A Battleground Prayer


praise God girl and cross in sky

Lord, you know the needs of this day. I will do my part and clothe myself in the armor that You designed. The Belt of Truth. The Breastplate of Righteousness. The Gospel of Peace. The Shield of Faith. The Helmet of Salvation. And, the only offensive weapon, the Sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. Please open the eyes of the spiritually naïve, Lord, so that they may suit up and STAND as well, at all times, but especially today when it seems the enemy is being called out to play.

                        Amen and Ehmen.

He Loves Us, Faults and All


2/5/17

10:00 AM

Good morning, God. Am I ever glad it is Sunday! I worked last night and into the early dear godmorning hours and I am just plain tired.  However, just as I reached for my phone this morning and resisted wasting time before coming into Your presence, I shall resist my natural urge to complain as I know in my heart that You know exactly how I feel without me uttering the first groan.

Instead, Lord, I want to thank You for You. I want to thank You for always fulfilling your promises and for the too-many-to-count miracles that You have manifested in my life. This week, in fact, I was reminded by Facebook, that this time last year I was undergoing a trans-jugular liver biopsy. I remember how scared I was; fearful that the doctors would uncover something that would cut my life on earth short; that fear fueled even more so by the untimely death of my brother, Gary. The doctors were convinced there was something seriously wrong and all the tests and the way I was feeling seemed to indicate the same.

Still, You gave me peace as awaited the results. You gave me an army of people who blessed me with prayers. You came close when I called and treated me to a personal and powerful reminder that You are always with me and always in control, over that situation and other situations for which I have staggered in fear.  (You can read about this beautiful miracle here, Stopped In Their Tracks.)

You gave me the miracle of healing when the much dreaded procedure revealed that my liver, despite what medical testing has said for the past 20 years, was not going to be issuing me a death sentence any time soon. The doctor followed this good news with a warning that I needed to continue searching for the reason for my ailments and botched blood tests, but, truthfully, I only heard the good news.

I remember how relieved I was and, now as I recount it, I’m still relieved. However, I’m more than a little disappointed in how quickly I “forgot” this gigantic miracle. Please forgive me for continuing to allow myself to get so caught up in the problems of the day that I forget what You have already done for me. How I can let the menial cast shadows on the miraculous makes absolutely no sense!

Father, help me to stay focused on the miracles and on You. Thank You for always showing up and for being patient with me, even when I take You for granted. I don’t want to take You for granted, Lord. Help me to live a life pleasing to You and know that I love You with every ounce of my being. Amen and Ehmen.

 

Dear, dear Child,

You are not the first—nor will you be the last—of my children that let the problems of the day overshadow the blessings and miracles. It—like sin—is a side effect of your human condition. What pleases Me is that you recognize this in yourself and your heart wants to do what is right. THIS is a side effect of having accepted My Son as your personal savior. And, it is because of this, child, that you can rest assured that you will one day stand before Me without fault, as perfect and blameless as My Son Himself.

I am very proud that you turned your natural tendency to complain this morning into a reason to praise Me. Read and meditate today on the closing prayer of Jude. Read it out loud. Make this your prayer and know that I hear every word, every cry of your heart, even those that your lips are unable to express. You can count on Me in all circumstances. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, My love for you remains the same. Infinite. All powerful. Never failing. Thank you for being My child. You bring Me great joy. Enjoy your day off, My dear one.

Jude 1:24-25

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

jude-1-with-my-photo

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Final Thought: Oh, what a beautiful, profound and priceless prayer! There is very little I can add, except this. Too often, all of us let satan use our shortcomings to drive a wedge between us and our Father in Heaven. Satan is a master at condemnation. But, we must remember that our God is a God of redemption not condemnation and what satan tries to use to pull us away, God will use to pull us closer.

If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God has accepted us, faults and all, and He will—as Jude so beautifully writes—keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.”

Yee-Haw! Thank you, God. I love You and Your Word. You always know just what to say!  🙂 Amen and Ehmen.

 

Time for a new scene: Goodbye 2016!


Like many of you, I often find myself in reflective mode during this week which we find packaged between Christmas and New Year’s. This year is no different.

Though I know I am blessed beyond measure, I would be lying if I said that 2016 was a great year for me.

It wasn’t.2016-to-17

And, based on the laments on social media and the increasing soulnessness which makes up the news every day, it seems it has been a pretty rotten year for most everyone—a year woven together by tragedy and heartache.

The amped-up level of evilness that once seemed to wreak havoc on those in faraway places now pulses feverishly through the veins of our own nation. Terrorists play in our own backyards and heartbreak is an almost daily response to news of yet another of our beloved men and women in blue killed in the line of duty; another senseless shooting; another terrorist attack, another natural disaster or the untimely and unexpected death of another beloved friend, family member, celebrity or public hero. Few, if any, no longer have faith in our government, especially after an election that even the most creative satirist could never match.

On a personal level, it has been a year of change in almost every aspect. Though my physical locale remains the same, life as I knew it seemed to up and relocate itself, leaving me with no choice but to adjust to new surroundings in both my personal as well as my professional life. I’m still adjusting and, truth be told, I think I may be struggling with some depression. All I can say is thank God for the hope that He gives us. Whether or not I feel His Presence at a given moment, I know that I know that He is always and in all ways with me and that these melancholy feelings are just that—feelings, ever-changing, hollow fruits of the flesh that I can never trust.

His Truth and Spirit, however, can always be trusted. The never-changing, soul-sustaining and boundless fruits of His Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, matthewfaithfulness, gentleness and self-control—constantly summon me even in the midst of the storms. All we have to do is ask, seek and knock in faith and our Father in Heaven will provide.

In Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 8, Jesus promises: “Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

My prayer—as we prepare to shut the door of 2016 and knock on that of a brand new year—is that each of us will remember to ask, seek and receive all that He has promised us and that we choose to grow life -sustaining Fruits of The Spirit instead of hollow fruits of the flesh.

Father, help us to remain focused on You; to learn to respond to this fallen world, not with fear, but with our eyes on the big picture for which You are the creator; that we remember that this is Your Story and Your will and purposes will always, always prevail. Holy Spirit, come, fill me so that I may do the part that was set aside just for me before the foundation of the earth was ever laid. Help me to make 2017 a year of progress and purpose—a truly Happy New Year for You and for me.

I love you, dear Father. Let’s do this!

Amen and Ehmen.

The Truth About Joy and Sorrow


Point To Ponder amenandehmen

Many think that joy and sorrow are opposites; that you either have one or the other. But, the older I get, the more I realize that they are actually inseparable, just like sunshine and rain.

You simply can’t have one without the other. Plants cannot grow without rain nor can they grow without sunshine. It takes the two, working together, to make the magic happen.

Yet, most of us, myself included, long for sunny days and would just as soon skip over or, at least, sleep through the rainy ones. But, the fact is, one without the other would be a real tragedy.

Lord, help me to accept and even learn to welcome the rain and to remember that you use every single raindrop, every single teardrop, to make new things grow. Loving you, Jesus.

Amen and Ehmen.

Exchanging Hurt for Hope


Happy Fall, Y’allautumn-leaves-borrowed.

I know it’s been awhile since I have blogged on Amen and Ehmen. My job changed in July and has dominated my time and energy ever since. During this time I have been on an emotional roller coaster, going from majorly disappointed and hurt by many of the changes to just plain tired, both emotionally and physically.

And, if I’m completely honest, I have also been spiritually fatigued during much of this time as well. Truthfully, of everything that I have been through—80-plus hour work weeks and numerous disheartening career developments—the spiritual exhaustion has outweighed it all.

Please know that I don’t intend this missive to be a cry for pity or even an excuse, but rather an explanation and an apology for my recent silence.

First and foremost, I must apologize to you because I want Amen and Ehmen to be a real reflection of my life with God; not a sugar-coated, air-brushed version that may give new Christians or those exploring Christianity unrealistic expectations. The facts are this: Being a Christian does NOT mean that you will no longer have problems, hurts and disappointments; it just means that you are never without hope and that God is always and in all ways working for the good of those who love Him. People like you and me.

I also owe an abundance of apologies to my all-loving, almighty Creator. During the many difficult days that followed the untimely death of my dear brother last September, health concerns for myself and other family members as well as the career crisis that continues to plague me, I have allowed my spiritual life to intermittently lay dormant.

If I’m truthful with myself and with you, I guess I have been internally blaming God for this dark and foreboding time in my life. In actuality, however, it has not been God that has been silent in my life. Quite the contrary as He has remained busy, continually weaving miracles and beauty into even the most brooding of moments. Still, all too often and way more than I like to admit—including this very weekend as rumors of yet more disappointing events swirl around me—I’ve allowed myself to focus on the disappointments instead of the hope that God continues to bring.

And, therein, lies the lesson that I know in my heart He wants me to learn. It’s a lesson with which I have always seemed to struggle—having complete, unyielding, unwavering and unconditional faith in Him. It’s hard, but it is possible. And, I know it is necessary if I ever expect to fully live the life that He has planned for me; to accomplish everything that He has put me here to accomplish.

And, so today, I pray for help in growing an unconditional and unyielding faith in Him and His plan for my life. I pray to always remember the many beautiful moments and miracles He has shared with me as He continually proves His loving intentions for me. I pray that I will commit even more time to tune into Him; to study His Word and connect with Him every single day. I ask you, Dear Lord, to turn every moment of worry, self-pity and disappointment into a growing desire to praise You for all the many blessings that You continue to pour out for me.

Yes, it has been a tough year, but it’s also been a blessed year which I know that I know is being used to further shape and make me into the person that God desires me to be. I pray today that I allow that refining to happen in His time and in His way. And, Lord, I also ask that you hear my prayer for everyone whose eyes are reading these words at this very moment. You know their needs and You love them so completely and powerfully, just as You also love me. Let us all feel that love right now. It is in Jesus’ mighty and beautiful name that I pray. Amen and Ehmen.

Getting in “The Spirit” of the Election


October 9, 2016

Good morning, God.

My mind is reeling, Lord. I have so many things rattling around up there and I pray that I can find peace by coming into Your Presence. While I have so much in my own life that threatens my peace every single day, I find my focus being turned to something much bigger than myself…the nation for which you blessed me. Lord, our nation is in a perilous state. The politics are frightening. The unrest in society, the violence and the hate are terrifying. It’s as if satan himself is holding the threads of our nation between his gnarly fingers as we spin out of control and unravel ourselves. The worst part is that I can hear his demonic laughter in the background. He thinks he is winning and, quite frankly, sometimes it looks as if he is. We need you, God, more than ever before. Come close, Lord. We need you.

James 3:13-17

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes with wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows not favoritism and is always sincere. And, those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

1 Corinthians 2: 4-13

And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.  No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things that God has freely given us.

When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.

Writer’s Note:

As you just read, my prayer time this morning circled the struggle I am having with our nation’s current state of affairs and, most especially the upcoming presidential pray-vote-prayelection. Truth be told, I had been trying to ignore it all and was planning to simply stay away from the polls this November. I have since, however, recognized that this is not the answer. That said, I can honestly say that I am still not sure who I will vote for at this time. That will be a decision that I will make only after spending much time in prayer and calling upon the Holy Spirit as I feel God so clearly directed this morning.

And, although I will continue to study the above Scriptures to which God led me,  it also appears quite obvious that He wants me to understand the difference between the “wisdom of above” versus the wisdom of humans and that no matter what happens, His plan for my ultimate glory was set in stone before the world even began.

So, as of today, Lord, though I may not yet know what boxes I will check in the upcoming election, I do know that I will take Paul’s advice to the Corinthians and remember that true wisdom and discernment requires one to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Please, Father, grant us true wisdom and discernment in choosing the candidate whose heart is still fertile ground; the candidate that is most likely to turn to You for guidance as opposed to relying on human wisdom and selfish accord.  We need you more than ever, Lord. Come close and lead us.

Amen and Ehmen.

Purpose in the Present Tense


Good morning, child.

I woke you up this morning to talk about purpose.

You have developed a tendency to see purpose as something that you can postpone until you think the time is right; when you feel you have the time to commit; when you no longer havedear god to worry about how you will pay your bills or when you will be able to retire.

But, child, I tell you in no uncertain terms that this is the wrong way to look at your purpose. You should not shoulder so much burden; for when it comes to your purpose, nothing will ever happen in your power. It is only possible in My power through you. Remember that.

Secondly, purpose is not about tomorrow. It is about the present. It is about My presence. Understand, My child, that because your purpose must be fulfilled with Me by your side, your purpose is meant to be lived and fulfilled in the present, the only place on earth where you can come into My Presence. Resist the urge to wait. Preparation and planning are important, but at a certain point those things can turn into procrastination and procrastination is a tool of the devil.

Stop putting off your purpose. Unfurl it at My feet, today, and jump in. If I have planted the seed, you must trust that I will provide everything that seed needs to not only survive the elements, but to thrive and to grow and produce great fruit.

Remember the parable of the talents? When you put off your purpose, you are like the one who buried his master’s talent. That is not My desire for you. Keep your purpose in the present where I meet with you, child. Keep tending it. Keep adding to it and it will be added unto you. Today, not tomorrow. Don’t worry about tomorrow for I have tomorrow covered and will always walk with you into it so that we can face whatever is there together. Trust Me, child. Trust Me and take a deep breath and dive in. Oh what joy awaits those who fulfill their purposes in Me.

Thank you, Jesus, for continuing to find me worthy of your teaching and purpose. Help me to stay in Your Presence and to follow only You. May Your will and purpose be done through me here on earth just as it is in Heaven. Amen and Ehmen.

Matthew 25: 14-30 (NIV)

The Parable of the Bags of Gold

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Comfort from The Creator


Writer’s Note: I was reading through some old messages and ran across this Featured Image -- 351that was written for my dear friend who had recently lost her best friend and husband. While it was meant to comfort her in that moment, I found it comforting myself today and thought I would share.

I was in the middle of working the other day when I got this little “God nudge” as I often do and when I opened the blank page this is what came out:

“Sweet, sweet child of mine, don’t you know how much I love you. My love for you is more vibrant than even the largest expanse of buttercups growing on My green earth. It is deeper than the deepest swallows of the ocean and higher than the beautiful blue skies suspended above My own Heavens. I know you hurt. I know you are missing him. But, oh my, has he brightened things up here. What a heart he has, full of love. Thank you for sending him back to me in such good shape. I’m taking good care of him and we both eagerly await the day of your arrival. Please, my child, take that knowledge that we are waiting for you and live out your days with joy. There is so much left to do there on earth; so much that only you can do. I promised you hope and a future and I always make good on my promises. I just need you to listen for me; listen for my whispers; listen for me in the silence of the night; the quietness of an empty house. Talk to me always; in your heart; with your mouth; when you are alone or when you are in a crowd. Whisper my name when the devil attacks you. No matter how loud he gets in your head, even a whisper of my name will squelch him. I am right here. I AM.”

Lord, thank you for these precious words and times together. And thank you for your unending comfort and love. May we have many more “blank page” conversations in 2016. I can think of no better way to spend the year. Much love from earth to heaven. Amen and Ehmen.

–Brenda