Tag Archives: prayer

GOD – AND COFFEE

Copy of teacup[1]

I’m sitting at the table in the kitchen nook.  The sunshine is streaming in windows as I look out at our small back yard.  I love this little corner of our home.

Crazy as it sounds, this little corner is my “retreat”, especially so at this time of the morning.
My three older children left about 15 minutes ago, going to school. My two youngest are still asleep, my husband has gone to class, and I am actually by myself in a quiet house – at least for a few minutes, and I an happy!
breakfast table
 
After clearing the table of family breakfast debris, my cup of coffee is ready, as I pop a slice of raisin cinnamon bread into the toaster setting on a corner of the table.  My notebook, Bible and commentary are opened , taking up most of the space.  I managed to squeeze a saucer in (the table is small) and it’s waiting for that toast to butter, then some honey and a slice of cheese.  Ah! my breakfast is ready. I take a bite of that delicious toast, a sip of coffee, then open the commentary for the comments on the next scripture in my study on PRAYER.  I read the verse, look it up in the commentary, then write the summation of my own thoughts in the notebook.  I’m in the process of going through the New Testament doing this.  It is rich!  I’m learning so much… and simply by writing down my thoughts, they remain more permanent in my mind.
My coffee and toast are about gone (the coffee got a little cool as I was writing, so I had to put it into the microwave for 30 seconds, so I can enjoy it to the end .)  I debate about another piece of toast, but hear some noises upstairs. The smaller children are awakening… I quickly pick up my study material and put it up high enough little hands can’t reach it.  (This time I use the top of the refrigerator.)
Wiping my hands on my apron, I run up the steep stairway and start my day, praying as I go.  I’m going to need His help: I’m so thankful I can talk to Him. . .I wouldn’t make it without these conversations.
Pray without ceasing … talking to the Lord all day. Much better than talking to myself!
Portland, Oregon 1966
 older woman in rocking chair reading - cartoon
Portland, Oregon 2015  49 years later
It’s morning and the apartment is quiet: a sharp contrast to most of my years as wife and mother.  My husband didn’t sleep well last night, so he’s getting a little more sleep now.  I’ve fixed my morning coffee, am sitting in my rocking chair, my computer on my lap, my journal beside me, and reach for my Portuguese Bible.  I’m trying to read the Bible primarily in Portuguese.  I want to continue improving in the language – yes.  But the best part is that  when I read the verses in Portuguese, it gives me an added depth of meaning/ a slightly different slant as I look at the words.  I love doing this.  I read more slowly, for I’m also learning more of the grammar as I read.  I smile as I remember that, in the colonies in the U. S,  the children’s reading textbook was the Bible.  So my reading textbook in Portuguese is the Bible.open Bible g
This morning, I go to Ephesians… oh! what a joy to read the promises that Paul states are ours.  I still – after all these years – do not have a clear understanding of predestination that Paul writes about.  I know the meaning of the word, but have read too many different opinions, and not yet clearly formed mine.  Which is ok…
I’ve learned that reading the Bible is like peeling an onion.  One understands (removes the skin) of the first layer, then returns and reads the same passage again, and one glimpses another depth (removes the second layer) then discovers more still there!

One of the facts of reading God’s Word is –  every time I read it – I learn something new.  I smile – after all these years, I’m still peeling that onion.

Comfort, strength, security, challenge – always something new.  And now, I have Bible versions on my Smart Phone, so I can read the Bible at night in the dark if I wake up.  Reading it quiets my mind, giving me rest.

The stability I have in my life – through all of the times of hecticness, joy, grief, laughter, beauty, weariness, change after change  after change . . .  the stability comes from God’s Word (His love letter to me) and the privelege of conversing with Him, day or night.
 Have you discovered this?
Would you like some ideas from what I’ve learned?  
Did you know you can use Psa 23 as a spiritual antibiotic?
Do you know how to read Proverbs so you can acturally absorb it?
Just leave your comments, ideas and or questions in the comments.
Grab your coffee and start in.
Love you!Copy of teacup[1]
 
-Voni

 

 

Lord, Are You Sure?

I am having a running conversation with God.

praise

Well, really: it may be more one-sided?
 I’m talking to Him about Ephesians 5:17-2o
I keep re-reading those verses…trying to figure out how  to thank God for everything.
It makes no sense to me.
Eph 5:17,18,20
17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.  [Prov 23:20.]
20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.  
AMP
Then in a different version:
Eph 5:17,18,20
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
18 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life.  Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him.
20 Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
I keep on talking and asking for wisdom, trying to get around that word everything,
However, it doesn’t matter what I say to God my Father, the words that are written do not change, and still sound impossible for me to do.
From what I can understand,  I am to thank and praise God for everything.
 
But God, that involves losing my marriage.
 It involves betrayal.
The list of things it involves seem endless and keeps growing.  I learn more of them each day.
 And I am supposed to thank and praise you for these?
That  my children no longer have a father – and my grandchildren don’t have a grandfather?
For my “husband” has totally abandoned us.  We are no longer an important part of his life.
No longer will I have a home for my kids to come to . . .
I have to leave Brazil,  this country I love and is now my home;
and return to the United States where I do not want to live.
Oh God! Help me!
praise-god planted treasure.wordpress com.
The words in God’s Word still do not change.
After a couple of days, finally, I am quiet… not arguing any more.
 
Ok God.  I will have to do this as I do the forgiveness:  out of obedience, for my heart only hurts.
 
I start.
Father, I thank You, I praise You for my husband’s actions, his betrayal of our children and I, for . . .        the tears run down my cheeks.  . . I thank you for his children from that relationship … I thank you for the woman whom I thought was my friend I break down, begging my Father for help.
Every time I  thank God – the tears come.  I  learn three important things.
1. Thanking God – even with tears – cleanses my heart.  I take these different situations that involve so much hurt,  talk about them with God, give thanks and praise for each one:  it’s like a  balm that heals as it goes over my  wounds.  It becomes easier to forgive those involved.
 
2. What is “high praise.”                                                                                                                                  Ps 66:16-19
16 Come and hear, all you who reverently and worshipfully fear God, and I will declare what He has done for me!
17 I cried aloud to Him; He was extolled and high praise was under my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me;  [Prov 15:29; 28:9; Isa 1:15; John 9:31; James 4:3.]  (So I must forgive, to keep my heart clean.)
19 But certainly God has heard me; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.

AMP
I come to the conclusion that high praise is when I  weep while I thank God . .  I wonder how long it will be before I can thank Him without tears?
 
3. What is a sacrifice of praise.  
Heb 13:15
15 Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.  [Lev 7:12; Isa 57:19; Hos 14:2.]
AMP
 When I praise God for all things, it truly is a sacrifice of my will for my life, as I choose to obey Him; and tears flow.
 However, the result ? I am blessed  with a deeper quietness in my spirit., and I need  that quietness and peace.
 
I am living with an anguish I never imagined.  At the same time, I know I am not alone.
There are some things one cannot explain.
I do not know how to explain what is happening to me, with me.  But changes are happening.
I only know I will continue fo obey God to the best of my ability, even when I don’t understand.
I  thank God for all things, and forgive those who have hurt me so deeply.
I desire to be free  from the past, free to walk into my future.
So, I hang onto God’s hand and His Word.
This verse helps me with God’s promise for me; He will handle those who have hurt me and the children through their disobedience of God’s principles.
Isa 41:12-13
12 You will look in vain
for those who tried to conquer you.
Those who attack you
will come to nothing.
13 For I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996,
2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
Then there are these promises to me – to anyone who is attempting to walk with God.
I hang onto them, for I know they are true!
He is doing it on a daily basis for me, as I do my best to walk in obedience.
At times, I have to hang tightly onto His hand to have the strength to follow.
But He IS HERE.
Isa 43:1-3, 19-21
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
.       .         .          .
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
. . .
20 . . . because I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
NIV
 These promises hold me together as I hang onto His hand for dear life.
 open Bible s
July,2015
It is still difficult for me to even write this today, although 28 years have passed since then. The deep anguish is gone; however, a profound sorrow remains.  I am still hanging onto His hand, and continue to learn how to thank Him for everything  
 I have questions for which there are no answers – yet.
 
Life is a challenge and, at times, a battle for survival. Yet, in all of it, He keeps His promises.
If you are walking in anguish, full of anger, or lack peace and joy:  please experiment with these first two steps: forgiveness and thanksgiving.
Just remember, we can trust Him – totally! even though we don’t understand.
         -Voni
               In next post, the third challenge He gives me  –  just as big as the first two.
The result?  BLESSING!