Joy

Prayers for the Week: Fruit of the Spirit – Joy

Joy

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post!  Today we continue our look at the fruits of the Spirit.  Last week we explored Love, this week, we are turning our attention to Joy.  This is the second of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22.  Here is the verse again for you to remember:

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

But, as you will soon see in our prayer requests, this week has been about anything but joy for so many of our Brothers and Sisters!  How are we supposed to find joy amongst so much sorrow, so much grief, so many broken hearts?  Well, my friends, that is not easy for certain, but it is possible.  To this poor man’s thinking, the joy is not with regards to the joy that the world can provide — no, the world is fallen, and death, sadness, and destruction are by-products of all of that because of our sin and the fallen state of the world.  To me, the joy comes in knowing and living for God.  We may not know why we suffer, or why our loved ones suffer, but we do know that we have in our corner a loving God.  Remember today the words from the Prophet Jeremiah as found in the book bearing his name:

11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

The Lord made that promise to the people of Israel while they were in exile in Babylon.  They didn’t know that it would take 70 years of captivity before they would be released, but it did — and still they called on God to hear their prayer.  Now, we can call of God directly through His Son Jesus Christ, and He will hear our prayers, and He will respond accordingly.  My brothers, in my opinion there is no greater joy to be found than that!

To those that are hurting right now, though, we lift up our prayers to God for you and your families.  Please continue reading and pray with us our prayer requests and praises below.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Jodi starts us off with a prayer request: Please keep my friend Caria and her family in prayer. Her father passed away this morning. Just last week, he fell while walking the dog and sustained a head injury. Not sure if something else was cause (anuerism, stroke?). Thankfully, he was a firm believer, as is Caria and her family, but it is still a difficult loss. Thank you!
  • Amanda has a prayer request for her husband Daniel: My husband goes in for his PET Scan on Thursday morning. Please pray that the scan is better than the last (which was great!), that it shows no new tumors or cancer, no spread of cancer, that the tumors that were resolved last scan are still resolved or gone and the other tumors are smaller and less active, resolved or gone. Please also pray that the FoundationOne test comes back that he is an candidate for immunotherapy and pray for us to have peace and give it to God between now and when we get the results next week some time. Thanks!
  • Kipp has a prayer request: Please pray for Alan’s mom Phyllis who is in the hospital dealing with her Chrones disease this morning. This is a very chronic, debilitating sickness that takes its toll on the body. It is in the IBS family. (irritable bowel syndrome).
  • Please pray for my cousins Janet and Susan and all of their families today. We lost my Great Aunt Genette today. She was a wonderful woman and I will remember her fondly from all the times she welcomed me into her home. Please pray for God’s Peace, Comfort, Strength, and Love to surround all of them in the days and weeks to come.
  • Please pray for my sister-in-Christ Genevieve and her family.  Her week started with her younger brother Mark being in a bike accident with a car, and being in ICU.  They saw improvement, evidence of God’s miracles in his brain activity, and they prepared for him to be transported to a different hospital for further care.  Then, the last thing any of them expected happened.  Her brother’s heart failed, and they had to say their goodbyes to their brother, son, grandson, and friend.  Please pray for Genevieve and her family; pray for their grief, pray for their broken hearts, pray for their shock at losing Mark when no one was expecting it. Pray that God would surround that family with His Peace, His Comfort, His Strength, and most of all, His Love, and that He would take care of them all each and every moment of every day. Pray that they would know the joy in knowing that Mark is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Lastly, please pray for my friend Candice. Her mom passed away peacefully in the care of Hospice.  Please pray for Candice and Martha and all of their family and friends that knew her.

Remember that the Lord has plans for us, plans for our welfare, not for evil towards us, plans for our future, plans for us to have a hope.  Remember to look for the joy even in the midst of all of the sorrow, anger, and hurt in our lives.  Look for the joy.

Now, please close out by praying the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

Love

Prayers for the Week: Fruit of the Spirit – Love

Love

Image ©SincerelySaraD.com

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22 (ESV)

Hello my friends, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  Today I’m starting a small series on the fruits of the Spirit that we find in Galatians 5.  Over the next nine weeks starting today I will be focusing on one of those fruits.  Today we focus on love.

Love

The concept of love is discussed throughout the Bible, and there are many examples of love that we can draw on in our quest to understand what it means.  There is the concept of being “in love” with someone, such as how a husband loves his wife and vice versa. We find a very powerful set of verses pertaining to love of a couple found in 1 Corinthians 13:

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (ESV)

Those verses are often quoted in wedding ceremonies.

Other ways love can be found in the Bible exist throughout — even in situations where God disciplined His children because they didn’t listen to Him and commit to Him.  Just look at all of the times that the Israelites were exiled because they turned away from God.  But then, of course, God sent us Jesus — the greatest act of love that has ever been known in this world.  God sent His Son to us so that we might believe in Him, and in doing so, gain eternal life and forgiveness for all of the unpardonable sins that we have committed.  God sent Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sin — and Jesus loves us so much that He died on that cross for me.  And for you.  And for all of us.  All He asks of us is that we would turn to Him, that we would believe in Him and His sacrifice, that we would pray to Him, telling Him that we have realized that we are sinners, and ask Him for forgiveness and to create in us a new spirit, a new life.  That salvation that we speak of is open to each and every one of us, from the meekest, most gentle person to the killer on death row that has shown no remorse for their actions.  That, my friends, is what Love is.  Love is dying on the Cross for each and every one of us when you didn’t deserve that fate.  If you don’t have John 3:16 memorized, go look it up, and memorize it, and do me a favor and leave it in the Facebook comments below.

Love — it is the first of the fruits of the Spirit, and it is an outward sign that you are one with Christ.  Do you show love?  Do people know it? That is the question.

Now, please continue reading with our Prayer Requests and Praises below.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Please pray for all of those that are having struggles with anxiety and panic.  Please pray for all of those, that God would send his Peaceful, Calming, Comforting touch to them, that they would know true Peace, and that their anxiety and panic would drift away.
  • Amanda has a prayer request: I need more prayers! My husband’s oncologist is requesting a test on his already removed tumor tissue to see if he might be a candidate for immunotherapy. This is huge because that’s where all of the research is. If it comes back as no, we only have one more drug after the one we are on to use. Not many clinical trials exist that don’t involve immunotherapy. Please pray it comes back that he is a candidate. We will be scheduling another scan in the next week or so. I’ll be requesting more prayers for that – better than last time with no new cancer, none of the resolved tumors active again and the active tumors less active, resolved or gone. But I’ll bother you with those later!
    Also, our friend Jaime has been put on hospice care. She has a husband and 2 small children. Please pray for them as well. Thanks, guys!
  • Please keep praying for my cousin Barb and her husband Tim. The results were not what we had hoped. The chemo is not working anymore, and the doctor is looking for clinical trials for him. Need prayers now, more than ever.
  • Carol has a prayer request: Pray for my son Jeff. He is having Very difficult time.
  • Please pray for my friend Clint and his family.
  • Please pray for Paul and his broken toe.

Thank you all for praying, and please don’t forget to send us your own prayer requests!  Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray together:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

 

your heart

Prayers for the Week: The State of Your Heart

your heart

26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. ~ Ezekiel 36:26-27 (ESV)

The State of Your Heart

My friends, welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  Today I’m led to share with you verses out of the book of Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was one of the Prophet’s of God, and as such, his message was given to him by God and Ezekiel passed that word on to the people of Israel.  Like most of the prophets of the day, Ezekiel’s words — God’s Words — were largely ignored, to their detriment most often.  The sad reality is that far too often, we are ignoring God’s Word for us just as often as the Israelites were doing, whether we be Christians, Believers, Saved, or not.

So tell me this morning, what is the state of your heart?  Have you given any thought to what God would want from you?  Do you ask Him to direct your steps, to change who you are from one who is about self to one that is selfless?  Allow me to give you a little insight into the heart of Mike Ellis, Christian, Believer, Saved.

Several things jump out at me when I turn introspective and start focusing on who I am as a Christian. Let me list some of them for you:

  • Sinner
  • Often selfish
  • Prideful
  • At times, angry
  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Loving
  • Devoted Husband and Father

The adjectives on both sides of the ledger could go on and on.  I imagine that as you look at yourself and think of adjectives to describe you, you will probably have a similar makeup of bad and good.  The key, though, is that I left off three very important ingredients in the makeup of my heart:

  • Saved
  • God-Fearing
  • Born Again

What does it take to gain these last three adjectives?  And what does any of this have to do with the state of your heart?  Simply put, to be saved, to be born again, is to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He came down on this earth, that He died on the Cross, that He was resurrected from death back to life, and that He did all of that to pay the penalty for our sins.  If you are God-Fearing, you fear being separated from God.  When you believe, and ask God into your life, you are Saved, and when that happens, you are Born Again, and the transformation of your heart as illustrated in the Ezekiel verses at the beginning of this post will take place immediately.  Additionally, when that happens, the Holy Spirit will enter your heart, and the Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf and talk to God with you and for you. That is how your heart can be transformed from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh and spirit.  Thank you for reading this far, please keep reading and pray with us our prayer requests and praises for this week.  Do you want to share your prayers with us? Join our Facebook group and do so there, or leave us a comment with your prayer requests and we’ll pray that way as well!

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Stephanie starts us off with a prayer request: Please pray for my husband, Tim! I had to bring him to the ER because he’s having shortness of breath. He’s been given a breathing treatment and a steroid shot and was just taken back for a chest x-ray.
    • Update: Tim is on some medications but still struggling, so please keep praying!
  • We have been praying with Amanda on a request she has this week.  This has been a roller coaster of emotions all week: Please pray for my brother and his K9. He is a K9 officer and his dog was hit by a truck. She has significant internal injuries and her rear leg was almost completely severed. She made it out of surgery for the internal organ damage (Praise God!) but must recover from that before they can address the leg. My brother prayed and waited many years to be a K9 officer and his first dog bit him so badly he was on desk duty for several months. His faith has never wavered  He’s inconsolable and weighed down with guilt right now. Thanks to you all!
    • UPDATE: Jelka was stable through the night and did not need a transfusion as expected. They still haven‘t addressed her leg and she has blood in her chest tube making them think she might have an internal injury they missed. Thank you for the prayers – they are working!
    • UPDATED UPDATE: Jelka is in the clear! She will be going home in a few days. They haven’t done anything to her leg but the blood flow is good. If the tendons are in okay shape, they will repair but if not they will fuse the leg. She’ll most likely be able to go back to police work in the fall. Thank you all for your prayers! I told my brother my warriors got results!
    • Then, this update: My brother’s K9 is not doing well. She is bleeding in her chest. They are taking her into surgery but aren’t confident she will make it out. Please pray!
    • Lastly, this Praise! Thank you all so much for the prayers for my brother’s K9 partner. They have worked miracles. Here she is yesterday – only 3.5 days after she was hit! She still has to have surgery on her leg but wow!
  • Hiro has a praise report and a continued prayer request: I didn’t get a chance to thank all of you for your prayers a few weeks ago. My father is doing well. In fact, he has been talking about Jesus a lot. And he is reading the Bible and in class (he teaches Karate) he relates Karate Philosophy to Jesus’ stories. It’s fascinating.
    He grew up Buddhist and Shinto. So it’s deeply rooted in him. He also reads the teachings of many other religions as well because he has so many students around the world. A cool fact, He had a special tree planted in his honour when he visited Israel/Palestine (there was a brief time of peace a couple decades ago). So with all these religions he is influenced by I can imagine how difficult it is for him to follow one. But it’s been so wonderful to hear him talk of Jesus. Please continue to pray for him as he has many personal obstacles he has to overcome.
    Thank you Mike for this Facebook group.
  • Please pray for Dakota Miller and his family, a 13 year old who accidentally shot himself, and is in critical condition.  I am not sure of the status of his injuries at this time.  There was some confusion as to the legitimacy of this prayer request as it seemed to closely resemble one that was a fake request going around Facebook, but here is a story about it that sheds more light on it.
  • Continuing regarding Dakota Miller prayer request. Please pray with me: “Lord, we don’t know if the prayers that were lifted up were for an actual situation or not — only You know that. What we do know, Lord, is that real or imagined, hoax or true, we know that You care for us, and want what is best for us. Thank You for loving us as you do. We learn in our Bible the very true words written by the Apostle Paul as given to him by You in his letter to the Philippians: “6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
    Lord, whether Dakota Miller be true or made up, we don’t know, but what we do know is that You hear our prayers. So, Lord, we direct our prayers to the Dakota Millers of this world, those unknown souls who struggle, who may not know You, and we lift them up to You. Grant them the Peace that only You can give, and thank You for the saving faith we have been given by believing in Your Son, Jesus. It is in His precious name that we pray. Amen!”

Now, please pray with me the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

There are only two people that know the state of your heart: you and God.  If you need us to pray for you, please ask, please let us lift you up to the Lord so that He can work a miracle in your life!  Thank you for joining us and praying with us today!

Trust in the Lord

Prayers for the Week: Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. ~ Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

Brothers and Sisters, welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  We continue our exploration of the Proverbs, those wonderful words of wisdom that form one of my favorite Books in the Bible.  Today we are focusing on our need to trust in the Lord.

Far too often I think that we believe that we need to make sure we are doing our part in our daily lives.  While this is absolutely true, we do need to shoulder our burden, we need to make sure that we aren’t putting the emphasis entirely on ourselves to take care of things.  Simply put, we need to trust in the Lord to take care of the things that He wants to do for us.

So much has been written and discussed lately on repealing and replacing Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.  This past week, the House of Representatives passed their own healthcare bill, and immediately many went on the offensive about just how bad it is.  Is it bad legislation?  Perhaps it is.  I don’t know as I haven’t read the bill.  What I do know though is that the current law is bad legislation.  It hasn’t helped my family one bit.  It has meant nothing but heartache for a lot of people.  But I’m not hear to talk about politics.  What I’m here to talk about is how yes, the laws of the land we live in do affect us, but more importantly, our relationship with God affects us even more.  So many of my “religious” friends were talking about how this law is bad, and about how no Christian should ever have a smile on their face knowing that people are losing their insurance.  Well, what I know is this: I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and I will not lean on my own understanding!

Could this new bill (which, by the way, is not even a law yet) be bad for the country?  Perhaps.  Is there likely to be changes to the makeup of the bill that may help make it better?  Perhaps.  Will this bill help everyone out?  Probably not.  But in the end, does any of that really matter?  Our journey on this earth is just a small path on our way to our true home in Heaven.  If you are a true Christian, if you are a true follower of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then you are not of this world.  Jesus told us in the book of John: In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 – ESV)

My prayers always go out to those that suffer, those that face persecution, those that are downtrodden, those that are taken advantage of, and that will not change.  More and more, though, I turn my gaze towards God, towards Jesus, and more and more I give thanks to Him for all that He has done for me.  Do you do that?  I urge you to start doing so if you don’t already.

Now, I’m sorry for talking so much about politics, it was not my intention to do so.  Please join us in praying for our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Paul has a prayer request regarding his mother: I just got a report on my Mom. The stroke was severe. There is basically nothing they can do. We will take her home and keep her as comfortable as possible for the short time she has left. Possibly a few weeks, maybe less. Thank-you so much for your prayers and friendship!
    Now, the good news! My Mom has known Jesus for many years. She will have an eternity with Him and I will join her one day! Praise God!
  • Prayers for Creecy and her family: Her Mom recently passed away.
  • Lastly, pray for all of those that are afraid to mention their prayer requests.  Pray for the anonymous requests, that they would be heard and answered by God, and pray for the Peace of the world.

Now, please join us in praying the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

Easter Message

Prayers for the Week: The Easter Message

Easter Message

34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:34-35 (ESV)

My friends, Happy Easter to each and every one of you!  Today is the day when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was resurrected from the death after being arrested, tortured, and crucified on the cruel cross.  But while today is the day when we realize that He is Risen, and that Jesus has conquered death for Himself and for us that believe in Him, today I want to remember one of the greatest truths Jesus delivered to us.  This is what I believe the Easter Message is this year: Love one another, just as Jesus has loved us.

Love can be a hard thing for some of us.  Oh sure, it’s easy to love those that are close to you; your parents, your spouse, your children, and so forth.  But love can be a very hard thing when the focus of that love is someone that has done something to harm you.

Love like that can be very hard.  How do you love someone that was directly responsible for you losing your job?  How do you love someone that caused grave harm to your child?  How do you love someone that claims to be a Christian, but all they do is cause grief and heartache for your wife?  Those are just three examples.  How do you love someone that wrote a threatening letter describing all of the things that they would do to your family?  And how do you love someone that hurts you so deeply that all you want to do is withdraw from society and not have anything to do with anyone?

Quite simply, my friends, it is impossible to love — if left to our own will to do so.  What makes it possible to love when faced with those circumstances is to turn to Jesus, turn to God, and ask Him to help you love those that have caused you harm.  Look at Holy Week, the week where our Easter Message was composed from.  Look at all that happened to Jesus during this week:

  • He was betrayed by Judas.
  • He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • He was beaten.
  • He was tortured.
  • He was accused of things He didn’t do.
  • He was found innocent, yet He was sentenced to crucifixion anyway.
  • He was crucified.
  • He was given sour wine.
  • He was spit on.
  • He was stabbed.
  • He had a crown of thorns put on his head.
  • He had nails hammered in his hands and feet.
  • He died despite being innocent.

Despite all of that, and even more that I haven’t listed, despite all of that, what was it that Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Jesus would have us show that kind of love, but I think He knows that it is only possible to do when we have the Holy Spirit within us.  Then, and only then, can we love those that harm us.  That, my brothers and sisters, is what the Easter Message this year is for me.  Now, please pray with me our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Lori has a prayer request: I’d selfishly like to ask a prayer for myself tonight and over the weekend. I need to find job that can support me and fulfill me. I have an application in at a company that is about 10 minutes from my house. My girls, Thelma Louise, are about my whole life right now; this job would allow me time to come home to them during the day and at least let me let them out for a bit.I completed an application on-line and got a very positive response from their home office in NJ within 30 minutes & did an over the phone interview. God willing the local HR Manager will see me as good of a fit and call me in for a personal interview.Thank you in advance for your prayers.
  • Jodi has an update on her brother Ken: My brother Ken is moving to a rehab facility this afternoon! Hooray! Probably will be there about 3 weeks. Please continue prayers. Thank you!
  • Jodi also has another prayer request: My friend Amanda was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Please keep her & her family in prayer. Thank you!
  • Please continue praying for Kelly’s Godfather.  Here’s her original prayer request, I’ll post an update when we learn more: Please pray for my GodFather – Uncle Alan. Went to the doctor about a week ago and he will be having a quadruple bypass next Wednesday. Thank you.
  • Please pray for my Dad, Joe, he has cataract surgery on Tuesday the 18th. Thanks!
  • Please pray for those that are afraid to ask for prayers, pray that God would hear the prayers from their hearts.
  • Please also pray for those that don’t know God, please pray that they would find out what life with Jesus in their lives really is all about.

Now, please pray with us the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.