Preparing a Place for Us

John 14:1-4

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Thought for the Day:  He prepares a place for us

“Daddy!!!!”, I heard my oldest child yell as he realized his daddy was at the back door after driving from his new home to be with us for a couple of days. That beautiful sound carried through the house as happiness flooded that little boy’s heart and mind. The time of sharing for those two days was precious to this mother as I was able to see my boys and their daddy laughing and loving each other. I was able to get those precious hugs and support from him that I had been physically missing as well. The days went by too fast and the departure time had to come. The boys wanted to show their daddy their “scooter skills” so as he was pulling out they tried to show him every trick they had learned over the past few weeks. I, who was already emotional about the departure, watched in tears as both of my boys followed their daddy down the street on their scooters with their occasional “Bye Daddy”, “Love you!”, and “Miss You” echoing back to me as I stood in front of the house.  I had to call them back thinking they were going to try to follow their daddy all the way home. What a precious memory those boys gave me as I witnessed that love for their daddy in such a strong way.

As I began reflecting on this memory, it hit me that their daddy has gone to prepare a place for us in a new and wonderful ministry. Over the next few months, we will be preparing to make the move to be with him. Isn’t this how it is with God as He is preparing a place for all of us in Heaven. Aren’t we preparing ourselves for the precious time when we will be there with Him?

Prayer:   Father, Daddy, thank you for giving us the love and joy you share with us every day. Thank you for the wonderful knowledge that you are preparing a place for us. We know, because of your words, that you are preparing to bring us home.

Prayer Focus: THOSE IN TRANSITION

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God Heard My Prayer Requests

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

Thought for the Day: Listen to God’s voice.  He is leading you to the plans He has for you.

God said, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As I arose from my bed very early this morning because I had bad memories of things that happened yesterday, I began the day by sharing my devotional of the devotional blog I have been writing. As I shared the devotional for the day, I also asked for prayers from my friends because of insecurity. Satan had placed insecurities in my mind to throw me off from the wonderful things that had been happening in my life recently. I learned very quickly that the immediate response from God to my request for prayers came even before anyone had time to pray for me. As I turned to my devotional readings for the day, I quickly noticed that the scripture was Jeremiah 29:11, a Bible Verse that has been my husband’s and my favorite verse. I immediately teared up and knew before reading the devotional that God had heard my prayer request. I believe that God, in this scripture, is communicating to me that He knows the plans He has for me, and that satan through people meaning harm, cannot take away His plan.

Today, I choose to look toward God and to listen only to His voice. I know that He is leading me to the plans He has for me and that those plans will bring the prosperity and peace that ONLY He can give.

Prayer:   God, thank you for answering our prayers. You know me better than anyone else and you lead me to the plans You have for me. Help me “Cling” to You as I go through my day knowing you are with me and that you are protecting me.

Prayer Focus: THOSE ASKING FOR PRAYERS

Why’s Answered

Isaiah 65:24

Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.

Thought for the Day:  When our “Whys” are answered.

Twenty years ago my sweet mother and father were given the news that they were being transferred to a church very close to where my husband and I lived. My husband and I had just made a decision to move with his company to another state. My mother could not understand why God was moving her closer to me and that He was moving me to Colorado.

Almost immediately after those decisions were made, my husband was in a terrible car accident and died two days later. My mother understood immediately after his death the reason God was moving them near me. It was because I would need them desperately over the coming years. Having my parents near gave me the peace that they were right down the road anytime I needed them and it gave my parents the ability to come to me whenever this daughter called.

I knew my parents loved me and prayed for me just like we know that God is right there beside us everyday. We know when we call on God that he is already there waiting and already knows our needs.

Prayer:   God, help us feel your presence. Help us know all the time that you are right there for the calling. You are our heavenly father who watches over us and knows our every need. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE ASKING WHY

Answered Prayers

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Thought for the Day:  Be thankful for Answered Prayers

That moment, that wonderful moment, when the doctor says, “It is not cancer.” After a month of worry and concern, my friend found out that her mother does not have lung cancer. Throughout the past four weeks, since our teachers began their preparation meetings for this school year, one of my friends has been asking for prayers for her sweet mother who had a spot on her lung. The doctor believed it was cancer but needed to do scans and biopsies to be certain. Each trip to the doctor for a procedure meant another week of waiting. And each week of waiting brought an inconclusive answer and another scan or procedure. Finally, the word came that the spot was not cancer but an infection that is treatable. Prayers have been said by so many on so many occasions for her mother. She has been in my thoughts and mind often and I have prayed hard for her. When I heard the news, I was sitting at dinner with my boys and yelled, “Hallelujah!” I couldn’t think of anything else to say except “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!” They asked me what was going on and I told them. My oldest child had this friend as his third grade teacher so he understood well my excitement and just smiled.

Today I am thankful to God for answering my friend’s prayers as well as the prayers of many of her family and friends in such a perfect way. Today I am also reflecting on how I react when God answers prayers that may seem small in comparison to this. Am I thankful with the same reaction as I had when I heard about this prayer being answered? Do I yell, “Hallelujah”, when smaller prayers are answered? No, I probably don’t. However, as I receive God’s answered prayers everyday, I want to shout “Hallelujah!”, and I want to say “THANK YOU!” Today is the day to say thanks to the God who loves us answers our prayers, big and small.

Prayer:   Father God, thank you for the wonderful gift of answered prayers. Help me see those answered prayers more clearly and to say thank you for each and every one. “Hallelujah”, My God is great and my God loves us – Thank you! Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE RECEIVING ANSWERED PRAYERS

God’s Desires for Us

Psalms 37:4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Thought for the Day:  Listen to God each day to realize the desires He has for us.

“Mama, can I have a new LEGO set?” “Mommie, can I have chocolate milk, please?” “But Mama, that house had a media room.” Within the last week, I have had a lot of requests from my children and I have had to be smart in the way I responded. As I think about the prayers I pray and the requests I make to God everyday, I reflect on how He responds to me. As I read my scriptures this morning and read my morning devotionals, it touched me when I realized that God actually leads us to the specific prayers we pray and to the desires of our hearts. As we grow in our faith, we also grow in our wisdom about the requests we make to God and the prayers we pray. As we follow God, we should listen to where He is leading us and to the desires He has for us.

Where do our desires come from? Do our prayers and desires come from our childish wants when we see something and immediately ask God for them or do our desires come to us through God who has taught us to live the Christian faith listening to Him along the way?   My desire now is to listen to God today and to let Him lead me to the desires of my heart.

Prayer:   God, thank you for the devotionals and scriptures you bring to us each day that help us change our thoughts to Your thoughts. Help us listen to Your desires for us and help us know that You want the best for us. Amen.

Prayer Focus: LISTENING TO GOD’S DESIRES FOR US

God is With Us Through the Struggles

Psalms 91:9-10

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

Thought for the Day:  Look to God and pray when difficulties arise.  He is with you.

Difficulties arise in life and in our daily routines that we must face and work through. We may find ourselves unable to sleep in the middle of the night due to worry, we may find those around us who tend to make things difficult for others, our children might bring unexpected requirements, and we may have problems dealing with schedules and balancing life. I have a dear friend who gave me some precious words when I had a bad morning and was obviously upset about something that had taken place. Her words went something like this, “You read your devotionals every morning and you write your thoughts down each day. As hard as this is, think about how much more difficult the situation would be if you didn’t start out your morning like that.” She was right. When I reflect on the words God gives me each morning, I can face the difficulties that arise throughout the day better than if I didn’t start out that way. I have said often, “I cannot imagine going through life not knowing God’s love.” I know that God is with me every step of my day and especially in the difficult moments. I can rest assured that He will guide me through as He has done in every difficult time of my life.

God has promised protection. He shelters us and keeps us safe. That doesn’t mean that there will not be hardships and that there will not be situations that are difficult. God has a plan for us and when hardships arise we can be assured that God is with us through every step and that enemies and difficulties will not win. We are secure in God.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, thank you for the assurance that you are with us in our difficulties. That knowledge helps us get through the situations better. Be with us as we go through our day to lean on you as we go through any type of difficulty. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE FACING STRUGGLES

Somewhere Out There

Psalms 145:18-19

The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. He fulfills the desire of all who fear him, he also hears their cry, and saves them.   

Thought for the Day:  God is with us all the time, closer than our breath.

“Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moon light, someone’s thinking of me, and loving me tonight. Somewhere out there, someone’s saying a prayer that we’ll find one another, in that big somewhere out there.” This sweet song from the little children’s movie, “The American Tail” goes through my mind often. In the movie, a brother and a sister get separated and they try to find each other. At night the two look longingly toward the sky and sing this song praying they can find each other. This has taken a greater meaning to me recently as my husband has taken a position in a church many miles away and the children and I have stayed behind until we can make arrangements and plans to move there. We are fortunate, however, that through technology we can actually visit with each other seeing each other’s faces and expressions as we share time together. There is some solace in knowing where our loved one is in that moment.

Sometimes we, as God’s children, think that God is “somewhere out there” and we wish we could see Him face to face. But, when we listen to God’s Word, we are assured that He is with us all the time, closer than our breath. As we do not really need technology to know that our loved one is near to our heart, we do not need to “SEE” God’s face because we know without a doubt that He is near.

Prayer:   God, thank you for loving us and being very near to our hearts. Help us listen to Your Word every day and help us feel that nudge that is obviously from you to lead us in the direction You would have us go. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE MISSING SOMEONE

Noodles

Psalms 50:10-11

For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.

Thought for the Day:  God brings us blessings through our pets

A little over twelve years ago, my husband and I visited with some friends of ours who lived in the country a few miles from us. As we relaxed and talked to that precious couple, their young son came into the room holding a sweet little orange tabby kitten. The kitten lay in Will’s arms and was a “limp as a noodle”. My husband, who was not a cat person, asked if he could hold the kitten and said, “If I had a cat, I would want one just like this.” A few minutes later, Will’s daddy said, “Do you want him?” I just observed to see what would happen next. Mark said we would think about it and we went home. The next morning I heard him say, “Well, I guess we had better go get some kitten food and a litter box.” We obviously got the cat. Today, Noodles is twelve years old and we have observed my husband and me falling in love with him as that perfect cat that just lays “limp as a noodle.” Then, we have observed our oldest child who came to us when Noodles was six months old grow up with this perfect, loving cat. Our son, on most evenings, comes home from school and wants to go straight to Noodles. And, when he can’t sleep, he goes and finds Noodles, picks him up, and lays him in the bed next to him. He then can go to sleep. Now, our youngest child is finally learning how to be sweet and calm with our “Noodles” and is enjoying him. We cherish this life that God brought to us that evening we visited a Mississippi farm. As I write today and most mornings lately, Noodles lays beside me purring his gentle tone.

As I read my devotionals this morning, I think about the gift God gave us in Noodles and how that sweet cat has calmed our hearts during hard times in our lives. The most wonderful thought of Noodles is how our oldest child, Nathaniel, has been calmed on so many occasions by that sweet cat’s warmth. He is a special companion.

Prayer:   God, thank you for giving us your precious gifts of pets. Their companionship can soothe our hearts when we are down. What an awesome gift from You! Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO LOVE THEIR PETS

Trusting God’s Protection

Psalms 5:11-12

But let all who take refuge in thee rejoice, let them ever sing for joy; and do though defend them, that those who love thy name may exult in thee. For thou dost bless the righteous O Lord; thou dost cover him with favor as with a shield.

Thought for the Day:  God is our Protector

Today I look upon my children and see that they trust each other when they are afraid. In the darkness of night, one of our children needed to get something out of the car and didn’t want to go out into the dark. He asked me to go with him, but I assured him that he could do it. He then asked his four year old brother to go with him and they went to the car together, conquering the dark to get what he wanted out of the car. This morning, our four year old came to me when he awoke and said, “I was scared when I woke up this morning so I went in with Nathaniel where I could snuggle with him.” So in his fear when he awoke he trusted that being close to his brother would protect him. It warmed my heart to know that within a few hours my children turned to each other for protection. As I witnessed these acts, I looked at myself and noticed how much I fear on a daily basis and need someone to call on when I am afraid. My husband and I turn to each other often when we are afraid, but know that God is our ultimate protector.

God is our protector who we always have beside up to protect us from our fears and from harm. He is always with us, walking right beside us in all we do.

Prayer:   Father God, thank you for protecting us from the harm of this world. Help us to look to you in our fears to trust that you will lead us through the darkness into the light of your precious love. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE NEEDING PROTECTION

God is So Good

Psalms 100:5

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Thought for the the Day:  God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me

“God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me”. As I reflect about the words to this precious children’s song that I learned as a child and then taught as an adult, I think about that love God promised us. As a wife, I can feel God’s love through the look in my husband’s eyes as we talk and pray with each other……God is Good! As a mother, I can very easily see a gift that God gave my husband and me through our children. The precious way they hug and love is a gift to me everyday……God is Good! As a teacher, I can see it when a child smiles at me as they come in my classroom door or when a child comes from behind me in the hallway and wraps precious arms around me….. God is Good! As I friend, I can feel God’s love and His words when I read a text saying, “I’m praying for you”……God is Good! And, as a child of God, I can feel His love every time I see His beautiful God made gifts in nature and in His children…..God is Good!

One of my readings during my devotional time this morning put me in a great place today, “May you know deep in your heart that God is not in love only with what he hopes to make of you in the years ahead; he is in love with what you are right now – a forgiven follower of Jesus Christ.” “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good. He’s so good to me!”

Prayer:   God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me your gifts of family and friends who show Your precious love to me every day. Help me be the person you have made me to be where I can share that love in the way You ordain. Amen

Prayer Focus: THOSE SHARING GOD’S LOVE