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

Posts tagged ‘prayer’

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. 

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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. 

When Disaster Strikes

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(Photo from Military Friends Foundation in news.yahoo.com)

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

No rational person wants bad things to happen, but if there is one thing to be sure of in this fallen world, catastrophes do occur. What do we do then? Do we get angry, do we fall apart, do we start pointing fingers before the smoke even clears? If you happen to find yourself in the middle of the event, hopefully you are one of the courageous people who drops everything to help those in need.

Those of us who witness the tragedy from afar may have a wider range of choices of how to respond to the news. In the closing chapters of I Samuel, David experienced a devastating trial and his response is worth studying. He and his exiled army were based with their families in the city of Ziklag. Upon returning from a mission, they found that their city had been sacked and burned and all their loved ones had been taken captive. The first response was to grieve. I Samuel 30:4 says that David and his men “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (NKJV)” So much for the stoic, burly he-man image; visualize an army of 600 warriors crying until there were no more tears to shed.

The next response was not unusual; the men turned on David and talked about killing him. David’s grief quickly turned to despair, but verse 6 says that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” Here is where reading the Bible chronologically is so great. In Psalm 18, David records his prayer that strengthened him in the face of this adversity. David’s next reaction was to seek God’s guidance on the approach to be taken; go after the captors or not? God’s answer was clear: pursue them and you will get every person and everything back. David then went to the angry mob and rallied them to a more appropriate course of action.

I can hear you thinking, “Good for David, but I have asked God for guidance before and I never hear anything from Him.” True, we may not hear the voice of God clearly telling us what to do. Here is the key: as we develop a closer relationship with God by reading His word the Bible, as we spend time in prayer with Him every day, as we seek Him in all things, our path will become clearer every step of the way. It may not happen overnight, but remember that your journey with God is a lifelong one that stretches into eternity. Patience and faithfulness are required to develop a deeper trust in God; He will give you the wisdom to do the right thing in every situation you encounter in life.

For now, we can follow David’s example: grieve, strengthen yourself in the Lord, seek God’s guidance and then act accordingly.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two 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 was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, 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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