Reflections #9: His Love Trumps Hate Podcast

Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life

1 Corinthians 13

The #LoveTrumpsHate is being bandied around lately. I see it on signs, blog posts, Facebook, and Twitter. But it’s often accompanied by words and actions that aren’s so loving. No matter whom you supported in the election, both sides are slinging nastiness back and forth. Clearly the love is missing from this hashtag.

Why? It’s certainly a good intention.

To find out, let’s look to the Lord, the One who gave us the manual on love, 1 Corinthians 13. Join us for a short discussion on what this kind of love looks like.

Be sure to write down your reflections and keep the conversation going with God throughout the day. May your soul’s meditations be fuel for Spirit-led actions today!

To listen, just click on the triangle below. You can also subscribe to the Only By Prayer podcast on iTunes. You may also want to read Mary’s blog post on His Love Trumps Hate.

Pray on!

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5 Days to Fast & Pray for the Election Guide

fast-and-pray-electionWelcome to 5 Days to Fast & Pray for the Election. We are so happy to have you join us in praying for our country during this important time. No matter who you are supporting, we can all agree on the fact that prayer is needed as we head to the voting booth and as we transition to a new administration.

We are leaving it up to you to decide if you will participate in the fasting aspect of this prayer guide and if so, what type of fasting you will do. If you are able, remember to join us for prayer Monday-Thursday evenings from 8 p.m.-8:30 p.m Eastern time on our Facebook page. You may also post prayers anytime of the day or night on that page as well. If you have not yet asked to join that page and you would like to, go to the Facebook page and request permission to join, and we will grant it.

Day 1: Turn from Sin

Scripture: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Prayer Focus: Candidates and voters would humble themselves and seek the Lord and have a servant’s heart. That revival would sweep across our nation.

Actions Steps:
  1. Find a quiet place to process with the Lord. Take your Bible and a journal.
  2. Pray for revival to start in your own heart. Ask the Lord to show you any habits, actions, thoughts, words, attitudes, etc. that need to change in you so that you are ready for revival.
  3. Journal about what you feel God is showing you.
  4. Once you feel your own heart is set, move to praying for your community, state, and nation. Choose a scripture that you can pray specifically for our nation and use that throughout the week.

Day 2: Turn to God

Scripture: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13
Prayer Focus: That our purposes and plans as a nation would align with God’s.
 
Action Steps:
  1. Make a plan to pray for the elections several times throughout the day. If needed, set the alarm on your phone to remind you to pray.
  2. Pray for people in your building or neighborhood to pray for God’s will in this election. Ask another to join you in prayer today.
  3. Take a prayer walk and pray for the elections and issues in your own city.
  4. Get out a map or look up a map on Google and pray across the states in our great land. Ask God to raise up Christians tp pray and exercise their right to vote.

Day 3: Turn to Wisdom

Scripture:  “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15
Prayer Focus: That voters would seek the Lord’s wisdom as they cast their ballots and vote on initiatives.
Action Steps:
  1. If you haven’t done so yet, it is time to become educated about the issues of this election on every level. Please do your own research or click on the following link to learn about the candidates for 2016: Wall Builders. If you go to your state’s .gov site, you will be able to download a copy of the ballot to see all the candidates you will be voting on, plus any initiatives you may be voting on. 
  2. After you have completed your research, make a list of whom you plan to vote for and for the proposals in your community.
  3. Research the location of your polling place and check the hours.
  4. Help elderly neighbors and relatives by offering then a ride to their polling place.

Day 4: Turn Your Eyes

Scripture: And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”‘ Acts 28:25-27
Prayer Focus: For this to be a peaceful, non-violent election and transition to the new administration.

Action Steps: 

  1. The time to act is now. The destiny of our nation hangs in the balance. I have heard several people say they plan not to vote in this election. This attitude is defeatist and irresponsible. It is time for the church to wake up and take our place in the shaping of our culture before we lose the right to do so. Remember, when we cast our vote for a candidate we not only vote for the individual, but for the cabinet members they will bring on board. Most experts believe that the next President could be choosing around three supreme court justices. Personnel makes policy.
  2. Spend some time interceding for peace and against violent protests or riots, especially the evening of the election.
  3. Watch the news for any “hotspots” of where violence is occuring, whether it’s due to the election or other reasons. Cover these geographic areas in prayer.
  4. Pray and ask the Lord if there is any specific geographic region He wants you to cover in prayer over the next few months until the new President takes office. Record any direction in your journal so that you remember to make it a prayer priority.

 Day 5: Turn Your Heart

Scripture: “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” Daniel 2:21
Prayer Focus: For our country to be unified and for Congress to work together for the good of the people. That God-honoring laws and legislations would be enacted. 
Action Steps:
  1.  In my experience, this has been the most rancorous, divisive election ever. I have even experienced being “unfriended” due to my political beliefs, and I know others have experienced this as well. This should not be happening. Pray for civil discourse in our country and the ability to agree to disagree without friendships and family relationships suffering for it.
  2. Decide to pray for our government officials at all levels. They need God’s wisdom. They need honesty. They need pure motives. And they need servants’ hearts.
  3. Become informed about local, state, and federal legislation. What decisions is your school board making about curriculum and other important issues such as transgender issues and bathroom/locker room/overnight arrangements for students? Many of us may think that Roe v. Wade is beyond changing, but God can do anything. Ask God if you need to get involved in working to change this law. Perhaps you have never been involved in politics before, but it’s important to let your voice be heard on policies and laws. Call and/or email those in charge. Here’s a link to find your local, state, and federal officials. We can’t afford to ignore these issues any longer.

We thank you so much for joining us this week as we pray for the election and our country. We know that your intercession is a fragrant offering to God, and we trust that your prayers will “availeth much.”

Please feel free to share this post with anyone else you think would be interested. Keep praying and God bless you!

Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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 (VanOsdol)




Reflections #4: Shine Upon You

Relfections

Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.

Show Notes

In today’s Reflections we are thinking about Numbers 6:24-26.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

It makes my heart full as I welcome, as I receive this blessing from the Lord. I must never forget that I am a child of His Light. In the Message Bible by Eugene Peterson called Conversations, he says “Since Christ has dawned in our lives, light not darkness, is the fundamental reality by which we live. And the radiance of His face bathes us with the blessings of new and emerging life.”

As Christ-followers, we need to be all about pushing back the darkness that is encroaching on our world, our countries, our states, our cities, our neighborhoods—and our families. Many people live in a spiritual state of darkness.

Join Only By Prayer in this Reflection by clicking the arrow below to see how we can reflect His light. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. Please leave us a review on iTunes if you desire.

Pray on!

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The 12 Days of Thanks Giving: Day 6 Service

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Day 6:Service

“There was an abundance of burnt offerings, along with the usual liquid offerings, and a great deal of fat from the main peace offerings. So the Temple of the LORD was restored to service.” 2 Chronicles 29:35

 

 

Service [sur-vis] noun

  1. an act of helpful activity; help; aid: to do someone a service.
  2. the supplying or supplier of utilities or commodities, as water, electricity, or gas, required or demanded by the public.

verb

  1. to make fit for use; repair; restore to condition for service: to service an automobile.
  2. to supply with aid, information, or other incidental services.

Have you ever endured the breakdown of an appliance or other convenience at your home?

About one year ago, we purchased a new washing machine. Shortly after we bought it, it malfunctioned so I called the service department number. Unfortunately, the service department was going through a computer upgrade and as a new customer my information had not yet been entered into the old or the new system. I was assured it would happen the next day, and they instructed me to call back then. This same scene played out every day for 5 days. My impatience and anger grew as large as my mountain of unwashed laundry on the basement floor. My out-of-service washing machine was doing me no good.

Well, during the reign of King Ahaz, the people of Judah had an out-of-service problem too, but it wasn’t an appliance; it was much more serious than my inconvenience. They posted an out-of-service sign  on the door of the Temple. It closed due to the people’s freefall into idolatry and sin.

When Hezekiah became king, he reversed this slide into sin and, as we saw on Day 2, began cleansing the temple. The temple was cleansed, the people were cleansed, and sacrifices and burnt offerings were made. Today’s verse may seem a bit odd, talking about burnt offerings, liquid offerings, and fat ( well, then again, maybe not with Thanksgiving next week!), but then the writer of this books slips in this sentence, “so the Temple of the Lord was restored to service.” Now we see that this verse is actually cause for great celebration. For years the Temple had been closed. No worship, no cleansing of sins, no restoration. But now the out-of-service sign is ripped off the door and once again mercy and forgiveness are flowing.

 

Pray for Service

As we’ve already talked about this week, as New Testament Christians, we are temples for the Holy Spirit. What kind of signs are we hanging on the doors of our temples? Do they say “Out of Service” or “Open for Service”? I have to ask myself, do my attitude and actions draw people to the Lord or am I driving them away? Am I only concerned with my needs, or am I setting aside time to do acts of service for others? Today I am thankful for all those who have served me in so many different ways. Let’s pray that we can offer this selfless gift to others too.

  1. Pray to see the needs around us. It’s all too easy to put on blinders to people’s pain, especially when we’re in a rush. Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear the needs around us today.
  2. Pray to do something. All around us are acts of service just waiting to happen. Can we each bring one to life this week? Lord, let us do good when it is within our power to do so.

 

More of Service

If you’d like to explore this theme further, please see The Ministry of the Word and Table.

 

Comment

Please leave a comment below in the Speak Your Mind section on what God teaches you today about Service.

 

Previous Links

 

service. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/service (accessed: November 20, 2014).




New Year Prayer

New Year PrayerWith the New Year comes a fresh start free from mistakes, regrets, and failures of the past year. Hope and possibilities and expectations jostle  for space in my soul as I look to the future. Yes, if I’m honest, some anxiety too. But mostly excitement for what lies ahead. Like sojourners of times past, I want to welcome the Lord into these next 12 months. Or should I say, I with Him. I want to be sure the door of my heart is open to Him this New Year.

I recently read about an old Scottish tradition that placed much importance upon the New Year. Folks visited from house to house as the New Year rang in, wishing each other a good year while celebrating with food and drink. Once midnight passed, each household watched expectantly to see who would be the very first guest to cross the threshold of their door, thus portending what the next year would hold.  I can just envision a knock on the door and families gathered around the hearth to see who would take that first important step into their home.

To acknowledge this tradition, the Celtic Daily Prayer Book includes a “first-footing” prayer for the New Year, on page 238 called The Opening Door, in which the pray-ers welcome Christ to be the “first foot” into their home to bless them. What a lovely idea!

I was so taken with this thought that I wrote a short prayer myself to welcome Christ into my New Year.

Open Door

By Jane VanOsdol

I open the door of my heart this New Year …

to see Your glory all around me;

to hear the whisper of Your voice;

to smell the fragrance of Jesus in my life;

to taste the fruits of Your blessings;

to feel the presence of Your Spirit.

Welcoming your footsteps across the threshold of my heart,

Anticipating the gift of another year.

Amen.

I wonder if your heart is open to God this year? Do you feel the anticipation of new adventures waiting to be lived, or have difficulties of time past left you dreading the door before you? Open the door to Jesus so that He is the first one to set foot in your heart this year.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

May you experience the peace of Christ and the joy of living life with Him this year.

Pray on!

*Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net artur84