green light, and a car ran the red light in the intersection he was in, and though he was able to slam on the brakes and turn the wheel to try to avoid hitting the SUV, he wasn't able to avoid him entirely, and he hit the driver side of the other vehicle.  He reacted well, though, and praise God, nobody was hurt.  I say this to also say that last night a friend reached out to me and one other friend, to pray for her son who was just going through a really hard time right in that moment.  I stopped immediately and prayed for that young man, and immediately, the Lord brought to my mind Psalm 91.

This chapter has given me comfort hundreds of times, friends, the first time being when Noah was hit by a car when he was in the second grade.  (He was fine, and it was actually more like Noah struck the car, but still...that was a day when I gained lots of gray hairs.  He darted out in front of the vehicle without completely checking up, but thankfully the lady was going under the speed limit, and all Noah had to show for the accident was rubber burn on his leg from where it struck the lady's tire.)  This chapter brought comfort to my friend last night, and then I decided to read the whole thing again myself, and I was struck with the words, once again.

I'm going to just write it out here for you, because God is so, so very good.

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say concerning the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust:

He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague.

He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings.  His faithfulness will be a protective shield.

You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 

the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon.

Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you.

You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD-my refuge, the Most High-your dwelling place,

no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent.

For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.

They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent.

Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name.

When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.  I will rescue him and give him honor.

I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.

God is completely sovereign.  He protected Graham yesterday, and I know He will protect my friend's son.  Sometimes things turn out differently than we hope, and though I may not understand His ways all the time, I know that God is sovereign, and that He is trustworthy.  And even if things yesterday had turned out very differently, I would still be saying that God is so, so very good.  Because He is.  His goodness is never based upon our circumstances, He is just good.  His word tells us that.  (Psalm 118:1 is just one example.)

So, for today, I am reminded again WHY it is so important to pray for my kids.  It is so that they will live a life all for Jesus, because that is the most important thing.  Get that one thing into place, and the Lord takes care of the rest. 

Once again, I am so thankful for my pastor.  I pray for him daily.  I encourage you to pray for your pastor as well.  I also always pray for our worship pastor, because I think those are the most difficult jobs within a church.  And I do pray for the other pastors and staff as well, but I think those two are the ones that are most in the limelight and it is imperative that we pray for the Lord to protect them and guard them, and to fill them with a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit.

(Wow, this was so long.  Sorry about that, I'm just very grateful to God today and needed to write it all out.)

Love to all.

(Disclaimer: I pray these types of posts never come off as boastful, because TRUST ME, I have nothing but Jesus to boast about.  I just need to always reiterate how thankful I am for the grace and mercy of God.  I always only want the Him to get the glory, the praise, and the honor that He alone deserves.) 

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