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.

Prayers for the Week – Praying for Dennis

philippians-4-vs-6-7

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. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

My friends, on this past Wednesday, my co-worker and friend Dennis turned 48 years old.  During that day, he started having heart problems, and towards the end of that day, he had a full blown heart attack.  When that happened, the incredible people that work with me sprang into action.  911 was called and staff members stood by looking for the medical teams to arrive.  Others grabbed our AED at work and put it to use, probably saving Dennis’ life in the process.  Still others assisted in ways that I can’t even imagine, and by the grace of God and all of the help by those incredible people, Dennis made it to the hospital okay.  He still wasn’t out of the woods, though, and throughout the night, myself and others prayed for Dennis, lifting up our petitions to God, and doing our best to have a positive outlook.  We learned that the medical team took incredible efforts to help Dennis, putting him in an induced coma so his body could calm down, and doing other things that I can only begin to imagine.

The next day, those of us that came into work worried about what might have happened overnight learned that things are getting better, even if it is slowly.  One of our staff, Vicki, organized an optional prayer for anyone that wanted to join her — there were at least 30 people that gathered around and we were praying for Dennis.  The business at work had to continue, but suddenly, the mood in the building was different.  For some weeks, I’ve felt like the mood in the building was one of fear — fear for those that are leaving, uncertainty over those that are staying behind, wondering what is next, and so forth.  But suddenly, in the span of a few hours, the mood in the building became one of camaraderie — Dennis was in trouble, and people across the building, in jobs that didn’t even work that closely with him, were pitching in to do things for him and to help him.  We communicated with his girlfriend, we stopped by to make sure she was okay, we delivered things for him that were in his office that she needed, we took care of his car, and the list goes on and on.  Through it all, the work was still progressing — people still had their jobs to do — but instead of an underlying fear of what was happening to us in our jobs, the fear, at least in my mind and heart, anyway, that fear turned to resolve that we were going to see Dennis through this, with God’s help.

At this point, Dennis is still fighting, and he still needs our prayers.  If you can, please pray with me:

Heavenly Father, we know that Your servant Dennis is still fighting for his life.  We know that You are hearing our prayers, and that through You nothing is impossible.  You are the God of second chances, Lord, and we know that You have Dennis close to you while he fights.  Lord, show the world what You can do, and if it is in Your Will, show the world the miracle of Dennis’ heart healing.  We also ask that You let Your Peace, Comfort, and Strength descend to Dennis’ family and friends so that we may wait on Your Miracle to occur for Dennis.  We ask these things in the name of Your Son Jesus with Thanksgiving!  Amen.

Thank you all for praying for Dennis with me.  Now, please pray for these other requests we have this week:

  • Kelli’s husband has some health concerns, please pray for his bulging disc that it would be healed.
  • Also please pray for Kelli’s daughter in her new job, pray for her stamina as she adapts to working on her feet for 8 hours a day.
  • Pam has an unknown prayer request, please pray for her.
  • Josie’s husband is battling cancer, and it is very serious.  Please pray for Josie, her husband, and their two sons.
  • My Brother in Christ Don passed away this week.  Please pray for his family, for their Peace, Comfort, and Strength in the days, weeks, and months ahead as they struggle in his loss.
  • Please pray for Mark, who had his shoulder surgery this week.  Please pray for his healing, and for Peace, Comfort, and Strength for him and his wife Jan.

Now, please pray with me 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 – Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139:14

14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ~ Psalm 139:14 (ESV)

Hello my friends, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  This week, we’re focusing on how God has created us.  Most of our prayer requests revolve around things that our Brothers and Sisters-in-Christ are going through, so it’s important to remember that God made us.  Also, I think it is important to remember that God knows us all, even if we aren’t taking the time to know Him in return, and that He has plans for us.  Let’s remember the wonderful verse to be found in Jeremiah 29:11 in both picture in text:

Jeremiah 29:11

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)

My friends, we are human, and many times we don’t know why things happen to those we love.  Why does my Mom have breast cancer?  Why does Cindy’s Aunt Carol have breast cancer?  Why do other people we know have such serious illnesses?  We don’t know why.  What I know, though, is that it is in times like this that we must turn to God for the support we need.  Our strength is nothing — the strength I have is all because of God.  If you are struggling, if you are hurting, if you are scared or lonely or afraid, I urge you to give your fears up to God.  He will care for you, He longs for you to turn to Him.  He will give you Peace, but you need to ask Him for it.  Now, please read along and pray with us for the rest of our Prayer Requests and Praises.

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • Please pray for my friend Janice. She has been undergoing a huge assortment of tests, and today found out that her illness is Graves Disease. Please pray for her recovery, treatment, Peace, Comfort, Strength, and her medical team as they work on beating this disease.
  • My friend Jodi has a prayer request for us. Here is what she wrote:Can you please add my friend Laura to your prayer list this week? Her brother Todd, to whom she’s always been extremely close, has been fighting cancer. They learned yesterday it has spread to his brain. He has been sent home with hospice care. Todd is Laura’s son’s favorite uncle, and this is very hard on him too (Sam, age 9). Thank you!Please pray with me:

    Heavenly Father, we hear daily of struggles that people are going through with that horrific disease — cancer. We really are at a loss to understand how these things invade the lives of Your people, but we also know that You have a plan for all of us. We take heart in Your Words from the book of Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So we know that, despite the disease that Todd is fighting, we know that his life has a purpose, and it is a purpose that You have written for him. Please be with Todd, with his sister Laura, with her son Sam, and with all of their family. Please give Todd the Peace, the Strength, the Comfort, the Love that he needs. Please be with all of them and enfold them in Your Loving embrace so that they would know You are with them. Also, Lord, if it is Your Will, Lord, we pray for healing for Todd. Show us Your Power, Your Glory, and show us that all the medicine in the world means nothing when compared to what You can do. We ask all of these things in the wonderful name of Your Son Jesus with Thanksgiving. Amen

  • Please continue to pray for my Mom, Ellen, who has breast cancer.  She had some tests done, and it cleared up some things that they needed to know, so that was good news.  Thanks!
  • Please pray for Cindy’s Aunt Carol.  She has been fighting breast cancer for a long time now, and is doing well, but when she gets her treatments it wears her out for a day or two, so please pray for her strength during these treatments.
  • Please pray for my sister Robin — she starts her new job on Monday!  Please pray that she would be the light in her classroom that her students need, and that this experience is everything that she hopes it is and then some!
  • Please give great Praise to God for Nora, the newborn daughter of friends of mine.  She was born on the 5th, and all the family is doing well, so please give praise to God for all of that!
  • Please pray for the recovery of my friend Elise.  She had successful surgery and is now back home and is recovering.  Please pray that she would have great healing and that her family can rest easily from now on out!  Please pray for Elise, her husband Randy, and their two wonderful children.  Thanks!

If you have a prayer request, please do not hesitate to leave it with us as a comment.  We pray for all of you, and if you need prayers, we are here for you.  Thank you all for praying for these requests!  Now, please close with me by praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by 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 – Making Sense of it all

Proverbs 19:21

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post. Today we’re going to talk about how hard it can be making sense of it all, all the bad that has happened in our lives, all the things that have gone wrong.  In some cases, even making sense of the good things that have happened too is necessary.  For today’s verse, I’m sharing with you a verse from the book of Proverbs:

21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. ~ Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)

As you will see when you read our prayer requests, the list of people needing prayers has increased greatly over the last couple of weeks.  There are people all over the world that are suffering, and unfortunately, the suffering will continue until Jesus arrives back on earth in the 2nd coming.  The key, though, is that despite what is happening in our lives — whether it be good or bad — our focus needs to be fixed entirely on Jesus.  He is our rock, our salvation; He is our answer to prayer; He will lead us through trials; He is our Shepherd, and we are His sheep — where He leads, we should follow.  Do you remember two of my favorite Bible verses?  Well, in case you’ve forgotten, here they are again, with a third one thrown in that is becoming a favorite as well:

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)

33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 (ESV)

13I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

In those three verses, we have the Promise of God, the Assurance of Jesus, and the reminder that we, as lowly and full of sin as we are, that nothing can stand in our way, as long as we call on God to help us through those days.  Such simple verses, yet so packed with love.

So, my friends, as you read our prayer requests, and lift up to God our praises, remember, nothing is to small for God, nothing is too trivial, and nothing is to great, either, for God; He wants us to give to him all of the cares, all of the worries, He wants us to turn them over to Him, turn them over and not pull them back to us.

Continued prayers for those we mentioned last week in our prayer post, along with these new requests:

Prayers for Health

  • For Elisha’s blood pressure and stress test
  • For Elisha’s sister Nora, who had neck surgery
  • For Rebecca, who has shoulder issues and likely needs surgery
  • For our old neighbor Anne, who had a stroke and is recuperating
  • For Erin’s friend, whose child is sick, prayers for healing as well as Peace
  • For Casey, who battles Lyme Disease and migraine headaches.
  • For Ginger’s Dad, who is fighting brain lesions.

Prayers for Jobs

  • For Josalynne, who has finished school and is now applying for jobs.
  • For Mitchell, who had a job with prospects for another, but was suddenly told he wasn’t needed with no notice, and now no jobs.

Prayers for Peace

  • For Elisha’s Mom and family — his Mom just lost her sister Mary.
  • For Jodi’s niece, who is being stalked.  She is 24 years old, please pray for her Peace, but also for this to stop.
  • For the family of Mary Alice Reason, who passed away suddenly without warning.
  • For the families of Alison and Adam, who were shot and killed on TV — and for the families of all of those that are lost that we don’t hear about on TV.

Prayers for the Enemy

  • Prayers for the shooter.  As hard as it is to pray for someone who commits evil on us, it is a sign of a true Christian to do so.  God will help you through these prayers.

Prayers for the Lost

  • For those that have passed away.
  • For those that do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Prayers for Finances

  • Continued prayers for those who are in financial difficulty, whomever they may be, and wherever they are.  Lord, please be with them.

Praises!

  • Glory to God for Don’s wife Vallery, who is approaching five years cancer free!
  • For Stephanie, who was offered a job!
  • For my friend Shirley, who thought of me even when she didn’t need to!
  • For Monica, who felt led by the Holy Spirit to reach out to me.
  • For Hardin, who called me about being an assistant leader in the Men’s Study.
  • For God, who put it on my heart to accept that calling
  • For all of you, who take time each week to read and pray with us!

Anonymous Prayers

  • For Frances
  • For Early

Please pray with me:

Heavenly Father, You hear our cries, You see our needs, and You listen to our Hearts.  Lord, thank you for being our God, for helping us day in and day out, for hearing us through thick and thin.  Thank you for Your promises, for Your Son Jesus, and for all that You have given to us, and all that You will do in the future.  Now, Lord, hear our prayer, as we pray 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.

Thank you all for reading with us this week, and remember to let us know what you need praying over, so we can lift you up as you lift us up.  Thank you, and God Bless You.

Prayers for the Week – God’s Timing, Part 2

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

Last week, we spoke about God’s Timing, and how it is perfect in all things. If you missed that message, please click here to read it, and then come back and finish up this post.

As I said, last week we spoke of God’s Timing…and the next day, Satan continued his attacks on Christians around the world.  Outwardly, we are under attack.  My friends Amanda and Daniel are faced with a recurrence of cancer in Daniel’s body.  Here is what Amanda passed along to us:

Hello to all,
First and foremost, please let me thank you (somewhat belatedly!) for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and support you have graciously given to my family and to me. I wanted to personally write notes to everyone that had been part of my support group but, unfortunately, I am still challenged with hand-writing, so please accept this heartfelt but impersonal email “Thank You” instead. It has meant the world to our family to know just how many people care and love us. So many demonstrations as well, from calls, cards and letters, baseball caps from all points of the globe, support visits and other thoughtful and generous touches have made the journey bearable and have buoyed us. Thank you so very, very much.
Now for some tough news. Our 6-month scan this week has shown new developments, not just in my remaining liver but also in the lower lobes of my lungs. I am getting some more testing over the next few days, but this is not the best of news for us. My oncology and imaging team is going to put together a plan over the next few days after reviewing the images, and I (or Amanda) will share the plan of attack as it gets firmed up.
As difficult as this is, nothing can be stronger than the love shown to us by ALL of you, so I will continue to be motivated and move forward on the journey with your strength and prayers. I would ask that you please remember my dear family in the coming days and weeks as well as the many members of my extended family affected and afflicted by this disease. From my parents to my cousins to so many others, my prayers are with you as well, and to my loving wife Amanda, I want to thank you for everything you have done for us so far, and will continue to do as we move forward. You are simply the best, better than I deserve!
We should have more information soon, and we will share with you soonest possible. I know all of you will offer continued support in meaningful ways, but rest assured we will let you know if we are in need. For now, prayers are the priority.
I’ll let Amanda finish this off…I’m truly sorry that I am not sending a success story, but the book isn’t finished, yet! God bless and keep you, and my love to all of you as you have sent my way!
Warmest Regards,
Daniel
===============
Hey, it’s Amanda! As I said in my last update, I’d bother you again if something came up and obviously it has. That’s the bad news. Good news is they caught it early so we may have a fighting chance. We have an MRI tomorrow morning and I need my prayer warriors. I’m going big with these prayers and I’m asking you to do the same. The lesion on the liver has a slight chance of not being cancerous – which is what the scan tomorrow will tell us. I’m asking we all pray that God either take the lesions away completely with no medical intervention (or even just the one on the liver!) and, if that is not God’s will, that the lesion on the liver not be cancerous. The liver lesion is concern for 2 reasons: 1) Daniel doesn’t have much liver left so we don’t have a surgical option; and 2) if it is cancerous, that limits our treatment options to chemotherapy only. I will send another update after we have the results on Wednesday. Please pray and pray big! Thanks so much to each and every one of you!

After that message, we received a follow up later on:

Hello, all! We wanted to give an update on the MRI results. The results show the lesion on his liver is cancerous but not very active. The tumor is 2.3 cm X 1.9 cm. It is a positive that it is not very active and we have caught it early. There also 2 spots on the lower lobe of his left lung and 1 spot on the lower lobe of his right lung. Those spots are very small (millimeters). It is suspected these are cancerous but are so small it can’t be confirmed. Since the liver is cancerous, there is no need to check the lungs. We are going to start chemo on Monday – the same regimen as last time with the Avastin – and go for 6 rounds and then scan again. At this point, we are trying to get into complete remission. Because there is no surgical options, there is no “cure” so remission is the best we can hope for this go round.

Obviously, we has hoped the cancer wouldn’t come back but at least we caught it early and it doesn’t seem very active at this point. If you could, please pray that the 6 rounds of chemo works to put the cancer in remission. If you want to add a timeline, forever would be good! We also have several friends that have found they either have a recurrence or an initial bout of cancer so if you could pray for them and there families as well – Debbie and Pam – and one that has been accepted into a clinical trial – Barry. And, I have one more prayer request. Can you please pray that God lead the researchers and clinicians to find better treatment and/or cure for all cancer but colon cancer specifically? Every day our cancer survivors are here on this earth they are making it better but I’d love for God to give them a push over the hump to a cure! Thank you all for your love, prayers, positive thoughts and support! We are amazed at all the people we have pulling for us and pray for your all daily. Until next time!!!

2nd Corinthians has it perfectly worded, though: “even though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are renewed every day.”  Today, I learned of some horrible news regarding friends of our friend Bettie:

Please say prayers tonight for my friend Susan and her daughter Katherine. Katherine lost her husband this morning. He was only 32. They have a four year old son and a daughter who turned one today! So sad!

There are so many examples of the work of Satan in this world, many more than these two examples.  There is greed, there is corruption, there is hatred, there is malice, there are so many emotions at play, and at the end, it comes down to Jesus’ words in John 16:33

33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 (ESV)

My friends, each day is only going to become harder and harder because of the world we are in.  That’s why, today, it’s more important than ever to remember to pray to God.  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 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.