Get On Our Knees and Pray

In Billy Graham’s devotional book, Hope for Each Day, he mentions a time at the early beginnings of the formation of the United States of America when our founding fathers prayed during a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The purpose was the ratification of the constitution.

The delegates to the Congress became angry with each other, and because they could not resolve their conflicts or agree on anything at all, the delegates gathered their belongings and headed for the door.

Reminds me of the attitude children have when they can’t get there way. If I don’t get my way, then I’ll take my ball and go home.

Fortunately for our country, one man had enough sense to offer the correct solution.

Benjamin Franklin spoke to the delegates. It is reported these were his words.

Wait a minute, gentlemen. This country was conceived in faith in God. Many of us here believe in prayer. Let us get upon our knees and pray to Almighty God and see whether God shall give to us the answer to our dilemma.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention put aside their differences, and for the good of our country surrendered their egos to God, got on their knees and prayed. The Constitution of the United States of America was the result of their prayers.

We have no lesser challenge today.

God still sits on his throne. He still listens to the prayers of his children. He still reigns supreme and is the Lord who answers prayer.

As Christ-followers we have the unbelievable privilege to approach the throne of God with our petitions and thanksgivings, yet I fear too many of us take that privilege too lightly.

As a collective of believers, we can come boldly before the throne of God and offer our requests on behalf of our country.

Let’s not be like those who decided nothing could be done, so we’re going to walk away. Instead, let’s humble ourselves, seek God’s face, acknowledge he is the One in control, not us, turn from our wicked ways, yield our selfish pride and will to God’s sovereignty, present our requests, leave them at God’s feet, and watch how he works among our midst.

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Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Stress Of Life

The stress of life can be good or bad. It isn’t the stress itself that is either harmful or beneficial. It is what we do with that stress that matters.

There is a Greek Proverb that says, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”

During the archery class I took my sophomore year of college, we strung and unstrung our bows before and after each session on the archery range. To some that may seem like a waste of time, especially since classes followed ours that would use the same bows, but this routine had its purpose.

If the bows were left strung, they might break under the constant stress it took to bend the bow and keep the string taut. While this amount of stress could be detrimental if left unstrung between users, this same stress served the necessary purpose of allowing the string on the bow to be tight enough to shoot a straight arrow.

The stress of life behaves in the same way. Too much, and we might break either emotionally or physically. Too little, and we may not be able to work at top efficiency.

One of my psychology professors explained stress as being similar to the strings on a violin. Too much stress, the strings will break. Not enough stress, the strings won’t perform as they should.

When we encounter certain potentially dangerous situations, like a child dashing out in front of our car, the stress produces an adrenaline rush that causes us to avoid the child. That’s good stress.

More times than not, though, we carry stressful things around with us, allowing them to keep us worried, anxious, and unproductive. For me, I tighten the muscles through my shoulders and jaw when overly stressed. When I sense that happening, I have to tell myself to relax and unstring the bow.

If we constantly put ourselves in situations we know will create unhealthy levels of stress, perhaps we need to re-evaluate those areas and look for ways to unstring the bow.

One habit I’m trying to rid myself of is allowing stressful scenarios to keep running around and around in my brain; worrying about things I cannot control. Instead, I need to recognize them for what they are and do what I can do; turn them over to God.

How do you manage your stressful situations?

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Give all your cares to the Lord and He will give you strength. He will never let those who are right with Him be shaken. Psalm 55:22 (NLV)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Learning To Be Still

Learning to be still is difficult for me. Perhaps it is difficult for you as well.

I don’t think I’m ADD. Maybe. But probably not. I know I’m definitely not ADHD. Not with my low energy level. If I’m not ADD, then why do I have so much trouble being still and content with doing only one thing at a time?

In the 70s, I remember multitasking came into vogue. You weren’t productive unless you could accomplish not just two things at once, but three or more.

As the decades passed, this multitasking business seemed to worsen.

When I taught elementary school, you for sure better be able to multitask an extreme number of things at the same time. If not, you were sunk. Never to rise above the foaming waves until the school year ended.

You’ve seen pictures of plates balanced on poles? Yeah. Sort of like that. Drop one and they all fall.

I need to work on learning to be still before God. I need to learn to listen to God without talking to him. I need to sit before God with no agenda or plan. I need to learn how to clear the clutter in my brain so I can hear from God when he speaks.

Instead, I allow my thoughts to bounce all over the place. I fill in the quiet space with prayer, petition, or praise. I think of things I need to do before I can be still. Things I must get out of the way so I can be still without feeling guilty about it.

Often in our world people who produce a product every waking minute, or believe they need some physical sign to show how they spent their time, are somehow considered more worthy than those who do not.

Why is that?

My worth is not dependent on how much I accomplish in any given day. It is not dependent on how much product I churn out. Nor is it dependent on how many good works I do. Those things do not define who I am.

Nope.

My worth is in the fact I am a child of God. Joint heir with Jesus Christ. Beloved.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

What about you? Are you able to block out the world so you can be still and know God without any input on your part? No praying. No singing. Just listening.

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Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth. Psalm 46:10 (TPT)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Who Do We Imitate?

During a re-enactment of Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico, I couldn’t help but notice a small boy and his grandfather. Precious is the word that comes to mind. It seemed to me this little boy desired to imitate his grandfather. This in turn caused me to wonder who I desire to imitate.

This grandfather and grandson clothed themselves alike and appeared inseparable throughout the entire weekend. It appeared the little boy dearly loved and trusted his grandfather, and desired to be wherever the grandfather went. Even as the re-enactment wound down, the little boy looked to his grandfather and imitated him.

Come to find out, the boy’s grandfather, mother, and aunt were re-enactors with the Mexican cavalry. His father was part of the Texian cavalry. I wonder which side the little boy will represent in re-enactments when he grows older. I’m guessing he’ll stick with Grandpa.

The Bible tells us those who are baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ. We are children of God through our faith in Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-27)

Since we are clothed with Christ, our desire should be to follow wherever he leads. Those of us who call ourselves Christ followers are to be imitators of Christ. We are to follow his example. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

In life we might have people who imitate us. When they do, I wonder if imitating us leads them to imitate Christ? Does Jesus shine through our robes of righteousness? Is there proof in our words and actions which show we follow in Christ’s footsteps? Are we pointing others to Jesus?

As I prepared this blog post, I received an email from a dear friend. She mentioned posts she recently read on a social media site. After I reigned in my anger over the posts, my heart grieved.

You see, the hateful social media posts were not written by someone you’d expect would write such things. They were written by those we both know who wear the name Christian.

Being a Christ follower means being an imitator of Christ in EVERY area of our lives. Not just in our Go-to-Church-on-Sunday, or Go-to-Bible-Study-on-Wednesday lives.

So I ask each of us to take a look at our lives. Is there evidence to show who we imitate, which side we fight on? Could those who look at us tell whether we fight on the Lord’s side, or the world’s?

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Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father. Ephesians  5:1 (TLB)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Shield of Protection

In the midst of current events there is so much loss. So much devastation. So much uncertainty. So much social unrest. So much hatred. Yet in it all, God’s shield of protection surrounds us.

I find I must constantly pick up my Bible, read what it says, and remind myself these battles are not mine to fight alone. For the God who placed the stars in the heavens and planets in motion remains on his throne. He remains in control. He is able to keep his shield of protection securely wrapped around each of us.

During these troubling times, we might feel helpless but we really aren’t. Through the power of prayer we can petition God to place his shield around each and every situation we face. The battles we face in this life are the Lord’s to fight on our behalf.

Even though they faced a large enemy when the Old Testament king Jehoshaphat and his army prepared to go into battle, God told them not to be discouraged or afraid. The outcome of the battle didn’t depend on what Jehoshaphat and his army could or couldn’t do. The outcome depended on God.

Jehoshaphat was told he and his men didn’t need to fight the battle. Their job was to meet the enemy, take up their positions, and wait. The Lord would give the victory.

There are battles all around us. Health battles. Job battles. Family battles. Financial battles. Relationship battles.

We’ve been given our orders. We are not to look at our discouraging circumstances and be overcome with fear. We are instructed to face the enemy and wait upon the Lord to win the victory.

Whenever we feel as if we’re fighting an impossible battle, no matter what foe we may be up against or how bleak the situation may appear, our hope of victory comes through the confidence we have in God’s shield of protection wrapped securely around us.

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Jahaziel said, “Your Majesty and all you people of Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you must not be discouraged or be afraid to face this large army. The battle depends on God, not on you. Attack them tomorrow as they come up the pass at Ziz. You will meet them at the end of the valley that leads to the wild country near Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Just take up your positions and wait; you will see the Lord give you victory. People of Judah and Jerusalem, do not hesitate or be afraid. Go out to battle, and the Lord will be with you!”   2 Chronicles 20:15-17 (GNT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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