All posts tagged Prayer

Joy in Suffering?

Years ago when I still wore a single digit sized pair of pants, a man I admired expressed his desire to go to heaven.

“I don’t understand.”

My friend elaborated, “When I am experiencing God in worship or praise or prayer, I sense His presence. I think how much better heaven will be.”

As I grow older, understanding dawns.

But there are still many mysteries. Like for instance Mark 10:29-30,

“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

I like the first part, but shy away from the “gift” of persecution.

Take a look at this verse.

philippians 1:29

Suffering is granted to us? Like receiving a wish from a genie?

Recently, I received a newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs. The back page revealed about 12 people who are imprisoned because they taught a Bible Study, or shared the gospel, or even attended an underground church. Some have been in prison for over 15 years.

Here is the issue…when I read this publication, many of those who have been imprisoned say things like, “Christ suffered, I am privileged to suffer for Him.” And when they are released, they go right back to preaching oftentimes to be thrown back into prison.

It is a mystery to me.

The only thing I can figure is when they are in prison, they experience what my friend described when he praised or prayed or worshiped. They somehow sense the Lord’s presence so intensely that they glory in it. Basking themselves in Jesus.

As an American, it is almost impossible for me to relate. Yet Scripture says that suffering brings joy. If the Bible says it, I believe it, so that settles it.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not praying for suffering. I think that would be weird. But I am praying for my brothers and sisters who are suffering. They are my eternal family and I love them, even though I haven’t met them–yet.

For today, I pray, and read God’s Word, and wonder.

Here is a nugget I read yesterday in Psalm 16:11, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are pleasures forever.”

Even so, Lord Jesus come.

 

A Father’s Day Tribute and Challenge

Here is my latest post from CBN.com

Or you can visit their website at http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/crying-out-to-the-most-high

Crying Out to the Most High

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“If you put some money in the kettle, we’ll stop singing!” my larger than life father shouted as we manned a Salvation Army stand on Christmas Eve. He would throw his head back, laugh and then remind those around him how funny he was.

Since my parents were Salvation Army officers, and my sisters had their own families, it was usually the three of us plowing through that busy season. Last-minute-Christmas shoppingand singing questionable three-part-harmony on the kettles became our tradition.

As a teenager, I’d roll my eyes when my father did something embarrassing. I wouldn’t now.

Dad entered heaven ten years ago, and I still miss him. Especially on Father’s Day. I have possession of his Salvation Army Songbook and New Testament. His left-handed all caps print is noticeable in many of the margins. In this book are personal notes about the songs and humble prayers of a man who failed much—and knew it. Often his prayer centered on forgiveness, but many times he cried out for a deeper relationship with the Lord.

His passion and prayers still speak to me.

Reading through the first few chapters of Nehemiah, I also feel the depth of his passion and his prayers. Heartbroken because Jerusalem lies desolate with no walls, he fasts and prays—crying out to the Most High, confessing his sin, and the sin of his people while lifting up the name of Jehovah. Listen to this:

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.”Nehemiah 1:5-7 (NLT)

With Mother’s Day behind us, and Father’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been wondering how I will be remembered. Will it be for complaining or discontentment? Will my children think of the times I yelled or functioned at just a notch above crazy?

I hope not. My desire is for them to remember me in the same way Paul remembered Timothy’s mother and grandmother in 2 Timothy 1:5,

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”

Genuine faith—not perfect—a woman of passionate prayer and humble repentance.

Just like my father. Just like Nehemiah. Just like a myriad of others who pressed on in this fallen world, looking for a better place.

What about you? How will you be remembered?

Let’s passionately pray about it together.

Copyright © 2018 Pauline Hylton, used with permission.

CBN Blog-Breakfast With My Daddy

In case you missed it, here is the link to CBN.com devotionals:

http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/breakfast-with-my-daddy

The Life of Faith

There was a time I thought I’d write a book about faith. I came up with a catchy title and believed the words would stem from them.

Wrong, again.

I have no idea what it means to live a life of faith, much less write about it.

One of my prayers a few years ago went something like this:

“Lord, my desire is to know you more and understand Your ways. I want to live a life of faith even though I don’t understand what it’s about.”

He’s answering and I’m whining.

A friend of mine said “If you can figure out how God is going to do something, that’s not how He’s going to do it.” I may have posted this previously but it’s worth repeating.

God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants–because He’s God. The Only One.

The comfort is in His character.

So when I can’t understand His ways, I can trust Him. Isaiah 30:15 states, “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’”

The verse finishes with, “But you were not willing,”

I’ve worked through that verse several times over the last few years. Anxiety rises up and sometimes overtakes me until I’m so weak I have no choice but to call out to God. And He answers.

In fact, on my knees was where He wanted me in the first place.

Weakness is strength.

So right now I’m pretty strong.

But sometimes I pack my anxiety up again and rehash it. That’s when the last part of the verse comes in.

That’s also when His character comes in.

Just like with the children of Israel and Peter the Apostle and Pauline the Rookie–He is faithful–not us.

So reader, if you’re at the edge of the Red Sea and the water is lapping at your toes, memorize Isaiah 30:15 and then with the help of the Holy Spirit, live it.

Usually, you’ll be on your knees.

It’s a good place to be.

Have you ever felt as if you were standing at the edge of the Red Sea? Mounds of water ahead of you, mountains surrounding you, and an army at your tail?

That’s how I’ve felt lately. Wet toes.

My heart is weak.

My faith is small.

I haven’t written for a while because I almost drowned in that hypothetical sea. I’ve spent the last four months calling out to God, mostly on my knees. Sometimes several times a day. The weakest I can remember in my life. Desperate for God.

Guess what. I didn’t drown. Not because I held on but because He held on.

He’s like that. Powerful. All-knowing. Full of grace and truth. Generous with it too.

I won’t bore you with the details because they aren’t important. At least for this blog. What’s important is that God is great.

He answered each time I called out either through scripture, music, a text, a person, and especially prayer. Even people who don’t believe ministered to me during this time. If you were one of those people, thanks.

I’m so thankful. And so humbled.

It occurs to me that you may be standing at the edge of your proverbial sea. And you can’t see a way through. Call out to Him. His Word says you don’t have because you don’t ask.

Sometimes we don’t ask because we think we can handle it.

Maybe you’re there. You’re standing at the Red Sea with a teaspoon, shoveling away. And you’re pleased with yourself.

Jesus said in John 15:5, “without me you can do nothing.”

I guess that’s what I’ve learned.

And I just wanted to pass it on.