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.

May 25, 2016

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

                                                           

        Matthew 25: 1-13

 

Peering ahead to the next couple of weeks to Troy’s graduation got me to thinking about how much he has grown from the little boy he used to be, and how his older brother Greg is now living on his own (no, I am not crying as I write this. Yet…). It has been a long time since I have rocked them in my arms, sung them a lullaby, checked their homework, or even held their hand. Years have passed since a simple kiddie Band-Aid and a kiss could heal even the worst of boo-boos, when a feverish whimper could be soothed by a washcloth, a nap, and a gentle caress, and when a young Troy or Greg requested to be picked up and carried, head nestling on my neck and shoulder, (okay… now the tears are forming…). The memories of these events and every day occurrences are still strong and stored forever in my heart. I wonder, though, if I would have focused differently on them

if I’d known that the last one was the last one.  Does that make sense? If I’d known that it was the last time I’d ever lie down next to a trundle bed while a young toddler tried to fall asleep, would my slight impatience and worry about enabling a child to not fall asleep on his own be replaced by the significance of it being our last? That at the last bath given, instead of noticing the water on the floor from animated splashing and feeling the pain in the lower back from hunching over, I would have soaked in the joy in every splash and giggle, and enjoyed chasing a wet, naked, squirming toddler who slipped so easily out of the hooded elephant towel?

 


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May 18, 2016

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

                                                           

            1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

It has been a challenging time for our church these past couple of days…weeks…months. We’ve experienced the passing of a member of our church (Kathy Meyer), and Paige lost a friend of hers from Smithson Valley High School—a young teenager who took her life a couple of days before Mother’s Day. Our hearts have been so very concerned over Pastor Kevin’s health (and then Robin’s sanity, which follows logically). There are loved ones in our families whose illnesses have moved them to hospice; there are others whose health woes have taken their toll not only on them, but also on their caretakers. Some of us are chronically ill, or in pain; others are facing financial or emotional setbacks. Still others are nursing hurts and scars, visible to only themselves, the enemy, and our Father. And there are yet still others who have hurts and scars, but instead of being nursed, they are pushed down and repressed, left to fester and cause their owners to become bitter or self-medicating through worldly means.

 

Our printed prayer list is over a page long, and yet we know that there are still more who should be on there but are not.

 

I’ve shared with you that my mom passed away suddenly while she and my dad lived up in Plano. She died on a Friday, my family and I made the arrangements at the funeral home on Saturday, with the viewing on Sunday night and the funeral service on Monday. My dad belongs to a large church (don’t think that it’s a mega church but I know that they have multiple Sunday morning services), and I went to church him Sunday morning, sitting among the several hundred in sanctuary at the traditional service. When the pastor shared with the congregation the news of my mom’s passing, I watched husbands and wives look at each other and shrug their shoulders or shake their heads at the mention of my mother’s and father’s names. Most did not know either of them, and they had been regular members there for at least eight to ten years. Now I’m not knocking the church, nor its size, because I’m confident that the bigger churches can be effective in creating a close-knit atmosphere through the use of small groups. And to be fair, I don’t know if that church did that, or if my parents participated in such a thing. They’d never mentioned it, so I can’t be certain that they didn’t belong to one, but my gut says that they didn’t. To be honest, I’ll have to ask my dad the next time I chat with him.

 

Friends, we don’t have the challenge that some of the bigger churches have with the sheer size of the congregation—yet. If we are not careful, though, we can experience the same degree of distance and potential apathy. And even though it would be on a micro scale, its impact is still the same—I daresay it might even be worse, as we wouldn’t have the excuse of sheer magnitude to hide behind. It is

imperative

that we love one another, as Christ loves us, and that we show that love and kindness to each other. Let’s assume good intentions even when someone says something that seems untoward. Let’s look past the challenging personalities of some and see them for who they truly are—God’s beloved children. Let us seek to understand and be empathetic. May we rally around each other, sharing each other’s burdens, as we are called to do. May we pass on kindness rather than judgment; cheer instead of gossip; joy instead of indifference.                                                                                                             

Prayer Requests

 

  • For those who are in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual pain, be they on our prayer list or not
  • For comfort and understanding for all those experiencing devastating and inexplicable loss
  • That we can all find His path and plan for our lives and for SOCPC, so that we can unite and be of one accord
  • For the return of those who have not been to church in a while—we miss you!!
  • For renewed, vigorous, and continual prayers for revival in His church – His revival and conviction of all we do

 

Dear ones, I don’t want anyone to read this and think that we don’t rally around each other, because we do—I’ve seen it. The youth stood with Paige the other Sunday when she shared her grief over her basketball teammate taking her own life. A group of us loved on and lifted up in prayer Sherry and the boys months ago when a devastating announcement was made in church. Some of us laid hands on and prayed over a grieving mother and father who visited our church last year at this time, having just lost their young adult daughter. We have laid hands on Mark Hardison, and prayed our socks off for Kevin’s healing. We just need more of that, and then even more of that, so that we can be of one accord.

 

Who’s in?

Quotes

 

“Your worst day with God will be better than your best day without Him.”

 

“Sometimes God calms the storm…sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child…”

 

Laura <><



May 18, 2016

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

                                                          

  1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

It has been a challenging time for our church these past couple of days…weeks…months. We’ve experienced the passing of a member of our church (Kathy Meyer), and Paige lost a friend of hers from Smithson Valley High School—a young teenager who took her life a couple of days before Mother’s Day. Our hearts have been so very concerned over Pastor Kevin’s health (and then Robin’s sanity, which follows logically). There are loved ones in our families whose illnesses have moved them to hospice; there are others whose health woes have taken their toll not only on them, but also on their caretakers. Some of us are chronically ill, or in pain; others are facing financial or emotional setbacks. Still others are nursing hurts and scars, visible to only themselves, the enemy, and our Father. And there are yet still others who have hurts and scars, but instead of being nursed, they are pushed down and repressed, left to fester and cause their owners to become bitter or self-medicating through worldly means.

 

Our printed prayer list is over a page long, and yet we know that there are still more who should be on there but are not.


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May 11, 2016

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

                                                                                   

Philippians 2:1-4

 

As I wrote in last week’s SUPV, when Scripture starts with “therefore”, it’s normally an indication of a tying what the author is about to say back to a thought in the previous chapter. At the end of the first chapter of Philippians, Paul tells his readers to “let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…” (v 27). Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to stand together in the

same spirit or thought, striving in the same faith of the gospel.

Paul softly commands unity in verse 27, and carries the concept of unity through to chapter 2 with the “therefore”. It is in the next verses, though, that we see an almost gentleness to his tone, as he relates what seem to be rhetorical concepts, but are really more givens:

  • If there is any consolation in Christ—yes, there is. There is abundant encouragement in Jesus Christ.
  • If any comfort of love – again, yes. We have experienced the love of Christ in His death on the cross and in His carrying of our burdens
  • If any fellowship of the Spirit – we all share in communion with the Holy Spirit
  • If any affection and mercy – we have received both from our heavenly Father

Because we have these truths, Paul asks us to have the same love and beliefs. And because we have the same beliefs and love, it follows that we should be able to accomplish what Paul exhorts in the next verses: have humility (lowliness) and consider the needs of others as important your own needs.

 


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Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!)

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

                                                                                    Hebrews 2:1 

 

I think I’ve shared with you that I am fortunate enough to be able to attend a bible study on Mondays at work during my lunch hour. We are studying the book of John and have had fascinating discussions about the lessons and insights in that book. I’ve been racking my brain to recall exactly what passage we were talking about how the Spirit leads the reader into all truth in the reading of the Word when one gentleman made a comment that went something like, “Without the Holy Spirit to convict our heart of the message that is written on the page, the words are just dead letters to us. The Holy Spirit converts the dead letters into living words, and the living Word Himself.”

 Dead letters on a page.

 Paul shares with the readers in the first chapter of Hebrews that although the Lord God has spoken to His people in the past through prophets, He has most recently spoken to us through (or by) His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, and who exalted above angels. He cites several Old Testament references to substantiate his argument of Christ’s authority and placement at God’s right hand. Starting off chapter two with the word “therefore” ties it back to the declaration in chapter one, basically saying “Since God has spoken wholly through Lord Jesus, who is supremely greater than anyone else, heavenly or otherwise, we should pay more attention to what He has said.”

 But Paul doesn’t leave it there—he adds the impact or consequence if we don’t pay more attention to Christ’s words: “lest we drift away.” I’m sure none of us would volunteer to depart from Christ—if indeed He is within us—by neither active rejection nor gradual withdrawal. So how do we stay connected? How do we pay more attention to the words of our Lord Jesus than we do those of others? How do the words of Jesus transform from being dead letters on a page into the Living Word?

 We do so by having an active relationship with the Holy Spirit, Who transmutes those black and red squiggles on the page and brings them to life in our hearts. He focuses our attention onto Jesus, the Word made flesh. If you have trouble, like me, with understanding the application of the scripture you read at times, I urge you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand its message and what He wants you to learn from it. Pray earnestly and deliberately for that wisdom, and be open to receiving it.

Prayer Requests

  • For those who are in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual pain, be they on our prayer list or not
  • Special prayers for Pastor Kevin, for his health and well-being
  • Praise and thanks for Pastor Terrell and his servant’s heart
  • Praise for the rain and continued mild weather!
  • Continued prayers for our Armed Forces as things continue to deteriorate in the Middle East.
  • For a revival of the Holy Spirit’s conviction in and through us, in our church and beyond

 

Friends, Jesus longs to be the living and active word in your heart. The 66 books of the bible have a purpose and message (even when you go through the “begets” of the Old Testament). Let every jot and tittle speak to you as the Holy Spirit guides you into all truth. To God be the Glory!!!

 Quotes

“If you find yourself a bit irritated or overwhelmed, it’s a sign that you’re spending less time with God and more time in this world.”

 “The most difficult time in your life may be the border to your Promised Land.”

 In His Word, 
Laura <><


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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