Prayers for the Week – RIP Uncle Walter

John 15-13-Firefighters

 

 

Today, over at our Prayers for the Week site, we remember Cindy’s Uncle Walter, who passed away last week.  He was a good man, a firefighter, a charter member of the Woodland, NC Volunteer Fire Department, and he served on the force for well over 60 years.  He leaves behind his children, Walter Jr. and Jane, their spouses, and two grand children, as well as countless friends and family who miss him and his presence in the community.

Please read and pray with us over on our sister site, and remember them in your prayers this week and in the weeks to come.  It’s hard to replace a man like Uncle Walter, but God will do just that and more for His children that are left here on earth to continue the struggle.  For now, RIP Uncle Walter — we know that God’s plan for you was completed, and that you are receiving your Heavenly Reward.

Thank you for stopping by, please click over and pray with us, and add your prayer requests to our list so we can pray with you.  Anonymous requests are welcome if you wish to do so.  We don’t need to know the details, we know that God knows the details, and that’s what matters.

{Continue Reading at Prayers for the Week…}

Prayers for the Week – Remembering


This past week my wife and I drove her aunt and uncle to Montana for her Uncle’s Memorial service. It was a long, 2,000 mile journey through 11 states, but it was a great trip nonetheless. It was a journey of remembering, of remembering the time Uncle Bud drove school buses from North Carolina to Montana with his brother Sam. It was a journey of remembering the trips that Cindy made in days gone by, and it was a trip of remembering all the trips that Uncle Sam and Aunt Saundra made back to North Carolina. In all, nine of Uncle Sam’s relatives made the trip by car or plane from North Carolina to Montana to be there for Aunt Saundra, Lori Jean, Tom, Allison, and the rest of the family. In each case Aunt Saundra remarked that she couldn’t believe that we came out for Sam. Well, Aunt Saundra, we didn’t come out for Uncle Sam. We came out for you.

In preparing for this message, I found myself drawn to 1 Corinthians 15:52-57:


Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭51-58‬ ESV)

The older I get, the more I draw comfort in the words that God leaves for us. They inspire me, the direct me, they are my hope in a crazy, chaotic world. They help me to sleep at night, knowing that whatever happens, God is with me. Aunt Saundra, Lori, Tom, and Allison, God is with you too. Draw comfort in that fact.

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 who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayers for the Week – Faith in a Storm

Mark4v39 Faith

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” ~ Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  The other day I was listening to my John Denver playlist, and heard one of my favorite songs of his — the song titled Matthew.  In listening to the song, some of the words caught my attention.  Here they are below:

They had a storm in ’47, twister came and stripped ’em clean.
He lost the farm, he lost his family, he lost the wheat, he lost his home.
But he found the family bible, his faith as solid as a stone.
Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on,
love was just a way to live and die.
Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.

In hearing these words again, and listening to what he is telling us, it reminded me that there is joy, even in the storms of life that are unleashed upon us.  Listen to how Matthew kept things simple in the song:  Gold wasn’t about money, or financial gain, or any of that — to Matthew, the wheat fields in Kansas, blowing in the wind, that was what gold looked like to him.  Joy — now joy, pure joy — to Matthew, it wasn’t something he bought in a store, came in a video game, or in a movie, or anything like that — for Matthew, he was raised on joy, that was the lasting lesson that his parents left him — to find the joy in the every day, in the heat of the sun or the cold of the winter, in the satisfaction of a job well done; even finding joy in the midst of sorrow, in the losing of a loved one.

My friends, there’s a lesson for us all in those simple words.  In short, faith, even faith in a storm, when you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, well, faith in a storm will bring incredible Peace to you, knowing that God is going to take care of things, if you just ask Him to do so.  Faith and joy, in many ways they go hand in hand — on the one hand, having Faith means that you know that God is there for you, and that He will look after you — and just knowing this brings joy to my heart.  Now, how about an incredible Praise to go along with a prayer request also.  Read what my friend Amanda wrote about her husband Daniel, who has been fighting cancer for quite a while:

Just wanted to provide a quick update on Daniel’s health and a short prayer request. We had a check up a week ago and everything was cancer free! He has healed from his hernia repair surgery and is starting to seriously look for employment again. So if you know of any HR, Training or Retail regional manager positions out there, please let us know! The prayer request is that God brings him a full time permanent job that lifts him up (and that he stay cancer free!). Our next scan is at the end of July – assume no news is good news if you don’t hear from me! Thanks to you all once more!

So, if you know of any job positions in Georgia that might fit the bill for Daniel, please feel free to email me at prayer@mydreamsofdisney.com and I’ll pass along your information to Amanda.  By the way, did you know that Amanda and I have been praying for her husband for almost 2 years exactly?  It was late May, 2013, when Amanda first asked me to add her and her husband to our prayer post, and now look at them.  Their story is a true life example of what Faith in a Storm is all about!

Now, please pray with us the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples 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 who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayers for the Week – My Testimony

My-Testimony-LDS-Mormon

My name is Michael Wayne Ellis, and this, my friends, is my testimony on why I’m a Christian.

Last Tuesday, the leader of the Men’s Study Bible Study, Russ Andrews, challenged us by asking us a question.  He asked if we were on our deathbed, would we share our testimony at that time.  He then followed up by asking why we are waiting for that time in our lives — why aren’t we out there sharing our testimony right now?  Well, my friends, that took root in me, and I knew that evening that this week, I was going to share my testimony with you.

The pathway on our road to Heaven is often winding, twisted, with many turns, some of them heading dangerously towards a cliff, and others leading right into Jesus’ arms, only to see us turn away at the last moment.  That is my experience as well.  I’m not going to go into my whole life story to date, if I did, you all would click away in minutes.  Instead, my friends, I’m going to share with you that singular moment in my life where I knew without a doubt that I was a Christian, and that God had — correction, has — His loving gaze on me, my wife Cindy, and our daughter Sophie.

The date is June 18, 2001.  Cindy is pregnant, but she has been at home for about a month on bed rest because of worry over gestational diabetes.  She’s allowed to move around the house some, but she’s going stir crazy at home.  The day before we had gone out for a while — it was a wonderful day, we took it easy, but despite that, that evening Cindy wasn’t feeling well.  She had nausea, which hadn’t happened in a while, and she thought it might be gastritis.  We made it through the night, though, and I got up on the morning of the 18th and went on to work.  I knew that Cindy had a doctors appointment that afternoon, so I anticipated meeting her there for the appointment.

Sometime around lunchtime, she called me, asked me to pick her up because she still wasn’t feeling well, so that’s what I did.  On the way to the appointment, Cindy was sick, and when we got to the office, she was sick again in the exam room.  When Dr. Inge saw that, he sent us over to the birthing center immediately.

While we were there waiting to check in, Cindy’s stomach went into a considerable amount of pain.  They fast tracked her back to a room, and got her setup on some pain medications.  Only later would we find out that the diagnosis was HELLP Syndrome, a rare, extremely dangerous form of pre-eclampsia that is characterized with an increase in liver enzymes, and elevated blood pressure.  The solution at that time (and I believe to this date) is simple — induce the delivery of the baby, because after the baby is delivered, the syndrome almost always dissipates.  The only problem with this, though, is that Sophie was only 33 weeks along.  The biggest concern was how far developed her lungs were, but in the end, we had no choice in the decision.  Not treated, Cindy could have had a stroke.

Despite the stressful situation that we were thrown into, despite the concern that I had for both Cindy and Sophie, despite all of that, I was filled with a huge sense of calm, of peace.  Throughout this experience, during Cindy’s contractions, helping her with her breathing, making sure that she was as comfortable as she could be under the circumstances, despite all of that, at no time did Cindy realize that she was in as much distress as she was.  Certainly much of that was because of the medications that she was on, but additionally, there was no fear, no panic, no anxiety in my demeanor.  I was as cool as a cucumber, and there is only one reason why I wasn’t a basket case: My Lord, Jesus, had filled me with a serenity like no other, and that peace I felt, it wasn’t just peace, it was God’s Peace, and I knew that it was going to be okay.

My friends, my brothers and sisters, Sophie was born on June 19, 2001, at 10:47PM.  She weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces, was just 17 1/2″ long, and was so tiny that the premie diaper had to be folded in half before it would fit her.  The moment that she was born, with tears coming down out of both mine and Cindy’s eyes, I had no doubt whatsoever that Sophie was a gift from God.  She was fearfully and wonderfully made, and despite our fears over her lungs, her lungs were great.  She had a nasal cannula on her, which she kept pushing off, and finally after the 3rd time the Doctor said, let’s see how she does — she never needed the help breathing again.

Sophie spent 2 weeks in the NICU, and came home well before a set of twins that had been there for a month when Sophie was born.  I think of those twins often, and pray that they are healthy and happy 13 year olds like Sophie.

Over the years, it hasn’t always been easy, but one thing has kept Cindy and I going, despite the trials that Sophie sometimes creates for us — we know that our baby is a gift from God, and that she is a child of God, and that she loves Jesus as much as she loves her parents.

Next Sunday, the 19th, our baby will take that next step in her life — she will complete the Confirmand classes at church, and she will publicly acknowledge God in front of her friends, her parents, strangers at Church, and most importantly, in front of God.

My friends, life is not easy, and it is not meant to be easy.  But if you want a worthwhile life, full of meaning, full of certainty about what happens when you die, then I urge you to learn more about Jesus, and find out why He is the Way and the Truth and the Life, and why no one gets to the Father except through Him.

isaiah-41-10

Isaiah 41:10 answers the question of why I was so calm during the time of Sophie’s birth.  Simply put, God was with me, as He is to this day.

Our prayers and praises from Easter still need praying over, so please continue to pray for Cindy’s Uncle Ted, her Aunt Connie, and all the others,  You can read them here, please have a look and continue praying.

Now, please pray with us the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples 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 who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

 

Prayers for the Week – Easter 2015

Jesus_Resurrection_by_highigh

He Is Risen!  He Is Risen, Indeed!  My friends, on this Easter 2015, with those words, today we acknowledge that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has conquered death, even death on a cross, and has paid the penalty for our sin, for our selfishness, for our misdeeds.  Put bluntly, Jesus has saved those of us that love Him and Believe in Him, Jesus has saved us from ourselves!

Here the words given to  us in the Bible in the Book of Luke, the 24th chapter:

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8And they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. ~ Luke 24:1-11 (ESV)

My friends, because of these words, and because God is who He is, and Jesus is who He is, because of that, we have hope — hope that, despite all that is happening to us in this day and this age, we have hope that we have a wonderful future, and when we pass on from this life, we will be reunited with Jesus, and with all of our loved ones, our friends, our families, but most importantly, with Our Lord and Savior.

On this beautiful Easter morning, please take a moment, pray with us, pray for us, and let us pray for you.  Please pray along to these words:

Our Heavenly Father, on this Glorious day, we remember that Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, conquered death.  We remember that He gave himself up for us, to save us from our sin, from our sinful natures, and in doing so, he gave every one of us Hope for the future.  Father, please be with us all, whether we have chosen You or not, show us Your love, show us Your kindness, and reach those that don’t know You, that they would choose to follow You, to love you as You love us.  It is in the precious name of Your Son Jesus that we pray, each and every day, with wonderful Thanksgiving. Amen.

Now, please join us in praying with our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • Prayers please for Cindy’s Uncle Ted. We have prayed for him — he is battling cancer. We have found out that Uncle Ted was in the hospital — his cancer has spread to his liver — and while he is now home, they are calling in Hospice. Please pray for Uncle Ted, for his wife Connie, and for all of the family and friends that love them. Please pray for Healing, for Peace, for Comfort, and for Strength in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Thank you.
    • UPDATE:Please keep praying for Uncle Ted, his wife Aunt Connie, and the rest of the family. Uncle Ted was taken into Hospice in Newport, NC yesterday. Please lift them up in prayers for Peace, Comfort, and Strength. Thank you.
    • UPDATE:Uncle Ted told us that he won’t go back home, that he will be in Hospice until the Lord calls him home, whenever that is.  Uncle Ted is a strong Christian, and we have no concerns as to where he will be — at this point, we are worried about Aunt Connie and all of the family.  Please keep praying with us.
  • Please pray for my Uncle Donnie. He is the husband of my dad’s sister, my Aunt Ti, and he has been sick. We learned today that he has been sick, and is now in ICU. This story doesn’t get better, though, because Uncle Donnie’s organs are shutting down, and they are going to disconnect him from life support tomorrow. Please pray for Aunt Ti, for her Peace, for her Comfort, for her Strength, and for all of the family and friends that love them.

    Thank you.

    • An update on Uncle Donnie, from his wife, my Aunt Ti:

      For those of you who don’t know yet, my husband Don Trent passed away on Wed. April 1. After looking like he was kicking butt with the pneumonia for days his heart, then his kidneys were just too stressed. He went downhill pretty quickly and by last weekend we were realizing he was too sick and weak to heal. Letting him go was very hard but thinking of months of ICU care, then heart surgery and rehab,and finally coming home to be in as much pain as he’s been in this past year was just more than we could bear. He is resting now, finally, after so many years of working himself to the bone. Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.

  • Please pray for the family and friends of Lillie Grissom. She was our neighbor across the street, and she had a series of strokes. She was at Peace, though, and was getting better, but we learned that she went downhill, and passed away on Friday the 27th. Her funeral was on the 31st. Please pray for her family and friends, for those that knew her best and will miss her gentle spirit.

    Thank you.

  • Lastly, on a wonderful moment, please give God Praise for the twin children of our friend Becca and her husband!  Their twins came home from the hospital yesterday after 16 days in the NICU!

Now, please pray with us that prayer that Jesus taught his Disciples 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 who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.