Tuesday, September 9, 2014


"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of 
and of 
2 Timothy 1:7

ISIS is big, and strong, and very scary. 

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, 
the One who is in you 
than the one who is in the world." 
1 John 4:4

As 9/11 approaches we will hear more and more about ISIS in America and the attacks they have planned on schools, malls, etc. 

We have a choice. We can focus on those reports and pictures 
we can let each mention of them turn us immediately to God in prayer for this country. Our choice will make all the difference. I choose to focus on God, pray for protection, pray for His people to unite in prayer for themselves and our country. He alone is my strength and shield. 

I choose not to focus on ISIS to the point that my fear takes over and I forget  - even for a moment - who my God is. 

Yes, ISIS is big.  MY GOD IS BIGGER.

Today I pray the words of Psalm 11:

"In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
'Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows
at the upright of heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?'"


He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous, 
but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.
On the wicked he will rain fiery coals
and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.

For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
upright men will see his face.

I don't know what the future holds - especially on 9/11 but as the song says - I know who holds the future and nothing - nothing will happen that doesn't pass through God's hands first. 

Pray these things today:

1. Pray for hearts to be softened to the heart of God
2. Pray for God's protection and for the defeat of the armies of ISIS - from the INSIDE OUT!
3. Pray that no matter what happens in the coming days - even if we are mourning - we will seek God's face and know that he has never stopped working all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Are you prepared to praise him and worship him - no matter what happens today, tomorrow, 9/11? 

Lord we wait for 9/11 and listen to the rumors of ISIS in our country. We hear rumors of threats that could devastate families, whole cities, and demoralize our country. But our HOPE is in YOU. We feel helpless and afraid, but like Jehoshaphat we stand before you together and say, "We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but OUR EYES ARE ON YOU." His army went out led by men appointed to sing praise to you for the splendor of your holiness.We sing with them Lord:
Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.
As they praised you, you fought the battle and won it. Do it again, Lord. Do it again, for your glory. We give you praise together. We pray in the overcoming, saving name of Jesus. Amen. 

I hope you will join me in prayer and praise this week. God is ready to move if his children will only ask and be ready. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

ISIS - Don't Believe Your Eyes

I have been sickened by the accounts of brutality perpetrated by ISIS. Seeing huge men in black masks holding weapons is terrifying which I'm sure it's meant to be. I heard part of an interview with a member of this group during which he made such statements as:

  • "My hands are ready to do this blessed act"
  • "I wish God would choose me for this honor"
  • "I hope God gives me this opportunity"

and I wondered how in the world do people become like that? 

   As I prayed my thoughts went to the story of Elisha and his servant, surrounded by an enemy certain to defeat and destroy them. Elisha knew better. He prayed for God to open his servant's eyes and he said:  

"Don't be afraid...those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  2 Kings 6:16

God opened the eyes of Elisha's servant and:

"...he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." v.17

    This is why I love the Old Testament so much. It is rich with stories of God's deliverance when His people stand before Him in repentance and humility, worshiping him and praying for his mercy. It is also a reminder that while we see this conflict as a political or ethnic conflict, it is actually spiritual warfare. It must be addressed as such. 
    I'm not a politician, nor do I pretend to understand the complexities of what is happening in the Middle East. Governments will address this on a political or military level. Others will provide humanitarian aide when possible. I can't do any of those things.

But I can pray. 

ISIS is a symptom of a depraved, fallen world. The only solution to that is Jesus. I am so burdened to pray for this group and to pray scripture over them. Scripture is God-breathed. It is the living Word of God and praying scripture over this group will unleash the power of God right into the middle of them. 

God promises to hear us, and he promises that our prayers will be effective when we pray together in his name. I invite you to pray with me every day for God's hand to move in a mighty, supernatural way to stop this group - a group that is already defeated in His name. 

Lord we need you right now. We need a God who is awesome and mighty, who is not afraid of the enemy because you have already defeated him. Lord we can't fight ISIS with swords and weapons, but as David did against Goliath, we come against them in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. You have won - IT IS FINISHED! For your glory Lord, and for your kingdom, we ask that you begin right now to cause dissension and chaos among them. Block them at every turn so that they are not successful in their plans. Protect those who could so easily become their victims, and comfort those who already have. 

Lord call Christians all over the world to pray, agreeing together, as we ask for your intervention and your mercy. Help us to remember that you love each member of ISIS just as you love us. You died for each of them as you died for us, and you grieve for them as you grieved for us and pursued us when we were lost. 

Your Name, Lord is a strong tower where we can run to be safe. We run to you now. Don't let us become discouraged, Lord. Let us keep our eyes on you, our strength and our Redeemer. In the name of Jesus we pray and believe. Amen. 

Click here to listen to  The Battle Belongs to the Lord and worship for a few moments. Thank you for praying. 


Saturday, May 31, 2014

An Unexpected Moment of Worship

Photo by iStock.com 
I'm a Southern Baptist girl born and bred. 

Baptists are not typically known for their enthusiasm during worship but happily that is changing. We clap, we say amen right out loud - even women sometimes - and dare I say it... sometimes we even raise our hands during worship! Sometimes both hands - at the same time!

I know. It sounds like something out of  - well, actually it sounds like something straight out of the Bible. God's people were exuberant in their worship. They sang, danced, feasted, laughed, raised their hands, play instruments. The worship and praise in their hearts spilled over and came out in joyfully uninhibited ways. 

I've always admired people who get so lost in worship they raise their hands and have a private moment with their Lord. Maybe I've envied them a bit as well because I'm just not that demonstrative in public. I tend to be private about most things, not just worship, and I think that's okay. 

And then a funny thing happened yesterday afternoon as I was driving to my niece's graduation. I was listening to praise music and singing along and just enjoying the private worship time. And then the song played.

Midnight Cry.  Have you heard it? Well I was just overwhelmed with the promise of it and the picture of Christ stepping out on a cloud to call his children home. 

Before I knew it, my little Southern Baptist hand was raised in my car and I was lost in worship. What a moment with Jesus!

I became aware that everyone passing me was lifting a hand to wave back. That happens all the time in the South. You wave to anyone you meet on the road. It's just being neighborly. 

I got tickled, but I was also hooked. I played that song over and over again with my hand raised (just one at a time - I was driving after all) praising Jesus and thanking him for the promise of his return someday. I found myself praying for it to be soon so we could see him step out on that cloud and call us home. 

I really can't wait! If you haven't heard the song click Midnight Cry to listen. You may have to sit on your hands but really, why would you? Raise them high and thank God for the promise of his coming again. 

I'm going to stop now. I'm playing the song while I write this and it's just too hard to type with one hand! 

Praying for you today, 


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day - A Private Storm

This is for all of you who want nothing more than to pull the covers over your heads on Saturday night and wake up on Monday morning - after Mother's Day is over...

It's so hard when the celebration so relentlessly in your face causes pain so sharp it takes your breath away. What is it for you this year?

  • your mother is sick and this will probably be your last year with her
  • your mother is gone and the hole she left in your heart and your life is still empty and raw
  • instead of cuddling a little one you wrestle with the agony of infertility
  • in a perversion of the natural order of things you have lost and buried a child
  • it is not death that separates you from your child but anger, bitterness and unforgiveness
  • you are alone with small children who cannot pamper you and celebrate with you - they only demand that you be Mom
  • you live with your children in a shelter, or on the street, or wherever you find a place because it's the only way to keep them safe
  • your child is missing and you have no idea if she is safe or alive
  • your child is rebellious and makes you question your fitness for motherhood

For you, Mother's Day is not a day of celebration but one of pain and grief. 

You're allowed, without apology or explanation, to do what you need to do to take care of yourself today. 

God does not always take away the pain, but he always, ALWAYS holds on to you through the storm. He knows your heart. He catches every tear that falls. He has forgiven you EVERYTHING - he died for that - so you can be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself when you're not perfect. 

A mother's pain is a precious thing. It is carried for a lifetime. What amazing strength you have!

Whatever your circumstances are, know you have been prayed for - taken by the hand and lifted straight to the throne of God. There you can find peace in your storm, comfort for your pain, and strength to carry your burden a little bit longer. 

"When the storm has swept by,
the wicked are gone,
but the righteous stand firm forever."
Proverbs 10:25 (NIV)

Praying for you today,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Roots for Fruit...Even in a drought.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jer. 17:8 (NIV)

Have you ever felt like you're in a spiritual drought? Not necessarily out of touch with God, but just all used up? Yes, it's been a year. If I'm honest it's been several years in a row. 

It occurs to me that in trying to take care of myself and take time to rest I've become my own worst enemy. I've separated myself from one important source of restoration and strength - my church. 

Yes it's a matter of obedience to be hooked in to your local church, but there's a good reason (God always has one of those). I can worship, pray, and read God's word all by myself and I do all of those things. What I can't do is:

  •  be a group by myself.
  • provide a vast wealth of experience and wisdom to myself.
  • hold myself accountable. 
It's a matter of perspective. When I was in college we had chapel services three times a week. We were required to attend a certain number of times each semester and turned in a card each time so someone somewhere could keep score. 

Of course there were times we wanted to go - a special speaker or concert - but most of the time many of us saw it as just another obligation: one more place to be when we had so many other things to do. The unfortunate and erroneous nature of this thinking is made vividly clear in the contrasting thoughts of Dr. Jack MacGorman, a long-time professor:

"For somebody who felt such an overwhelming gratitude to God
for his mercy and his kindness, chapel was the only place to go. Not
 to show up in a time of worship would have been unthinkable."

That says it all, doesn't it? I'll be honest. I have trouble getting to church sometimes for different reasons, none of which are important when held up next to the honor and worship that God deserves. 

Not going to church makes as much sense as sitting on the banks of a river and watching cool, crystal clear water flowing abundantly by while I thirst to death. 

Sometimes I can be an idiot. 

But idiots can change. As I ponder this scripture and pray that God will use me in a special way this year I'm going to take advantage of the sustenance that is before me each time my church gathers. I don't know where that will take me, but I know that disobedience in this area hurts me and dishonors God - two things I want to  avoid. 

So, for those of you who know me, please feel free to hold me accountable. (You can't imagine how I cringed as I wrote that!!!). Please be kind, and don't be offended by any eye-rolling or groaning. That will just be me wondering what in the world I've done by giving you permission to do that! 

As God's plan continues to unfold in 2014 I pray that he pulls us in closer to him, to know him deeper, to love him better, and from the overflowing of those riches, to change our world. 

I'm praying for you.