The Jasmine blooming on the mailbox out front.
Monday, March 30, 2009
It's hard to believe that my little Daly is already a year old. I remember anxiously awaiting the news of her birth and then waiting another 7 weeks for her to be weaned. How much difference a year makes.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I've been fighting with my home warranty company for over a year about a leak from my shower that drips into my kitchen. I finally got them to agree that a valve needs to be replaced (this is not the main problem, just a minor one), but it was up to me to open the wall. On Tuesday I borrowed a husband (thanks Chris) to take out the double vanity and part of the drywall. Here is the fruit of that labor. I'll let you know how it ends up next week.
Monday, March 09, 2009
As promised, here is the prayer part of the Prayer & Fasting handout that I worked on. From what I could tell, the presentation I made on Sabbath was well received. I was also pleasantly surprised at the amount of people who stuck around and participated in the prayer walk that we did around the church building.
A Short Guide to Prayer
It is common to have prayer without fasting and you can even fast without prayer, but when prayer and fasting are used together a whole other level of communion with God can be reached. During this Year of Evangelism, it is important not to neglect the opportunity being given to ask God’s blessing on the series and programs that are being presented both locally and around the country. Paul encourages Christians to “pray without ceasing “(1 Thes 5:17). One way everyone can take part is with purposeful praying. Below is a list of a few ways to incorporate purpose driven prayer into your day.
· Appointment Prayer – Every member is encouraged to stop and pray at 7am and 7pm every day. These can be quick one sentence prayers asking for God’s blessing on the upcoming evangelistic series. Pray not only for the leaders, but those who are making a decision about coming to the series as well. Just imagine, our entire church spread out all over the Memphis metro area in prayer at the exact same time! · Trigger Prayer – Think about committing to pray throughout the day each time you see a specific trigger. The trigger you choose is up to you. If you do a lot of non-highway driving you may want to stop and pray at every red light you come to. If you are in an office, you might want to choose a specific time trigger. Consider praying each time you notice the clock repeating numbers such as 10:10, 2:02 or each time you check your email. Your trigger should be something that you can easily come across and will serve as a reminder to pray throughout even the most hectic day. · Prayer Partners – Find someone who will pray with you over the phone or in person. You can also serve as an accountability partner for each other. You may also want to write down or email prayers throughout the day to encourage one another. · Prayer Walk/Drive – Pray as you walk or drive around a neighborhood for those living and working in the area. Take your time to stop and observe the neighborhood for specific needs. For example, if there are toys in the yard pray for the children in the home; if you come across a business pray for the customers and the financial needs of the business.
Friday, March 06, 2009
The Seventh-day Adventist Church (of which I am a member) has dubbed 2009 the Year of Evangelism for the North American Division. This means that every church in North America is focusing on bringing people to Christ and enlisting every church member. There will be seminars throughout the year as well as other friendship based activities for sharing. One of the things that churches throughout the country are doing to support the work of evangelism is through prayer in fasting. I've been asked to help spearhead this initiative in my local church. Below is the handout I worked on about fasting. One on prayer will be forthcoming.
A Short Guide to Fasting
Complete fasting traditionally refers to a period of time when someone willingly goes without food and drink—with the exception of water. (The morning meal, breakfast, is to literally “break fasting”.) The basic idea of a religiously motivated fast is to do without something that is a major part of your life for a set amount of time and for the specific purpose of humbling or afflicting our souls (Leviticus 16:29) in communion with God. As a result, fasting is not limited to just denying yourself food. In fact, a complete fast is not something that all people can do. Some individuals have medical conditions which make fasting for several days detrimental to their health.
Another option is a partial fast. One example of a partial fast is intentionally leaving certain foods—such as dairy, meat, highly processed or fast food, etc—out of your diet much like the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Other types of fasting that can be done in conjunction with or in place of a dietary fast could involve abstaining from watching television, surfing the internet , sexual relations, shopping, working, hobbies, or any other activity which may distract you from fully focusing on communing with God.
According to the Bible fasting was done both individually and communally. People are recorded as fasting on many diverse occasions such as to ask for God’s favor (2 Samuel 12:16-23), to ward off crisis and ask for protection (Esther 4:16), to mourn a death (2 Samuel 1:12), to ask for repentance (Jonah 3:5, Psalms 69:10), and to ask for the revelation of God’s will (Acts 13:2-3, 2 Chronicles 20: 3-4).
The Bible also mentions the misuse of fasting. A couple of examples can be seen in Acts 23: 12-14 when a group of Jews made an oath to fast until the death of Paul. Another is mentioned in Jeremiah 14:12 when the nation fasted in mock repentance. A fast is not a hunger strike neither is it a way for us to convince God of our plans, but a way for us to hear to God. Remember, fasting is a humbling of oneself and should not be used to show spiritual superiority as was the case for the Pharisees (Luke 18:12).
For more information about fasting:
Exodus 34:28, 1 Kings 19:8, 1 Kings 21:27, Nehemiah 1:4, Matthew 4:2, Matthew 6:16, Matthew 9:15, Acts 9:9, Acts 14:23, 1 Samuel 31:13, Ezra 8:21-23, Ezra 10:6, Deuteronomy 9:9-18, Job 33:19-20, Psalms 102:2, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 11; 27-28, Joel 2:15, Isaiah 58:2 http://www.spirithome.com/fasting.html http://www.new-life.net/fasting.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting http://www.adventistreview.org/2001-1537/story3.html There are also several books on the topic of Christian fasting.