Tag Archives: mark batterson

I’ve Had 20,440 New Mercies, You? (With Help From Mark Batterson and Paul David Tripp)

Happy New Year, Dear Friends! January  ushers in a new year, new beginnings, and thankfully, a clean slate.  That spells relief for yours truly, how about you?

There’s a verse in the Book of Lamentations I’ve always been fond of:  Lamentations 3:22-23 says,

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The ESV says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end…”

One year, I put this verse on our family’s New Year’s card.  This past year, two of some of my favorite authors happened to write about this verse.

When things like this happen from two different authors, in two different books, written in two different years, I’ve finally realized I need to sit up and take note.

The first book that grabbed me is a wonderful devotional by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. I learned about this from Ann Voskamp and several of my friends are now enjoying it. My dear friend Judy Russell told me she’s reading thru’ it now for the third year.

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While I don’t know Paul Tripp personally, he seems like a no-nonsense guy loaded with passionate, challenging information centering around several verses each day.  On tackling our verse of Lamentations 3:22-23, he begins by reminding us “the battle for your heart still goes on.”

He suggests we consider how blessed we are in a twofold way:  one as recipients of God’s “steadfast, faithful, and never-failing love.”

Paul reassures us:

God will never give up on you.
He will never walk away in disgust.
He will never regret that he placed his love on you.
He will love you just as much on your worst day as he does on your best day.
This gift of love is yours forever.”

The worst day/best day point is my favorite!  Isn’t that the best news?

The second way he shows us how blessed we are is comforting:  Because we are God’s children, “we’re blessed with eternal mercies that are new every morning….fresh mercies for you today, formfitted for all the things you will face.”

Oh, and I’ve got even more good news!  Pull up a chair, a pen and some paper, and let’s do some math…

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Mark Batterson taught me this in his book, If:  Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities.

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Mark begins by confessing he has trouble remembering things.  Oh yes, I can relate. I remember phone numbers from when I lived in Lexington, thirty-five plus years ago while I forget hamburger at the grocery when we’re making tacos…

He says, especially of Scripture, if he can find a song to learn with Scripture in it, he’ll listen to it over and over and over.  One of his favorites is From the Inside Out by King and Country.

It opens with “A thousand times I’ve failed, still your mercy remains.” Sounds like our verse, doesn’t it?

Then Mark teaches us the Hebrew word for new. It’s  hadas which means “different—as in never before experienced.” Therefore, Mark relays, “Today’s mercy is different from yesterday or the day before or the day before the day before. Just as the seasonal flu vaccine changes from year to year, God’s mercy changes from day to day.  It’s a new strain of mercy.”

Here’s the math:

Jot down how old you are.
Multiply that by 365.
(I told you at the top of this post, I’ve received 20,440.  You do the math. Smile.)

That’s how many mercies YOU have received from God.  Call me crazy, but dare I say few of us have thanked Him, much less realized we’ve received that many mercies?

Good at guilt (!!!), I think, “Oh man, I’ve wasted so many.”  But hey, we all must remember God is not a God of guilt, He’s a God full of grace, readying to gift us with yet another mercy tomorrow.

May we begin tomorrow morning, before that first cup of coffee, to praise Him for another new mercy.

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Amen.

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

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I Will Never Yell, “Hurry Up!” to Our Children, And Other Motherhood Myths…

This Mother’s Day Week I thought I’d amuse you with some of my own horrific mothering no-no’s and then point you to a quick read: Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson. It’s a powerful little paperback that will change the way you think and pray.

Praying Circles

First, here are some of my Motherhood Myths, and then we’ll get to the prayer tips:

I’ll never chuck a pop tart into the back seat on the way to school.” (Well, at least this didn’t happen ‘til child #3 arrived.)

I’ll never yell at our children before church.” (Yeah, that happened more than once: Verrry ugly.)

“We will never blow thru’ a drive-thru’ two nights in a row.” (That didn’t last thru’ the first soccer season.)

I’ll always realize what a blessing they are when they seem to be a pain in the you-know-where.” (I need to write this on a blackboard about a hundred times while begging the Lord for His forgiveness about a thousand times.)

I’ll never cry uncontrollably in front of them.” (Scares our boys silly.)

I’ll stop worrying about them when they reach age _____.” (Hasn’t happened yet.)

I’ll never forget they’re really on loan from the Lord.” (This is a primo reminder I’m suspecting we ALL need. Frequently.) PLUS, He loves them more than we do.

Don’t mess with these Motherhood Myths! While you’re at, pitch your own if you have any! Instead, begin with this beautiful Scripture:

Lamentations 2:19 says,

“Rise during the night and cry out.

Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.

Lift up your hands to him in prayer,

pleading for your children.” (NLT)

Lamentations 2-19

Author Mark Batterson tells of a legend he discovered in the Jewish Talmud about a prayer warrior named Honi. Honi literally drew a circle around himself in the sand, and stayed there praying for much-needed rain, for mercy on the people of the village, and for favor, blessing and graciousness. He was ultimately honored for “the prayer that saved a generation.”

This eye-opening little book, Praying Circles Around Your Children, gives you loads of promises in Scripture to “circle” around your children. It gives you ideas for circling a place of work, or a school, or a piece of property, or a home, covering that concern in prayer.

“Circling” something or someone in prayer is really akin to:

I Thessalonians 5:17 which simply says, “Pray continually.” Mark recommends we endeavor to rev up the intensity and tenacity of our prayers.

Mark adds, “Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God.”

Of the five prayer circles Mark gives his readers, the second one, Making Prayer Lists, is my favorite. Being a list maker (to a fault!!!), this idea grabbed me. Look at the verse he gives us:

“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3 NLT)

What’s on your list? I have short-term and long-term requests on mine. I have a list of friends with health challenges. The blessing in seeing how God answers them is worth the time and effort of writing them down, plus you know the direction to keep praying.

Recently I drew circles in my journal and placed people in them according to their circumstances. The visual effect is comforting. Remember, tho’, these lists are not just your wish list.

Mark reminds us, “Every prayer, including your prayers for your children, must pass a twofold litmus test:

Your prayers must be in the will of God and for the Glory of God.”

I love one of Mark’s prayers for his children, “Lord let their ears be tuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. I want my children to find their voice, and the key is hearing the voice of God.”

Don’t miss this warning: “If they don’t hear the voice of God, they will echo our culture.” Hello? Anyone aghast at the goings on of our culture???

Checkout the other prayer circles (I’ve only given you a snippet!) in the book. May we heed Mark’s closing remarks,

“Don’t lose heart.

          Don’t lose hope.

                    Don’t lose faith.

                              Keep circling!”

May we all be reminded of Psalm 127:3:

Children are a GIFT from the Lord; they are a REWARD from him…”

 

‘Til next time!

 

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When Your Friday Night Date Night Goes Awry….(The Case for Grace by Lee Strobel Will Reignite Your Faith)

Friday morning, before our long-awaited Date Night, something was amiss. Hubster casually mentioned attending the Home and Garden Show prior to a promised, fabulous dinner somewhere. (Any dinner out is fabulous to this challenged chef.)

Contemplating a bathroom renovation, I decided we could perhaps kill two birds with one stone and checkout bathroom ideas as well as garden ideas at the show. John has the green thumb, and I have the “shopping anointing” (as Priscilla Shirer calls it).

Somehow, I totally missed the real mission John was attempting to accomplish. You see, there was a real celebrity about to take the stage and we were about to be front row and center.

We arrived two hours early, giving us plenty of time to check out the exhibits.  Except, I was starving and now smolderingly irked at the realization of why we were really there….

Ahhh, but my complaining came to a screeching halt when all of a sudden……..

THERE—— HE—— WAS!!!

None other than Jeff Hoper, the infamous Mole Hunter!!! (www.molehunter.com ) Mole Hunter Poster Once Jeff began to talk, I realized, to my horror, we were in a group therapy session. We were all “victims” of pesky, tear-your-yard-up moles.

Jeff asked several questions about different “methods” people had tried to trap these critters. (You don’t want to know, trust me on this one.) One hand after another went up. “Oh yes,” people were nodding, as if to say, “I feel your pain.….”

To Hubster’s glee and delight, we left equipped with a “Molenipulator Mole Trap Kit”. I’d love to tell you we’ve trapped loads of moles with it, but once we got home, winter set in.

We don’t know if the moles are still hibernating or if they’ve moved on, high-fiving each other along the way. But, you can bet your bottom Molenipulator dollar, WE ARE READY when they do dig a rut or two. Jeff Hoper mole hunter While educational, I can’t say I was too keen on how our Friday night Date Night began. Thankfully, after thirty-plus years of marriage, I could extend some grace and go on. 

Thanks to an eye-opening book, The Case for Grace: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives (Case for … Series) by Lee Strobel, I’m learning to extend grace a little more each day. The Case For Grace Whatever Lee Strobel writes blesses me every time. He was an atheist and after extreme, thorough investigation, came to his own conclusion (with the help of the Holy Spirit) that Jesus was indeed real and he needed Him in his life. (www.leestrobel.com )

Lee will tell you, “God’s grace utterly rocked my life—forgiving me, adopting me, and changing my life and my eternity—something else became clear: how tragic it would be to withhold the news of that grace from others.” His fire-like faith ignites his pages. LeeStrobel_mediumIn The Case for Grace, Lee astonishes his readers, chapter by chapter, case after case, with diverse, real-live people who’ve been:

Pursued by and 

Loved by and

Forgiven by a gracious God.

You will shake you head in awe at the places they’ve been “found”.

Maybe you’re like me and at times grow weary of praying for what seems to be perpetual prodigals or impossible challenges.

First, take Mark Batterson’s advice: “Pray A.L.A.T. prayers” (As Long as it Takes Prayers). Satan wants you to throw in the towel. Don’t!

Hold onto Romans 8:26 for dear life:

“…for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Second, listen to the words of Cody Huff from Chapter Six of Lee’s book. Look at his history: He’d been a “burglar, a drug dealer, a counterfeiter, and a scammer. He’d been beaten, shot at and stabbed. He’d sat atop mountains of cash and frittered it all away on meth and heroin.” Plus, he spent eight years in jail and wound up homeless.

Cody heard about Jud Wilhite’s church, Central Christian in Las Vegas, where they offer showers to the homeless.(www.centralonline.tv )

Because of ONE HUG by ONE WOMAN, who told him JESUS LOVES him, THAT MOMENT turned his life around. 

The CrossCody said, “It was like a personal encounter with Jesus.”

He prayed, “God, I’m so tired. I’m tired of the drugs. Please, take them away from me. It’s like I’ve been driving my own car and all I do is get into head-on crashes. Why don’t you drive? I’m sorry for the way I’ve lived. I want to surrender my life to you. God, please make me a new man.” PetitionYou won’t believe the rest of Cody’s story. His is just one of nine only-God-could-pull-this-off stories in the book. My favorite is The Orphan. You’ll need a box of Kleenex by your side.

When doubts rise, pick this book up and read it. It’s a sure cure to reigniting your faith.

Lee’s book also offers a Discussion Guide, which would be great for your Bible study or Small Group as well an Appendix, What the Bible Says About Grace, full of beautiful Scripture.

Lee said after writing this book on grace, it only strengthened his resolved to emulate Paul where he says in Acts 10:24, “What matters most to me, is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this…

INCREDIBLY,     

EXTRAVAGANT,           

GENEROSITY of God.”  

‘Til next time!

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Don’t Forget: You Are Invited To “Fountains of Friendship” on April 23rd!!!

What do trees and roots and water have in common?  Come find out how they can help us SAVOR OUR SEASON DAILY….straight out of Scripture, along with Proverbs 27:9 which says, “A Sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  We will all be refreshed….

YOU, yes YOU (!!!) are invited to join women of all ages and yours truly at a neat little event called Fountains of Friendship.  This is an annual Women’s Ministry event hosted by the gals at Hurstbourne Baptist Church. (8800 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40222)

Fountains of Friendship will be on Thursday, April 23rd, from 7:00 -8:30 p.m.  There will be yummy desserts to savor and I will be speaking on “Savor Your Season Daily”.  Yes, daily.  (I need this message probably more than all of us attending put together!)Chocolate Heart Dessert Cups With Pudding And RaspberriesWe’ll have some fun with this challenging subject and will take home some “tools” to help us with it.  We’ll also address obstacles we must be aware of which can potentially prevent us from savoring the season we’re in.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  May we sharpen each other Thursday the 23rd!!! Proverbs 27-17 Tickets may be purchased for $5.00 by calling or going by the church office.   The office is  open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru’ Friday.  Tickets will also be available at the Welcome Center on Sundays. You may call (502) 426-2444 and ask for Carmen.  (Tell her some crazy woman sent you!)

And did I say we’ll have some fun???? Group of happy friends making funny facesBring a friend and come join us for a FUN night out! 

Please PRAY for this event as well!  In Mark Batterson’s book, (Oh, you know there had to be a book involved…) Praying Circles around Your Children, he recommends we envision drawing circles around whatever or whomever is a prayer concern and praying for them.  (How many circles can you draw???!!!) Praying Circles Please offer up a prayer as you drive by Hurstbourne Baptist Church for:

ALL of you sweet ladies attending,

For my message to be God-honoring and helpful for us all to savor our season daily,

For the weather,

For all the details to come together smoothly, and

For the precious ladies working on this to be blessed for their service.

Thank you! We’d LOVE to see you Thursday, April 23rd!!!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Conferences, Speaking Engagements

You Are Invited To “Fountains of Friendship” on April 23rd!!!

YOU, yes YOU (!!!) are invited to join women of all ages and yours truly at a neat little event called Fountains of Friendship.  This is an annual Women’s Ministry event hosted by the gals at Hurstbourne Baptist Church. (8800 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40222)

Fountains of Friendship will be on Thursday, April 23rd, from 7:00 -8:30 p.m.  There will be yummy desserts to savor and I will be speaking on “Savor Your Season Daily”.  Yes, daily.  (Yes, I’ll be preaching to the choir!!!) Chocolate Heart Dessert Cups With Pudding And RaspberriesWe’ll have some fun with this challenging subject and will take home some “tools” to help us with it.  We’ll also address obstacles we must be aware of which can potentially prevent us from savoring the season we’re in.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  May we sharpen each other Thursday the 23rd!!! Proverbs 27-17 Tickets may be purchased for $5.00 by calling or going by the church office.   The office is  open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru’ Friday.  Tickets will also be available at the Welcome Center on Sundays. You may call (502) 426-2444 and ask for Carmen.  (Tell her some crazy woman sent you!)

And did I say we’ll have some fun???? Group of happy friends making funny facesBring a friend and come join us for a FUN night out! 

Please PRAY for this event as well!  In Mark Batterson’s book, (Oh, you know there had to be a book involved…) Praying Circles around Your Children, he recommends we envision drawing circles around whatever or whomever is a prayer concern and praying for them.  (How many circles can you draw???!!!) Praying Circles Please offer up a prayer as you drive by Hurstbourne Baptist Church for:

ALL of you sweet ladies attending,

For my message to be God-honoring and helpful for us all to savor our season daily,

For the weather,

For all the details to come together smoothly, and

For the precious ladies working on this to be blessed for their service.

Thank you! We’d LOVE to see you Thursday, April 23rd!!!

Later this week on this blog, we’ll be hearing from a dear friend of mine who also happens to be a super special-n-talented author: Nancy Sleeth!  Stay tuned!

Happy Holy Week!

‘Til next time!

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