Author Archives: gardnlady

Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Gal 3

Exodus 28:3 -Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.

What is wisdom? How do you get it?  As the verse above states, sometimes we are given wisdom from God.  Somehow we just KNOW something that we can’t explain.  Often, someone will share something they’ve learned with us based on their own experiences.   It can come from something we’ve read that has had an impact on us.  Often, however, wisdom comes from learning and experiencing life for ourselves over a period of time.  There is truth to wisdom.

I thought of these questions as I read through Chapter 4 in the book of Proverbs. I know much of the book is attributed to Solomon.  There is nothing biblical about this, but I imagined Solomon sharing about a time when he was a young boy, sitting with his father, David, as he imparted words of wisdom to his son.

3-7: When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.  Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

 14-15: Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.  

20-22: My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

23: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

We are not born with wisdom, it is acquired over time. Some of us have attained it the hard way.  I can honestly say if I have any wisdom at all, it has come from learning things through making many mistakes, getting banged up because I didn’t take someone else’s advice, and just general immaturity.  Did my parents sit me down and try to warn me, to share with me all they learned?  Yes.  Unfortunately, I was not wise enough to listen to them.  I had to find my own way.  I am smiling as I think of a perfect example of this.  When I was 6 or 7, my best friend was Connie.  She lived across the street and we played together almost every day.  One day I wanted to go across the street to play with her but my mother said I couldn’t because she had Chicken Pox and if I went around her I might get it too.  But I snuck over to her house and played with her anyway.  Guess who got the Chicken Pox a week later?  My mother was wise to warn me, my not listening was “folly” (a word used quite often in Proverbs). That experience taught me the wisdom of staying away from someone contagious!

That is a silly example, no doubt, but experience has taught me other things as well. Through the years I’ve learned the wisdom of “guarding my heart” and “avoiding walking in the way of evil men”.  There is wisdom in learning that God has set in place a certain order of things, a process, and trying to shortcut or bypass this can have serious consequences.  As my daughters have grown and they’ve encountered similar situations, I have tried to share the lessons life has taught me.  Sometimes they listen; sometimes they have to find their own way to wisdom.  God can say the same thing about me!

Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This wisest thing I have ever learned is that I don’t know everything but I have a Father who does.  If I am wise, I will seek His advice, direction, and purpose for my life for He alone can direct me in the path I should take.  If I am wise, I will give Him complete control.  I am sorry to say, I am not always wise!

Abba, Father, any wisdom I have has come from You. Through studying Your Word, I learn what is good for me and what is not.  I learn where you set your boundaries and why they are good for me.  By trusting your process and timing, I change and grow. I thank you for your patience over the years as sometimes I am a slow learner.  Lord, please give me ears to hear and a heart ever open to You.  In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Exodus 14; Luke 17; Job 32; 2 Corinthians 2

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

There they were—the Red Sea to the front and the Egyptian army speeding towards them from behind, the place they had just left. They were no longer slaves; God had gone to great lengths to set them free.  They had seen miracle after miracle of His power, yet after all that He had done, they doubted. “Did you bring us out here to die?” they asked Moses.  They let their circumstances dictate their reaction. Haven’t I done the same?

Just when you think you’ve conquered that stronghold, or that addiction, or finally gotten out of that unhealthy relationship—whatever it might be that was keeping you in captivity—the enemy comes after you charging full speed ahead. There has to be a way out but you don’t see it.  And fear sets in!  So you run back to the things you know that helped you in the past—those false gods you turned to that tricked you into believing they were the answer.  The Israelites wanted to run back to Egypt.  For me, it would be food.

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love it (a little too much) but hate that it is my “go to” coping mechanism when I think life is out of control.  This is my bondage, my battle.  Everything was going along pretty well for the last couple of years.  Then I started letting my guard down a little at a time.  A little piece of something sweet, just a bite of something I know is a trigger for me because, of course, I’m strong enough to handle this now.  Fifteen pounds later tells me a different story.  Life came at me and hit me hard and I had my back against the Red Sea and my hand on a pastry (my version of the Egyptian army).  I was in an emotional turmoil and in that moment I forgot what the Israelites forgot—God is in control!  I did not cry out to Him, I was trying to fight my own battle.  But verse 14 says:  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  He is my strength; He alone can calm the storm inside of me but I can’t hear Him until I get still before Him. I got busy doing everything EXCEPT spending time with the one Person who satisfies my emptiness. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

Then there are those well-meaning friends who just don’t get it. “Why can’t you eat that?  Surely it won’t hurt to just have one?  They are really good!”  I start thinking, maybe they are right; what would it hurt to have a taste? Jesus warns us of this in Luke:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.

Unless I am diligent and constantly leaning into the Lord for my strength, I am easy prey. I forget that “I am weak but He is strong” as the song goes.  I cannot do life on my own.  I think I can when life is going along just fine.  But life does not go along fine.  John 16:33 says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   We lose jobs, people we love die, we have health issues.  That Red Sea is staring at me!  I have a choice:  I can trust that God is in control or I can believe that I am out of control and react accordingly.

10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (emphasis mine)

Jesus is my Shepherd. I can easily become the lost sheep if I am not constantly looking to Him for direction, listening to Him for reassurance, and asking Him to fill up all those empty places only He can fill. The enemy wants nothing more than for me to isolate myself.  Last I looked, self-pity and depression are not listed among the fruit of the Spirit.  How do I make disciples for Jesus if I’m not out serving Him around other people?

I was driving home from work the other day and I saw something that caught my eye in someone’s yard. As I glanced over to get a better look, I noticed the car started heading in the direction I was looking.  I almost ran off the road into a big ditch!  What an example of what was going on in my soul.  I diverted my attention and started veering off the path.  In my weakness, I forgot God’s strength. If He is strong enough to part the Red Sea, He is strong enough to handle anything in my life.  I know He is fighting for me!  I think it’s about time for me to live that way.

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful you never give up on me. No matter how many times I fall down, you lovingly pick me back up.  You continue to teach me as only You can.  Forgive me for the times I have let anything replace You as God of my life.  Give me the strength I need to finish this race leaving behind the things that hinder me.  In Jesus mighty name I pray.

 

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16, 17; 1 Corinthians 4

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18  “We are your slaves,” they said. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

 

These verses are some of the most well-known in the bible.  There is so much going on in these few little passages.  We know that with the Fall, sin entered the world.  Sin always has consequences.  I can remember being a young teenager, having done something wrong, and waiting for the punishment my parents saw fit to bestow.  Consequences. 

I can’t imagine being one of Joseph’s brothers.  Their jealousy causes them to sell their brother as a slave and then they tell their father a lie about him being killed.  They have to live with the weight of that sin.  They watched their father grieve and mourn for the loss of his son knowing full well they had a part in that pain. I am sure the guilt festered inside of them every day.   So time passes and life goes on as that sin is still out there, lurking.  But God knew about it! 

In the meantime, He was watching over Joseph and molding his character.  Years later, the brothers are reunited with Joseph, and they bring their father to Egypt as he wanted, and Jacob has his son back.  Whew, happy day.  The sin is revealed, they can let go of that guilt they’ve been carrying around.  Their father is beside himself with joy, they have plenty of food, and they can relax.  Then Jacob dies. 

That is the problem with sin, it happened and can’t be undone, and as we are taught, the consequence of sin is death.  Sometimes the death is the death of peace.  We can be forgiven but sometimes those consequences hang over our heads.  They come at us just when we think we can let it go and we don’t have to live every day knowing what we did, how we hurt someone, or how someone else’s sin hurt us.  The brothers figured that as long as their father was alive, Joseph would do nothing in retaliation. But now that he has died, they fear their brother has been harboring anger over what they did to him.  So they once again resort to their old tactics—lying!  They manipulate the situation out of fear.   How many lies are told because we fear the outcome of being truthful?  They were waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.

The next part is what struck me this time:   “His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him.”  Finally . . . repentance.   Up to this point, I am not sure they repented for what they did.  This time they gave up their pride and humbled themselves, asking for forgiveness.  Seems to me Joseph had such a dream where his brothers fell down before him which caused this whole journey to begin with.  The dream God had given Joseph had come to pass. The grace Joseph showed to his brothers is an example of forgiving grace and mercy shown to us by our loving Father.   

Joseph weeps, perhaps because his brothers think so little of him that he would bring harm to them.  He assures them that though they might have meant evil against him, God used it to bring about the saving of many people.  I can look at my own life and see how God brought good out of a situation.  In fact, I wouldn’t be a believer today if someone hadn’t caused great pain in my life.  That situation took me straight into the arms of Jesus.

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

God has given us a means to cleanse us from our sins.  We can be rid of them once and for all, no longer carrying around the guilt and shame of what we’ve done or what’s been done to us.  We don’t have to live like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.  This way to forgiveness is through belief in Jesus Christ.  John preached of His coming.  Jesus came to take our sins upon Himself and restore our relationship with God.  Oh the joy and freedom that comes when that truth finally sinks in.

Heavenly Father, your mercy upon us overwhelms me at times.  I ask You, “why are You so good to me?” and I know it is because of Your great love for us.  My heart overflows with gratitude for how you’ve changed my life.  Thank You.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUrnwpGefDI

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Genesis 35, 36; Mark 6; Job 2; Romans 6

19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.

28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Death seems to be all around me these days—even in my reading. The verses I had this time all had a reference to death in them and perhaps because of things happening in my life, God wanted to speak to me about this subject.  As I have been pondering them, I read of the passing of the father of our sister blogger, Courtney, in yesterday’s blog post.  I know how much she is hurting.

I recently took a trip to Texas to say goodbye to my brother.  It is only a matter of days before I get “the call” telling me he has passed away.  He has battled Parkinson’s disease for over twenty years.  It broke my heart to see what the disease has done to him.  He is no longer the energetic, vibrant man who regaled you with his songs, stories, and poetry. In my mind, though, I choose to remember him that way.  Even though he can barely communicate any longer, he can still hum along with a song.

A very good friend from my small group lost her husband this past weekend. We sat in the hospital waiting room praying, asking God to do a miracle and heal him, and offering support where we could.  But God took him home leaving behind a heartbroken wife.  There are no words we can say to help her, God alone will give her the strength to walk through this loss.  All we can do is be there to lend a helping hand and sympathetic ear.

11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.

As believers in Christ, though, we realize there is something beyond the pain of these partings. Death came to be because sin entered the world “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).  Because of Christ and His death on the cross, all who have accepted Him as their Savior have eternal life.  Death does not have the final say.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

There is no denying the pain that comes from the loss of a loved one. I have lost my mom, my dad, my best friend, and soon my brother.  After each of their deaths, it felt as if there was a hole left in my heart.  I miss them.  If I had not allowed God to fill these empty places in my heart, I would not be have been able to get out of bed in the morning.  If I did not trust in Him that one day we would be together for all eternity, I don’t know that I would have survived. I do not know how people who do not believe in Jesus get through for He alone was my Rock, my Strength. I believe His promise in Rev 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Heavenly Father, I know You feel our pain when a loved one is suffering or dies. You watched Your Son die a painful death on a cross.  We long for the day there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain—no more partings.  We thank You for the nearness of You during these times of loss for the bible says you are close to the brokenhearted.  I pray for a special touch by You for any who may be grieving today.  May we keep our eyes fixed on You!  In Jesus holy name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Genesis 6; Ezra 6; Matthew 6; Acts 6

Life has a way of getting me down sometimes and when that happens, I realize my connection to my Source has become a little disconnected. Chances are pretty good that my attention has been drawn more to circumstances going on around me than to Who is in control of those circumstances.  As I read through these chapters in The Message translation, I was reminded of several truths of God that I need to remember—they should be etched on my heart!

First, He loves me and wants to be part of my life. Genesis tells us He could have destroyed mankind not long after He created it.  He wanted to, He thought about it.  But God liked what He saw in Noah and used him to continue life.  God saved humanity because of one man; Jesus died on a cross for me!  That kind of love is so personal.  It was personal for Noah, it is personal for me.

God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. God said, “I’ll get rid of my ruined creation, make a clean sweep: people, animals, snakes and bugs, birds—the works. I’m sorry I made them.”

 But Noah was different. God liked what he saw in Noah.

Also, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that God conceived us in love and is working quietly and unobtrusively behind the scenes for us. He is working on our behalf out of love. So many times if I only took my eyes off what is going on and focused on God instead, I would see that.

When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

Second, there is nothing He can’t accomplish. He is in control. He can change the minds of Kings to do His will—and get them to pay for it! Why should I worry about the outcome?  It is in His hands.

God had plunged them into a sea of joy; he had changed the mind of the king of Assyria to back them in rebuilding The Temple of God, the God of Israel.

Finally, His Word is alive and living in me (thank you Beth Moore for that one)!  He is present and because of His Word my life has prospered.  His Word has changed me and He wants me to share that with others.  We are called to make disciples.

The Word of God prospered. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith.

Stephen, brimming with God’s grace and energy, was doing wonderful things among the people, unmistakable signs that God was among them.

Father, I pray to be brimming with Your grace and energy and do wonderful things among the people in Your name. Your Word tells me how much You love me, want to be with me, and it reveals Your sovereignty.  It is alive!  Oh the joy of sharing that good news with others.  May it continue to teach me, change me, comfort me, and grow me more in the image of Jesus.  In His name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Job 18-20; Psalm 141; Revelation 15

A psalm of David

1-2 God, come close. Come quickly!  Open your ears—it’s my voice you’re hearing! Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising; my raised hands are my evening prayers.

3-7 Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips. Don’t let me so much as dream of evil or thoughtlessly fall into bad company. And these people who only do wrong—don’t let them lure me with their sweet talk!   May the Just One set me straight, may the Kind One correct me, Don’t let sin anoint my head.  I’m praying hard against their evil ways! Oh, let their leaders be pushed off a high rock cliff; make them face the music. Like a rock pulverized by a maul, let their bones be scattered at the gates of hell.

8-10 But God, dear Lord, I only have eyes for you. Since I’ve run for dear life to you,     take good care of me. Protect me from their evil scheming, from all their demonic subterfuge. Let the wicked fall flat on their faces, while I walk off without a scratch. (MSG)

As I read through this Psalm, it occurred to me how much it teaches me about praying to God. Over the years I have learned so many formulaic methods for praying.  I can remember as a child learning I must fold my hands, bow my head, and close my eyes; and, as a new believer, thinking that if I didn’t do it “just right” God would not hear my prayers.  I joined a prayer group that met every Friday night to pray and listening to them pray to God each week intimidated me so much I didn’t pray out loud for two years!  Two years!  It intimidated me because their prayers sounded so “godly” to me.  I didn’t want these people to know what was really going on inside of me.  At this point of my life, I was still a very broken person.  Most of my prayers were for myself because I needed God’s strength just to get me through the day.  My prayers were selfish, sometimes angry, sometimes lying face down on the floor sobbing until there was nothing left inside of me.  That is why I love David!

Reading through the Psalms, we are given insight into David’s prayer life. He is so open and honest in his conversations with God.  When he is afraid, he takes it to God, when he is repentant, he takes it to God.  Everything he is going through in his life is taken to God in prayer.  There is no formula, no perfect place, no proper words—just gut honest thoughts.  In my wildest dreams, I would never have prayed “let their leaders be pushed off a high rock cliff”.  Why not?  Well, because somewhere along the line I got the notion we only prayed “good things” for people.  Have I thought things like that—of course!  There have been people who have hurt me during the course of my life and I’ve wanted them to be hurt, wanted to get revenge.  But I didn’t want to admit those things to God (as if He doesn’t know my thoughts).  David does say them to God.  We know David to be a man after God’s own heart.  God loved David and David loved God.  So if David prayed to God something like “Let the wicked fall flat on their faces, while I walk off without a scratch” I suppose it is alright for me to do likewise.

I have been through many years of counseling and one of the things I learned was the freedom that comes with being honest with our feelings. Stuffing those feelings causes trouble down the road because, like a jack-in-the-box, you never know when they are going to pop up.  David is showing us the safest Person to share all these feelings with is God.  When we pray to Him, tell Him what is going on inside of us, all those nasty yucky feelings, it releases them.  Despite what the adage says, words can harm—sometimes irreparably.  God is that safe haven. It is far better to say those words to Him than to say something hurtful to someone you can’t take back.  David is crying out to God because he is feeling those feelings and asking God to keep him from doing evil.  He doesn’t want to say what he knows isn’t pleasing to God, he doesn’t want to act on those feelings that are overwhelming him, and so he shares them with his Best Friend!  He is trusting God to change his heart and take care of the situation.  No worrying, no stressing, no fretting.

Lord, I want to be more like David.  I thank you that you are a God that is so intimate, we can wrestle those sinful desires to say and do evil things with a kind, loving and just Friend.  When something has happened that sets off those hurt feelings, fear, or insecurities that lie inside waiting to pop up, give me presence of mind to filter them through You and your truth before I lash out at someone.  Let me speak a silent prayer to you identifying the feelings I struggle with and pray to not do evil in your eyes.  Jesus tells us to speak the truth with love, and that is what I want to do.  I do not want to hurt someone because I am hurting.  Most of the time the problem is with me and something from my past that is reacting, not what they have said or done.  You alone know my story from beginning to end; You alone can post a guard at my mouth.  Father, I bare my soul to you and pray for your love to fill all those crevices of brokenness that still need repair. I pray as David did for you to set me straight, correct me, and do not let sin anoint my head. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Nehemiah 1-3; Revelation 5

In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign,[a] I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. (NLT)

Nehemiah was one of the exiled Israelites who lived in Susa. He was the cup bearer to the King which meant he tasted everything the King drank to make sure it had not been poisoned.  He probably had never seen his homeland of Israel or, if he had, it had been a very long time. We are not sure why he did not return to Israel after the decree from Cyrus allowing the exiles to go back, but he had not yet gone.  Yet his heart was deeply touched at the news of the state of his home. So much so he sat down and wept.  He mourned and fasted and prayed at the thought of his beloved City of David being in ruins!

2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” (NIV)

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Nehemiah’s heart was broken! He mourned, and prayed, and fasted for four months.  He called out to the Lord continuously over the brokenness of Israel.  He wanted to do something about it and was relentless in his appeal to God.  Have you ever cried out to God in distress and it became such a focus that was all you could think about?  So much so that it affected your appearance and others started to notice?  Here he was serving the king as he did every day and one day the king noticed his countenance and asked him about what was going on in his life.  I don’t really picture a king taking notice of a servant unless God has been working on that king’s heart.  As Nehemiah continued to fast and pray, not seeing any answer to his prayer, God was at work.

I love Nehemiah’s response to the king. Even though he was afraid, he answered the king but before he made his request he “prayed to the God of heaven”.  He had been praying to be the one to rebuild the city.  He needed the king’s favor.  He needed passes to get to the city, he needed materials, and he had been working out a plan in his head of how he would undertake this God-sized task.  God sent Nehemiah to rebuild the city and had the king help finance it.

Prayer is such an important part of our walk with God. It is how we communicate with Him. It is how we develop intimacy with Him. As we pray and devote time to Him, He reveals Himself to us!   Historically, prayer and fasting seem to be how our country sought answers to direction for our country.  Have you ever seen some of the older films of the founding fathers with their powdered wigs sitting in church fasting and praying?  Or, recently, I was watching “It’s a Beautiful Life” where George Bailey prayed and fasted when the country was at war.  There is a blending of mind, body, and spirit when we fast and pray—an intentionality of true focus on God with the realization that only He can resolve something. Prayer and fasting generally has a specific focus as it did for Nehemiah.

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

Revelation gives us a picture of what happens to our prayers. It is such a beautiful thought to picture my prayers being presented to God as incense in a golden bowl.  They aren’t lost in the cosmos somewhere, they are presented to God!  Nehemiah’s prayer was heard and answered.  To God be the glory!

Oh Father, thank you for hearing our prayers. They can range anywhere from asking for help to find a parking spot to healing a loved one.  They can be praises to You for the beauty of Your nature to asking for the favor of a king to send us to rebuild a city.  We bring You the desires of our hearts and the joys and sorrows of our lives.  I am so thankful to live in this time, after the veil was torn, so we have access to you through Jesus.  He sits at your right hand and intercedes for us.  Our prayers are incense in golden bowls presented to you.  Hear our prayers, oh Lord!  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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