Process Pattern of Prayer

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Sometimes your heart is heavy about “stuff.”  You may not be angry…disappointed…not even sad. (“Well, maybe I have been a tad sad at times.  Smile.”)  Your heart is simply processing.

I believe that Jesus processed too, but He thrived in the process because He remained obedient.  He was fully human AND fully God.  Yet, Jesus showed His followers how to rightly process and remain obedient too. (“I want to thrive in obedience, Father!”)

The Bible illustrates how Jesus processed through the pattern of prayer.  The why’s, how’s, when’s (if you will allow me the word), and the other pictures of Jesus’ prayerful, process pattern guide:

Luke 5:16 shares how He prayed often and alone. Sometimes, we simply need to steal away and pray in the process.

John 17:9 shares how He prayed for others. Pray for others in the process.

Luke 9:28 shares how He prayed with others. Share your heart with those who have shown themselves to be trustworthy to pray with you in the process.

Luke 6:12 shares how He prayed all night.  Sometimes an all-nighter in the process happens.

John 8:31-32 shares how He prayed with the knowledge of Truth.  Truth will set you free. Pray with the knowledge of God’s Word in your heart.

God’s Truth also confirms our prayers will not always be answered as we expect.  Jesus knew this Truth, stating, “not my will but thy will…” (Matthew 26:36-44).

Is your heart heavy, processing something right now?  Do you know someone in the processing moment?  What has been your response? What is your method of processing?

The greatest desire of my heart is to glorify God.  (“Oh God, let this remain my heart’s cry!”) Nevertheless, sometimes, a “girl” must process. Let’s remember the pattern of prayer in the process, thriving in the Lord through obedience to y(our) Father!

Here’s to y(our) spiritual health!

~Shelly

P.S.  add your own verses of how Jesus (God’s Son) processed to the glory of God (His Father) and follow His process pattern of prayer!

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Live Christmas Everyday

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During the Christmas season, people for the most part are more loving, caring, and giving.  It’s like they get a glimpse of Jesus and share Him, even if it is just for a little while.

 

I think there is this whole innocence surrounding Christmas.  If we allow God to be seen through all the hustle and bustle, He will renew our hearts.  For me, as I’ve grown older and have leaned on God more and more, taking in the purity and joy of the season has renewed my faith.

I search for those glimpses of Jesus in others. I look for the good in them.  I am reminded that there is good in the world and that good is the love of God.

 

My favorite Christmas book is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Each year, when I read the last chapter, I have chills run through me. I am reminded that the picture of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus isn’t the pretty picture we see on Christmas cards, but like the narrator of the book said, they were refugees, stuck in place by people who didn’t really care much what happened to them.  They were dirty. They were tired. They were real.

 

And Jesus.

 

Jesus was born and lived….a real person.  He didn’t come down to earth like something out of Marvel Comics. He was born….like us. He lived on this earth….like us.  It was all for us.  The greatest gift…. was sent for us.

 

My faith is renewed during this time of year because there are those reminders of who Jesus is and what He means, whether its found in a Christmas movie or song or in a book about some wild kids who learn about Jesus through a Christmas pageant.

 

Through daily thanksgiving, I think it is possible to celebrate the birth of Jesus year round. We can do this through prayer, Bible study, praise, worship, and fellowship. We can do this by our thoughts, words, and actions. I think it is important to celebrate daily the birth of Jesus. If we show our love for him in all we do every day, people will catch on and want what we have…..HIM.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional, Holidays | Tagged , | 1 Response

Calm the Storm

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Today I have just finished celebrating the 4th birthday of our sweet daughter. The pride and joy she brings is incomparable. While I celebrate the day she was born, it also brings back some tough memories for me because her birth brought on physical, mental, and even spiritual battles.
Now, we are in the very last leg of welcoming our second daughter into the world any day now, and those memories sometimes trump the excitement we feel. I have been praying for peace and comfort, strength and safety, and calm instead of fear. My husband and I have been able to share our story with others continuously the past four years, but even more the last nine months because of what God is doing in our family. He has been working miracles, and we stay amazed at all He continues to bless us with. But in my mind still, I am wrestling with the storm of fear that should be replaced with this affirmed faith He has given us.
I am reminded of the story where Jesus walks on water to reach the disciples’ boat. When they saw Him, they immediately knew this was in itself a miracle to see someone walking on water. But Peter wasn’t satisfied there. He insisted that Jesus call him to come out and walk on the water as well. When Peter stepped out of the boat, he was also the immediate recipient of this miracle. But it quickly states in Scripture that Peter looked down at the water and took his eyes of Jesus, the author of this miracle. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. Did this discount the miracle in the first place that Jesus and Peter were both walking on water just because Peter began to sink? Absolutely not! However, Peter’s perspective changed, and he fell as fast as he realized the miracle. It doesn’t end there, though. Jesus could have very well looked at Peter’s lack of faith in that moment and said, “Sorry, Peter. I can’t help you if you don’t have enough faith.” And Jesus would have been entitled to do so. However, Jesus came and lifted Peter out of the water to increase his faith that much more.
I was reading a blog earlier this week and a quote from the author hit me like a ton of bricks.
“Even the strongest believers will waiver if they take their eyes off of the One who knocked on the door in the first place.”
She was referring to opportunities that Christ has given us. Chances to show real faith in who He is and what He has done and will continue to do if only we can keep our eyes on Him. The author of the miracles.
For me, sharing my story is an opportunity. Believing in each miracle that God has revealed to my family even just the last few months has given us a renewed faith. However, I also take my eyes off Jesus when fear gets in my way. When Satan tries to come and fill my mind with doubt or frustration or even anxiety about things that are out of my control, it is only because I have taken my eyes of the One who offers me the chance to daily increase my faith. When I allow fear to overtake my faith, it is not Jesus’ fault. In fact, He doesn’t even let me stay in that mindset, because He comes to lift me up out of the water I feel like I’m drowning in and set my faith on His steady promises.
I am praying for God to continue to calm my storm and increase my faith. My focus need not waiver because He is the author of the hope that gives substance to my faith.

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Moms, Prayer, Women's Ministry | 1 Response

2017 Week of Prayer for International Missions

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December 3rd-10th is the 2017 Week of Prayer for International Missions. I was given a pamphlet in our church bulletin yesterday filled with 8 days of ways to be in prayer and how to support our missionaries by giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Our prayers and donations for these missionaries helps them to spread the Gospel and serve. The national goal this year is $160 million. That number may seem overwhelming to you but know that we serve a big God! Be praying now for how you can help! So many lives have been transformed through these gifts. The donations that are given through Lottie Moon Offerings are used to send missionaries and provide for the work the Lord has given them to do. One hundred percent of your donation goes to the missionaries.

If you do not have a pamphlet, you can go to  http://www.imb.org and find what day we are currently praying on, as well as seeing the prior days. There is also an area where you can donate to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.

Let us lock arms together during this time and pray and give! Hop on over to the International Mission Board today for more information!

Blessings!

Shana

Posted in Evangelism, Holidays | 1 Response

Something Good and Beautiful

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Currently, I am reading one of my favorite books, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskin, to my fifth grade homeroom.  The main character, Caitlin, a child with asperger’s, is dealing with the death of her brother.  She’s searching for closure for herself, her father, and her new friend Michael, whose mother was killed along with her brother.

 

During the process of finding closure, Caitlin says, “I don’t think I’m going to like it at all. I think it’s going to hurt. But after the hurt, I think maybe something good and strong and beautiful will come out of it.” Each time I read those words, my breath is taken away, and I choke away tears because….well, isn’t it true?

 

We go through trials. We make mistakes.  We hurt, and we ache.  But God promises us this in Romans 8:28: All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Paul’s words tell me that, God is going to use my hurt, my struggles, and my pain for something good and strong and beautiful. The translation of Romans in 8:28 in The Voice confirms: We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

And I look around at my sisters in Christ, at what they are going through……brain cancer, miscarriage, deployment, loss of job…..whatever the struggle, whatever the trial, whatever the tragedy…..God will accomplish His purpose through those things. God’s purpose, God’s will is good and beautiful and perfect.  Therefore, we can be like James and declare with confidence, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3)

 

Some of us will run into this holiday season with excitement and anticipation of perfect gatherings and celebrations.  Others will tiptoe with dread and anxiety because they won’t hang the stocking of the child they lost, or a beloved family member will be missing from the dinner table.  But God is in those moments.  He will take those sorrows and bring something beautiful out of them because He is the God of Hope, and what better time of year to be reminded of that than during the Season of Hope.

 

I’m praying for you, friend.  I’m praying that you’ll lay down any burden you have this holiday season, that you’ll allow God to bring healing and peace, so you can be a walking testimony to His goodness.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional, Holidays | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

Shouting Praises

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I will thank Yahweh with all my heart; I will declare all Your wonderful works.

Psalms 9:1, HCSB

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope you are enjoying yourselves with your families and eating too much turkey! I’m blessed to spend my Thanksgiving with my mom and dad’s families this year. I praise the Lord that I still have both sets of grandparents in my life! They have been great spiritual mentors in my life. The Lord is faithful in all His ways!

Today’s post is about thanking Yahweh with all our hearts and declaring His wonderful works! How has the Lord blessed you? To be cliche, what are you thankful for? Please comment on this blog or comment on our KBC Women Connect Facebook Page!

I am so blessed that in thirteen short weeks I will get to see my son’s beautiful face. I am so blessed to have a husband who loves and cares for me with all his heart. I am blessed to have my dream job with amazing students whom I love dearly. I am blessed to be spending Thanksgiving with family and pigging out on delicious turkey and mashed potatoes!! The Lord is faithful in all He does and I am blessed to know Him as my Lord and Savior!

Thank You Lord for all Your wonderful works. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ to save us from our sin. Thank You for being so personal. Thank You for holidays that we can spend together as families. Thank You for blessing us, even when we forget how blessed we are. We love You Lord. In Christ I pray, Amen. 

~Lauren Ray

Posted in Christian Living, Holidays | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

Thankfulness

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It is Thanksgiving week.  I love Thanksgiving…maybe it’s the food.  That is part of it, but I love the focus we place on our blessings.

Last week, my husband and I were having an extra crazy and chaotic week.  A sweet friend in our church called and said she was bringing dinner.   I was so thankful for her friendship and thoughtfulness and the really good soup.  What a blessing she was.

Tonight, I am spending some time with my daughter, her husband and grand-gifts #1 & #4.  The hugs, smiles and “will you play with me” are another blessing.

For Thanksgiving Day this year, we have the rare opportunity to have our children and grands together with my sister, brother-in-law and mom.  I can’t remember the last time we got to be together.  Another blessing.

There are so many times I am the recipient of gifts, acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.  I try to express my appreciation to everyone who makes an impact in my life.

But, do I express the appreciation where it is ultimately due?  It is important to let people know they are loved and appreciated, but even more important is to let our God know how much we appreciate all that he does for us – even through others.

In His Word, we are reminded that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.  In Philippians, Paul thanks God for every remembrance of those partnering with him in ministry.

So, as we approach Thanksgiving Day, are you expressing your thankfulness to those God is using to be a blessing in your life and are you thanking your Heavenly Father for them.  Are you allowing God to bless others through your life by being an extension of His mercy and blessing?

Let Thanksgiving Day be a day of thankfulness for our blessings, leading to the season of Christmas, a time to express our thankfulness for the ultimate gift.

Thank Him,

Lisa

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

Blessed Beyond Belief

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““And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”” Luke 1:45 NASB

I have been so blessed and I absolutely have to share my blessings with you all! You may or may not know that I am pregnant with a blessed baby boy. We are only 14 short weeks away from meeting him!! Anyway, I  can remember when I prayed to have a baby. When I cried out to God and begged Him to bless my womb. But God answered me by telling me to wait on His perfect timing. I didn’t want to wait (does anyone??), but I know God’s timing is much better than mine. In May, I received an offer for my dream job. I was ecstatic, but I thought I would not have children of my own, at least not for a few more years. Well a month later we discovered that God’s timing is definitely NOT our timing and a little one was on the way. I believed in His promise to me to have a child, and I feel most certainly blessed. It is overwhelming: the awesomeness of our Lord and Savior.

Praise the Lord! He fulfills His promises to us!!! The above verse speaks of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She knew that the Lord had big plans for her and trusted in His timing and words. I am so grateful that God chose to include Mary’s pregnancy in the Bible. What an amazing example to us! We can be blessed to know that God does care for us and will fulfill His promises.

As for this pregnancy, the Lord is to be praised. The baby is healthy, I am healthy, and no complications so far. I am so thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to carry this baby. And I can’t wait for the day when we will get to hold our sweet Elias Gabriel.

Lord, thank You for fulfilling Your promises. In Christ I pray, Amen

~Lauren Ray

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Thankfulness Lost in Busyness

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Life is so fast, right? When I turned 40 last summer it was like my life light turned yellow. It was a divine signal to yield, slow down and enjoy life. I am a goal getter and for me slowing down caused me to have anxiety about hitting the brakes and saying, “No”, when I wanted to scream, “Yes!”

I am a work in process. Still even this morning, I am saying, “No, not right now”, and feeling guilty for not being able to continue life in the fast lane. You know girls, our bodies were not created for a constant flurry of busyness. The Lord has brought it to my attention that we were instead created for thankfulness. YES! Even in my struggle to be transformed from the busy Mama life into the thankful Mama life, I am finding freedom in basking in gratitude and thankfulness.

As I sat in my chair, with datebook in hand, planning my month (yes, an entire month), the Lord gently said, “When you are consumed by busyness you are unable to be influenced by thankfulness”.

So as we enter into the busiest season of the year, let us enter in with a heart filled to the brim with thanksgiving. We often ask, “What can I possibly do to bless the Lord?” After all He is the Creator of all things. Perhaps we could use our thankfulness as a way to bless Him. What if we lived out Psalm 100:4 in our every day life?

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name.

Thankful,

Shana

 

 

 

 

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He’s Our All in All

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I’ve toiled around many different topics to write about this week: Veterans Day, Military Life, Service, Sacrifice, Thanksgiving, Thankfulness, Community. But last night, I stayed out way too late on a school night at a Chonda Pierce concert. She said something that stuck with me, and I really feel the need to share it with you.

Chonda has been through so much in her life – hurt, devastation, abuse, depression, loss – yet, she has remained faithful to God. Here’s why:

The same God that provides peace for her is the same God that provides healing to someone else.

Here’s what she reminded us:

No matter what we are going through, God can meet our needs. If we are sick, He can provide healing. If we are lonely, He can provide companionship. If we feel hopeless, He gives us hope. Need peace? He can provide that too.

Our Mighty Lord is our All in All. He’s our Comforter. He’s our Healer. He’s our Redeemer. Whatever our need, He has the power to meet that need.

So, today, with this short, simple post, I urge you, Sister, to call out to God. Place your hope and your confidence in Him. The same God that provided emotional healing after my miscarriage can bring you comfort after your loss. The same God that gave me peace when my husband was deployed can provide hope in your time of desperation. Let God be your All in All.

Posted in Christian Living, Prayer, Uncategorized, Women's Ministry | Leave a comment