Tag Archives: prayer

God’s Word Our Story | More From Nehemiah

3 Jul

gospel podium_optThe Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

From Saturday June 28

Highlights from Paige Benton Brown “Fearing God in a Fallen World” Nehemiah 5-6″Twas grace that taught my heart to fear…” It is foundational–the awe, reverence, worship, demanded by God by his power and position and glory; fear is the only proper response to the biblical doctrine of God. It is the beginning of wisdom–a perpetual posture, not an occasional exercise.”We can give the right answers but they’ll always be in the wrong place if fear of the Lord is absent from the foundation. Fear of the Lord causes us to submit to God’s authority not because…

Please view the article in its entirety here:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > God’s Word Our Story | More From Nehemiah.

Finding Calm in the Storm

20 Jun

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Finding Calm in the Storm by Marci Lopez

Do you ever get motion sick? I do. When Pastor Bob talks about motion sickness in a sermon, I relate. Travel in general is tough for me no matter the conveyance –car, plane, boat, amusement park ride –the rockier the motion the more ill I feel and the greater the suffering. This is true during times of turmoil as well. When the ebb and flow of every day turns into a tumultuous toss and turn like angry seas during a storm, that’s when I feel an anxious sick, a disequilibrium where a foothold is not easily gained.It is during those times…

Finish reading here:  Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Finding Calm in the Storm.

Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Prayer | 3rd in Series

24 May

praying hands_opt“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7b NASB)

Prayer is an expression of our heart, an outpouring of intimacy, a loving dialogue with the Father.The Word of God makes it clear we are to participate in prayer.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Prayer | 3rd in Series.

Seasoned with Salt, Peppered with Grace | Prayer and Hope for Unbelieving Adult Children

15 Mar

salt pepper2“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” –Colossians 4:5-6

Do you have family members who do not believe in Christ? If you answered “yes” like me, take heart, Jesus did too. According to John, “not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5) and Mark makes note of his family thinking he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). They lived with Jesus for 30 years and did not KNOW him! Take comfort for although they did not truly know Jesus during his earthly ministry, after the ascension there they are in the upper room with the Apostles praying (Acts 1:14).

This is a topic very close to my heart as I see this unbelief in my own daughter. She is, like Christian in Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress,”  trapped by Giant Despair, imprisoned in Doubting Castle. Lamenting her condition and blind to the fact that she possesses good news in her heart; the key of Promise that will unlock the dungeon that holds her captive is forgotten. So I pray that she “will know the truth” (John 8:32). I pray she will put her faith and trust in Jesus who poured out His own blood on the cross, taking her deserved punishment (1 Peter 2:24), to free her from the enslavement of sin. I pray her heart is softened and her eyes and ears are opened. I pray she pictures the warrior Jesus ready for battle and realizes nothing is too big for our Savior. I pray my husband and I will continue to shine Christ, speak truth, and extend grace to our daughter through email, Facebook messages, phone calls, and the very rare visit. I pray that God will continue to strengthen our marriage, root us deeper in Christ, and surround us with church family who love and pray with us, for us and for our daughter who many do not even know.

While home recently our daughter said, “Mom, why do you guys keep holding out your arms to me?” I pray someday she will truly understand what a precious gift she is to us and how loved she is, by her Dad and I of course, but even more so by the Lord whose arms are also open.

Relating to your unsaved grown child by Annette Cole

I looked at the row of velvet boxes and noticed a cross with a rose nestled next to it. I asked to see the attractive silver ring and bought it minutes later. For the first time in days, I felt a gentle touch of peace.

I’d been feeling only fear and grief as I watched my youngest daughter denounce her faith and rush into sin. Now I had a symbol of hope to cling to. As the father of the prodigal son placed a ring on his son’s finger at a “coming home” celebration, one day I hope to do the same for my daughter.

It has been years since my daughter walked away from Jesus Christ. Today we call and visit each other, but it has not been easy. The Bible asks, “What fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14, NIV).

Since the obvious answer to this is none, how do parents maintain relationships with their adult, unsaved children? I have had to find answers because my daughter does not want to be estranged from her family.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here: Relating to Your Unsaved Grown Child

The first paragraph of this blog was influenced by Jon Bloom’s article: Jesus Also Had Unbelieving Family Members

John Piper’s son Abraham, once a prodigal, wrote this letter from his perspective: 12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child

For more of Christian’s journey pick up a copy of John Bunyan’s classic book: The Pilgrim’s Progress

A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush

23 Dec
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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.“ Luke 10:41-42

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the eve of Christmas Eve—arguably, one of the most pressure-laden, detail-heavy, preparation-peaking, relationship-stressing, and traffic-snarly days of the year. We are so thankful that you are the Prince of Peace, and that you’ve come to make peace, in the chaos of our world and hearts.

As this day unfolds, grant us wisdom to discern the difference between the many Martha-like-details that really don’t matter; and the “one good thing” you commended in Mary. Jesus, be our treasure and pleasure; the focus of our gaze and the joy of our hearts; not just, the “reason-for-the-season”, but, the very center of our existence.

May your welcoming, kind, gracious heart be the most notable reality in our homes this Christmas. Bring your centering peace to bear in profound and sensate ways. Grant us copious amounts of your mercy for our prodigals; your grace for our brokenness; and your compassion, for one and all alike.

To the degree our traditions have become idols; our expectations have grown unrealistic, our busyness reveals our barrenness, and our gift giving is more about face saving, forgive us and free us, Jesus.

May the silent night of your birth bring its gentling presence in our homes. May the “good news of great joy,” the angel’s declared, trump any other storyline we would write for this week. May your peace, that passes all understanding, reign in our hearts like an irresistible force. May the hope of the Day when “all will be put right,” free us to wait patiently and love boldly in this day.

Lord Jesus, as you have come to serve us—from your manger to the cross, so may we find our greatest joy this week in serving one another. Free us from any need for anybody to be any different than they are. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and triumphant name.

Reprinted from: A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush – Heavenward by Scotty Smith.

Additionally, click here to view a related post: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Harried, Hurried? | Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon

10,000 Reasons to Give Thanks|Bless the Lord

28 Nov

10000“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” –1 Thessalonians 5:18

The commonly painted portrait of the first Thanksgiving depicts the Native Americans and Plymouth settlers casting aside their divergences to break bread together in a celebration of thanks that surmounted their mutual suspicion. These early hunters and foragers were thankful for the autumn harvest that would potentially see them through the harsh East Coast winter. They were truly grateful for God’s provision.

Today many of us will gather with family over a meal and reflect on the things we are thankful for. Break out of the perfunctory mold and reach deep. 

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” –2 Corinthians 4:15

  • God is glorified more fully when we feel thankfulness, not when we only say, “Thank you.”
  • Authentic heart-feelings are not in our control. We can’t make ourselves feel thankfulness. If our hearts are not moved by God’s goodness, we are ungrateful. Thankfeelings are a work of grace.
  • Therefore, as fallen sinners whose hearts are often dull, we should regularly pray for God to overcome our sinful hardness, and cause us to see his goodness and feel thankful.

–John Piper Thanksgiving, Thanksfeeling, and the Glory of God – Desiring God

 

10,000 Reasons to Give Thanks

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” Nahum 1:7

“You, Lord, are enthroned forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19

“God, be exalted above the heavens; let Your glory be over the whole earth.” Psalm 57:11

Excerpt from: 10,000 Reasons to Give Thanks – Mentoring Moments

Additional links:

Five Truths About Thanksgiving – Desiring God

What Does It Mean to Bless God? – Desiring God

God’s Bright Design for Your Bitter Providences|Taking Heart in Uncertainty

5 Oct

 wait

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” –Romans 8:28

 

It should be comforting to acknowledge the supreme sovereignty of our God who works exclusively for the good of those He has called and yet in the midst of suffering or life’s vagaries we are sometimes hard pressed to recognize His hand. What the “good” is or will be is often intangible, mysterious, and hidden to us but never to God. He knows exactly what He is accomplishing and we need to cast our fears aside and rein in our anxiousness by waiting upon, hoping in, resting with, and seeking out the Lord –in scripture, in prayer, in meditation. 

“In the life to come there shall be no more mixture; in hell there will be nothing but bitter; in heaven nothing but sweet; but in this life the providences of God are mixed, there is something of the sweet in them, and something of the bitter” –Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 125.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

–William Cowper God Moves In a Mysterious Way.” 

God’s Bright Design for Your Bitter Providences

This is the will of God, your sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

The unexpected, unexplained twists and turns our lives take create all kinds of apparent uncertainties for us. And the profound pain we endure can be so perplexing. There is so much God doesn’t tell us — so much we think we would really like to know…

The secret things are the Lord’s for a very good reason. Trust him with the mystery. But the revealed things are yours and they are glorious. Believe them and one day you’ll share God’s holiness and all the forevermore pleasures he has prepared for you…

Excerpted from Jon Bloom’s God’s Bright Design for Your Bitter Providences – Desiring God.

Secret Sisters

11 Sep

secretSecret Sisters Kickoff Sunday September 22, 2:30 PM at Laura Brislawn’s house.

Secret Sisters offers the opportunity for women to come alongside each other; supporting and encouraging one another through prayer and with small gifts, notes, and cards. Becoming a secret prayer partner and silent encourager enables you to learn more about your Sister and her needs while at the same time, someone is praying for, encouraging, and learning more about you.

Lots of fun social events provide fellowship and the chance to get to know women in your church family.

Questions?? Contact Laura Brislawn or Cindy Bobo or stop by the women’s ministries cart on Sunday for more information.

Superwoman to Kingdom Woman|Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

10 Sep

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”

–Colossians 2:6-7

 super

This world we live in emphasizes some unattainable standard that moms should aspire to achieve in order to earn their superwoman cape. It is an ideal comprised of distractions designed to keep women rooted in the world rather than in Christ.

Refocus on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy…” (Philippians 4:8) instead of the world’s yardstick. Clothe yourself with Jesus (Romans 13:14and immerse yourself in the Word.

The following article provides realistic suggestions for busy women (not only moms) desiring to spend time with the Lord.

Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

by Courtney Joseph

Fall is almost here, and for most moms this is the beginning of the busiest season of the year. Back-to-school to-do lists lead right into Thanksgiving and Christmas to-do lists, and we will not find rest again until January 2nd. And while God’s word sits on our shelves waiting for us to get a slow moment, the world bids us to keep busy. Get those kids signed up for soccer, piano, gymnastics, basketball, football, and the list keeps going. You just name it, everybody else is doing it.

The world tells us to get our calendars full and stay on the move. If you don’t, your kids might miss out, or they won’t be cool, or they won’t learn important life lessons, or they won’t be socialized, or they won’t, won’t, won’t. “Get busy and keep busy” is how the unspoken mantra goes.

The world says this chaotic running around is what the good moms do.

But the truth is that we need slow moments.

It’s in the slow moments that God speaks to us through his word and we speak to him in prayer. This is when we step away from all the busyness in order to fellowship with our heavenly Father. This is when we come to his word for the precious purpose of drinking from the living well — Jesus Christ.

Here is a simple guide for busy moms who want to build more of these slow moments into their everyday — moments to stop and drink deeply from the living well.

1. Choose one passage of Scripture for the week. My favorite passages for meditating on come from Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles.

2. Write the passage on a note card, and slip it in your pocket or beside your computer. Pull it out periodically, and read over it. Keep it in your purse all week long, and pull it out at convenient times and read through it.

3. Read the passage first thing in the morning. Read the passage as soon as you get out of bed, so it’s the first thing on your mind that morning.

4. Open your Bible to that passage, and place it on the kitchen counter. All day long, when you walk through the kitchen, pause, read the passage, and then move on.

5. Read the passage out loud. Read it to yourself, and read it to your children during mealtime and at bedtime.

6. Reread the passage before you go to bed at night. Bookend your days with the reading of this passage of Scripture.

7. Write the passage at the top of your to-do list. This way, every time you look over your to-do list, you can review the Scripture passage.

via Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word – Desiring God.

Don’t Drink the Dirty Water|Drink in the Word of God

20 Aug

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“Little children, keep yourselves from idols” 

–1 John 5:21

“Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind””

–Matthew 22:37

“F. W.Boreham spoke of Christ’s cross as “the climax of immensities, the center of infinities, and the conflux of eternities.”

“The infinite God of the universe –the King, has communicated to us His insurpassable love, sent an inexorable Savior, with unfathomable salvation. Does He really need to do anything else?”

–Pastor Burris Passion 2013: For Our Families 

The scope  and magnitude of God’s love for us is most spectacularly displayed upon the cross. How can we stand lukewarm –leaning on our own self sufficiency and self satisfaction –too comfortable, complacent, and apathetic, in the shadow of such enormity? 

“The essence of lukewarmness is the statement, “I need nothing.” The lukewarm are spiritually self-satisfied. To find out whether you are among that number, don’t look into your head to see if you think that you are needy; rather, look at your prayer life. It doesn’t matter what we think in our head, the test of whether we are in bondage to spiritual self-satisfaction is how earnest and frequent and extended our prayers for change are.

Do you seek the Lord earnestly and often in secret for deeper knowledge of Christ, for greater earnestness in prayer, for more boldness in witness, for sweeter joy in the Holy Spirit, for deeper sorrow for sin, for warmer compassion for the lost, for more divine power to love? Or is the coolness and perfunctoriness of your prayer life Exhibit A that you are spiritually self-satisfied and lukewarm?”

–John Piper adapted from: How to Buy Gold When You’re Broke

Don’t Drink the Dirty Water

LORE FERGUSON

We both drank from the same glass, our mouths leaving marks on opposite sides, a tall drink of water for the parched soul. This is what it is to come to the only Water that will quench our thirst: a shared glass, shared germs, shared experience, but only one Way, one Truth, one Life. Drinking from the same glass.

I tell a friend this morning that I feel straddled between two camps, and I don’t know how long I can sustain this position. I fear being viewed as tepid water. John writes of lukewarm water being spewed from the mouth of God (Rev. 3:16).

We’re drinking from a stagnant pond if we keep returning to the same story over and over and over again hoping to find resolution (Prov. 26:11). We’re drinking from a rusty tap if we don’t purify our words with fire (James 4:8), season them with salt (Col. 4:6), and sweeten them with honey (Ps. 119:103). We’re drinking from contaminated water if we believe that we’re the water others long for.

We’re drinking from water that will never satisfy if we’re not drinking from the Living Water (John 4:7-30).

Some of us come to the well at high noon, fearful to gather our drink where others in our camp might see us. Some of us come in the morning, with the masses, because to stand apart, to stand alone is too much for our approval starved hearts.

But Jesus? Jesus takes our chin in his hand, lifts up our eyes to where our help can only come, and shows us a better way, a more beautiful way. He calls our sin what it is so there is no opportunity to remain lukewarm or ignorant, but he also says the watering hole in which we find ourselves is no thirst-quencher at all.

He is Water and we drink from his glass alone.

Excerpted from: Don’t Drink the Dirty Water – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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