Saturday, August 31, 2013

Prayer ART 101 Lesson 1

  I have been sketching, drawing, painting my entire life- at least as soon as crayons or other media was introduced to me.   I am intrigued by faces. I love to draw people's faces, to study the collection of curves, contour, and lines that create that one of a kind visage.  And I feel confident in my ability to capture a person's likeness.

   But if you ask me to draw a straight line, a star, I have great difficulty!
And don't even think about requesting a circle! Noooo sirrreeeeeee! 

At least not on canvas or in my sketchbook.  But I do make them in my Bible. 
 YES, I WRITE IN MY BIBLE, don't you?
  If you don't out of a God-given conviction then I step aside. But if it is because you heard someone say you shouldn't, then I challenge you to get your pen/highlighter, crayon- whatever is available and begin!  My Bible has promises highlighted in green,  references to the character of Christ in purple,  Praise in Yellow, and warnings in - well, I wanted to use red, but it is too dark, so, pink. 

    Arrows, exclamation points, question marks, dates and personal notes of revelation fill the margins. This has been a HUGE source of reflection and encouragement to me.
 Often I am reading and a verse or passage seems to "lift off the page". I call that the Holy Spirit's highlighter, ha!  It is God's way of getting our attention, usually for strengthening, but sometimes as warnings. When that happens, a new note and date are entered onto that page. 
     The Bible is alive, you know. It isn't a book by dead authors. The same lessons, truth, trials and victories they had, we have. The only thing that separates us is the date on the calendar. The truth breathes right into us, upon us when we read it. 
That is why it is so applicable!  So my Bible is a journal about my journey through it! 
     Circles have been talked about alot lately in Kingdom discussions, largely due to the author Mark Batterson and his work The Circle Maker.
 {***Good book for sure! Strongly recommend you reading it!}  
 It really uses the circle as an analogy or visual for persistence in prayer. 
 You may have heard the term "standing in faith"?
 The author exhorts us to find God's quickened promise to us and "circle it" with prayer. 

 I have many such circles drawn around passages in my Bible and in my heart. 
What about you? 

   A step in that direction is to note, underline, circle, square, highlight those promises right there on the page. It is ok if it isn't the neatest, most eye catching piece of art you create.
 As long as it is a work of HEart!  
  I leave you with one more image and a quote from  The Circle Maker:

 { My Dad's own Bible - if HE does it then it HAS to be a good thing! lol! }

"The promises of God are like the tree island in the middle of the lake.
 They are the difference between sinking and swimming
 because they give you a place to stand.
 And when He keeps His promises, you won't just stand on water;
 you will waltz into the Promised Land through waters God has parted."  
I am extending my staff of faith
for the parting and imminent completion of crossing over and planting my feet on that land I have seen by the Spirit for so long a time, 
circling all the way. I hope you will join me.  
As to the reference of the island, well, you just have to read the book!

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Prayer Opps"

Amidst cerulean blue sky dusted with translucent feathery clouds,
the sunlight graced the tops of trees and danced upon the nearly still lake. 

The crickets sang softly. Serenity.
Almost. "errrrrrrip" {insert needle scratch on turntable}
 Excuse the interruption, please. 
 You've  heard of a "photo opp", right? You know, a politician's best friend; just the right time and setting to create the appearance of something favorable
 to shine the spotlight on his/her good side.
   Ok, now back to my story...
After an awesome (and I reserve the word for God alone) demonstration of love,
 acceptance and redemption in the worship service,
 my husband and I
 headed off to a change of place-
 a state park nearby. 
We wanted some time for meditation and reflection.
 And tranquility, serenity. 
It became immediately obvious that I would have to persist to find it.
First, my chair kept coming unlocked, making it unbalanced.
 It's one of those collapsing canvas chairs:
Then, my music device would not operate properly. No worries, I had a back up!
But nooooo, that one wouldn't play the CD. Ugh.
No prophetic worship to listen to.
Okay, so let's embrace the silence. Let's listen.
 I began to journal a prayer. Bible? Check. Journal? Check.
 Pen.... I realized I'd left my pen in the car. Get the keys, go to car, get the pen.
Midway through one sentence the pen ran out of ink.
 Get the keys, go to car, get replacement pen.
 {Note to self, save for Ipad!} Ahhhh. Now it begins, I thought.
And it did!
Sun still shining, breeze blowing and {insert sound from above here}
but the soft chirping of the crickets was being drowned out every
few seconds. A battle was raging via cell phones. A very angry young
man was venting in varying volumes.
In the past I would have been annoyed.  
I might have wished him away, or worse,
 called the authorities to complain. 
 But today I hear the Father's heart greiveing.
 In between the shouts punctuated with cursing is the sound of a heart
 that is deeply wounded. The rage is the cry of his heart torn 
and twisted by sin, confusion and betrayal.
 And the Father cries. 
What do you do when YOU hear someone like this? 
What is your first thought, your first response?  Frustration?
 Feeling like your "space" has been invaded? 

Or do you pray?  
Whether you are called as an intercessor or are a willing "pray-er", 
YOU can be one of God's press agents! 
Pray for the brokenhearted, hear what the Father hears.

Pray for the darkened, distanced soul(s). 
Pray for reconciliation to God,  
and in my case, to the recipient of the harsh words. 
Next time you encounter a grumpy or angry person, 
remember that under the surface is a heart beating, 
wanting desperately to know not to give up,
 that somewhere real, life giving love is available to them.
 Though you may
be across the room, store, parking lot or world,
 you can PRAY. 

When sirens sound , You can pray! 

You can create a "meeting" between that person and the Lord. 
Pray that the Father imparts His heart to you so that
 you are a channel of love and hope even to souls 
you may never meet face to face.
Watch for, listen for and prepare for "Prayer Opps". 
 Through prayer, arrange opportunities for God's mercy and grace to shine!

So, now you know what I wrote in my journal! ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Saddle Up!! Final in Meekness for the Preakness series

  " Saddle up your horses-
We've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is the life like no other, whoa whoa
This is the great adventure


Come on, get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long faced religion
In a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons
Just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for, yeah "

So, you have been corralled by His love, 
taught to accept His reign,
and acquired skills necessary for navigating 
the course of life. 
That entire process was only the prelude to being a 
"horse" prepared to race.
 The most difficult, most painful
part after submitting, learning and being shaped
 was to be told that now you have to be confined and wait. 
"WHAT? Shut the gate? "
 I have been enlarged beyond 
anything I ever dreamed possible, 
and You want me
to squeeze into that tiny,
anonymous starting gate?

YES, I am bucking, I am  kicking AND snorting!!!

WHY did You do all this? Why all the months of training, 
if only to wait? To be shut into this starting gate???
Starting?? Really?  I thought we began a LONG time ago?"

Are we calmed down yet?  

 Has meekness finally settled like a blanket
over your soul?  
It has over mine. 
Oh, it took awhile! This whole series began one day

                          in prayer, seeking God's word for me and us as a couple 
in a very loooooooooooooooooooong and trying season,
   I saw a Chrysanthemum.

 I had no idea what it meant, but the vision was very clear. 
The individual petals and the layers of them were easily distinguished.  
     I then heard the Lord whisper "Meekness" and was reminded of Jeremiah 12:5
 “If you have raced with men on foot
    and they have worn you out,
    how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble, only feel secure in safe country,
    how will you manage in the flooding of the thickets by the Jordan?
In researching the Preakness, 
I learned that a blanket of chrysanthemums covers the winner!

So even if you are STILL in that starting gate,
 know that  the special attention and ornamentation lavished on a royal steed
 is the figure used to represent Jehovah’s turning his favorable attention
 to his repentant people, making them like a victorious war horse in Zec 10:3-6.
  We are His wild souls

trained to run;  His beautiful thoroughbreds

wise in navigating fields and streams,  and equipped for victory in battle. 

 NOW was it worth it???