Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thughts of Advent: Week 1

The word ‘Advent’ means approach, or coming. As Christians celebrate Advent, they remember the three comings of our Lord: 1) His introduction to the world as the infant King, 2) His coming into our hearts and lives by the presence of His Holy Spirit, and 3) His final coming (which they await with anticipation)! Christians probably began to celebrate Advent in the late 4th century as a way to go before God in quiet and prepare for His coming. This year, Advent began yesterday (November 29) and will culminate in celebration on Christmas Eve.

This is the first week of Advent. As I considered this week’s Heart to Heart, the Lord stirred my heart to return to the message of Advent. An Advent journey provides a time to examine the darkness of this world and our expectance of the light that is Jesus. My reflections provided time to think about my life and all those moments spent waiting on the Lord, trusting in Him. Advent presents an opportunity to wait on the Lord and to consider the light that comes into our lives through His coming – then, now and yet to come during the wedding feast with the Lamb.

The truth is that in my entire life, the most meaningful times have been those times when I was not assured of my outcomes ~ painful times when I was forced to trust God with my life. I’ve not once come to the place of acceptance without some kind of struggle. But it has always been in the process of struggle where the Lord ministered to me most mightily, taught me most patiently, and built my faith most assuredly because of His faithfulness and mercy over me.

I know what my promises are as a child of God, but I also know that our Father God, our Savior Jesus, and our comforter and friend, Holy Spirit, are not all-powerful Santa figures with no purpose other than to grant our every wish. We have become fat, indulgent Christians. We have lost sight of the truth of the Gospels and the awesome responsibility and accountability that comes with wearing the tag ‘Child of God’. Our vision has become narrow and blurred and we cannot see clearly the suffering of this world. We do not hear clearly the direction of our Lord. We are generally lost within the small areas where we are planted. We (I) fail regularly to recognize the opportunities that the Spirit of the Living God sets before me.

As the season of giving is upon us, consider what the Lord had to say in Mark 10:18-22. "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Likewise, as I examine where the treasure of my heart is, I remember these words in Matthew 6:20-22: Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.

Lord, help us to be faithful to take the time to consider and to reflect on the truth that is Christmas. Lord, allow us to be faithful to an Advent journey that requires us to take an honest look at the darkness in the world and in our own hearts. Let our hope be in the light of Christ’s coming and in God’s plan for mankind and the joy that comes in knowing our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Let us not get lost in the trappings of retail marketing but rather let our gifts be the gifts of a humble heart, the gifts of kindness and time. Let us consider the poor and ask, “Lord, where would you have us plant the seed that you have so graciously supplied?” It is good to give good gifts to our children, but please don’t let us fail in sharing the knowledge with them that the gifts that truly matter cannot be bought or sold.

Help us walk a little more softly, speak a little more quietly, and love a little bit more openly. Thank you, Lord, that you continue your work in us. Each day with you brings us just a little closer to your character . . . knowing that sometimes the process requires that we become painfully aware of our shortcomings and the hypocrisy between our actions and the things we say. Let us forgive those who fail us as you forgive us when we fail you.

We love you, Jesus. For all of us . . . help us take time to consider this Advent season and let us taste of intimacy with you. Walk in our midst. Perform your work of grace, and prepare us to be ready for the celebration of your coming!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 12

March 8, 2009
This week, we embrace a new theme and pray for the spiritual awakening of those who do not yet follow Yeshua, Jesus. Oh Lord, how sweet for me to lift my father and my brother before you and tell you what they mean to me and have meant to my life. How I long that they would come into the presence of the King of Kings. You, my Lord, are the God of the impossible, so a few hard headed and hearted Swedes are not too much for you! You can draw them and break the yokes that bind them. I rejoice because you have promised me that you will. I just want to praise you for that Lord. To me belongs obedience, to YOU belongs fruit. Yet as I pray, I also pray today for my neighbors: for Bob and his family, for Sharon and Denny, for Margaret and Pete.

I believe the current situation in the US will bring many people to repentance, Lord. As difficult times come, folks begin to understand their need for you; they begin to look for answers. We do everything possible to avoid pain, but pain brought salvation to me. My need for you, and your faithfulness to me created a relationship that I could not imagine living without. What do people who do not know you do in times of trial? I cannot imagine a life without the Lord of hope. Many are in despair today, Lord. Draw them, I pray. Many have heard the gospel and rejected it. You are the God of mercy. Remove the scales that blind them and help them to see. Open ears and hearts to hear and receive. Bring them to sincere repentance, Lord.

Your word says for today . . . Isaiah 55:6-7. Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Matthew 13:15. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. Soften the calloused heart, Lord. You desire that no man should perish. Let your kindness and love reveal mercy anew.

I pray today for our government. It is calloused, Lord, blind and deaf. I pray Lord that you call our government to sincere repentance through the kings you have positioned in its seats of authority. May corruption be driven from the high courts and places of decision. May you guard our kings and send them wise counsel. May you create in them a repentant heart. May they know and honor YOU o God.

Today we begin to pray for Asia and the Pacific. We pray for Afghanistan, a womb of terror and ask that you bring hope to believers there. Move in Afghanistan, Lord, to reveal the God who is the real and true and only God. And we pray, Lord, that you move in these countries too: American Samoa, Antarctica, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, and Cambodia.
In Jesus name.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 11

March 7, 2009

Oh, Lord that you would manifest your presence and your glory!! You are our God, we are your people. The scriptures declare: Ezekiel 3:27-28. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.' John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. What incredible love, what incredible grace you bestow on us, Lord.

Move in us, come upon us, form us to be a people who know and celebrate you. Yes! I love the words of the booklet when they say, “Utterly preside over us”. Manifest your splendor. Mark us with holiness. Let your beautiful character be notorious in us!!

Jesus, in YOU we do glimpse the glory of God. Jesus you DO anchor heaven’s life on earth. What will it be like to know you in your fullness? Glory too wonderful for me to grasp here. Open my eyes, Lord, that I might see you. Open my ears, Lord, so that I will not miss your call. Let your Spirit fall upon us like an avalanche. Burn your truth in our hearts to refine us into useable vessels. We want to see YOU JESUS!! Lord, let our minds be filled with you. Reveal your magnificence in our community.

Lord, we pray today for gangs. Fill the longing for significance of these broken children with your significance to changed lives. Break the yokes that bind them and keep them bound. Send Christ followers into their midst. I pray especially today for Linda Olson and all of the workers in Kid’s ROCK and youth. Bless them, Lord. Anoint them. I pray for Ted and Miki and the work at the Boy’s and Girl’s Home. I pray for Tony. Let his desire be not linked to broken kids but to be linked to you, Jesus.

Lord, I weep and repent for the United States. Move in her, O God. Move mighty and strong in her. Lord, we are so desperate for you. And as you move in us, move too in Uruguay, Venezuala, the Virgin Islands. Pour out your Spirit, Lord. Pour out in Jesus name. Manifest your mighty presence and your glory!!

Seeking God for the City, Day 10

March 6, 2009

Seeking God for the restoration of families . . .Lord, we have turned our backs on the values of our parents and the foundations of righteousness that made us a great country, that caused us to see your protective hand upon us. Today more children live in one parent families than two. If you just looked through natural eyes, it would appear that the enemy has been victorious over the structure you designed to teach of relationship with you.

Today’s verse in Malachi 4 says in the Amplified version, And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the [estranged] fathers to the [ungodly] children, and the hearts of the [rebellious] children to [the piety of] their fathers [a reconciliation produced by repentance of the ungodly], lest I come and smite the land with a curse and a ban of utter destruction.

Lord, our land is rapidly deteriorating. Our fathers and mothers have abandoned the gates. For so many years, we have had broken children making broken children. As a result, too many children have no foundation, no hope. They are angry, Lord. They rebel.

Lord, you are the God who is able. Come today as Father to call the broken children of all ages. Set watch in the church that we who know the love of Christ would arise and stand and embrace our broken brothers and sisters and children. Lord, we have a nation of walking wounded who have not learned of your precepts. Call them to healing, Lord.

I pray today for the prodigal children. I thank you for your promise over them, Lord. I thank you that you word says in Jeremiah, This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more." This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. "They will return from the land of the enemy. Comfort the hearts of those who wait upon you mighty God.

I pray for Christian ministries, Lord. May the boundaries that have been stretched so far they are almost impossible to see lead back to truth. Pour out your anointing on those with a fresh message, a bold word, those who strive to be obedient. Renew your vision in your people. Encourage your laborers.

We pray today for the people of St. Kits and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and the Caicos Islands. We could use some of the pureness of those who serve you in small island nations.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 9

March 5, 2009

Ah Lord, the subject today is obedience, that thing that calls us to daily determinations to serve you in righteousness and truth. We will never really reach that place of full obedience here I don’t think, but every day I walk with you, I desire more to be obedient to your precepts and your standards for a daughter of God. I love today’s verses . . . from Ezekiel 36:26-27, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. I can’t do it without you, Lord. It is you who changes my corrupted heart and through Holy Spirit changes my desire so that I can walk just a little better in your statutes and your judgments. You see how I struggle. But like your servant David, you also see that my heart hungers for you, and that I truly long to be renewed in Your Spirit.

I also love the scripture today from Mark 12:30-31, and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” I do love\you, Lord, with all of my heart. And I love your people. I long to be in your presence and I rejoice in the fellowship of the saints. But do I take enough time to reach out to my neighbors? I think not. Do I persevere enough to witness to those I love who do not know you? I keep thinking about Esther before Xerxes as she poured out to the king about how much Mordecai meant to her, what he meant to her life. She longed for Mordecai to enter into the presence of the king. Oh God, I long for those I love to enter into your presence. Help me love better.

I don’t always know the defining line between nagging those I yearn to see in your presence and just sharing my love for you with them. Help me with discernment, Lord. I hunger for those I know that love you to walk in the full measure of your blessing. I didn’t always do that, yet you were faithful to draw me to you. Help me discern between your nudging and my own desire. I know that if I am not operating in you, any thing I do is vain. With unfeigned humility, I do ask that you fulfill your ancient promise to change hearts of stone into hearts that burn with passion.

Father, let me reflect Jesus, I pray. There is no good thing in me without Jesus. I pray you pour out your blessing on your sons and daughters, Lord. May many be surprised by the love of their Christ following neighbors.

Lord, I lift women before you with delight. I pray in agreement with thousands that women would be honored for their unique glory as created by God. I pray that every injustice toward women would cease. I pray for sisters to be released today, Lord, in the freedom that comes from loving you. I pray for renewed hope for women. I pray for Godly companions for single women seeking a spouse. I pray that single women would know the hope of great joy and purpose you have for them in your glory! And I pray a special blessing today over each of my sisters in the Lord. You know who they are, Lord. Thank you for positioning them in my life.

And I pray today for Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. More of those island countries, Lord. I love the music of the islands. I pray today for the songs of praise of your people to ascend to the throne from the islands.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 8

March 4, 2009

Lord, today we ask that you renew our passion to worship. On Day 8, our Seeking God for the City guide leads us to Psalm 70:4 and says, But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "Let God be exalted!" Luke 10:21 addresses the joy of Christ . . .At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth . . .”

I sometimes wonder how often we rejoice in the “joy” of our salvation. Or if we are fully aware of what is contained in the blessed eternal covenant in which those who accept the work of Christ and the cross are transferred into the family of God. Lord, too often we cry “help” instead of offering praise. Our outcomes are established. What could possibly happen here on earth that would separate us from your love? Your word says nothing. We depend so much on feeling. Yet faith and love are not feelings, in the fullness of both is a decision, a determination to believe you.

I love to spend my time with the family of God. It is different knowing the love of those who know the love of the Father. I think about conversations about Jesus with my sisters and brothers, and I see the delight through their eyes as they speak of the one who loves them. And worship is a decision too. True worship is obedience. The real song of the heart comes through obedience and communication with you, Lord. As we seek you first, a song rises from your faithfulness over us.

Lord, so many Christians are trying to straddle the world’s fence today. We can’t do it. A man cannot serve two masters. Father in Jesus name; call those brothers and sisters who struggle so with unbelief and depression to that place where praise abides. When we are praising you, Lord, when we are in the act of lifting our praise in sincere gratitude, depression and oppression have to leave the building!! Empower us with Holy Spirit. Show us what pleases you. Fill us, Lord.

Let us pray today for the arts and entertainment industry. Every good and lovely gift comes from you, O Lord. You are the Father of all creativity. Thank you, Lord, for those celebrities who give you the glory. Thank you, Lord, for quality Christ based movies and books. Thank you, Lord, for those righteous voices which strive to supply wholesome and value based entertainment to your people.

But Lord, please don’t let our church be performance oriented, but let us be Holy Spirit driven. Let us come to worship not expecting to be entertained, but rejoicing together in a song that rises from your faithfulness. Let our worship be acceptable to you, Lord.

Today we pray for the Netherlands, the Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru. As we’ve prayed this week, I am reminded of the vast number of countries who are bordered by the oceans. Let the living waters cover your people, Lord. Awaken our hearts in Jesus name.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 7

Today, I join with thousands of others in the nation, to ask God to reveal His glory amidst His people. The scripture reference is found in Isaiah 60:1-3 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” John 17:22 says, I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

Oh Jesus, how I hunger for your light. How I hunger for your glory in midst of your people. There is so much darkness every where we look, even in us, Lord, and only the flame of Holy Spirit can change it around. Today has been a tough day for me. Don’s cancer was removed from his lip. Tony had the flue, I had what looked like a hundred unanswered emails, many with some kind of dilemma to deal with. I am grasping for structure, but things have just been out of sorts for many reasons.

Yet tonight, I knew that I could come into the quiet place and meet with you and be refreshed in the water of your word. You, Lord, are an every ready sanctuary I can run to, a shelter in the chaos that surrounds me far to often. I love to run to you, but my heart grieves for those who do not know the lover of their soul. Yet, your word says that you have given us the glory that the Father gave you, so that we might be one. Let your glory in us, Lord, shine in the place where we have been planted.

Lord, draw your people together in our city. Make us one. Bless those who work diligently to bring unity to the Body of Christ in Siouxland. Help us understand the central and core issues of Christianity and help us not get lost in things that do not matter. Let our light shine as your glory falls so that those with no hope, those so in need of the Son might see and be attracted. I thank you, Lord, for this day.

We pray for those men and women in the military today. O Lord, who know where this country is going except for you? I am so reminded of the wonderful Israeli gentlemen I sat with on the airplane from Tel Aviv to Zurich. He said {of the IDF} we teach them not only of the faithfulness of God over our people from the earliest of days, but we teach them that they must all do their part to protect this land for our survival as a nation depends on both. Lord, bless our soldiers. Keep watch over them, I pray. Draw them close to you. Such young faces, such horrific responsibility. Quicken the hearts of this nation to support them and quicken the hearts of those who love you to pray for them. Be with the families who wait for sons and daughters to come home. Let your glory cover those who serve.
Lord, we also pray today for the Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico and Montserrat. Have your way, Lord. Blessed be your name!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 6

March 2, 2009

I love the encouragement in Day 6 of Seeking God for the City to stir us to persistent, united prayer. Ezekiel lived in a time not terribly different than our own. As the Lord spoke with Ezekiel, He gave a word that was instrumental in my own exhortation to become faithful in prayer. It is from the 22nd Chapter of Ezekiel and says, “Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says'-when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." O Lord, may it never be that your people abandon the walls, and may there always be those called to stand in the gap.

Today’s SGFC guide gives us this marvelous promise from Isaiah 62, I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. I am convinced that we will never understand the mystery of prayer completely - nor will we grasp how important prayer is to the releasing of God’s purpose upon the earth - until we meet Him face to face. But how wonderful to know that God has, in fact, appointed watchmen on the walls! They are called intercessors, and my personal prayer today is that through Christ Jesus a strong army of them rise up in every church in Siouxland to watch over and guard the walls of our people . . .to especially watch over and guard the walls of our pastors and their families . . . to watch over the walls of the city . . . to be obedient to the Lord in prayer.

Lord, move in us to make a fresh commitment to time spent with you in prayer. Teach us, O Lord, to pray kingdom prayers. Help us to see your broader vision. As our guide says today, Infuse us with YOUR adamant, enduring zeal. Train us to pray in patient pursuit of Your promises. Lord, we pray, create new movements and opportunities for prayer in our city . . . with each other . . . with other believers and churches. Create in us a pure heart, a clean spirit that we may be used by You!!

And today, Lord . . .We do pray in alignment with Seeking God for the City and intercede for those who are sick in our community. Give them healing and comfort; Let them grow in Godly character as You walk with them in their ordeal. Provide for their financial needs. Strengthen and encourage and refresh the care givers and loved ones who stand with them. Renew for all their trust in Christ and encourage them to follow him boldly, even in affliction. Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 5

March 1, 2009

Today’s scripture is mighty, and I receive it, I declare it, and I praise God for its promises, for they are most dear to my heart!!! Isaiah 44:3-4 {By the way, Isaiah is one of my favorite books to dwell in}. And God says, For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

At the end of my life, I have but one deep, deep desire of the heart . . . that all of my children and grandchildren will know Christ in His fullness and walk with Him in the valley of surrender and Lordship. My kids had a rough beginning. I am convinced to this day that their dad was saved, but addictions he could not gain victory over would steal his life. I remember in the early days of struggle, having a sister in Christ remind me that God’s promise to me was that He would be my husband and father to my children. Over the course of many years, that truth would become so real, such a central part of my love for him. I would (and still do) continue to lift them to God and bring to His remembrance that promise that He would be “Father” to them.

My kids have not escaped the natural consequences of the sins of the parents, and they have struggled. But they have also learned that the yokes are broken through the atonement of Jesus, and that He is their salvation, their healing, their hope. Today, all of my kids love God, though not all are walking in intimacy with Him. God’s favor over Shawna has been incredible to say the least. John has all of his natural father’s good character traits and gifts and a few that have created some problems for him, yet the Spirit of his Father God is strong in him too. I see that. Summer also loves God, and I am confident that He watches over Summer in a way that I cannot. I see God move in Tony, and I know that as much as I worry about him, God loves him and will care for him. God will complete His promise in my offspring. My descendents will be blessed! They WILL know God – not just know about him. That my friends, makes me dance in the Spirit. And God’s promises also pertain to my dad and to my brother. In due time and season, they will know God. It is my promise from my Father who has always been faithful to His word. And if God says it, it’s good enough for me!!

My granddaughter Kate has already shown a mantle for prayer. My grandmother was a woman of prayer. I didn’t know my mom’s mother. She died before I was born, but as I understand it, she was one of those baptized in Holy Spirit in the first great outpouring of His Spirit in the early 1900s. I wonder about those in my family who held a mantle of intercession before I was born, who paved the way in prayer for me to know God. Someday, I will know them. Some day I will thank them.

Today I pray, Lord, pour out on those I love. Deluge them in the flood of Holy Spirit. Let the waters of the river of life soak them in steady streams. Let your holy rain forever fill any dry or parched places. Make appointments for my kids while I am away from them with strong people of God. Make appointments for me with someone elses kids who need to be loved on a little. Make appointments for every abandoned and neglected child in this city. Draw the hearts of the parents, and bring hope to the broken child. Let your streams of living water flow through Sioux City and the Church of Sioux City. Awaken the intercessors. Let us boldly arise to declare Sioux City as Kingdom Territory!!

I pray for families today. Our families are broken. Our people confused and in bondage to the one who lies to their soul. Make them thirsty for you, Lord. Draw them. Heal families, Lord. Restore. I love you Yeshua. I love you, Father. I love you Holy Spirit. Thank you for changing my life and giving me a new foundation.

Father, today I pray for El Salvador, the Falkland Islands, French Guinea, and Greenland. Pour out on them, Lord. Pour out in their children. In Jesus name.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 4

February 28, 2009

Today’s scripture from Seeking God for the City. Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Brought to my remembrance, Isaiah 6:5-6. Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! Then flew one of the seraphim [heavenly beings] to me, having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with tongs from off the altar; And with it he touched my mouth and said, Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.
As an intercessor, I understand the importance of obedience to prayer. Praise, God, I also understand grace. Yet, as God has given me burden for my city, my family, and more . . . the enemy continues to lob those nasty but mostly misguided missiles into the territory of my mind and sometimes my lips. One of the dearest desires of my heart is to use my lips to encourage, exhort, and build up others. Yet those same lips that desire to bless can get ugly. Lord, forgive me. Create in me a clean heart. Renew your spirit in me day by day and keep me faithful. I love the joy of your salvation. If someone says something that my “hurt” my feeling, I don’t have to retort with a tongue lashing. How grateful I am that Holy Spirit fills my mouth with your message in my time of need. It’s not about me, Jesus, it’s all about you.

All week long the words of this song have been singing in my head. Purify my heart, cleanse me from within to be like Jesus. Purify my heart, Lord. Keep me tightly attached to you. I want to be holy, set apart for you, my master, ready to do your will. As I ask you to change my darkened city, I ask you to cleanse my mind, my life. Cleanse my lips. I want to serve you well and with integrity.

Today I pray: Lord, there are so many in Siouxland who are captive to sin, desperate to find something to satisfy the hole in the heart. Underneath most of the cynicism is brokenness and hopelessness. Lord, move, I pray. Position appointments with these to begin to hear and see light. Move hearts to be desperate to be free from sin. Move hearts to be hungry for the compassionate one, the approachable one . . . hungry for you, Lord.

Lord, I pray today for my pastors: for Gene and for Dan and for their families. I’ve looked so long for pastors, for a church like I have today. I absolutely do not take them for granted because I see your hand upon them, I recognize your anointing. Multiply that anointing day by day, Lord. Pour out your Spirit upon them. Call them to deeper places of intimacy with you. Let them know the deepest meaning of “friendship” with you, Lord. Protect them and protect their families and their land from any wiles of the evil one. Do awesome things on their behalf. Amaze them with your favor. Make them magnets for other pastors in our city. Draw our pastors together that we might seek you as one voice. Protect our pastors in our city. Shake them up, wake them up, bring fire!! Bring healing!! Bring intercessors to guard their gates and watch over them in prayer.

And today, Lord, we pray for the strongholds of Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. Move, Lord, move. You are able!! Where there is oppression, be the light that shines brightly in the darkness. Where sin abounds, let grace be boldly evident!!

In Jesus name.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Seeking God for the City, Day 3

February 27, 2009

Today’s scripture, Psalm 130:3-8. If You, Lord, should keep account of and treat [us according to our] sins, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You [just what man needs], that You may be reverently feared and worshiped. I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope. I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, I say, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is mercy and loving-kindness, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.

Lord, I am so grateful this morning that I have opportunity to come before you as I start my day. I am so grateful that you have rescued me from such a broken foundation, and consistently and steadfastly day by day over the years turned my hopelessness into such joy. I love you so much because you loved me so greatly. In my sin, you sent Yeshua, Jesus. You began a new work to change me from the inside out that continues to this very day and will no doubt continue until that time I stand before you face to face. You, O Lord, draw me unto you and change my heart. Even this day, I see you at work in my life changing flesh driven thoughts and remolding them into Christ driven direction. You waken me in the wee hours of the morning and my thoughts are of you. I love the way Holy Spirit ministers to me, even as I sleep. I just want to say thank you. I just want to tell you that I cannot imagine my life without you. I give you all of me to do with as you will, Lord.

Today I pray:

For all the Christians in my life, in my church, in my city, who have wandered from you because something has come into their lives and replaced the time they used to spend with you. Or maybe they have been broken or wounded within the Body of Christ. I ask that you draw them, Lord. That you breathe new passion, new hope, new fervor into them. I ask, my Lord, that you position each one of us with best friends in Yeshua . . . some one to help us be accountable, someone to give strength when the load is heavy, someone to encourage us in our excitement for you. Breathe fire in us, Lord.

I pray for those I love who don’t know you and who are held captive by invisible prisons of sin. I ask that you call them, Lord, that you lead them to new life. I pray in the name of Yeshua that the scales which keep them blind be removed. Bring revelation and transform them by His mercy.

I pray for those who have lost jobs and have not found employment. Father God, in that name above all names there are those I especially lift before you today and ask that you go before them and prepare the way. Lord, I ask your favor for my dear friends Rick Z in S CA, Donovan W, Tom V, Krista H, and Terri B in Houston. When the time of John’s service to his sister is over, I pray you arrange appointments for him and find him a good job. I ask you to guard over and watch Otis and Jim and Bob. I pray you walk before Rayne and all those at GTW who are waiting for termination dates. You are the God who is able!! Provide for these, Lord. Open new doors of opportunity I pray.

In a time of economic challenge, I praise you for provision over your people. Your word says I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live; And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God. Ecc. 3:12-13 Your word also says in Philippians 4:18-20, But I have [your full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever (through the endless eternities of the eternities).
Amen (so be it).

So be it, Lord. Have your way with us. Have mercy upon us in our sin. Bring revival to our land and our territory. You, O mighty Father, already desire that no man should perish, that all would know you. Let us release your will on earth through prayer and declaration in Jesus name.

Today we pray for Canada, Lord, and ask your spirit to fall on Canada our neighbor as it falls on the US. We pray for the British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, and the countries of Chile and Columbia South America needs you, Lord. The island territories need you, Lord. Fall on them, we pray.

Seeking God for the City, Day 2

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The message today encourages us to pray for break through in complacency and pride. The scripture: Isaiah 29:13-14 (Amplified Bible) And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning], Therefore, behold! I will again do marvelous things with this people, marvelous and astonishing things; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their discerning men will vanish or be hidden.

Lord, I pray that I never become skilled in religious performance. I don’t mind being a fool for you, but I don’t ever want to be a phony. I sit in the front of the church so I am ready to receive all that you have for me. I lift my hands and stand to worship because you and you alone are worthy, but guard my heart so that my focus is always on you and that as I am called to worship, I am oblivious to my surroundings.

There is nothing more dear to my heart than those times you call me to meet with you or those times when I know you have given me the words to pray over a son or daughter you call your own. I don’t care that others may find me a bit “peculiar”, but I do care that the actions of my being are congruent with the content of my heart. What I want others to see in me is you. I want my attraction to be Jesus in me.

I confess, Lord, that I struggle with pride. But I know that you know the desire of my heart to be completely sold out to you. Wash me in Holy Spirit. Those times spent in communion with you are the life force of my existence. I love you so much. You, Lord, YOU are the delight of my heart!! Mold, make me, form me more to your likeness so that I can be a useable vessel. I am yours, Lord. Don’t let me grow lukewarm or complacent. Don’t ever let me lose my excitement in you, Lord. I ask that you always frame my vulnerability in your faithfulness over me. Without you, I am capable of no good thing.

Lord, today I pray that you would help me to be humble before you and others. Help me find that sweet line of demarcation between a spirit of humility and the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Cover me in your grace. I pray today, Lord, that you will call many in Siouxland to yourself. Among them my dad and my brother. I pray that you will indeed intercept our run away lives and draw us close to you.

I pray today for marriages. Everywhere I look, I see broken marriages. When the enemy destroys the family, he destroys the future. Lord, the walls and the foundations are so broken, but you are the master builder. Restore the foundations in you, Lord. Repair the walls in you, Lord. Lord, without you as the corner stone, one is unable to love in the way that others need to be loved. Heal broken hearts, restore intimacy. Be the center force of the home, Lord. Restore the hearts of the parents to the child and the child to the parents.

Today, Lord, I ask that Holy Spirit do a mighty work in Babados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolvia, and Brazil. Draw these unto yourself O Lord. In Jesus name.

Seeking God for the City, Day 1

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

O Lord of Hosts, dear Father God . . .

I do sincerely pray that you will revive your people, the Church . . . especially the American Church. We have strayed so far from you. Our hearts have grown so cold and apathetic. Too many of our pastors have strayed from you and embrace a foreign doctrine. Too many of us have taken you for granted. As a result, our families, our cities, our nation is broken. Is it beyond repair? You, O God, are the God of ALL possibilities. Begin with me, my Father. Burn a passion in my heart to walk before you in obedience. Burn a passion in my heart for faithfulness in all your precepts. Burn a passion in me for daily time spent with you and you alone. Forgive me for not crying out more, for not praying more for those lost and in bondage. Burn in my heart an unquenchable passion for intercession. Perfect wisdom and discernment in me.

Surprise me and delight me with your confirmation of faithfulness. Mold me into the kind of Christ follower I desire to be. Anoint me so that I can be a usable vessel. I cry out before you in urgency this afternoon for my loved ones, my friends new and old, my neighbors, my co-workers, Lord.

I pray today for the young people, for Tony’s generation, for John’s generation. Move mightily in them that would be called the plantings of the Lord. I pray that all our young people would be Christ followers in the years ahead. Guard them, Lord.

I pray today for the Americas and the Caribbean. I pray for America. Wake her up, Lord, shake her up. Bring revival to our cities and our nation. You see her totter on the abyss Intervene for the sake of your people, Father . . . we need you, we cry out to you, because you are merciful, because you are faithful to our cry. I pray for South America and the Caribbean. Move, Lord, move! Such brokenness, such desecration, such sin. Bring redemption, bring salvation, bring healing, I pray.

I'm back

Well, I started out with gusto, and then wham . . . all those things to do that just got in the way of my blogging. So why do I blog? To lighten the load on my hard drive? It would be a justifiable reason, but not true. The real truth is I love to write, mostly to and about my Lord. I haven’t been lacking in talks with my Father nor have I been far from the Lord. It’s been an amazingly sabbatical. I’ve walked in Galilee. I’ve stood on the temple mount and prayed at the Western Wall. I’ve said good bye to another child, now in California. I went through my first Christmas apart from my kids. I survived additional massive cuts at Gateway.

But now I want to start spending some intimate time with Jesus and with those who care to share my thoughts again. I love the times when the Lord calls me to come meet with him, generally during the hours of the 3rd watch, but also in various times throughout the day, I love the conversations that I have with Jesus in my head. I love the way he speaks truth to me through scripture, through the direction in the quiet place, through imagination and joy, through sweet conversation with other sisters and brothers in Christ.

When I stood on the top of Mt. Scopus overlooking Jerusalem, I cried. The Lord had revealed so much to me in Israel, and as I gazed upon the desecration and brokenness from the Mt. of Olives, I felt so connected with Jesus. Then Holy Spirit challenged me. He (not “the” nor “it”) and asked if I was weeping for Sioux City and the brokenness and desecration of my city. For its lost, its captives, its sick. Then God marvelously placed a booklet in the hands of my sister Miki and myself called Seeking God for the City.

Now it’s Lent. And through the incredible support of pastors that I love so much -- because I see what kind of heart they have for Jesus and others, and I know that I have a church home making a difference in my city – my whole church is engaged and Seeking God for the City during the 40 days before Easter. Sooooooooo . . .during the next 40 days, I am going to share my Lenten devotions and prayers in my blogs.

Please come and dine with me. Come and share with me. Come knowing that we serve a mighty king, and He is about to do great things in our midst.

Much, much love,