Monthly Archives: July 2016

When You’re Suddenly Awakened at 3:40 in the Morning…(The Kneeling Christian by An Unknown Christian, Helps us ALL with prayer.)

Please allow this quote to sink in for  a minute:  “We are never so high as when we are on our knees.”(From The Kneeling Christian)

 

Given the recent occurrences around us in the States and in France, I believe prayer is our only answer.  Two summers ago I was reading three different books (I know, I can’t help myself).  In all three of them, The Kneeling Christian was mentioned.  Taking that as a divine cue, I marched out and bought a copy.

 

I feel it’s important enough to reprise the post I wrote about the book. (This was in August of 2014, before our younger  little lovebirds were married, just in case you get confused. They’re now going on their second anniversaries.)

 

I pray you’re encouraged by the below post to get down on your knees, not only to pray for your family and those closeby, but for all of the victims, their families, and friends of the latest tragedies.

 

Maranatha.

Drifting off to sleep with a smile, four of our six birds were back in the nest. (Gordy, Woody, Lauren and LT were all staying with us.) This Mamma Bird rejoices when the birds return home.

Suddenly, at 3:40 in the morning, our house alarm started blaring….

The Panel Of The Security Alarm System

John said, “See where it was tripped!!!”

Blind as a bat (Oh, just wait ‘til you see where this goes…), I grabbed my glasses and raced to the alarm panel. “It says, ‘office.’ Maybe that’s the office off of Woody’s room and he and Gordy have set it off?” I suggested.

“Nope,” John said, “It’s the downstairs office.”

By this time, I was nearly on John’s heels as were Gordy and Woody. The girls were still in bed. Naturally, Gracie, the best watchdog ever (!!!), was right on my heels, dashing and simultaneously barking down the stairs.

The three of us bravely stood out in the hallway while Hubster marched into the office. No windows broken, nothing seemed amiss…

“Swoosh!” Something brushed by John’s ear.

“IT’S A BAT!!!!” John yelled.

Bat

“How ‘bout the paddle tennis rackets on the porch?” I asked.

“No! We need longer necks….Where are our regular tennis rackets?” (The man thinks on his feet like no other.)

Tennis Racket

“Hmmm, could be a problem as we’ve not played tennis since we moved in this house four years ago.” I sputtered…

By this time, the bat had moved into the family room. This plucky Mom hightailed it back upstairs. Lauren had come out of her room and I screamed, “Get back in your room! There’s a bat on the loose!” to which she and LT screamed in unison and slammed the door. We are some fine kind of fearless women.

Frightened Woman In Bed

Meanwhile, downstairs, we could hear screams coming from the boys. Dying to say, “Y’all sound like a bunch of girls…” I refrained and valiantly slammed our door shut.

Seems the bat had now entered the kitchen and perched up on one of the cabinets. Woody threw something up at it. It swooped down with all three men flailing their racquets. Akin to The Three Stooges, not one macho man could connect with the beleaguered bat.

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Finally, the bat chased Gordy down the hallway. More high-pitched screams followed with a resounding “YES!” (Funeral services were not held for The Great Winged Intruder.)

Shall we all sing, “Ding dong the bat is dead!” after our snake story? (Please click on Ding Dong the Snake is Dead—Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist for more info…) And I beg forgiveness for any of you animal lovers out there…

So what does a bat have to do with prayer, you may be asking? Well, not a whole lot, obviously…but the pearl to glean is from having family closeby. Or framed photos of your family if they live far away. This reminds us to pray fervently and feverishly for them.

Please allow me to share a couple of highlights from a book that’s been mentioned in the last three books I’ve read (Whenever that happens, I take that to be a divine suggestion): The Kneeling Christian, by Unknown Christian, originally from 1924, offers powerful pearls on prayer. (Research revealed author is Albert Ernest Richardson. He was a British Anglican clergyman and missionary.)

kneeling christian

The preface grabs you from its’ first page: “It’s not too much to say that all real growth in the spiritual life—

All victory over temptation,

All confidence and peace in the presence of difficulties and dangers,

All repose of spirit in times of great disappointment or loss,

All habitual communion with God

Depend upon the practice of secret prayer.”

He continues, “Our yearning desire is to stir up Christians to ‘take hold of’ God as never before.”

Watch this: “We are never so high as when we are on our knees.”

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The author doesn’t pretty things up any, either. Reminding us of the devil’s schemes, he pleads, “Fellow Christians, let us awake! The devil’s blinding our eyes…Do we realize there’s nothing the devil dreads so much as prayer?

Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” (What an awesome reminder and motivation for us all to pray, pray, pray.)

Some of you may argue, “But I don’t know what to pray for?”

Don’t forget what Paul tells us in Romans 8:26-27: “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, … and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (ESV)

Happy family

The author succinctly answers questions about what prayer is,

how God answers prayer,

        if He always answers, and

                 obstacles we must be aware of.

In a powerful Bible study called Praying for Your Prodigal: A Journey Through Luke 15, by Kristen Sauder, Kristen also gives us a beautiful list of what prayer is:

“Prayer is:

           A Gift.

                 A shelter in times of storms.

                       A classroom filled with wise instruction.

                             A banquet hall for our inner nourishment.

                                    A place of comfort.

                                            A place of compassion.

                                                   A place of forgiveness.

                                                            A place of renewed strength.

Prayer changes us internally and externally.” Kristen asks, “Does conversation with the Savior affect your countenance?” Ouch….and yet a blessed challenge.

She concludes:

“Prayer …

     Delivers help and hope.

           Enables us to speak directly to the Father.”

Between Kristen’s excellent information on prayer and the author’s pearls in the Kneeling Christian, we must arise and awaken to our surroundings and to people for whom we can pray.

When family is closeby, or even if they’re far away, let them serve as visual reminders to kneel in prayer and storm Heaven’s gates for your loved ones. (Hopefully snakes and bats don’t fit into that equation.) We must also continue to lift up those affected by the recent tragedies.

Please remember:

It is never too late.

We must never give up.

Businessman Looking At Faith Door

The Kneeling Christian concludes: “To pray with all your heart and strength—that is the last, the greatest achievement of the Christian’s warfare on earth.”

And may I conclude with a favorite Scripture: I Thessalonians 5:17 can be quickly memorized and put to daily use: “Pray continually.”

Lord, please keep prayer in the forefront of our minds.  Amen and Amen.

‘Til next time!

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When You Renew Your Wedding Vows, You May Just Learn a Thing or Two…

It’s not everyday you get a stellar idea.

It’s not everyday you share this idea with your preacher and he excitedly proclaims, “Let’s run with it!”

This was the brainchild of my friend Mary. She and her husband, Michael, were about to celebrate their tenth anniversary. They desired to renew their vows. Mary decided if they wanted to, perhaps other couples would as well.

She approached Jady Koch, minister of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church (www.stfrancisinthefields.org ) with the idea. Between the two of them, an entire conference, complete with speakers, vow renewal service, dinner, and dancing was born. Oh, and did I mention there was cake???

Wedding Cake

(Huge thanks go to Hope Thompson, Cake Creator Extraordinaire, who somehow survived teaching our boys invaluable lessons in Home Ec at Christian Academy of Louisville. You’re our hero, Hope!)

The First Annual Love and Marriage Project (L.A.M.P.) went off without a hitch on June 25th. John and I attended, along with about sixty others—one couple married less than a year, two couples married fifty-plus years! (We will celebrate our thirty-second anniversary on Bastille Day, July 14th, Lord willing.)

The conference portion was held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. We were blessed with two fabulous speakers: Marta and Rob McKinnon. (www.mckinnoncompany.com ) Marta is a marriage and family counselor, while Rob coaches CEO’s and their executive teams to be the best version of themselves possible. They’ve just celebrated their thirtieth anniversary.

marta and rob mckinnon

marta and rob

The sixteen-page handout we received is invaluable.(You can download it via St. Francis’ website. You can also listen to their three different talks by going to the website, clicking on “media”, then “sermons/classes”, then scroll down to 6/25/16.  Part 1 is Develop Deep Friendship, Part 2 is Manage Conflict and Part 3 is Grow with God. These are all three extremely beneficial.)

Marta and Rob gifted us with not only their experiences of their own marriage (They were quite candid!), but also with several excellent resources:

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All of the principles Marta and Rob taught us are Biblically based. We began with Scripture and then worked thru’ different practices and tools. I loved how they always referred to the Bible. Bravo.

Sprinkled throughout the handout are excellent quotes from various authors. My two favorites are:

#1 – “It’s my job to love and respect Billy. It’s God’s job to make him good.” Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth’s quote was in the section on remembering. We were asked to look back over the years of our marriages and to choose happy memories to relive. This came from the principle, “I accept you the way you are.”

Scripture for this is: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

Romans 15 7

Any of you out there thinking you can change your spouse, think again. A few elbows were dug into some ribs on this teensy-weensy topic!!! The remembering practice helps you grow your fondness and appreciation for each other, giving your marriage a positive boost.

Likewise, when we worship the Lord, we’re remembering His goodness and mercy toward us. God’s faithfulness will keep us in awe every single time. What a sweet parallel.

Enter Tim Keller for my 2nd favorite quote: “The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Allow that to soak in for a minute…and repeat… Powerful.

Marta and Rob credit the Lord with helping them thru’ their hard times. They reminded us of the triangle illustration which shows the husband and wife growing closer, the closer they grow their relationship to God.

husband wife god triangle

When asked, “What makes a Christian marriage distinct?” Marta and Rob agreed the Lord must be the center point of your marriage. “If He’s not at the center of your marriage, “ they warned, “…couples tend to look elsewhere for other people or other things to fill that void. That’s where real trouble can develop.”

One more of many pearls we gleaned is a petite three-letter word: “Bid…” This comes from the principle “I believe you are valuable.”

The Scripture for this is: “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

John 15 13

The practice is “Turning Toward One Another”.

“Bid” is defined as “the fundamental unit of emotional communication.” Rob and Marta said, “Every bid needs (and gets) a response. Good or bad…

For example, “Turning Toward” is when you answer your spouse whether it’s a simple “uh-huh” or a long response.

Turning Away” occurs when you’re pre-occupied, or ignoring, even interrupting your spouse. Novel idea:   Lifteth thou faceth uppeth from the cell phoneth.

Turning Against” is when you’re critical or demeaning. Obviously, this is not desirable!

Note: No response is still a response! To which you can utter, “Bid!” which should cue the silent one to wake up and smell the coffee.

I confess John said, “Bid” not once, not twice, but three times Saturday afternoon after the conference. Busted! A great tool, nonetheless…

Following the conference, we had free time in the afternoon until 4:30. Right at 4:30, John and I, along with all attendees, returned to St. Francis for a lovely church service complete with worship, sermon by Jady, communion, the reading of Scripture, and, drum roll: the renewing of our vows!

Even tho’ Jady was preaching from the pulpit, his lovely wife, Liza, joined him as he led all of us thru’ our vows.  Several of us shed a few tears it was so beautiful and emotional. We closed by singing Holy, Holy, Holy.

Following the church service, we were blessed with a delicious dinner and dancing at Louisville Country Club.  One couple started the dancing before our meal was served! They’ve been married fifty-two years. They did the twist all the way down to the floor (I kept saying, “Oh my knees!”) They defined the bee’s knees.

This couple, David and Bobbie Welsh, were the first on the dance floor and could dance circles around us

This couple, David and Bobbie Welsh, were the first on the dance floor and could dance circles around us.

Following dinner, our melt-in-your-mouth lemon-flavored wedding cake was served for dessert. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire day and evening. It simply couldn’t have been any better.

Here are some of our fun-n-mighty-fine tablemates:

Line Dance

Pictured here is Mary Young and some others learning a line dance from our DJ

Michael and Mary Young

Michael and Mary Young

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Frank and Aletia Thompson

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Thanks again to Michael and Mary Young, Jady and Liza Koch, Marta and Rob McKinnon, the folks at St. Francis, and the great staff at Louisville Country Club. As many before us, including C.S. Lewis have said, “And a good time was had by all.”

Begin your research NOW on how you, too, can renew your vows. Don’t wait for a milestone, just do it!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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