Something Don’d on Me! prayer

It just jumped off the page at me…and slapped me up-side the head when it did! In AMP, we have been studying James with our teenagers. We play together, then we read a passage. We’ve been able to watch a video-teaching about this each week, and then we break into smaller groups and discuss what we’ve seen and heard. The Book of James is so FULL of great teachings: Controlling your tongue, dealing with suffering, Quick to listen & slow to speak, faith without works is dead…SO MUCH TRUTH!
One of my FAVORITE verses comes in the James 5:16- “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (“The prayer of a righteous man availeth much” if you prefer it from the KJV!) I LOVE breaking down this verse! I love looking at how EFFECTIVE Prayer works and what righteousness REALLY looks like…and even what POWER is shown through prayer! It’s an incredible verse of teaching!
But that’s not the line that jumped up and Will Smith’d me in the face! (What? Too Soon?) It’s the very NEXT verse that stung me!
“Elijah was a human as we are.” James 5:17
James is discussing the POWER of prayer…and then he proceeds to discuss an EXAMPLE OF PRAYER. And one that every good Jewish boy and girl had heard of: Elijah. He’s the guy that went up against the prophets of Ba’al…and TORCHED them. He’s the one that stood up to Ahab. He’s the Prophet that heard from God in a “Still small voice”. He was carried away in a whirlwind to heaven! THIS GUY was a BIG DEAL! He was well-respected through generations…he was a true HERO and PATRIARCH of Israel!!! James begins to tell about the “Rain story”-Elijah prayed…and it didn’t rain for over 1278 days! (3.5 years…yes, I did the math!) And as James is telling this story of GREAT POWER…he tosses this little tidbit in there…Elijah…is just like us!
Honestly…I wanted to disagree with him! “No way James-Elijah was a REALLY great guy! He did REALLY great things! I’m just AVERAGE guy doing average things!” But the words James uses are intentional: JUST LIKE US. He’s HUMAN like us. He had ANXIETY like many of us. He had FEAR like many of us. He was tired and flawed and arrogant and exhausted…like all of us. His point was this: The power isn’t in the person doing the praying…the power is in the person RECEIVING THE PRAYER!
THE SAME POWER that rolled the stone away is the same power that is hearing my prayer today! Now that’s something to crack your taco! Prayer is not about OUR strength…but the strength of the God to which we pray! And our God is STRONG! He controls weather…and HE is sending us rain on HIS time! He is bigger than CANCER, or COVID or CONSTRUCTION DELAYS or CONTROVERSY…or whatever it is that you are facing today!
As we celebrate National Day of Prayer, I want you to be reminded of how we started this year! We are a PEOPLE OF PRAYER! And that doesn’t mean WE are perfect and powerful…it means our GOD IS PERFECT AND POWERFUL!
What are you facing today? What is overwhelming you? HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU TODAY? Let’s be a people of prayer…EVERY day!
Shalom Alachiem

Something Don’d on Me! (prayer)

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2
It was one of the most epic trips of a lifetime…there’s NO WAY they would ever forget this!Scriptures said there were 600,000 fighting men…some estimate up that to mean. Up to 2.5 Million people total…but a LARGE group of Israelites crossed through the Jordan River, on dry land! They had heard the stories of their ancestors going through the Red Sea on dry land…but now they were staring at the Jordan River at FLOOD STAGE! They saw the Priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and as they got closer to the raging river, they did not stop. They heard all the rumbling of the people and the animals and Mommas holding babies…and I’m sure they wondered, “How are we going to get through THAT?!” But God made a way! When the sandals of the Priests touched the water, THEN the Jordan stopped flowing. Some experts guess that it could have taken 20-30 DAYS to cross the Jordan-with that many people, animals, and supplies! There’s no possible way they would FORGET what they saw there!
It’s what happens AFTER that trip that caught my eye this week! Joshua calls the people together and tells them to pick one man from each of the 12 Tribes to go back out into that riverbed and get a large stone. So, they took a dozen boulders from the middle of the Jordan Basin…and carried them to the shore where they were camping that night. He also took 12 stones from the land and put them in the MIDDLE of the Jordan River where the Priests stood holding the Ark of the Covenant. Two piles of stones…for one purpose…TO REMEMBER!
That seemed a little funny to me…why would I need some rock pile to remind me of this trip?? That was MONUMENTAL! There’s no WAY I will ever forget this day! I tend to get a little “judgy” of the Israelites, until I stop & I breathe, and look in the mirror. And a wave of embarrassment washes over me!
How many times have I FORGOTTEN all the Lord has done for me??? We have prayer requests each week…but do I remember ALL that He has answered? We see bad weather all over the nation…but do I forget all the storms that HAVEN’T hit our home? I whine about gas prices and difficulties in our country…but have I praised God for how many wars have NOT been fought in Portales? I’m so quick to gripe at the Israelites, but not so inspired to look in the mirror, sadly!
Joshua told the people that when your kids ask what these stones are for…you TELL them all the Lord has done! “He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s Hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God FOREVER!” (Joshua 4:24)
We spent the first 31 days of this month focused on PRAYER. We are sending out Prayer Prompts every Monday morning. We have Prayer Furnace LIVE on Thursdays to lift people up during the week. But am I STOPPING all I’m doing and taking time to THANK HIM for all He has ALREADY done in my life?? If we don’t ACTIVELY remember all God has done for us…we might end up like those Israelites that wandered…and how they forgot His Faithfulness.
Take time RIGHT NOW to list all the ways He HAS come through for you! Our God is FOR YOU! He is on YOUR SIDE! And His Faithfulness endures forever! May we all have an alert mind and a thankful heart!
Shalom, Don

Something Don’d on Me! 7-8-20

Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

A group of pioneers on the Oregon Trail suffered for weeks from lack of water & grass for their animals. Most of their wagons were broken down, causing delays in the heat. Spirits were low and morale was in the pits.
            One night, the leaders called a meeting to air complaints. When they gathered around the campfire, one man stood up and said, “Before we commence our gripe session, don’t you think we should thank God that He has brought us this far-with no loss of life, no trouble with the Indians, and enough strength left to finish the journey?”
            The settlers agreed and after a brief prayer, they started their meeting. And all that was heard was the sound of the crackling fire and the howling of the wolves in the distance. Apparently, after the time of prayer, no one felt they had grievances that were important enough to voice.
I doubt anyone has noticed…but there’s a ton of NEGATIVE stuff out there right now! (Yes, Sheldon…that was sarcasm!) Every time you turn on news, TV, social media or check the weather report…it just sounds bad. And that has a tendency to weigh on our attitudes and our general mood!
But I started naming some GOOD NEWS that I had heard or seen this week:

  • NUMEROUS Wedding anniversaries! Some only a few years, some 50+!
  • Friends that purchased a home…and that process working out for them!
  • Dear friends had a baby (Congrats Tori & Kevin!) and others have them on the way! (Exciting news for the Vaughn family, the Faver family, and Gavin & Bree Bonestroo!)
  • We got RAIN!! Of course we can use more, but a decent amount this weekend!
  • Tom Banks is getting stronger every day, and John Bridges may be home for good this week!
  • Exciting weddings happening in the next few days: Emily Roberts & Jonathan Langdon this week, former members Margie & Russ Michaud this weekend, and Veronica Vigil and Andrew Roybal in a couple of weeks!
  • The sunsets in the summer! Amazing skies…then breathtaking stars after that! Wow!

Trust me friends…my attitude gets a little pouty lately. And it’s very easy to be discouraged at what we see in the news, in the weather, in the sports, and in the world! But Paul challenged us: don’t fill your mind thinking about THOSE things…THINK about the things of GOOD! Concentrate on the things that are lovely! SEARCH for the things that are ADMIRABLE! And don’t let the pain of the week take away the joy of the day!
Almighty Father, forgive me when I concentrate on the broken, and forget all the things that You make beautiful! May I CONCENTRATE on the good things You have given me…and may I bring hope to those around me!
In the name of my brother, Jesus, I praise You, Amen
Shalom Alachiem-May His Peace be upon you all!