Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A Prayer for Revealing Jesus When Feeling Great Stress "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." 2 Cor. 4:7-10 (I write these prayers for all of us. Sometimes I wake up and feel very strongly about writing a prayer that will help friends or loved ones find a voice to say what’s in their hurting or disconsolate heart. Today is just such a day. Though I’m not feeling heavy burdened for myself, I am heavy hearted for friends. Hopefully this will give them, and some of you, a pattern for crying out to our gracious God.) Dear Lord Jesus, to compare my season of stress with the apostle Paul’s would be like comparing my guitar playing with Eric Clapton’s, or my singing with Adele, or my cooking with the Iron Chef’s. There is simply no comparison. When I consider everything Paul experienced as your servant, honestly, I have nothing to bemoan or groan about. Nonetheless, Paul’s honesty is a great gift to me this morning. His freedom to acknowledge both his anguish and his joy in the same paragraph gives me tremendous encouragement and focus. Posing and pretending were crucified at Calvary. Despair and hopelessness were sabotaged by your resurrection. Denial and medicating the pain only work temporarily. Jesus, help me to be far more preoccupied with the treasure within than with the pressures without. If your all-surpassing power will be shown most dramatically through my weakness, I surrender to your will. If your incomparable beauty will be most clearly revealed through my hardships, I surrender to your ways. If your redeeming purposes will be most fully realized through my brokenness, I surrender to you. With my palms up, I offer you praise for the treasure of the gospel. The gospel will win the day, my heart, the nations, and the cosmos. Though there are seasons when throwing in the towel, finding another story, or just flat running away are incredibly attractive, where else would I go but to you? You alone give the words of life, the sufficient grace, and the hope of glory. May your voice be ten times louder than the murmurings around me and the grumblings inside me. Jesus, in the coming hours and days and weeks, prove the wonders of your love in some very hard providences. It’s not about making lemonade from lemons; it’s about trusting the God who raises the dead. So very Amen I pray, with hungry expectancy, in your powerful name.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Prayer changes everything. Prayer reveals and uncovers, it unbinds the heart that is filled with worrym fear, anxiety. Prayer can really change the outcome of a situation. Even if it may not go as planned, when it is bathed in prayer, the situation will soon be overcome with peace. I am learning, day by day, that I must walk through the day, praying through my day and talking to my sweet Savior. As I look around at my life, as long as I am daily walking in the Lord's presence, there will never be anything that can bring me stress, worry, fear, insecurity, anxiety. Lord Jesus, The peace you give dies much more than simply calm my restless wondering heart. Your peace has the power of reconciling. You enemies friends. You humble stubborn people, you soften heard poeple. You make angry peopple gentle. Lord, you are so good.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Consumed by fear or worry? I know that there are times when I feel completely unable to face the day due to stress or situations that are hard to face. I have found a passage that I repeat and read outloud. There is so much power whtn you read scripture to yourself. It is so calming, comforting, peaceful, and joyful. I mean, why not if those are the results you receive? Sit in the presence of an Almighty God. He is right beside you. Read this aloud to yourself: Psalm 139 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A Prayer for a Gospel Tongue and Healing Words The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov. 12:18) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (Col. 3:8) If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.( James 1:26) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) Gracious Lord Jesus, I love words. I especially love the way you use words to bring me healing, freedom, and hope. You never shame me with words. You never manipulate me with words. You never hurt me with words. You never flatter me, but you do bring great encouragement and eternal encouragement. You never repeat my failures to others; you only bring my sin and brokenness to the throne of grace. You never say too much or too little. You neither mince words nor waste words. You alone have the words of life. Incline my heart to hear and receive every sentence, word and syllable you utter… Jesus, today my prayer is simple, yet necessary: grant me greater stewardship of my words. As you speak to me, please speak through me. Grant me a gospel heart and healing words. I’m painfully aware that my words can bring great harm and death, even as they can be a source of hope and life (Prov. 18:21). If I’m not careful, my words can have the effect of gangrene, bring decay to hearts and relationships (Eph. 4:29). Lord Jesus, you tell me that my words are a sure reflection of what’s filling my heart: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). So no mere promise to avoid gossip, idle chatter, reckless words, or coarse jesting will be enough. I must constantly be preaching the gospel to my heart—filling my heart with your beauty and truth, kindness and grace. May the overflow of your mercy for me be obvious to all. I want my tongue to be a scalpel for healing, Jesus, not a hammer for harm. So very Amen I pray in your mighty and merciful name.
Monday, May 21, 2012
This was such a great blog to share, look on InCourage blogs to find more like this one: Music off, television off, phone left on silent, I’ve been dabbling with the quiet because I need to hear from God, but the truth about the quiet is that it has opened me up wide, turned on my dulled senses, and faced me toward my rawest, loneliest places. It is a constant struggle for me to not reach for my phone, always at my side. With my mouth I say I want to walk with God, but with my actions I crave a culturally acceptable numbness that keeps me from pain. Many of us know truth with our words and our songs and in our friendship conversations, but it feels rare to experience it in the seething corners of our hearts or in those hurt, magnified memories we keep close and shoved down. We start to feel the quiet working on us, and so we reach for the phone, scroll through instagram. I’m finding, even as I pursue the presence of God, that the quieter it gets, the lonelier I get and the more I am left to deal with my own thoughts and what I really believe about God. I’m beginning to see how I’ve discounted that I have the mind of Christ, that I am actually supposed to be able to hear myself think. I’ve started asking how lonely was Jesus in His flesh. Who knows what it’s like to be God with breakable bones? And then I imagine the desperate, internal communion Jesus kept with His Father, the kind of communion I want with Him, too. Because of Jesus, I’m starting to embrace the lonely, not hiding from it any more, and rather asking Jesus into it with me. Only then do I find myself truly not alone. Even in the intimacy metaphor we receive with marriage, even in our most unified moments, we can feel most alone. Even with your most favorite sisters, in huge crowds, and with a boat load of kids, we find ourselves deep in the crevices of loneliness. We find ourselves feeling exposed and unfixed because there is no people fix, no earthly father, no covering that will do other than the covering Jesus gives, the messianic fix. I believe we blow the horn asking all to gather in community often because we think it will save us – save us from ourselves. Community can point us in the right direction, but it still won’t fix us. We in our lonely can realize a love that hounds, the presence of invisible God, and only from the solitude found there can we reach out to community and practice the healing of togetherness in Him. What if we allowed the quiet, faced the lonely, and sat in it a bit? Might that lonely place be exactly where the door is, the one on which we knock, the one Jesus promises to open?
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
What you need to do, is to put your will over completely into the hands of your Lord, surrendering to Him the entire control of it. Say, "Yes, Lord, YES!" to everything, and trust Him to work in you to will, as to bring your whole wishes and affections into conformity with His own sweet, and lovable, and most lovely will. It is wonderful what miracles God works in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him. He turns hard things into easy, and bitter things into sweet. It is not that He puts easy things in the place of the hard, but He actually changes the hard thing into an easy one. -Hannah Whitall Smith
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Lord, without You I would be foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved. Today is a good day for me to remember the words of my spiritual father, Jack Miller, “A sign of your maturity in the gospel will be seen in terms of who you’re willing to disappoint.” Free me from the dread of disappointing people, Father. So what will I do with my restless, anxious feelings? Father, I would surely despair if I didn’t really believe you care for us, your children. That would be the one unbearable burden. But please help me know what anxiety casting actually looks like today and this whole week. Help me live this day at the pace of grace—no faster or slower.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. Ps. 118:6-9 Lord Jesus, I’m just waking up, and though I’m yawning my way into your presence, you are fully alert and engaged. What a Savior you are! You never sleep or slumber; you never need a break or vacation; you’re never moody; you never get bored with us; you never roll your eyes and say, “When will they ever get it?” You will never look for greener pastures or better sheep. I praise you for the constancy of your love. Jesus, it’s because your love is so unwavering that you’re so easy to trust. We can trust you fully for only you are fully trustworthy. I’m so thankful to affirm this truth with confidence this morning, especially as I pray for many friends who are raw and reeling with relational pain. Thank you for caring so deeply and so daily. You are the one and only constant in our lives. As broken people, we fail one another. I get that. But the gospel’s not supposed to make us immune to the pain of bruised trust, broken trust, or battered trust. Broken confidences and broken promises still hurt, no matter who they come from; but certainly they hurt much more when they come from the very people we should be able to trust. ”What can man do to me?” the psalmist asks (Ps. 118:6). Plenty, Jesus, plenty. But with you as our refuge, with you as our very present help, with you as our advocate, intercessor, sovereign Lord, and gracious Redeemer—with you as the only prince who can be trusted, the Prince of Peace, we don’t have to grow more angry, flint hard, and dangerously isolated. I bring hurting spouses, pained employees, used-up pastors, to you, Jesus. I bring parents whose children have emptied their emotional banks, and children whose parents have abandoned them for the American dream. I bring you broken friendships in which distance has replaced dancing, pretence has replaced prayer and illusion has replaced intimacy. Whatever the issues are, melt and mercy hard, hurting hearts. Hold these whom you love close to your compassionate and strong heart, and help them deal with the betrayals. Don’t let them squirm away in fear and anger. Time alone heals nothing. It only creates calluses and chasms. Jesus, write stories of gospel reconciliation and redemption. Be big and beautiful. This is your day and today matters forever. So very Amen I pray, in your singularly trustworthy name. -Scotty Smith
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Hello friends, I promise I am still alive. I have been MIA this past semester due to the responsiblities in my life. Yet, I am so thankful for every second, I do miss being able to blog whenever I please. Now that it is summer, I am so excited to say that I am going to try and pick up this love of mine back up again and really try to make it a habit. So here is my promise, I am going to try at least once a week! We will see how it goes. This past semester has been such a learning experience for me and my life. I am so thankful for every lesson, every person, and every situation that has occured. I am serving this year as Panhellenic President and it really has been such a dream come true. I can honestly say that the Lord has placed me here for a Him and His purpose. I have been able to glorify Him in so many ways and He has walked along side of me, also has gone before me, each and every step of the way. I have been able to say fully, "yes, Lord." He has been so faithful this past semester and I know He will continue to be in the coming days, months, and years after I have completed my term. This opportunity has helped me to realize that I can do nothing without His help. He is my giver of peace and rest, and I am complete in Him.