Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘pray’

A Man of Prayer

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Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane painting by Heinrich Hofmann on Christimages.org.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Just as reading the Old Testament chronologically puts the events and people of the ancient years into a different perspective, reading the New Testament in the timeline of events also gives a fresh outlook on the life of Jesus and the history of the early Church. Jesus’ ministry began with His water baptism by immersion and then His departure into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days. (Matthew 3:13-4:11)

The accounts of Jesus healing a man in the Temple on the Sabbath in Matthew 12, Mark 3 and Luke 6 each provide different insights into the encounter with the religious leaders over the question as to whether it was within the Law to heal a man on the Sabbath. Matthew details the tongue lashing that He gave the Pharisees; Mark points out that Jesus became angry at the challenge (hence the tongue lashing) but Luke 6:12 says that “…in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (NKJV)

Try to imagine the anguish that Jesus must have experienced when the religious leaders who were responsible for the souls of the people became angry and plotted to kill Jesus for making a disabled man whole. Even though He laid into them and warned them about the consequences of their disbelief, He still loved them and wanted nothing else than for them to place their trust in Him, the Messiah who came to save them.

The fact that Jesus withdrew often to the mountain to pray all night shows that even Jesus needed to spend great quantities of quality time with His Heavenly Father. If that is what Jesus needed to get Him through those stressful days, we need to do the same thing to get through our stressful times. Hopefully, nobody is plotting to kill you for the good things you do, but our lives are marked with uncertainty, disappointment, betrayal and brokenness. Don’t know how to pray or what to say? The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) gives a great model which can be broken down into the acronym ACTS:

  • Adoration: praise God for loving us and listening to us and for being powerful enough to act in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • Confession: tell God what you have done wrong and ask Him to forgive you. This is also a great time to forgive those who have hurt you and release any hurt feelings you might have.
  • Thanksgiving: give God gratitude for all His many blessings. Count them out!
  • Supplication: this is one of those “Christianese” terms that means to ask God for what you need and want. This is also a good opportunity to pray for other people, our nation and the world.

Just like Jesus, we need to spend lots of quality time with God the Father and trust in the wisdom, provision, strength and peace that only He can give.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

I Will Restore

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“They Devour” photo by madcowk on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

One of the things I have always been grateful for is that as a gardener, my family and I have never had to depend upon whatever the garden produced each year. We would not last very long if we did. One can never be sure what will happen during the year and even one day of bad weather can destroy an entire harvest. I have never personally witnessed the kind of pestilence that is described as locusts in the Bible, but Joel 1:4 describes the utter devastation caused by one such invasion:

What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten;
What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten;
And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten. (NKJV)

The passage goes on to explain that this pestilence was sent by God as a punishment for the unfaithful behavior of the people. The prophet goes on to warn the people of Israel that an army (possibly Babylonian) is on the way to conquer what was left of the nation. Joel pleads with the people in 2:12-13:

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm. (NKJV)

As a reward for turning back to Him, God promises in verse 25 to restore what was lost:

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.” (NKJV)

I have claimed that verse several times in my life when relationships had been broken and you know what? God did restore them and made them even better than ever! Just like He restored all that Job lost during his test, God has a way of making things so much better than we could have ever dreamed. The key is in our repentance; however, because no matter how good we think we are, we would stand condemned in the presence of Almighty God, completely at His mercy without the sacrifice of Jesus.

Whatever loss you are grieving in your heart right now, write down Joel 2:25 and commit it to memory. Make this your daily prayer, asking God to take the devastation in your life and restore it to you in His perfect, marvelous way and in His perfect timing. Then relax, wait patiently and watch the miracles unfold before your very eyes!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

You Are Going to Die!

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Photo by Elsie esq. on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

This news does not set well with most people, but King Hezekiah’s response was especially passionate. “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the (Western) wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before you in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” (Isaiah 38:2-3, NKJV) Not only did God hear his prayer and heal the King, He told him that Hezekiah would live fifteen more years. God even gave Hezekiah a miraculous sign of His promise by turning back time ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. I don’t know how much time ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz was, but it must have been substantial.

I suspect that many people have prayed similar prayers when given that bad news, but God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wants, including healing or choosing not to heal the terminally ill and raising the dead. This does not mean that those who have been healed don’t die at some point in the future; nobody gets out of this life alive.

Had he died when Isaiah first told him he would die, Hezekiah would have passed peacefully, leaving his kingdom intact. As it was, over the period of the next 15 years, Hezekiah’s head swelled and he made the foolish decision to show the entire treasury to a group of visiting Babylonian emissaries. God rebuked Hezekiah and told him that everything he had shown to the Babylonians would be carried off to Babylon, along with some of his family members. (2 Kings 20:12-18)

Hezekiah also fathered Manasseh during that 15 year remission. Manasseh ascended the throne at the age of 12 after Hezekiah’s death and was recorded as the most evil king of Judah, committing atrocities beyond those practiced by the people who had lived in Canaan before the Children of Israel settled there!

We can never know what might have happened had the story ended differently, but what we do need to grasp is the concept that we are eternal beings who, if we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus, will live forever in heaven. Our eternal life is already upon us; all that separates us from eternity are these earthly bodies that are one step closer to death each day. Rather than being obsessed with cheating death and extraordinarily extending our lives here, we need to focus on the task that Jesus gave us to do and then when our time is up, take that last step into the arms of our loving Savior.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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