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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Prayers of a Righteous Woman

I have just moved from the Pacific Northwest (where I've spent my entire life) to Colorado. I am separated from friends who are going through difficult struggles and I can't do anything but send little encouraging notes and pray. I know the Bible says the prayers of a righteous man affect much although I'm not sure how. I can't say I am altogether righteous...well, perhaps I am since Jesus has covered all my sins and can present me to the Father holy and acceptable. But still, there is some mystery to prayer. How does it work; how do we make it work? If we just get the words right, have enough of our spiritual house in order, or come with the proper attitude, does God listen then? Is God simply a big "vending machine in the sky" where, as long as we put the proper things in, we can push His buttons to get what we want? Uh...no!

We know the Holy Spirit intervenes on our behalf so, when we do not know how to pray, he takes our prayers before the throne of God and presents them. Does that mean I should not pray specifically and only pray, "Holy Spirit, you know the concerns, please take them to God for me. Amen"?  That doesn't seem right either.

Several years ago I began a study on Biblical prayers. I had just come from a Bible study where it seemed every prayer was for health issues, travel mercies, employment problems, and school concerns. I was suddenly fed up with the lack of spiritual depth in our corporate prayer times. I determined to do a word study on prayer to see what Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament authors prayed. Now, please don't get me wrong. I don't think God wants us to stop praying for upcoming surgeries, trips, job interviews, and exams, but we would be wise to see what prayers are recorded in the Bible as examples.

Take this one from Col. 1:10-11. "...pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

Wow! Now there's a prayer. I'm not sure about you, but I wish someone would pray that for me.

And so, to close, here is my prayer for my precious friends who are struggling right now...you know who you are.

Eph. 3: 14-20

"...I bow my knees before the Father...that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God, beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us."

Amen.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Frustration

If I'm honest, there are several places where the Bible simply bugs me...where I want to know more detail but the scripture is awkwardly silent.  And then there are the passages overly detailed for the subject matter.

Case in point:  Genesis 23

Can someone please tell me why God would devote an entire chapter of his Word to the haggling process over Sarah's burial cave?  Is it a tribute to Sarah both by Abraham that he would pay so much for her burial ground and by God for including it, and all it's particulars, in scripture?  Is it just a cultural thing to add authenticity and color?  Is it so archaeologists can hunt down this very spot and verify scriptural accuracy?  Or is there a lesson in there about paying full price for something despite an offer to have it for free?

See what I mean.  It just bugs me.

And speaking of being bugged, I went to get on the exercise bike yesterday and whatever mechanism adds resistance made the noise like it was doing it's job but, alas, no resistance at all.  It was like a wet fish handshake and totally frustrating.  I went out and swept snow instead.  Brrrr.

Until next time,
Becca

Friday, January 29, 2010

Three out of Four

Yesterday was a good day. I accomplished three of my four goals, and considering I didn’t even decide to actually commit to this until the afternoon, I think that’s pretty good.

Today I’d like to share my recipe for last night’s dinner: Tortilla Soup. It’s delicious, as low fat as you choose to make it, and easy. Can’t beat that, can you? This will feed two or three people and can easily be doubled.

Tortilla Soup
½ large yellow onion diced
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
Enough olive oil to keep the above from sticking to the pan
16 oz. prepared salsa (I use Pace “mild”)
16 oz. chicken stock
1 15 oz. can each of white beans and black beans, rinsed and drained
Bay leaf
Sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt
Grated cheddar cheese (reduced fat optional)
Corn chips (optional)

Over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic and chicken breast until onion is clear and chicken is mostly cooked. Add salsa, chicken stock, beans and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then turn down to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Discard bay leaf.

Serve with sour cream/yogurt, cheese and chips.

The whole process takes half an hour from prep to table.

Now for the creative thing, here's a little card I made to spice up this snowy day.  With flakes falling like powdered sugar, I wanted to make something warm and friendly.  All products used are from Close to My Heart.



Finally, after reading Genesis 22, I am struck by not only Abraham's faith in the story of his willingness to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, but Isaac's willingess as well.  Did you ever notice that Isaac carried the wood for the altar?  Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born, and while he lived to be 175, I find it hard to imagine Abraham had the strength to wrestle a boy old enough to haul wood onto an altar all by himself.  Hmmm...I wonder what God wants to teach me in the story of someone willing to crawl up on an altar?

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Four Little Phrases

I had a discussion a couple days ago with my son. I followed it up today with another chat with my husband. And I'm finally going to do something my daughter has been after me about for a long time.

To tell the truth, it's things I've needed to do for myself and have been putting off for one reason or another for years.

How do you like that lead in?

I am creating this blog as my "accountability partner" in cyberspace. You are welcome to follow along as I learn to be all God has created me to be. My intention is to set some goals and publish my results. That's all. You are welcome to follow along, comment, send words of encouragement, leave advice, or simply laugh at me.

Here are my goals:

1. To regularly spend time with God through Bible study.
2. To become physically fit through exercise and nutrition.
3. To write for at least two hours a day with a goal of four hours a day, and to continue to pursue publication of my novels.
4. To do something fun and creative everyday.

So...there it is. My life, my goals, and my struggles all outlined in four little phrases.

Here we go!

Becca