Burdens come in many forms. There is the burden of carrying things, usually on ones head, like some people do in poorer countries. There is the burden of worry and the cares of daily life. There is the burden of caring for others. But for me, the burden God has put on my heart is praying for unsaved family members.
As part of my prayer ministry team at my old church, praying for people was God’s way of equipping me to help others carry their burdens. And although you also pray for those you know generally, my heart became burdened to pray for my unsaved family who knew God but have turned away. During my quiet time one morning I heard myself say this prayer, “Lord, do not let one single member of my family leave this earth without knowing you.” That could only have come from the Holy Spirit because I don’t consciously remember formulating this prayer. As I continue to pray this prayer daily over the years, I feel a real burden to the point of tears and I know God has heard it and continues to and one day He will act. Maybe not in my lifetime but He will, I am sure of it!
That is the best burden we can carry. To see others that we know come into the kingdom of God is to pray fervently for them. Whom do you feel burdened to pray for? Keep praying, don’t give up!
James 5:19-20 – “My brothers (sisters), if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
In our effort to come to know God, we are to remember that He first knows us. Here is what Scripture says:
Psalm 139:1-3 – O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Matthew 10:30 – And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
1 Corinthians 8:3 – The man who loves God is known by Him.
Galatians 4:9 – But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me –
1 Corinthians 13:12 – Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
…….and the list goes on………..
(Scripture passages from the NIV)
Because of Jesus Christ…..
I am redeemed, no more hell for me
I am now a child of God, what better Father can I have?
I have Christ living in me, I can do all things
I have the power of the Holy Spirit, I have God’s direct guidance
I am more than a conqueror, nothing can defeat me unless I let it!
I am an overcomer, nothing and no one can stand against me
I have been called, there is no better calling
I have been chosen, above all else!
I have been commissioned, to go and tell the Good News of Jesus Christ
…….and the list goes on and on…..Feel free to add your own list.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.…” (Matthew 10:29-31)
If am worth more than the sparrows and every single hair of my head is numbered then I must be important to God!
That’s WHO I am.
We, as human beings seek praise from others and are happy to give others praise. I’ve just had my story printed in the Christmas Anthology by the Christian Writers’ Association in the UK and have had many congratulations already. I’m a member of a photography club in the UK and occasionally submit photos on their facebook page for which I get likes, comments and well done notices. I in turn, do the same for others, thought not always. Sometimes I get caught up with what I have accomplished.
Without God I would accomplish nothing. Absolutely nothing! Therefore I am reminded that praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand. It’s there in Scripture. We are made in the image of the Creator and as such, we are creators ourselves. He has given us the ability to create and we are to be mindful to praise and thank Him for that.
Whatever we accomplish, while we receive the praises of others and give praise ourselves, the highest praise goes to Him.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:10-11).
There’s an unfinished book that’s begging to be completed and I allow so many things to stand in the way. Added to that, it is not an easy write but also I’ve been sensing an unseen force standing in the way because of the subject matter.
Meanwhile, I took up the challenge from my writers’ group in the UK to enter a piece of writing for a Christmas Anthology. Yesterday, I received an email from the organisation that finally the Christmas Anthology is now completed and my short story is part of that book of about eighty other submissions. I cant wait to see my first ever real piece of writing in print!
The bigger issue though is completing that book I mentioned earlier which is on the tough subject of spiritual warfare.
I had a friend visit me recently and what she shared prompted me to mention some of the content of my book. Her response was, “you must finish it, it is so needed!” While I have been receiving encouragement from various people over the years to finish it, I also would value prayer for anything and everything, including myself that stands in the way of me completing it.
Transitioning back to Florida from the UK has taken it’s toll and I keep hearing myself saying, “I’m tired, I’m so tired.” Not from the move itself but as one gets older, the jet lag and time difference seems to drag on. I still find myself waking up anywhere between the hours of 3am and 5:30am and getting up still feeling tired. After several successive morning I decided that it must be the Holy Spirit waking me up to pray more than the effects of jet lag and time difference so that is what I decided to do which is turning out to be very fruitful.
Coupled with that, I have prayerfully and I say prayerfully, taken on the fairly new role of BSF leadership. (For those who don’t know what BSF is, it is an international Bible Study whose head quarters is in Texas. Whatever book(s) of the Bible are being studied, whoever has enrolled in this study does the same book of the Bible at the same time around the world in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese). The setting up is challenging but that is not what’s making me tired. I’m actually looking forward to getting deep into God’s Word.
Anyway, back to being tired. You know what is said about voicing something out loud. It becomes reality! So the more I said it, the more tired I felt. Then God reminded me that words have power, after all, He created the world with words. So I started backtracking. When I find myself saying I’m tired, I then say “I’m not tired,” and press on.
We are always encouraged by God’s Word from Isaiah 40:28-29 which says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Isn’t that great! We get our strength from Him because He never gets tired!
England is noted for being a wet place where it rains all the time yet this past summer it has been the best, driest summer I can ever recall in all the thirty odd years I’ve lived there.
At times what was going on in my life reflected the drought that was experienced in some parts of the UK at the time. Even thought there were times when I was enjoying what London had to offer with such a wonderful summer, there were medical issues, scary prognoses which turned out to be unfounded, thankfully, but those times led me to a deeper trust in God.
Just as the drought in the UK, although adverse for the farmers, revealed hidden things to archaeologists that are centuries old, these were times of drought in my life yet I could see in between the clouds, glimmers of what God was doing. He continued to bless me in more ways than one, particularly with the results that came back negative one after the other. He gave me Scripture verses that I never realised existed in the Bible. He blessed me with good friends, who were not friends before but whom He brought into my life at those times of testing to provide practical and spiritual help through fervent prayer.
Ezekiel 34:26 says, “I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessings.”
That is what God had done, sent me showers of blessings, abundant rain at a time when He knew I needed it most. May He be praised! May you be blessed!
It’s three days since I’ve returned to Florida from the fast-pace, busy life of London. Not only my body was busy but my mind was with so much physical and mental planning that some things went by the wayside, including FMF blogging.
While London is my place of residence and I love living there, I also have a physical home in Florida which I love even more, so the logistical planning for both places sometimes can become mind boggling. As I age, this is becoming more of a challenge and I’m at the point of decision making.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been dealing with jet lag and the time difference amid the unpacking and eventually house cleaning, getting my internet up and running and all the necessary things for settling back in.
For months while in England my mind had been visualizing the relaxed setting, sitting in my favorite chair in my tea room in Florida and spending hours just talking to God. Well, the dream of doing just that has materialized once again. I am writing this blog right from my favorite chair and thinking how good it is not to be rushing about catching trains and buses and just having this quiet, no-harried lifestyle however long or short it might be.
It took me thirteen years to properly grieve for my father. He died suddenly and quite young, aged only fifty-eight.
He was a loving dad and today we, his children, still call him “the Sage” because we considered him so wise in his dealings with us and others. He had the ability to listen to others joys and sorrows or just general conversation without interruption and for me, he was the best listener after God.
Whenever I spoke of him to anyone during those thirteen years, I was in floods of tears until a counsellor said to me, “why don’t you write to him. Tell him all that he was to you. What you loved and didn’t love about him, everything that you were not able to tell him while he was alive.”
Months went by and then on the day after Christmas which some of you might know as Boxing Day, I sat down to write to him and between tears and laughter I poured out my heart to him. From that day since I haven’t cried whenever I talk about him. Although he’s been gone over thirty years ago, I still miss him but the memories that remain are happy ones.
IF only I knew what tomorrow held! That would be great! Or would it? Would it stop me from worrying about the future or would it make me more anxious if the future I envisioned wasn’t bright?
IF only I knew the future! Would it help me to plan better for what is to come, whether good or bad?
IF only I knew what is to come! Could I stop it if it is not something I want in my life or embrace it for keeps if it is something good?
IF only my life was all I wanted it to be, would that make me happier?
IF only I was happier, does that mean I would have no trouble in this world?
IF only this world wasn’t so troubled but was a better place to live, would I want to live in it forever? I think not because……
IF we remember that…….
….our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ..(Phil.3:20) we would not want to be here forever.
We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope (1 Chronicle. 29:15)
In fact, we do know the future…..IF only we will remember that as we sojourn here on earth, we have God’s promise.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)