Family in Prayer

What is S.U.P.V.?

For those new to our church, website and this blog, here’s what it’s all about: SUPV stands for the Straight Up Prayer Vigil. It is a virtual prayer vigil that happens every Wednesday (God willing). The Straight Up refers to the times of 6:00 a.m., noon, 6:00 p.m., and midnight–you choose whatever time works for you–and you pray for our church, those on prayer list, and prayer requests that are included in the blog post or are sent by email, normally at the beginning of the week for that Wednesday. 
The length of the SUPVs has grown in nature over the past couple of years, and now it’s pretty much a full-blown devotional, with specific prayer requests included. May it bless you as you read it.   
 
 

April 27, 2016

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:1

 

I fell into a rabbit hole the other day whilst reading Facebook and found myself on a Reddit.com site where a Redditor (that’s what users who post things on Reddit.com are called)

posted an open letter to his father, asked folks to read it, and give him advice on whether he should send it to the man who walked out on him and his mother when the writer was two years old. Said mother was a heroine addict who died when the writer was four years old—he says that he waited three days for her to wake up but she never did.

 The open letter was well written, honest, and heart breaking. This little boy went into foster care, and was abused emotionally, physically, and I believe, sexually. He ran away at 16. He was 24 when he posted the letter, and had children of his own. He wanted to let his father know that he wasn’t that little boy who cried when the father left—he was a man who never knew how to be a son, and could not start now. He didn’t want to come across as bitter or angry, but did want to put the kibosh on his father thinking that there would be any type of reconciliation. As I read the comments, my heartbreak grew deeper, as I saw an inordinate amount of wrath and judgment for the father, and only a few people who advocated for not sending the letter and instead sought to convey the sense of peace the writer may feel if he considered meeting the with the father, if only to set himself free from the anger and hurt of the abandonment. Commenters shared their own stories of hurt, neglect, and rejection, all at the hands of one or both of their parents. Oh, it should not be! It simply should not be!

 


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April 20, 2016

 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”…… Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

 

                                                                        Luke 24:30-32; 35

 

The above Scripture reference is the basis for the concept of the Walk to Emmaus. The Walk to Emmaus is not a physical walk but a spiritual one. It is a 72 hour retreat filled with talks, quiet time, laughter, food, prayer time, chapel, singing, food, bonding with like minded Christian friends, food, a recognition of where you are on your spiritual walk, and communion. Did I mention there’s food? There is—I promise you this, that if you ever attend a Walk to Emmaus, you will never go hungry!

 I went on my pilgrim Walk back in 2001 while I attended Northminster Presbyterian church. I’d been a member of the church for about five years, and was an ordained elder, and had recently “retired” from having served on Session for the very first time. I felt that my spiritual walk had been okay and had not really ached for anything deeper, other than being slightly envious of a fellow church member’s ability to cite scripture references in little notes she would write people. Mainly because I am a people pleaser, and a number of people I respected had already gone, I agreed to go. Literature about it said that the fundamental purpose of the Walk was to build up Christian leaders in the church. I wasn’t sure if I needed that, but I figured that since everyone said that they had such an awesome experience, I might be up for that as well. There were four other ladies from my church going, so at least there would be some friendly faces. Being the introvert I am, that was important to me. I don’t do well in unfamiliar situations. But…I went, seeking anxiously the amazing and awesome moments people assured me I would experience.


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April 6, 2016

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

                                                                        2 Corinthians 12: 7-9a

 

Before I changed jobs into my current job, I was a User Experience (UX) Producer. I worked in the IT department with developers, project managers, and testers to implement the business requirements for software development. My project team and I met with the business, who were our customers, by definition, to get their requirements and goals for what they wanted the software to deliver.

Our project teams worked really well with our business partners, and it got to the point where there were some system developers and analysts who knew as much about the business as our business partners did, and where I was mistaken for one of the business partners by new project team members, given that I had been a business manager before being in UX, and I quickly understood what the business needed. We became a well-oiled machine, our development teams and various business partners, for the nine years I worked in UX, supporting the same business area.

That is, until new business partners would come in.

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March 9, 2016

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.          

James 1:2-6

 

I had a normal childhood. My dad was in the Air Force; my mom was a stay-at-home mom who worked outside of the home when my younger sister was in middle school. When my dad retired from the Air Force after 20 years, we moved to Plano, Texas. We were a relatively boring family whose sole source of upheaval was my insistence of getting married at the tender young age of 18 (but you’ve heard that story already).

 

Fast forward to December of 2000, when my dear mother, whose health issues varied from anorexia to breast cancer, passed away unexpectedly at home. I had to be the one to tell my grandma that her own daughter died, and we raced to Plano, making up there via IH35 in four and a half hours to be with my dad and my sister. It was a surreal whirlwind of an experience, one in which I can say that I don’t recall everyone who showed, nor the details of everything that happened. (Though it is odd that I do recall driving back to San Antonio with the news of the Texas Seven (seven prisoners who escaped from jail near Kenedy), all over the radio). My sweet mother is in a better place now.

 


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March 2, 2016

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

 (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 (Psalm 34:18)

 

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

(John 14:16)

 

Kathy, a friend of mine with whom I had worked, recently posted on Facebook, requesting prayers for the family of her adult stepdaughter, whom they had apparently just lost. She also posted funeral service details, and was seemed very matter of fact in her posts. Since she gave no details about what happened, my first conclusion was suicide. I knew that she and her husband had had their challenges with his daughter Michelle, especially during her teenage years, but I had understood things to be going well for her, now that she was in her late twenties and had two small children of her own. I, of course, said prayers for the family and for all involved, requesting comfort for her two little ones and their father.

 

Last week I passed a developer with whom I’d worked on a project for over a year. He asked me if I’d heard that our project’s third party test lead had passed earlier that week. I was shocked and immediately saddened, reaching out to others who’d been on the project to see if they’d heard the same. The project manager did some research and found out that she had indeed passed away. Ranjana (pronounced Rahn-jahn-a), our Quality Assurance lead, was in her mid-to-late twenties as well, but was unmarried and seemingly unwavering in her stance to remain as such, regardless of how her family in India felt about it. She was hard working and flexible, and private, opening up more to other third party contractors from India, with whom she had so much more in common than those of us from the United States. But she had a beautiful smile, exquisitely stunning Indian outfits called salwar kameez, and a personality whose unforeseen absence took her project team by utter shock and despair—especially if the rumors attributing her death to suicide were indeed true.


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February 24, 2016

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

                                                            Ephesians 1:18-23

 

I am a nervous passenger, especially when my children were learning how to drive. I think a lot of it stems from the fact that I am challenged to be comfortable with how my husband drives—in my opinion, he is an aggressive driver who doesn’t maintain a safe enough distance between cars for my comfort, and whose braking style leaves a lot for my panicky heart to be desired. It has gotten to the point that I now play a game or read on my smartphone when my husband is driving. I’m not ashamed; I’m sure some of you might be able to relate…

 

As each child was learning to drive, I was keenly aware of how my nervousness as a passenger affected his confidence as a new driver. I got the causal connection; I am more than self-aware (and self-guilt inducing) of my actions, or more, my reactions. I flipped out once with Greg while he was driving through our neighborhood that he banned me from riding with him for a while (if you think about it, I’m not 100% sure that had the intended punishment consequences he thought it might). With Troy, I flipped out even worse while he was driving on IH10, having had an enjoyable drive to (via Blanco and Highway 46) and lunch in Boerne at his favorite restaurant. I don’t know what possessed me to let him drive down IH10, other than the fact that we were going to go by Barnes & Noble to get a book for school. I felt he wasn’t braking quickly enough, and told him to, more than once, until…yes… I screeched at him to “$#&*!^@” brake!!” I am not proud of that moment. I am quite ashamed. He was quite cross and actually forbade me to speak to him while on that trip. Needless to say, it was a tense and stressful ending to a pleasant afternoon. Weeks later, I even bribed Greg to come with us when Troy drove to take his driving test, so that Greg could sit in the front and I could sit in the back and distract myself, just to cope with the self-induced stress.
 


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February 17, 2016

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

                                             Philippians 4:8-9

 

“….casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,…”

                                             2 Corinthians 10:5

 

 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

                                             Colossians 3:2   

 

A lifetime ago, I married really, really young (at 18). I’d accepted Jesus in my heart when I was 17, and then met my soon-to-be husband who was a freshman in college, and chose to follow down that path, instead of the path of righteousness that Jesus wanted for me to pursue. I’m not saying that I did illicit drugs or anything regrettable like that; I’m just saying that running around with a crowd of people to whom alcohol and drugs were such a common thing made it difficult to “fly right”. I didn’t go to church; Sunday mornings were filled with work (overnight newspaper delivery for him and food service work for me) with an errant hangover and then college papers to write and books to read.

Three years into our eight-year marriage, my husband was invited to attend a church service with a co-worker or a school acquaintance. I think the second time he went to this non-denominational church, he came home declaring that he’d experienced something wonderful, and that he was going to stop listening to secular music and listen to only Christian singers, and that the country music I listened to was hurting my chances of being a good Christian, because the artists were all sinners. I rankled at the thought of someone judging my choice of music, and declaring it “less than” because the artists did not sing praise and worship songs. “After all,” I reasoned to myself, “everyone is a sinner, so if the requirement was to listen to music by only non-sinning artists, no one would be able to listen to anything.” I quickly dismissed his statement, and while I didn’t do anything to sabotage his listening choices, I didn’t go out of my way to help him in his Christian pursuit. I realize now that I was a lackey, used by the enemy to distract my then-husband from his spiritual walk. I don’t recall how long he continued going to church, but I know it wasn’t for that long, because his old habits of smoking marijuana returned, which then led to heavier drug usage and the darker, scarier side of our marriage, which I shared with you in the pulpit a couple of weeks ago.  

But that’s not what this devotional is about.

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February 10, 2016

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

                                                     

Ephesians 5:17

 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

                                                      Romans 12:1-2

If you Google “how to find God’s purpose in my life”, you will find a sizeable number of links to blogs, websites, and other content about how to do so. In reading up on a number of them, for that is 

somewhat the topic of this devotional, I was struck by the number of writers who didn’t take note of the difference between one’s talent—innate ability, aptitude, or faculty—and God’s purpose for one’s life. Instead, the writers suggested that their dear readers search their heart to find those things that they were drawn to, those things that made their heart sing, and pray about them, to find out that those things were what they were called by our Heavenly Father to do. While I don’t mean any disrespect to these writers, I do feel that the advice was a little short sighted, too neatly wrapped up, and too Self-centric.

Hear me out, please.

 


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January 27, 2016

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

                                                               James 5:13-16

 

A couple of Sundays ago, you may recall that most of the congregation laid hands on our brother Mark Hardison, for the containment, and healing, of his prostate cancer. Those of us in our Thursday night prayer group (to which every single one of is invited…7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Thursdays. Did I mention you’re invited?) had talked about the laying of hands on Mark, but we had planned to either go to his house or invite him to a the following prayer meeting (which, by the way, is on Thursdays, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome). Instead, Cody Wilkerson felt convicted to approach Pastor Kevin during the hymn of invitation and suggest the laying of hands. Thank you, Cody, for listening and obeying!

 

Mark, I haven’t had the chance to ask you if you felt anything as we prayed for you, but I can tell you that others who prayed for you felt His mighty power and presence. What a glorious moment, hmmm?


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January 20, 2016

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

                                                               Luke 10:1-2 

 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

                                                               1 Peter 2:9-10

 

There is a coworker of mine who is a project manager. He is high energy, charismatic, and engaging. He has tons of experience, and is very good at what he does. In talking to Jeff when he first came to our department, I found out that he went to seminary. His dad was a minister, and has helped plant churches in South America. Jeff has helped build up church in Honduras, and his latest adventure is working with a minister in Cuba. Jeff traveled there late last year, and really good things are happening. He has sought prayers from me for his efforts there and the efforts to bring one of the pastors up from Cuba to the United States.

 

I was chatting with him last week and he told me more about the exhilarating work that he personally has been able to do. His excitement was contagious! It is evident that although there are challenges to what he is doing, he truly enjoys it. Scripture easily rolls off his tongue, and he believes in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. I asked him during this chat why he was working at USAA and not out in the mission field. He looked me square in the face and said, “But I am! Work is my mission field.”

 


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April 27, 2016

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:1

 

I fell into a rabbit hole the other day whilst reading Facebook and found myself on a Reddit.com site where a Redditor (that’s what users who post things on Reddit.com are called)

posted an open letter to his father, asked folks to read it, and give him advice on whether he should send it to the man who walked out on him and his mother when the writer was two years old. Said mother was a heroine addict who died when the writer was four years old—he says that he waited three days for her to wake up but she never did.

 The open letter was well written, honest, and heart breaking. This little boy went into foster care, and was abused emotionally, physically, and I believe, sexually. He ran away at 16. He was 24 when he posted the letter, and had children of his own. He wanted to let his father know that he wasn’t that little boy who cried when the father left—he was a man who never knew how to be a son, and could not start now. He didn’t want to come across as bitter or angry, but did want to put the kibosh on his father thinking that there would be any type of reconciliation. As I read the comments, my heartbreak grew deeper, as I saw an inordinate amount of wrath and judgment for the father, and only a few people who advocated for not sending the letter and instead sought to convey the sense of peace the writer may feel if he considered meeting the with the father, if only to set himself free from the anger and hurt of the abandonment. Commenters shared their own stories of hurt, neglect, and rejection, all at the hands of one or both of their parents. Oh, it should not be! It simply should not be!

 


Read more...

April 20, 2016

 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”…… Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

 

                                                                        Luke 24:30-32; 35

 

The above Scripture reference is the basis for the concept of the Walk to Emmaus. The Walk to Emmaus is not a physical walk but a spiritual one. It is a 72 hour retreat filled with talks, quiet time, laughter, food, prayer time, chapel, singing, food, bonding with like minded Christian friends, food, a recognition of where you are on your spiritual walk, and communion. Did I mention there’s food? There is—I promise you this, that if you ever attend a Walk to Emmaus, you will never go hungry!

 I went on my pilgrim Walk back in 2001 while I attended Northminster Presbyterian church. I’d been a member of the church for about five years, and was an ordained elder, and had recently “retired” from having served on Session for the very first time. I felt that my spiritual walk had been okay and had not really ached for anything deeper, other than being slightly envious of a fellow church member’s ability to cite scripture references in little notes she would write people. Mainly because I am a people pleaser, and a number of people I respected had already gone, I agreed to go. Literature about it said that the fundamental purpose of the Walk was to build up Christian leaders in the church. I wasn’t sure if I needed that, but I figured that since everyone said that they had such an awesome experience, I might be up for that as well. There were four other ladies from my church going, so at least there would be some friendly faces. Being the introvert I am, that was important to me. I don’t do well in unfamiliar situations. But…I went, seeking anxiously the amazing and awesome moments people assured me I would experience.


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April 6, 2016

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

                                                                        2 Corinthians 12: 7-9a

 

Before I changed jobs into my current job, I was a User Experience (UX) Producer. I worked in the IT department with developers, project managers, and testers to implement the business requirements for software development. My project team and I met with the business, who were our customers, by definition, to get their requirements and goals for what they wanted the software to deliver.

Our project teams worked really well with our business partners, and it got to the point where there were some system developers and analysts who knew as much about the business as our business partners did, and where I was mistaken for one of the business partners by new project team members, given that I had been a business manager before being in UX, and I quickly understood what the business needed. We became a well-oiled machine, our development teams and various business partners, for the nine years I worked in UX, supporting the same business area.

That is, until new business partners would come in.

Read more...

March 9, 2016

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.          

James 1:2-6

 

I had a normal childhood. My dad was in the Air Force; my mom was a stay-at-home mom who worked outside of the home when my younger sister was in middle school. When my dad retired from the Air Force after 20 years, we moved to Plano, Texas. We were a relatively boring family whose sole source of upheaval was my insistence of getting married at the tender young age of 18 (but you’ve heard that story already).

 

Fast forward to December of 2000, when my dear mother, whose health issues varied from anorexia to breast cancer, passed away unexpectedly at home. I had to be the one to tell my grandma that her own daughter died, and we raced to Plano, making up there via IH35 in four and a half hours to be with my dad and my sister. It was a surreal whirlwind of an experience, one in which I can say that I don’t recall everyone who showed, nor the details of everything that happened. (Though it is odd that I do recall driving back to San Antonio with the news of the Texas Seven (seven prisoners who escaped from jail near Kenedy), all over the radio). My sweet mother is in a better place now.

 


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March 2, 2016

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

 (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 (Psalm 34:18)

 

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

(John 14:16)

 

Kathy, a friend of mine with whom I had worked, recently posted on Facebook, requesting prayers for the family of her adult stepdaughter, whom they had apparently just lost. She also posted funeral service details, and was seemed very matter of fact in her posts. Since she gave no details about what happened, my first conclusion was suicide. I knew that she and her husband had had their challenges with his daughter Michelle, especially during her teenage years, but I had understood things to be going well for her, now that she was in her late twenties and had two small children of her own. I, of course, said prayers for the family and for all involved, requesting comfort for her two little ones and their father.

 

Last week I passed a developer with whom I’d worked on a project for over a year. He asked me if I’d heard that our project’s third party test lead had passed earlier that week. I was shocked and immediately saddened, reaching out to others who’d been on the project to see if they’d heard the same. The project manager did some research and found out that she had indeed passed away. Ranjana (pronounced Rahn-jahn-a), our Quality Assurance lead, was in her mid-to-late twenties as well, but was unmarried and seemingly unwavering in her stance to remain as such, regardless of how her family in India felt about it. She was hard working and flexible, and private, opening up more to other third party contractors from India, with whom she had so much more in common than those of us from the United States. But she had a beautiful smile, exquisitely stunning Indian outfits called salwar kameez, and a personality whose unforeseen absence took her project team by utter shock and despair—especially if the rumors attributing her death to suicide were indeed true.


Read more...

February 24, 2016

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

                                                            Ephesians 1:18-23

 

I am a nervous passenger, especially when my children were learning how to drive. I think a lot of it stems from the fact that I am challenged to be comfortable with how my husband drives—in my opinion, he is an aggressive driver who doesn’t maintain a safe enough distance between cars for my comfort, and whose braking style leaves a lot for my panicky heart to be desired. It has gotten to the point that I now play a game or read on my smartphone when my husband is driving. I’m not ashamed; I’m sure some of you might be able to relate…

 

As each child was learning to drive, I was keenly aware of how my nervousness as a passenger affected his confidence as a new driver. I got the causal connection; I am more than self-aware (and self-guilt inducing) of my actions, or more, my reactions. I flipped out once with Greg while he was driving through our neighborhood that he banned me from riding with him for a while (if you think about it, I’m not 100% sure that had the intended punishment consequences he thought it might). With Troy, I flipped out even worse while he was driving on IH10, having had an enjoyable drive to (via Blanco and Highway 46) and lunch in Boerne at his favorite restaurant. I don’t know what possessed me to let him drive down IH10, other than the fact that we were going to go by Barnes & Noble to get a book for school. I felt he wasn’t braking quickly enough, and told him to, more than once, until…yes… I screeched at him to “$#&*!^@” brake!!” I am not proud of that moment. I am quite ashamed. He was quite cross and actually forbade me to speak to him while on that trip. Needless to say, it was a tense and stressful ending to a pleasant afternoon. Weeks later, I even bribed Greg to come with us when Troy drove to take his driving test, so that Greg could sit in the front and I could sit in the back and distract myself, just to cope with the self-induced stress.
 


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February 17, 2016

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

                                             Philippians 4:8-9

 

“….casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,…”

                                             2 Corinthians 10:5

 

 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

                                             Colossians 3:2   

 

A lifetime ago, I married really, really young (at 18). I’d accepted Jesus in my heart when I was 17, and then met my soon-to-be husband who was a freshman in college, and chose to follow down that path, instead of the path of righteousness that Jesus wanted for me to pursue. I’m not saying that I did illicit drugs or anything regrettable like that; I’m just saying that running around with a crowd of people to whom alcohol and drugs were such a common thing made it difficult to “fly right”. I didn’t go to church; Sunday mornings were filled with work (overnight newspaper delivery for him and food service work for me) with an errant hangover and then college papers to write and books to read.

Three years into our eight-year marriage, my husband was invited to attend a church service with a co-worker or a school acquaintance. I think the second time he went to this non-denominational church, he came home declaring that he’d experienced something wonderful, and that he was going to stop listening to secular music and listen to only Christian singers, and that the country music I listened to was hurting my chances of being a good Christian, because the artists were all sinners. I rankled at the thought of someone judging my choice of music, and declaring it “less than” because the artists did not sing praise and worship songs. “After all,” I reasoned to myself, “everyone is a sinner, so if the requirement was to listen to music by only non-sinning artists, no one would be able to listen to anything.” I quickly dismissed his statement, and while I didn’t do anything to sabotage his listening choices, I didn’t go out of my way to help him in his Christian pursuit. I realize now that I was a lackey, used by the enemy to distract my then-husband from his spiritual walk. I don’t recall how long he continued going to church, but I know it wasn’t for that long, because his old habits of smoking marijuana returned, which then led to heavier drug usage and the darker, scarier side of our marriage, which I shared with you in the pulpit a couple of weeks ago.  

But that’s not what this devotional is about.

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February 10, 2016

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

                                                     

Ephesians 5:17

 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

                                                      Romans 12:1-2

If you Google “how to find God’s purpose in my life”, you will find a sizeable number of links to blogs, websites, and other content about how to do so. In reading up on a number of them, for that is 

somewhat the topic of this devotional, I was struck by the number of writers who didn’t take note of the difference between one’s talent—innate ability, aptitude, or faculty—and God’s purpose for one’s life. Instead, the writers suggested that their dear readers search their heart to find those things that they were drawn to, those things that made their heart sing, and pray about them, to find out that those things were what they were called by our Heavenly Father to do. While I don’t mean any disrespect to these writers, I do feel that the advice was a little short sighted, too neatly wrapped up, and too Self-centric.

Hear me out, please.

 


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January 27, 2016

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

                                                               James 5:13-16

 

A couple of Sundays ago, you may recall that most of the congregation laid hands on our brother Mark Hardison, for the containment, and healing, of his prostate cancer. Those of us in our Thursday night prayer group (to which every single one of is invited…7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Thursdays. Did I mention you’re invited?) had talked about the laying of hands on Mark, but we had planned to either go to his house or invite him to a the following prayer meeting (which, by the way, is on Thursdays, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome). Instead, Cody Wilkerson felt convicted to approach Pastor Kevin during the hymn of invitation and suggest the laying of hands. Thank you, Cody, for listening and obeying!

 

Mark, I haven’t had the chance to ask you if you felt anything as we prayed for you, but I can tell you that others who prayed for you felt His mighty power and presence. What a glorious moment, hmmm?


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January 20, 2016

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

                                                               Luke 10:1-2 

 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

                                                               1 Peter 2:9-10

 

There is a coworker of mine who is a project manager. He is high energy, charismatic, and engaging. He has tons of experience, and is very good at what he does. In talking to Jeff when he first came to our department, I found out that he went to seminary. His dad was a minister, and has helped plant churches in South America. Jeff has helped build up church in Honduras, and his latest adventure is working with a minister in Cuba. Jeff traveled there late last year, and really good things are happening. He has sought prayers from me for his efforts there and the efforts to bring one of the pastors up from Cuba to the United States.

 

I was chatting with him last week and he told me more about the exhilarating work that he personally has been able to do. His excitement was contagious! It is evident that although there are challenges to what he is doing, he truly enjoys it. Scripture easily rolls off his tongue, and he believes in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. I asked him during this chat why he was working at USAA and not out in the mission field. He looked me square in the face and said, “But I am! Work is my mission field.”

 


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Family in Prayer

What is S.U.P.V.?

For those new to our church, website and this blog, here’s what it’s all about: SUPV stands for the Straight Up Prayer Vigil. It is a virtual prayer vigil that happens every Wednesday (God willing). The Straight Up refers to the times of 6:00 a.m., noon, 6:00 p.m., and midnight–you choose whatever time works for you–and you pray for our church, those on prayer list, and prayer requests that are included in the blog post or are sent by email, normally at the beginning of the week for that Wednesday. 
The length of the SUPVs has grown in nature over the past couple of years, and now it’s pretty much a full-blown devotional, with specific prayer requests included. May it bless you as you read it.