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The Prayers You No Longer Pray

This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.  1 John 5:14,15 CSB One of my Christmas traditions is reading the accounts of Jesus' birth. I typically  read from the Narrated Bible because  I like the way it takes the accounts of Matthew and Luke and combines them into one seamless story. But, for some reason, this year I decided to read Luke's account from a different version. I've read Luke 1 more times than I can count. But this time as I read I was arrested by one phrase in verse 13. The angel Gabriel is speaking to Zacharias and tells him not to be afraid because "...your prayer is heard." Holy Spirit seemed highlighted those words.  …your prayer IS heard Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper, "Read the footnote." And the footnote indicated that these words could be more accurately translated "the prayer you no l0nger pray" or "the prayer you don't even pray anymore."  Holy Spirit whispered again, "Deborah, the prayer you no longer pray IS heard!" Tears pooled in my eyes.  I can only imagine the number of years Zacharias had prayed for an heir. I can only imagine how he must have felt as years past and he and his wife, Elizabeth, remained childless. Perhaps as they grew older, he remembered Abraham and Sarah. He may have thought and even encouraged Elizabeth with…

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In the Place of Rest

  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Anyone who knows me knows that one of my happy places is the beach! The sand, the sun, and the waves revitalize me. I always feel such freedom and peace when I am able to just walk along the shore, feel the sun on my face, the sand between my toes and the waves dance around me as they ebb and flow. It settles me, centers me, and gives me a greater sense of God's love and grace. Yep, the beach is my happy place! I am grateful to once again have had the opportunity for some much-needed beach time. The day we arrived on Galveston Island, I must have walked a good 6 or 7 miles up and down the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, listening for the voice God in the waves, in the singing of the seagulls and egrets. It was pure joy to have Him kiss me with the sun and remind me that I need these Divine Pauses to be re-calibrated and strengthened for all He knows lies ahead for…

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Through the Open Door

“I know all that you’ve done. Now I have set before you a wide-open door that none can shut. For I know that you possess only a little power, yet you’ve kept my word and haven’t denied my name.”  Revelation 3:8 “Access, Acceleration, Abundance. These are the words the Lord spoke to me as we enter this year,"  I shared as I stood before my Heirs Covenant Church family. "Doors are opening, giving us access to places that had once been marked ‘Access Denied.’ When those doors open, we must boldly step through them.” I added God's promise of acceleration and abundance when we obey: “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills."  (Amos 9:13,14 The Message) Three days later, I received this message— “Hi Deborah. I hope all is well with you…I have an opportunity for you to check out.  Are you interested in teaching on a 24/7 global gospel network?” I knew this was the Lord! This was one of those open doors.  And, yet I hesitated. I almost said no. You see, while I love to teach the Word of God and saw this as an opportunity to do what God has called me to do,  stepping onto this…

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A Thanksgiving Reflection

Keep on giving your thanks to God, for he is so good! His constant, tender love lasts forever! Psalm 118:1 TPT 2020—what can I say?  It’s been unlike any year we’ve lived through.  It’s been challenging on multiple fronts.  It’s been revelatory.  It’s been what I’d term a “good hard year.”  Good because it has allowed us to see and experience things that have opened our eyes to some truths about ourselves, our world, our faith, our God. It has taught us resilience and resourcefulness.  It's forced us to rethink how we do life, caused us to readjust and, in some cases, hit the reset button.  It's caused many of us to slow down and reexamine the choices we've made. It's caused us to appreciate life and value time more. It's caused us to look around and see what matters most. It's caused many to see if what they profess to believe is what they live out in real time. Personally,  it has anchored me more deeply, tethered more tightly to the One Who is my life. As I think about, it's been a hard year for those same reasons.  It's just our nature to resist change—even when it's necessary. This Thanksgiving I am filled with gratitude for both the good and the hard. Today, as I reflect on all I have to be grateful for, I find myself pondering this thought posed by the psalmist: What if God had not been on our side?  (Psalm 124:1a TPT) It’s…

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Shelter in Place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 I turned off the television and took a deep breath. In my desire to remain informed, I’d been watching the Governor’s daily update on coronavirus. The Governor was followed by the Mayor of Cincinnati who was preempted by the President. The constant barrage of images, statistics, dire predictions and speculation, growing need, and reminders to practice “social distancing,”  to “shelter in place” was causing mind overload! I needed to refocus; I needed to find a place of worship. I sat at my piano, and began singing this simple chorus written by worship leader Kent Henry and my pastor, John W. Stevenson: Under the shadow of Your wings I will find a hiding place You are my refuge A fortress in whom I can trust Under the shadow of Your wings I will find a hiding place You are my refuge My God in whom I trust “You are my refuge, my God in Whom I trust,” I repeated. Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper in that still small voice, giving the phrase “shelter in place” a new and powerful meaning.  “Remain sheltered in this place,”  He said, “the place I prepared for you before the foundation of the world was laid.  The place you have chosen to live.…

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Emmanuel – God With Us

"How's it going?" a friend asked me recently. "Great!"  I said. "Are frazzled and sufficiently stressed about Christmas?" "I don't do that anymore," I replied. "Don't do frazzled. Don't do stress." "Maybe you can teach me," he chortled. Truth is it has taken me years to get to this place.  To not get caught up in the Christmas vortex, but be at peace simply because it's the season when the Prince of Peace was born.  To learn to rest in one truth and let that anchor me—Emmanuel!  If you find yourself a bit unwrapped because you don't feel quite ready for the big day, I want to share this post from last year.  Hope it will bless you and keep in a place of peace!  Merry Christmas! "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14  "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 I have a confession to make: It is exactly 6 days before Christmas and I have not put up my tree nor have I bought one single gift. I am not a Grinch by any means.  I love Christmas. I love all the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas. I love shopping for others and surprising them. I love all the merry-making with family and…

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