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.   
 
 
 

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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January 13, 2016

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

                                    1 Corinthians 12: 7-11

 

I stumbled across a theological or doctrinal concept on the internet that I’d not heard named before. I had heard that there were those who believed that spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, like speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing, ceased with the original twelve apostles. This is the doctrine of cessationism. Its antithesis is continuationism, i.e. the belief that all spiritual gifts are still in operation today. Both views have staunch believers with copious writings on the subject, and both reference Scripture in the same way—some used verbatim to defend their position, and others massaged into fitting into their framework. And it’s always entertaining and a little sad to read the comments after the blog post, because while we can acknowledge that assumably those discussing are Christians and therefore the language doesn’t get bad, no one’s heritage is ever discussed, and I didn’t see name calling or tirades about gun control, Obama, atheists, Trump—you know, like you do on any other site frequented by, well… the internet—folks still tear each other’s arguments, and themselves, down, and not always in the kindest of ways.

 


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January 6, 2016

Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

                                             Mark 5: 25-34

 

As a woman, when I read about this poor woman and her condition, my heart goes out to her. I promise not to get too detailed about the subject matter of her suffering so as to not make people uncomfortable, but we must understand the impact of what is going on here, and the lesson it has for our lives.

 


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December 23, 2015

“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

                                                      1 John 3: 10-15

 

 About five years ago, I was asked to be the Lay Director for a Women’s Walk to Emmaus. The role took a lot of prep work and coordination, and a lot of copying of paper. It never felt right to use the church’s copy machine, as it was not for church business, so I’d head on up to Office Depot or Office Max to have copies made of what I needed. There was one instance in which I made double-sided copies (yep—been saving trees for a long time now), and took my stack up to the registers to pay for the copies. When the young lady at the register rang up single-sided copies instead of double, I corrected her and called to her attention the fact that they were double-sided. Before she corrected the charge, she looked me square in the eye and said, “Most people would have just let me go on and not said anything. What made you…” and then she stopped, nodded at the cross I was wearing, and continued, saying, “That’s why. The cross.” I smiled, paid my bill, and went on my way.

 


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December 16, 2015

 “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours,”

                                    1 Corinthians 3:18-21

 

 

In my bible study at work, we are studying the book of John. I am fascinated by the single mindedness of the Pharisees in their attempts to denounce the divinity of Jesus, even though He fulfilled the requirements of the three Messianic miracles—those signs indicated by rabbinic teaching that point to the office of Messiah. They are the ability to heal a Jewish leper (Luke 5:12-13), the exorcism of a mute demon (Matthew 12:22), and the healing of a man born blind (John 9). Jesus did each of these, as we know, fulfilling the prophecy, and yet He was not accepted.

 

The Pharisees, you’ll recall, were part of the Jewish ruling class of Israel. They accepted the written Word as inspired by God, but they also gave equal authority to oral tradition, which they sought to strictly obey as equal to God’s word. They were learned and influential members of the Sanhedrin. People were afraid to cross them, given their ability to excommunicate people from the synagogue. They followed Jesus in His ministry, not to learn about it or be His disciples, but to catch Him breaking their version of the law. Whenever they were confronted with the indisputable facts of Jesus having performed a Messianic miracle, they immediately sought to discredit the people involved, or disqualify it as a miracle (like when they approached the parents of the recently healed, blind-since-birth beggar in John 9, saying, “Is this your son, who you say (emphasis mine) was born blind?”, implying that he had not been blind since birth, so therefore his healing did not count towards the Messianic miracle count), or take action to excommunicate those who disagreed or challenged them.

 


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December 2, 2015

 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

                                             Philippians 1:19-21

 

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

                                             Philippians 3:20-21

 

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

                                             1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

 

I was at work a couple of months ago, watching the news story of a shooting—I am saddened to say that I do not recall specifically which one it was, as there seem to have been so many of late—but it was one in which the American shooter seemed to have been targeting Christians. If memory serves, if the victim answered in the affirmative, he or she was shot in the head; otherwise, in the leg or another limb. I was in the break room with two of my co-workers, one of which I know is a believer, and the other one was wearing a cross, so I felt comfortable discussing my faith with them both. The former was nonplussed at how evil and terroristic the world had seemed to become, and commented at the shooter’s targeting of Christians. I listened to him share his bewilderment and concern, as well as to our other co-worker sharing his concern about Christians gathering in public places. I couldn’t help but respond, “But guys, imagine the glory we would experience if faced with the prospect of being killed for our faith? One moment we’d be faced with the aspect of dying for that declaration the next, we’d be in heaven, surrounded by the majesty and glory that is the presence of God Himself. No pain, no worries, no fear, nothing but hallelujahs and praise for our King—could there be anything better?” I felt myself beaming! Zeke’s reaction, though, was less than enthusiastic. He sadly shook his head and said, “yeah, but I think I’d like to live to see my children and my grandchildren grow.”

 


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November 18, 2015

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

                                                               Romans 12:3-8        

 

When I was in high school (you know, back when jelly shoes, Members Only jackets, and Jordache jeans were cool?), I was quite close with three other girls from youth group. Three of us (Susan, Deborah, and I) went to the same high school and the other, Dee, went to another. We were inseparable in Sunday school, church, and youth group, and hung out at Dee’s or Deborah’s house, talking about boys and making prank phone calls. We each had an unspoken identification—Susan was the athletic one with an artistic bent for drawing that showed real talent; Deborah was the socialite whose fashion sense and beauty was impeccable (it was Deborah’s mother who got us going to cotillions, where Susan and I felt out of place) and whose older brother we all had a crush on; Dee was the blonde-haired beauty whose cute laugh and button nose had the boys in youth group just mooning all over her; and I….well, I was the smart one. We fell into our roles easily, and got along famously. It was great to be a part of such a wonderful group of girls. We accomplished a lot through our work and involvement in our youth group, and understood our part in the church body.

 

I can’t say that there wasn’t the occasional twinge of jealousy on my part, however. Each of my friends seemed to have aspects of everything I wanted to be or to do, and I always judged myself to come up short, regardless of what quality it was I was assessing. Youth is uniquely positioned for critical self-reflection and assessment; and the enemy’s hand was constant in pointing out my flaws and failings. What I couldn’t see at the time, though, was my unique position in the tapestry of our friendship—I was the one whose quiet and empathetic nature made it easy for people to talk to and to share things with; I was the reliable one who could be counted on to pull the group together and get us to where we needed to be; I was the one whose grasp of sentence diagramming and conjugation helped during many a homework blitz.

 


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November 11, 2015

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 

                                                               Romans 8:31-32      

 

I have a friend, of whom I may have written before (but just can’t remember), who is one of the hardest working, beautiful, caring people I know. She is successful, kind, and smart, with two wonderful kids who are just as successful in college as she is in business. We have mentored each other professionally, personally, and spiritually. Our lives and experiences have run similar tracks, and that aspect has enabled our friendship to blossom in a way that blesses us both. As in all good relationships, the fluid nature of the help giver/recipient enables our individual strengths to shine and share, and our weaknesses to diminish and be overcome.

 

She sought help from me the other week, challenged by some work issues that seemed to be adversely impacting her health. She was faced with two potential job opportunities, and wanted me to pray and ask for His guidance on which one she should pursue. I prayed about it the next morning, and asked if I could ask about her job opportunities. I had the fairly distinct impression that I could ask, but He wasn’t going to share it with me. Puzzled, I finally discerned that it was something He wanted her to ask Him. I shared the feedback with her, saying that I felt that it was something He wanted her to ask because He wanted her to spend time with Him. She understood, and told that she still struggles with getting up early and spending time with Him. She has struggled with this as long as I’ve known her. Much of her struggle is due to the amount of charity work she’s been known to do which takes up a lot of her time and energy, causing her to stay up too late and not get enough sleep.

 


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November 4, 2015

 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying,

‘Go to this people and say:
“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”’

“Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”

                                                      Acts 28: 25-28

 

The men in my family used to watch the World Series of Poker, entertained by the characters who played, and the strategies of betting. I’d occasionally catch parts of the televised games, and found it of particular interest when a player would declare that he was “all in” and push his chips to the middle of the poker table. In an instant, the atmosphere was electric, as cards were dealt and turned over. As viewers, we had the advantage of knowing the cards that all the players had, the running commentary by the announcers, and the statistical probability of which hand would win. In a short amount of time, the risky gambler would find out his fate – and celebrate if the risk paid off, or slouch in defeat if his gamble failed. If the former case happened at the last hand, the place would erupt in celebration, and the stacks of cash winnings would be presented to the winner, joy intermingled with relief.

 I don’t think I could ever acquire the ability to a) play poker well (come on, every thought, every emotion flitters across my non-poker face just in normal conversation. How in the world would I not reveal any tells if I had a really good poker hand?) and b) go all in, even if I did play poker. I am conservative by nature, preferring to be the proverbial future-planning ant to the in-the-moment grasshopper, or the proverbial “slow and steady wins the race” turtle to the fast-but-spastic rabbit. I prefer to put myself “out there” a little at a time, versus jumping feet first into adventure. To me, the risk does not justify the gain. Just the way I am, I guess.


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