Stripes Across Our Nation

In honor of the National Day of Prayer, I share again this post from 2011. May all turn to Jesus in prayer and repentance for our nation.

…Men always ought to pray and not lose heart Luke 18:1 (NKJV)

The sign on our Montana highway warns,
“Road Closed:  Flooding Ahead!”
The internet news reports,
“Tragic tornadoes rip through Missouri and Oklahoma.”
Our email camping network shares sad tidings,
Wildfires sweep across Texas, claiming one Methodist camp.”

How much more disaster news will there be?

With flooding in Montana and the Midwest,
Tornadoes across the central states,
Wildfires in New Mexico and Texas,
Earthquakes on the West coast, and
Hurricanes on the East coast,

It’s like having stripes across our nation,
Not the red and white of our beloved flag,
But the painful stripes of punishment
Undeserved by slaves in times not long past.

Yet these stripes are…
Stripes for us,
Stripes for our nation,
Stripes for our sin.

Who can understand our suffering?
There is One,
The perfect One who bore the sins
Of all the world,
Jesus Christ.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

Jesus understands our suffering.
He endured stripes He did not deserve for us,
He died on a cross at Calvary for us,
He rose again to eternal life for us.

Jesus is here to comfort and help our nation.

Living in Montana, we have experienced multiple forest fires,
And now we have flooding.
My heart goes out to all who are currently suffering.
He brought us through fire and water,
He will bring you through these trials, too.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3 (NKJV)

What is God calling us to do?
He wants us to…
*Turn to Him (Acts 3:19)
*Help and pray for our neighbors (Matthew 22:39)
*Be prepared for His return (Matthew 24)

And after the wind, water, and fire
We will hear His still small, yet mighty, voice. (1 Kings 19:12)

Jesus is coming.
Are you ready?

May these painful stripes
Be a wake-up call to our nation:
*Turn to Jesus,
*Help your neighbor,
*Prepare your heart for Jesus’ return.

Oh, Jesus,
Help our country,
Forgive our sins,
Help me do my part. Amen.

Scripture taken the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Bold Ladies

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Ephesians 3:12 (NKJV)

They were  bold ladies.  Their names were Achsah and Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tizrah.  In a time where men led and fought and had their names recorded in God’s Word, it is a pleasant surprise for us to see women mentioned and rewarded for their efforts.  In just a few chapters of Joshua (which might lose the reader with the descriptions of property division in the Promised Land), we see ladies being bold and asking for their family property.

Give me a blessing

First, in Joshua 15:16-19, we read about Caleb’s daughter Achsah dismounting her donkey and saying to her father, “Give me a blessing,” asking for springs of water to go with her land.  And Caleb granted her request. This story is told again in Judges 1:15.  Of course, her father had just given her away in marriage as a prize for the soldier who conquered Kirjath Sepher, Caleb’s land.  Seems like his daughter had it in her favor to ask for a blessing!

Give us a possession

Then in Joshua 17:3-6, we read the story already told in Numbers 27 about the daughters of Zelophehad of the tribe of Manasseh.  Zelophehad had no sons, so his daughters felt he was still entitled to land.  The five sisters boldly came forward and asked Moses, Eleazar the Priest, and Joshua for land.  Moses took their request before the Lord, and God said, “You shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers” (Numbers 27:7). These ladies received their request, all because they came forward boldly.

Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.”  Numbers 27:4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Is God calling you to be bold in anything?  So often I focus on verses like Philippians 4:6 to be gentle, that I forget there are other virtues to attain.  So, I go boldly to the throne of grace, asking Jesus to help me be gentle, yet bold for Him. Dear TEA CUPP friend, I encourage you to be bold for Jesus, too!

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

The Day Jesus Came to Big Timber

Big Timber My hometown is celebrating “Miracle on McLeod Street” this evening for their lighted Christmas parade.  Inspired by the theme, I share again the greatest miracle I imagine on McLeod Street (with a few updates).  Merry Christmas, Big Timber, Montana!

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  Luke 19:38(NKJV)

Dear Jesus, I imagine You riding into Big Timber, Montana as You did so long ago in Jerusalem.  You borrow a donkey from the Langhus ranch south of town, riding over the interstate, past the park and swimming pool.  Right down McLeod Street You trot, just as I’m arriving at the library for storytime.

Joel, Kevin, and I see the crowds laying out jackets, so we throw ours down, too.  I even grab the stadium blanket from the back of the car to cushion Your path.  I wish Kent and Jacob were here, and then they pull up in their work truck, having just finished a job nearby.  They lay out their jackets, too.

We see You as our Savior, the One who makes everything right.  We bow, we cheer, we cry, we smile.  We don’t want this moment to end.  We sing, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”

For the moment we forget our troubles and bask in Your holiness, wishing You would stay with us forever.  Mrs. Jackie, Mr. Goos, James and other library regulars pour out into the street to join us in worship.  Even Mrs. Debbie and the preschool children wave leafy branches.  Others keep arriving, adding to the celebration.

Pastors Bryan, Kyle, Jeremy, Joel, Ron and Justin, along with their wives and families are delighted to see the One Whom they proclaim every week.  The grade school and high school dismiss at midday, sending droves of young people to Jesus’ feet. Yellow buses deliver children from the country schools. I see my Sunday school kids, and shout, “This is Jesus! The One who loves you!”

People pour out of every shop on main street as the healing begins. Jake’s kidney is well forever, Stacy, Jeff and Jan are truly cancer-free, Pat and Lief throw down their crutches, and Greysen’s insides are like new. Gordon brings the kitchen band from the Senior Center, praising Jesus with melodies.  And all who have lost loved ones are suddenly comforted by the One who is acquainted with all our sorrows.

Smart phones are snapping photos. The Pioneer sends Lindsey and Mackenzie to cover the story. Sheriff Dan brings all his deputies. Chief Kris calls out the fire engines to blare their sirens in praise.  It is the grandest parade Big Timber has even seen! The children love it, even though there is no candy, for when Jesus looks into their eyes and says, “Come to Me,” it is sweeter than anything in heaven or earth.

Suddenly Jesus takes me and another hurting mom aside.  He pulls us into the Lutheran Church where the bells have been tolling continuously.  Jesus ushers us right to the confirmation photo board and shows us our children.  He whispers to our hurting our hearts, Fear not, for I have redeemed them; I have called them by name; They are Mine.” And we are comforted, knowing that Jesus holds our children, even when they are far away.

As we return outside to the bright sunshine, I realize I was never without Sonshine with Jesus by my side.  My walking buddy Beth hurries over, pushing her daughter Della in the baby jogger.  I wave and hug her, exclaiming, “Isn’t this the BEST! This is Jesus Who I was telling you about!” Our friends Elsbeth and Ole are there for storytime, too. Jesus gives Els a special wink and promises of good things to come.

I hear someone comment, “I wish Lola could have seen this!” Her friend replies, “Lola invited Him!” Lt. Alan drives up in a patrol car.  The doors pop open with John, Diane and Cindy completely recovered from their Minnesota adventures.  The crowd cheers yet again.

Together the whole town cries, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” And we are changed forever, trusting in the One who is King of the universe.  We follow Jesus all the way down McLeod Street, over the railroad tracks where the antiquers and apartment folks cheer wildly. Then down to the fairgrounds we follow Jesus.

Jesus dismounts His donkey, looks into all our hearts, speaking words of peace and comfort to our souls.  Then He climbs aboard a fishing boat, taking a beaming Connie and other beloved townspeople with Him. As they sail down the Yellowstone River to the next town, a rainbow appears in the sky above, reminding us that God always remembers His promises.

We make the long journey back to the library and I see families and friends who weren’t talking, hugging again. I wonder if more people will come to church on Sunday?  Will they come to worship Him and learn more about this Jesus who came to town? Do they know He is coming again with the clouds, and every eye will see Him?  O Jesus, I can’t wait!

O Jesus, come to Big Timber, come to my family, come to me.  Wash away our hurts, heal our diseases, make things right.  Send your Holy Spirit to help and comfort us until You come again.  Do your miracles and be glorified, my precious Jesus. 

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:27-28 (NKJV)

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NKJV)

“…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

7-7-7 Prayer

hands“But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” Luke 5:35 (NKJV)

Anna Graham Lotz is sharing God’s call to pray for our nation and world this July. As the Israelites marched around Jericho 7 days, we are to pray the first 7 days of July. Then on July 7th, we are to fast and pray 7 hours, sounding the trumpet for Jesus. If you’d like to read more about it, please click to see Anna’s website. Please join us in praying and fasting for our country this Monday, July 7th.”/

“Save us, O God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to Your holy Name,
that we may glory in Your praise.”
1 Chronicles 16:35 (NIV) & Psalm 106:47 (NIV)

Give ear, O God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your Name. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear Your Name.” Daniel 9:18-18 (NIV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

National Day of Prayer

Hello friends,

Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer.  This day is set aside to remind us to pray for our country, our elected leaders, our armed forces,  our schools, our churches and all we hold dear.  Check out the above website for more information or to find an event near you.  This is an opportunity to join with other Christians to petition our Father in heaven.

As you pray for our country, perhaps some of these verses from God’s Word will be helpful…

May the LORD our God be with us as He was with our fathers; may He never leave us nor forsake us. 1 Kings 8:57 (NIV)

“Save us, O God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to Your holy Name,
that we may glory in Your praise.”
1 Chronicles 16:35 (NIV) & Psalm 106:47 (NIV)

Give ear, O God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your Name. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear Your Name.” Daniel 9:18-18 (NIV)

O LORD, be gracious to us;
we long for You.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress.
Isaiah 33:2  (NIV)

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. Revelation 22:21 (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica