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.   
 
 

Lives Matter

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
                                            Galatians 3:26-28

 

The other evening, I stumbled upon the movie “Remember the Titans”, which I’d never seen. It depicted the true story of a school’s first racially integrated high school football team in 1971, with Denzel Washington as the head coach Herman Boone. I missed a little bit of the beginning, but understood the gist of the atmosphere at the football camp, where most of the white and black young men unlearned what they’d been taught all their lives: how to dislike, hate, and be afraid of someone whose color was not like theirs. I say “most of the…” because there were some young men who had no problem getting along with anyone and there were a couple who could not adapt and learn tolerance and acceptance. It hurt my heart to see them, as well as some adults in the movie, have such hardened hearts (near the beginning of the movie, before the winning season was fully realized) and such vitriol for another human being. I’m sure the enemy was waving his hands with glee during that time, knowing that hatred has a life of its own, and that all he needed to do was fan its flame occasionally.

Now, understand this: I’m not pointing fingers at anyone who was involved in this. I understand that it was cultural, that it was passed down generation to generation, and that change is difficult. It’s difficult to challenge status quo, especially if your family or social circle is fine with status quo. (Please note: I am not trying to offend anyone, and if you are offended, please do accept my apologies. I was not there (a wee bit too young); I am not judging you, nor am I trying to make apologies for you. Not my job.)

Right now this country is boiling over with rage, a veritable tinderbox of violence, abhorrence, and disillusion, and the politicizing and rhetoric does not help a bit. Horrible injustices are occurring, frustration is mounting, and if you’re like me, you wonder if ISIS and other of America’s enemies are just watching and waiting, figuring that we may just implode.

It can’t continue like this. 


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Chicken Little (July 6, 2016)

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

                                                                        Romans 8:37

 

When I’m in a new or unfamiliar environment, like this new job I’ve been in for the past four months, I am a self-admitted Chicken Little. At the hint of bad news or that something big and unexpected is to happen, my initial reaction is to internally freak out (and sometimes externally, much to my chagrin), and at times it is difficult for me to get into a quiet enough mental state to reach out to the Holy Spirit to guide and control the tumult of thoughts that whip around my mind (especially when it happens at work). My mind can race to the inevitable ending point of a 12,647-step race, even though the step I am now on is sixteen. I can identify the forty-seven things that can go wrong, and I can calculate the unmitigated impact on all involved. Danger, Will Robinson, danger!! It’s at this point that I text a friend or two the single word of “hedge” so they will immediately shoot up a prayer request for a hedge of protection.

I’d like to say that most of this chaos is going on behind the scenes and no one knows that I’m experiencing distress. However, and I know I’ve asked you all for this for my birthday—I don’t have a poker face and I am positive almost every single thought is flitting across my face! Fortunately, all of this happens initially in the timespan of half a minute or so, and I am of the habit lately to look downward upon hearing said bit of news, so that no one can watch my reaction to it. So, there’s that…

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Two Little Letters

 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

                                                                        Romans 8:37

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

                                                                        1 John 5:4    

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,..

                                                                        2 Corinthians 4:17

 

Sharon (not her real name) sat, visibly upset over the promotion that her coworker Evan (not his real name) received instead of her, the one that she felt she deserved, since she had been there longer than he had, both at the job and at the company. “It’s not fair, Laura,” Sharon declared, launching into the familiar litany of complaints, “that I get passed over for promotions that are given to others, who have less experience but get the really big projects. Evan was on that one big project..no, two, but what did he do to get assigned to them? It’s all because he’s new and sits right next to the boss..,” I am loath to point out that Evan deserves the promotion over her, not only because of the high profile projects he has worked on, but also due to his innovative way of thinking, his leadership, and his initiative. Sharon, on the other hand, is a follower, relying on others to identify requirements for a software solution; she is indecisive and immature (at times), and does not always seem to take accountability for her work product. Admittedly, it is frustrating to work with her at times because of these things.

No, I did not point these things out to her. I wouldn’t do that. I offered her the proverbial ear, and pointed out areas in which she has added value. I did gently, after asking permission to give her some feedback, suggest that she needed to become more confident in her project role, which would allow her to reap benefits later on. She admitted that I probably had a point, and that she used to be confident, but ever since she had been laid off (15 years ago), she has been quite insecure. As I acknowledged how that could have affected her psyche, she fell into the familiar and very comfortable role of being the Master of Ceremonies at her own pity party. She explained that had she not been laid off, she would have already had her parking space, she would have a much higher job title and salary, and the respect that goes along with them, and so on. I nodded out of habit, for it was a pity party I’d attended several times already. I did point out that she had been hired back, though, and now has a great job with awesome benefits and got to work on some very exciting and innovative things, and tried to redirect her focus onto these things. No such luck. She was stuck, a proverbial broken record that played the same message repeatedly: “it’s not fair. It’s not my fault. I’ve gotten the raw end of the deal.”

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June 22, 2016

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there

 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

                                                            Psalm 139: 7-10

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;

                                                            Psalm 33: 13-14     

 

Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

                                                            Jeremiah 23:24       

 

Our adult Sunday school class has started a new book entitled

The Mind of Christ

. The author notes, “since Christ is divine, we humans cannot be like Him in all ways. We cannot imitate His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, infinity, immutability, and the attributes particular to divinity.” We discussed briefly that those are extremely deep and broad words to describe the Godhead, and though they were germane to the conversation, it wasn’t totally necessary to get into their meanings and impacts right now. That one of the adjectives is the topic of this devotional leads me to believe that the Holy Spirit wants us to understand more about it. Obey Him, I must!
The prefix
omni- comes from the Latin word meaning “all”, so we can understand that the word “omnipresent” means that He is all-present, everywhere, at all times, both in His created world (Psalm139 reference), and above or outside of His creation (Psalm 33 reference). While He is with you as you pray, He is also with me as I pray, as He is with the young boy in India as he prays. Actually, He is present with us as believers always (not just when we pray). The immensity of that concept alone can boggle the mind, but it is one in which we can generally relate. Allow me to expand the boggleness (bogglidity? bogglination?) just a smidge. Is God present when the bad things happen to us as believers? The scriptural and intellectual answer is yes. The Bible abounds with God’s promises that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. His eyes are on the righteous, and on those who fear Him, and our ways are always before Him.

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June 8, 2016

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left….

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

                                                                                    Matthew 25: 31-33; 41-46

 

We were at a prayer meeting about a year or so back, not really having started yet, when out of the blue I asked Kevin, “Do you think goats know that they are goats?” He looked startled, processed the question, and answered something like, “No, I don’t believe they do.” Time passed without anything being said until Jo Ellen broke the silence and asked what had prompted the question. I explained that it had been something that I’d been wondering for a long time, and both she and Kevin nodded slightly. It was then that it dawned on me that since I had not prefaced the question with any context whatsoever (I figured that since we were at a prayer meeting and had had numerous scriptural discussions in the past, I didn’t need to explain the context of my question. So much for my supposed great communication skills!), they thought that I was asking about the actual farm animal, apparently giving them anthropomorphic qualities of reason and self-actualization. When they realized I was asking about the goats referred to in the Great White Throne Judgment, we had a good discussion about the sheep and the goats.

I cannot help but wonder about the thoughts of the “goats” as they reflect on His response of “when?” – did they recall the times that they stepped to the other side of the road when they saw a homeless person walking on their side of the sidewalk? Did they look away in disgust after silently judging the man at the busy intersection holding the cardboard sign, asking for help? Or worse—did they summarily dismiss a whole group of people because of the color of their skin or their lifestyle or socio-economic background and not even see them at all? Did they ever feel moved by someone in need?

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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 <><



 
 
 

Lives Matter

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
                                            Galatians 3:26-28

 

The other evening, I stumbled upon the movie “Remember the Titans”, which I’d never seen. It depicted the true story of a school’s first racially integrated high school football team in 1971, with Denzel Washington as the head coach Herman Boone. I missed a little bit of the beginning, but understood the gist of the atmosphere at the football camp, where most of the white and black young men unlearned what they’d been taught all their lives: how to dislike, hate, and be afraid of someone whose color was not like theirs. I say “most of the…” because there were some young men who had no problem getting along with anyone and there were a couple who could not adapt and learn tolerance and acceptance. It hurt my heart to see them, as well as some adults in the movie, have such hardened hearts (near the beginning of the movie, before the winning season was fully realized) and such vitriol for another human being. I’m sure the enemy was waving his hands with glee during that time, knowing that hatred has a life of its own, and that all he needed to do was fan its flame occasionally.

Now, understand this: I’m not pointing fingers at anyone who was involved in this. I understand that it was cultural, that it was passed down generation to generation, and that change is difficult. It’s difficult to challenge status quo, especially if your family or social circle is fine with status quo. (Please note: I am not trying to offend anyone, and if you are offended, please do accept my apologies. I was not there (a wee bit too young); I am not judging you, nor am I trying to make apologies for you. Not my job.)

Right now this country is boiling over with rage, a veritable tinderbox of violence, abhorrence, and disillusion, and the politicizing and rhetoric does not help a bit. Horrible injustices are occurring, frustration is mounting, and if you’re like me, you wonder if ISIS and other of America’s enemies are just watching and waiting, figuring that we may just implode.

It can’t continue like this. 


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Chicken Little (July 6, 2016)

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

                                                                        Romans 8:37

 

When I’m in a new or unfamiliar environment, like this new job I’ve been in for the past four months, I am a self-admitted Chicken Little. At the hint of bad news or that something big and unexpected is to happen, my initial reaction is to internally freak out (and sometimes externally, much to my chagrin), and at times it is difficult for me to get into a quiet enough mental state to reach out to the Holy Spirit to guide and control the tumult of thoughts that whip around my mind (especially when it happens at work). My mind can race to the inevitable ending point of a 12,647-step race, even though the step I am now on is sixteen. I can identify the forty-seven things that can go wrong, and I can calculate the unmitigated impact on all involved. Danger, Will Robinson, danger!! It’s at this point that I text a friend or two the single word of “hedge” so they will immediately shoot up a prayer request for a hedge of protection.

I’d like to say that most of this chaos is going on behind the scenes and no one knows that I’m experiencing distress. However, and I know I’ve asked you all for this for my birthday—I don’t have a poker face and I am positive almost every single thought is flitting across my face! Fortunately, all of this happens initially in the timespan of half a minute or so, and I am of the habit lately to look downward upon hearing said bit of news, so that no one can watch my reaction to it. So, there’s that…

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Two Little Letters

 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

                                                                        Romans 8:37

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

                                                                        1 John 5:4    

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,..

                                                                        2 Corinthians 4:17

 

Sharon (not her real name) sat, visibly upset over the promotion that her coworker Evan (not his real name) received instead of her, the one that she felt she deserved, since she had been there longer than he had, both at the job and at the company. “It’s not fair, Laura,” Sharon declared, launching into the familiar litany of complaints, “that I get passed over for promotions that are given to others, who have less experience but get the really big projects. Evan was on that one big project..no, two, but what did he do to get assigned to them? It’s all because he’s new and sits right next to the boss..,” I am loath to point out that Evan deserves the promotion over her, not only because of the high profile projects he has worked on, but also due to his innovative way of thinking, his leadership, and his initiative. Sharon, on the other hand, is a follower, relying on others to identify requirements for a software solution; she is indecisive and immature (at times), and does not always seem to take accountability for her work product. Admittedly, it is frustrating to work with her at times because of these things.

No, I did not point these things out to her. I wouldn’t do that. I offered her the proverbial ear, and pointed out areas in which she has added value. I did gently, after asking permission to give her some feedback, suggest that she needed to become more confident in her project role, which would allow her to reap benefits later on. She admitted that I probably had a point, and that she used to be confident, but ever since she had been laid off (15 years ago), she has been quite insecure. As I acknowledged how that could have affected her psyche, she fell into the familiar and very comfortable role of being the Master of Ceremonies at her own pity party. She explained that had she not been laid off, she would have already had her parking space, she would have a much higher job title and salary, and the respect that goes along with them, and so on. I nodded out of habit, for it was a pity party I’d attended several times already. I did point out that she had been hired back, though, and now has a great job with awesome benefits and got to work on some very exciting and innovative things, and tried to redirect her focus onto these things. No such luck. She was stuck, a proverbial broken record that played the same message repeatedly: “it’s not fair. It’s not my fault. I’ve gotten the raw end of the deal.”

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June 22, 2016

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there

 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

                                                            Psalm 139: 7-10

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;

                                                            Psalm 33: 13-14     

 

Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

                                                            Jeremiah 23:24       

 

Our adult Sunday school class has started a new book entitled

The Mind of Christ

. The author notes, “since Christ is divine, we humans cannot be like Him in all ways. We cannot imitate His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, infinity, immutability, and the attributes particular to divinity.” We discussed briefly that those are extremely deep and broad words to describe the Godhead, and though they were germane to the conversation, it wasn’t totally necessary to get into their meanings and impacts right now. That one of the adjectives is the topic of this devotional leads me to believe that the Holy Spirit wants us to understand more about it. Obey Him, I must!
The prefix
omni- comes from the Latin word meaning “all”, so we can understand that the word “omnipresent” means that He is all-present, everywhere, at all times, both in His created world (Psalm139 reference), and above or outside of His creation (Psalm 33 reference). While He is with you as you pray, He is also with me as I pray, as He is with the young boy in India as he prays. Actually, He is present with us as believers always (not just when we pray). The immensity of that concept alone can boggle the mind, but it is one in which we can generally relate. Allow me to expand the boggleness (bogglidity? bogglination?) just a smidge. Is God present when the bad things happen to us as believers? The scriptural and intellectual answer is yes. The Bible abounds with God’s promises that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. His eyes are on the righteous, and on those who fear Him, and our ways are always before Him.

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June 8, 2016

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left….

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

                                                                                    Matthew 25: 31-33; 41-46

 

We were at a prayer meeting about a year or so back, not really having started yet, when out of the blue I asked Kevin, “Do you think goats know that they are goats?” He looked startled, processed the question, and answered something like, “No, I don’t believe they do.” Time passed without anything being said until Jo Ellen broke the silence and asked what had prompted the question. I explained that it had been something that I’d been wondering for a long time, and both she and Kevin nodded slightly. It was then that it dawned on me that since I had not prefaced the question with any context whatsoever (I figured that since we were at a prayer meeting and had had numerous scriptural discussions in the past, I didn’t need to explain the context of my question. So much for my supposed great communication skills!), they thought that I was asking about the actual farm animal, apparently giving them anthropomorphic qualities of reason and self-actualization. When they realized I was asking about the goats referred to in the Great White Throne Judgment, we had a good discussion about the sheep and the goats.

I cannot help but wonder about the thoughts of the “goats” as they reflect on His response of “when?” – did they recall the times that they stepped to the other side of the road when they saw a homeless person walking on their side of the sidewalk? Did they look away in disgust after silently judging the man at the busy intersection holding the cardboard sign, asking for help? Or worse—did they summarily dismiss a whole group of people because of the color of their skin or their lifestyle or socio-economic background and not even see them at all? Did they ever feel moved by someone in need?

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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 <><



 
 

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.