Friday, September 4, 2015

Hands Ready for War...(War Room Reflection)

Last week I read the book and saw the movie "War Room".  This story impacted my mind and my heart in a positive way.  I pray...I consider myself a person who "prays without ceasing"  (I Thessalonians 5:17).  I pray when someone asks me to pray for them...I really do.  I pray for the people on our prayer list at church.  I pray for things that come up from day to day.  I don't just ask God for things, either, now...I praise Him. I love to praise Him.
But to think of prayer as the way we do battle?  I have not truly been a prayer warrior...maybe a prayer who worriedly prays about things.    But that is not being a prayer warrior.  

The point that I thought was made so clearly in the story "War Room" was that we can ALL as Christians be prayer warriors ...because it does not matter how long we have been a Christian.

It does not matter how young we are.
It does not matter how old we are.
It does not matter if we are in good health or poor health. 
It does not matter if we are fluent in speech or stutter.
It does not matter if we are puny or pumped with muscles.
Anyone....anyone...can be a WARRIOR in prayer...because the key thing to remember is the battle is not ours!  It is the Lord's and our call to pray is how we wage war against the enemy...and not against each other...but against the devil...the real enemy. 

With one of my sons today at the doctor, we have been praying for him.  Praying and praying.  And the difference I have seen is that I realized I do not have to be afraid that God will not answer my prayers.  That is a tactic of the enemy.  I realized that my prayers are to line up with God's will and glory...and when I ask Him things...He gives me strength to accept His answers.  He gives me wisdom to accept His answers.  He gives me power to praise Him in His answers.  And those answers are not always what I think they should be.  But when I am close to the Heavenly Father on my knees and in the Word, then He gives me what I need...even if I do not know what that is myself.  I can trust Him to give me good things because He is good.  

I was reading in Psalms tonight, praising the Lord for a prayer that was answered about my son when these verses struck me:

 Blessed be the LORD my Rock,     
        Who trains my hands for war,
             And my fingers for battle ---
                   My lovingkindness and my fortress,
                         My high tower and my deliverer.
                                  My shield and the One in whom I take refuge.       - Psalm 144:1-2

As I read these verses I thought about my hands that the Lord is training for war...He is training them to be praying hands.  The war is fought through prayer...and my hands folded in prayer and submission is how the Lord will train me to fight.
The Scripture goes on to say He trains my fingers for battle.....My fingers are what I use to turn the pages of my Bible and read His Word, the Sword of the Spirit.  His Promises.  His Truth.
My fingers are what I use to point to verses as I read, poring over each word of His that has been written down for me.  My hands pray and my fingers turn the pages of the Bible.  These are the weapons God has given me for war!!  Amazing!!
And the fact that it is He that is fighting for me is shown in the rest of these verses.  Because I know that I am weak...I know that I am nothing...I know that I am a sinner...BUT (don't you just love the word "but" sometimes :) )....BUT  HE is my fortress and is my strength.  HE is my high tower.  HE is my shield.  HE has defeated the enemy already and will continue to fight these battles for me as I do my part which is to praise the Rock,  "Blessed be the Lord!!!'
And to pray...."Who trains my hands for war"
And to study His Word..."Who trains my fingers for battle"
And to trust in Him..."Who is my high tower, my fortress, my shield"
And to run to Him immediately...not try to fight on my own..."He is the One in whom I take refuge".
Praising the Lord for being good all the time, for being true to His Word, for teaching me how to fight with my hands in prayer and my fingers in the Bible and my knees on the ground as I submit to Him as my Shield!
Praise God!  Praise God!

Today I heard the whisper of God in prayer, in hands, in fingers.  Where did you hear His whisper today?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Simple Nail and Pennies

Last Saturday I eagerly took a journey to a beautiful part of our county out in Ellenboro to a place called Parables Homeschool Book  Shoppe.  A sale was going on; I had not been there since the store had been built.  I was as excited as could be to see what kind of wonderful things I could pick up for Eli's homeschooling adventure this year.

Part of the joy of the trip was the scenery.  Beautiful trees, trees, trees with grassy pastures surrounded by beautiful painted wooden fences.  Streams rambling beside the road and at points changing sides provided a sense of peace that only the flowing water of a creek over rocks can give. High fluffy white clouds in a blue sky framed the beautiful bluish mountains in the background.

The drive itself was like a gift from the Lord to me :)

When I reached the Book Shoppe (at 515 Cub Creek Road, Ellenboro, NC for any homeschoolers looking for a wonderful collection of used curriculum to choose from), the driveway was beautifully lined with trees spaced at perfect intervals on each side and a beautiful fence.  I drove up to the shoppe and was just amazed at how pretty the store was (and I was not even inside yet!).  As I took my books out of the car to take inside to put on consignment I was met at the door by the kind and gentle owner.  She had a strong young well-mannered grandson who was happy to help me unload another box of books from my trunk.  It is always a joy to be around a young boy who has manners!

I was made to feel at home and instructed in how the store was laid out.  The sale included several tables of free items, which I did find a couple of things for free.  The prices were wonderful!  I was able to make purchases for our year that completed everything I was looking for plus a few for next year.  And throughout my shopping experience, the young boy checked on me to make sure I was "okay" and if I "needed anything?"

It was just a wonderful place to browse, spend time, talk with other homeschoolers and actually just relax a little for me.

I came away with many treasures...but one in particular has been a big hit.  It is called 365 Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials, published by Scholastic.
Eli and I have been doing some pretty fun science experiments.  Today we took some old, dull copper pennies and placed them in the bottom of a small glass dish.  We then squeezed the juice of two lemons over the pennies and added a pinch of salt.  We let this sit for 3 minutes.  We then took a well cleaned shiny silver nail and dropped it down into the lemon juice, salt and pennies.  We then had to wait.
After about ten minutes we noticed the shape of the nail floating on the top of the liquid.  But we still had to wait.  After thirty minutes we took tweezers and picked the nail up and dried it off.

No longer was it a shiny silver had been transformed!!!  Now it was a copper-plated nail!!
Eli was ecstatic to add this this copper plated nail to his "nuts and bolts and nails" collection.

What happened was this:  Copper from the pennies interacted with the acid of the lemon juice to form a new compound called copper citrate.  When we put the nail into the solution the compound plated the nail with a thin layer of copper that cannot be rubbed off.

I thought about how this experiment could exemplify two parts of the Christian life.
1)    2 Corinthians 5:21 says "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

We are the dirty, dull pennies in this experiment and Jesus Christ is the new shiny nail.   When Jesus gave His life, His blood for us for forgiveness of our sins, He took our sins on Himself.  It was His shed blood for us that allowed Him to take on the sins of the world so that He could pay the price for sin which was death...for all of us.  He was perfect but on the cross His work was to take on all the sin of the the nail was taking on the copper of the pennies.  Only instead of lemon juice being the active agent that caused the was the very life blood of Jesus Christ.   I noticed that those pennies were a lot shinier than when they went into that solution.  They were changed too because of the change in the nail.  And we can be changed because of the blood of Jesus.  We can be forgiven and free.

2)  The second way I thought about seeing God in this experiment is that in 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read that "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;  the old is passed away, and the new has come".    When we are covered by the blood of Jesus we do become a new creation...just as the nail became a new creation.  It was once just a silver nail...but under the work of the solution it became copper plated.  We were once sinners headed towards eternal torment and separation from God...but under the work of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, we are now seen as "righteous" in the eyes of God.  He sees us as a new creation, one sanctified though the blood of Jesus

As I continued reading tonight in 2 Corinthians 5 , I read about how we should try to reconcile others to the Lord as we are ourselves reconciled to Him.  When we have experienced something wonderful we want to share it with others.  Salvation is the most wonderful gift of all!!  What is holding us back?  Nothing should be.

Today I heard the whisper of God in a shiny nail, lemons and some old, dull pennies.  Where did you hear the Lord today?