Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Blog Posts for 2011!



We are looking back at WRIM Blog reader favorites for 2011. If you missed them the first time around, we hope you are blessed today!
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2000 were a time of profound emotion for Larry and I.  While overwhelmed with gratitude for an experience of remarkable community support, we had also just been told that our 2 1/2 year old daughter Carly had Angelman Syndrome. The news ripped our hearts. Continued here.
I'm excited to share a really fun story today. It will take a little setting up but stick with me because this will kick your week off with a big smile. Have you heard? Story is all the rage these days. Everyone is talking about it. Your story. My story. God's story. Continued here.
This is a very difficult update for me to write. Ordinarily, we would post something of such a personal nature only on Carly's Care Page. But I felt prompted to share our need for prayer more publicly at this time.  Continued here.
Pulling dead flowers from the gardens one afternoon last week led me to tears and a couple days of raw emotion.  I knelt by the phlox and day lilies praying ... Continued here.
We drove to Springfield, Missouri and back to Minneapolis for Thanksgiving. It involved almost 24 hours driving and required a certain amount of caffeine. My usual “drug” of choice is green tea but that would have triggered too many stops. After peering into the cooler at the gas station for a moment, I decided on a Pepsi Throwback.  Continued here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Circumstances of this life frequently fail to make sense to us and we can be tempted to lose hope. After all, it is easier to quit hoping for better days than risk being disappointed. Yet, the Bible teaches that there is always reason to have hope. We can always be assured that God’s work and wisdom are accomplishing something valuable for the good of those who love Him and, most of all, for glory of His own name.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

When have you been tempted to give up hoping for something but been surprised when God used the situation for something good in ways that you didn’t imagine or expect?

These “Finding Glory Wednesdays” posts are an online discussion series based on the books Finding Glory in the Thorns and the companion Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011 from the Jamiesons!



If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, 
God lives in them and they in God. 
1 John 4:14-15 
 
May the awe and joy of Immanuel carry you and your family right into 2012!

Larry & Lisa

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Today’s scriptures and discussion question are:
Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.  LUKE 2:17 and 20  
There was a man named Simeon who...eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, "Lord, now I can die in peace! As you promised me, I have seen the Savior you have given to all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!" Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, "This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others." LUKE 2:25, 27-32, and 34 
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple...She was a widow, for her husband had died when they had been married only seven years. She was now eight-four years old. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King to come and deliver Jerusalem.  LUKE 2:36-38
From the very first Christmas, as a result of worshipping Jesus, people were spurred to enthusiastic action while experiencing joy and peace.  What has your worship of Jesus caused you to DO or FEEL this week?
For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visithttp://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.
Today's reflections are copyrighted excerpts taken from Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Praise

"Joseph, it's time," she said.
Her gentle whisper brought his eyes around.
His look was filled with fear
But strength showered through as joy poured down
His cheeks.
Saying...

Praise our Holy God Most High
For giving us Your Son today!
How can we ever thank You, Lord?
Your Son,
You sent,
for me!

As wind blew in the stable door
Her loving arms did soothe the baby Jesus' cries
Her heart was filled with love
And the joy that sparkled in her eyes
In praise.
Was saying...


Praise our Holy God Most High
For giving us Your Son today!
How can we ever thank You, Lord?
Your Son,
You sent,
for me!


How can we tell the world today
Our Savior, Christ, was born on Christmas Day?
His words were filled with peace
And the love flowed from His palms and feet
For them.


Praise our Holy God Most High
For giving us Your Son today!
How can we ever thank You, Lord?
Your Son,
You sent...
Oh!
Praise You, Holy God Most High
For giving me Your Son today!
How can I ever thank You, Lord?
Your Son,
You sent,
for me!

Words and Music, Copyright © 1983 Lisa McDougall (Jamieson)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Our faith is anchored in the Bible — a book that is so much more than just a historical record of God’s activities and purposes. It is the inspired words of God. It is given to us with all power and authority to penetrate our soul and reveal the truth.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

How have you experienced the Bible as “living and active” in your life?

These “Finding Glory Wednesdays” posts are an online discussion series based on the books Finding Glory in the Thorns and the companion Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Marriage Prayer Friday!

Let's pray our marriages into the Christmas season!
A prayer for your own marriage—
IMMANUEL, thank you for revealing Yourself to us and demonstrating Your nearness. During this Christmas season, I ask that you would break through any obstacles in my marriage that keep me and my spouse from experiencing the season with joy as a family. By the power of Your Spirit, please stop the crazy patterns of things like neglect, complacency, criticism, ingratitude, disrespect and lack of healthy boundaries in my marriage. Strengthen our commitment to grace and help both of us to honor, not abuse, each other’s expressions of grace. Increase our capacity for tenderness towards each other. Help us in other practical ways too, Lord. For example, help us to laugh more, express gratitude more, invest more in the relationship, and maintain a Kingdom perspective when we are tempted to sin, be discouraged or get stuck in minutia.  Show us how to experience freedom and joy in our marriage, Lord, so that no day is a grind but every day is an adventure of anticipation in seeing Your presence at work among us.  AMEN
Something to pray for a friend's marriage—
IMMANUEL, thank you for revealing Yourself to us and demonstrating Your nearness. During this Christmas season, I ask that you would break through any obstacles in the marriage of these friends I love — obstacles that keep them from experiencing the season with joy as a family. By the power of Your Spirit, please stop the crazy patterns of things like neglect, complacency, criticism, ingratitude, disrespect and lack of healthy boundaries in their marriage. Strengthen their commitment to grace and help both of them to honor, not abuse, each other’s expressions of grace. Increase their capacity for tenderness towards each other. Help them in other practical ways too, Lord. For example, help them to laugh more, express gratitude more, invest more in their relationship, and maintain a Kingdom perspective when they are tempted to sin, be discouraged or get stuck in minutia.  Show them how to experience freedom and joy in their marriage, Lord, so that no day is a grind for them but every day is an adventure of anticipation in seeing Your presence at work among them.  AMEN

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

God’s ways don’t always make sense to us. The experiences and resources He sends our way can come in some pretty unusual packages. Reflect on the scripture and questions below as you consider what it means to surrender to God’s unusual ways.

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5

Do you now (or have you ever) sensed a prompting from God to follow unusual strategies towards a goal or dream?

What do you think God is asking you to do right now — march patiently and quietly or shout?

These “Finding Glory Wednesdays” posts are an online discussion series based on the books Finding Glory in the Thorns and the companion Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What? Christmas Time and NO JESUS?


When people come into our home this time of year, the first thing they see is a small nativity scene set up on a table in the front hallway.  There isn’t anything particularly unusual about our nativity scene except for one thing:  there is no Jesus in the manger. 
No, it didn’t get lost over the years.
No, my kids didn’t break it when they were little.
No, Carly hasn’t chewed on it (at least not yet).
Every year when the decorations are brought out, someone in our family has responsibility for hiding the baby Christ child — until Christmas Day.  The empty manger helps re-create the sense of anticipation in our home throughout the month of December.  It’s a fun tradition and a practical one from a spiritual perspective.
In this day and age, when we are part of an impatient culture, it’s easy to miss the opportunity to be still and ponder the anticipation of Jesus’ coming.  There is so much opportunity for worship and to experience joy and peace in this rich season of anticipation!
Life is, in fact, a process of anticipating Jesus’ coming AGAIN.
Revelation 1:8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
LORD ALMIGHTY, thank you for being God with me — Immanuel.  I don’t want to live a single day without you and yet I want to spend this Christmas season re-learning what it means to anticipate Your coming. I am so grateful that you came and that you will come again, once and for all.  Please keep deepening my understanding of and appreciation for who You are and for the reality that You are coming soon!  AMEN

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Marriage Prayer Friday!

Since Larry is out of town this week and I'm keeping the home fires burning with his support only via prayer and iPhone FaceTime, I am falling behind on some things and shifting priorities.  So I am going to quote from a favorite prayer book this week instead of writing from scratch.  The book I'm quoting from was something I found several years ago and it proved very valuable in helping me learn to pray more Biblically for my marriage. I trust it will be a blessing for you today!
Precious Lord, 
Our prayer today is that You will flood our hearts with the light of Your truth. Chase away every dark shadow of distraction, protected sin, procrastination, or disobedience. 
Lord, since the day we said "I do," the future we've been called to share together has been dear to us. But we lose sight of it so easily. We become prisoners of the now—in how we treat each other, in how we spend our time and our money and our energy, in what we think about... 
Some days the destiny You promise just slips into the shadows. But You can turn any darkness into dawn (Amos 5:8). And because we are Your dearly loved children, You ask us to imitate You and exhibit the fruit of the light—all goodness, righteousness and truth (Eph. 5:1,8-9). 
Shine here, Lord! At each step, turn every dark confusion about our purposes and our future into bright light of understanding, as You've promised (Isa. 42:16). Yes, lead us—even in new and unfamiliar paths today—to bring glory to You. 
Amen. 
This is taken from "Praying the Bible for Your Marriage" (page 154) by David & Heather Kopp.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

This is a wonderful season for reflecting on the presence, love, power, and purposes of God. Larry and I have been part of a Finding Glory Group this fall and are so thankful for the opportunity to share life with them in light of God’s amazing work among us. Each of us has experienced times of confusion, anger and temptation to question our faith yet we are learning how to stay rooted in the Truth and we are all excited to share the Gospel with others.

We have also prayed that you, too, are convinced that your own "Glory Stories" have profound influence with others because of the power of the Holy Spirit. Talking about how God is present in our lives and hearts has the power to change eternity for someone. Please take today’s scriptures and discussion questions seriously and with enthusiasm:

Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; 
he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:2-4

If you had only 3 or 4 minutes and one opportunity today to explain to someone how God has proven Himself to be present in your life lately, what would your Glory Story be? How would you make a declaration of God’s presence in your life?

Please consider sharing a Glory Story right here in the comments section below today's post. The enemy shudders at the idea that we are all sharing boldly of Christ's power and presence in our lives!

These “Finding Glory Wednesdays” posts are an online discussion series based on the books Finding Glory in the Thorns and the companion Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Throwback

We drove to Springfield, Missouri and back to Minneapolis for Thanksgiving. It involved almost 24 hours driving and required a certain amount of caffeine. My usual “drug” of choice is green tea but that would have triggered too many stops. After peering into the cooler at the gas station for a moment, I decided on a Pepsi Throwback.
In case you’re unfamiliar, the Throwback line is marketed with the Pepsi and Mountain Dew brands. It started as a “limited time only” theme but is now widely available because the retro style packaging and “made with REAL sugar” idea went over well. Despite what corn farmers are saying, there are still people out there who believe there is some advantage to pure cane sugar instead of the high fructose corn syrup that soft drink companies used to replace sugar in the 1980s.
So anyhow...I was sitting in the car listening to Christmas music with the kids and staring at my Pepsi bottle. It got me thinking. Well, yes, I do tend to be a thinker but I also had a blog to write and had been prayerfully pondering what kinds of things I might write about this Christmas season. So it may be no surprise that fireworks of questions and ideas started floating around in my brain:
  • What would it look like if I re-packaged the Christmas season at my house (to better reflect the original sentiments and circumstances around Jesus’ birth)?
  • What could I do in my personal Bible reading and reflections this season to help me capture the anticipation and excitement of the original Christmas?
  • What would it take to convince the skeptics that there truly is something of great value about Jesus — that no substitution can be made?
  • What, if anything, is useful about the latest packaging of Christmas?

For starters, I decided that I’m going to do some review of Bible prophecies related to Christmas. I’ve listed below just a few of the most well known but I’m going to spend this week exploring more (and I hope you will too). After all, these were the original things God was saying about the Messiah. God’s original, first-hand introductions have valuable things to say to us today just as they did to those who first heard them.
Lord, give me ears to hear You as I look back at the ways you introduced Your Son to my ancestors and as I remember the first ways I heard about you myself. Stir up in me a spirit of hunger, enthusiasm and gratitude as I prepare to receive You anew this Christmas season. Show me how to use this information to tell others that You have come for them also! AMEN
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Fulfilled — Matthew 1:22-23)
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Fulfilled — Matthew 2:1)
Jeremiah 31:15 This is what the Lord says: 'A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.' (Fulfilled — Matthew 2:16-18)

Hosea 11:1: When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.  (Fulfilled — Matthew 2:14-15)
I welcome and value your “Christmas Throwback” questions, ideas and insights so please feel free to chime in! This could be both fun and meaningful.

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Marriage Prayer Friday!


Early this week, a reflection on gratitude by our worship pastor stirred a deep passion within me. His email came as I was between discussions with several women about their marriages. It was a fairly typical day. I answered emails in the morning, met a woman for lunch and had two painful phone calls in the afternoon.  All of those conversations involved marriages that could be radically transformed if even one person in the marriage chose to go to God with a spirit of generous — even undeserved — gratitude for her spouse.
Why do I know this? For two reasons, I write confidently today.
First, Jesus modeled that gratitude preceeds a miracle.  As Pastor Jon pointed out, John 6:11 says Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.”
Second, my own marriage is living proof that God uses a mind focused on good things to change hearts and revive broken or hurting relationships.  Several years ago when Larry and I were in the midst of a very dark season in our marriage, God used a song about gratitude to convict me of a thought pattern that was darkening my attitude and slowly stealing the joy from my marriage. There will be another time for me to share details of things Larry and I learned through that experience. For now, I plead with those who are struggling in marriage to trust God’s Word on this point. 
Whether your marriage is good, great or gross today, please thank God for your spouse, pray and believe for better days. Allow this prayer to begin a healing and growing work in your soul and invite God to break through every obstacle to complete wholeness by the absolute authority of Christ and through the power of His shed blood!
A prayer for your own marriage—
JEHOVA RAPHA (God my Healer), I am coming into another holiday season with mixed expectations. In some ways, I’m hopeful that this will be an unusually special Christmas season for my family. In other ways, I’m afraid of being hurt or disappointed (again). I want to believe that what Jesus modeled about gratitude is a key to transformation in my own marriage. Please use my attitude with You to unlock new potential in my marriage starting today and continuing throughout the holidays this year. I confess that I tend to cling to all the reasons why my husband/wife doesn’t deserve my gratitude and I even get angry and impatient with You when I fail to see progress in our relationship. But I am willing to make this a new day, Lord. When I am tempted to complain, prompt me with some reminder and stop the flow of my critical words (1 Corinthians 10:13). Please soften my heart toward my husband/wife and show me how to trust that you will comfort, strengthen and enlighten me when I am vulnerable. Help me to keep pondering the lovelier things about my spouse (Philippians 4:8-9). Cause that focus to bear the fruit of gratitude in my thoughts, words and deeds (Colossians 3:17).  Thank you, God, that as I bring more of my focus on You this holiday season, instead of on all the things I wish were different, You will reveal Yourself and many (not just me) will be blessed.  Please make it so, Lord!  AMEN
Something to pray for a friend's marriage—
JEHOVA RAPHA (God our Healer), many are coming into the holiday season with mixed expectations. I have some friends who are hopeful that this will be an unusually special Christmas season for their family. I also have friends who are afraid of being hurt or disappointed (again). I believe that what Jesus modeled about gratitude is a key to transformation in the marriages of people I care about. Please increase the spirit of gratitude within my friends’ marriages and use that to unlock new potential starting today and continuing throughout the holidays this year. Forgive them for clinging to reasons why their husbands/wives doesn’t deserve their gratitude. Forgive them when they get angry and impatient with You and encourage them with they fail to see progress in their relationships. Give them a willingness to make this a new day, Lord. When they are tempted to complain, prompt them with some reminder and stop the flow of their critical words (1 Corinthians 10:13). Soften their hearts towards each other and show them how to trust that you will comfort, strengthen and enlighten them when they are vulnerable. Help them to keep pondering the lovelier things about their spouses (Philippians 4:8-9). Cause that focus to bear the fruit of gratitude in their thoughts, words and deeds (Colossians 3:17).  Thank you, God, that as we collectively bring more of our focus on You this holiday season, instead of on all the things we wish were different, You will reveal Yourself and many (not just me) will be blessed.  Please make it so, Lord!  AMEN

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

This week we are talking about sharing — specifically, being authentic and real with each other, even when life is hard or when we feel vulnerable. Each of us has an opportunity and responsibility to display God’s glory — who He is and how He is present among us. Yet we cannot be a display of anything if our lives and hearts are not engaged with others.

Today’s scripture and discussion question are:

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.” John 9:3-4

How do you resist the temptation to hide out or become isolated in your circumstances? What would be some appropriate times for privacy and solitude as compared to times for reaching out and sharing your story?

These “Finding Glory Wednesdays” posts are an online discussion series based on the books Finding Glory in the Thorns and the companion Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Power of A Thanksgiving Love Story


The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2000 were a time of profound emotion for Larry and I.  While overwhelmed with gratitude for an experience of remarkable community support, we had also just been told that our 2 1/2 year old daughter Carly had Angelman Syndrome. The news ripped our hearts. We suddenly felt strangely alone despite being surrounded by the love of friends and family.
Earlier that year, we had started an intensive home-based therapy program with Carly. Dozens of people from our church and neighborhood had stepped out sacrificially in a profound expression of practical helps and prayer. Yet for all of the developmental obstacles, a life-threatening seizure and then that devastating diagnosis, God had been using the love within that community to release miracles.
It wasn’t just about Carly. God was bringing about various kinds of unexpected healing. Carly was reaching surprising milestones but others were being shaped and changed through their intersections with each other too.  Healing was unfolding in physical, emotional and spiritual ways. It was exciting and humbling to experience such a tangible sense of God’s power and love.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  1 John 4:12
With the encouraging evidence of God’s presence among us, Larry and I were asked to share some of the story with our congregation during a 4-minute testimony at the Thanksgiving Eve service.  We had overflowing reasons to share but felt our passion would not allow us to stay within the time allotment and our tears of joy and pain would not allow us to speak.
Larry wisely suggested we use a video. It proved to be an efficient and effective way to express the depth of our gratitude and the growing passion we had to advocate for community that delights God.
That original video — Carly’s Thanksgiving Story — is posted here. (It’s now about 7 minutes long with the update Larry added in 2010.)
Tragically, there are many facing life-altering challenges without support modeled after God’s design for thriving community. Our family is blessed to know what it feels like to be embraced by God’s love through others. But we also know what it feels like to be abandoned. We have not always known such remarkable support. Thankfully, God also uses seasons of hurt and disappointment to stretch and strengthen us. Only God can do that!
Years later, in our book, Finding Glory in the Thorns, we expressed gratitude and some insights about community this way:
“The sense of community that grew out of our crisis was a treasure we’ll be hard-pressed to match in our lifetimes. We were increasingly energized to see how God was magnifying His handiwork. God was bringing a ripple effect of healing into other people’s lives because of what was going on around Carly’s situation…a beautiful picture of how He designed community to work.” (Page 73)
 “Yet for all the ways that community had the capacity for blessing, it also had the capacity to distract us from depending on Christ alone for our strength and solace.  So maybe it should be no surprise that just when God’s light on that grand collective adventure was shining brightest, God chose that time to reveal the true nature of Carly’s challenge and reinforce our need to stay completely surrendered unto Him.” (Page 75)
With every passing year, we appreciate more and more how economically God uses life’s challenges. He is teaching us that there is a privilege and grand adventure in how life unfolds when it is wrapped within the power, love and grace of Christ’s presence.
So as we begin another Thanksgiving week, we are both grateful for how God uses community to reveal Himself and we are praying that His people increasingly learn how to live sacrificially and joyfully in the kind of Christ-centered fellowship He intended. But most of all, we are grateful to experience intimate relationship with the One who holds the world in His Holy Hands.
May you, too, personally experience the joy and peace of that forever Love Story!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's "Marriage Prayer Friday!"

On a daily basis, couples and families face challenging decisions, questions about the future, hopes, and dreams.  Today's prayer is for direction.  Please consider praying it along with your spouse.  Even if you usually pray privately or rarely pray out loud, would you consider reading this prayer out loud with your spouse tonight?  God promises to answer when two stand in prayerful agreement!

This prayer is inspired by Proverbs 3:5-7 and Ephesians 3:18.

A prayer for your own marriage—
LORD, You are completely trustworthy.  We know that we should not lean on our own understanding but it can be so hard to know what You would want us to do sometimes!  My spouse and I want to do what is right.  We want to follow the "straight path" but life is feeling more like a "long and winding road." We confess that we don't like the mystery of it all but we realize that there are some benefits in having to cling to You for direction.  If Your higher ways were perfectly clear to us, Lord, we would be even more tempted to run off on our own and forget about You.  Forgive us for doing that!  Would You point us in the way we should go and lead us one step at a time?  Show us who to listen to, who not to listen to.  Open good doors and close unhelpful ones.  Teach us, Lord, so that we can lead this family in the ways of truth, health, strength, love and joy.  Help us to hang out together with You more — reading the Bible, praying, being with people who know You — so that we know Your heart better and can make wise and discerning decisions.  Keep bringing us, as a couple, to places in scripture where we will see Your ways more clearly and have Your hope.  Thank You, God, for the many good gifts and perfect leadership You provide for this family!  AMEN

Something to pray for a friend's marriage—
LORD, You are completely trustworthy.  Right now I bring before you my married friends who want to do what is right.  They know they should not lean on their own understanding but they need help to find Your "straight path." Use times of unclarity to cause them to cling even more firmly to You for direction.  Forgive them for any times they have run off own their own and forgotten about You.  Please point them clearly in the way they should go and lead them one step at a time.  Show them who to listen to, who not to listen to.  Open good doors and close unhelpful ones.  Teach them, Lord, so that they can lead their family in the ways of truth, health, strength, love and joy.  Help them to hang out together with You more — reading the Bible, praying, being with people who know You — so that they know Your heart better and can make wise and discerning decisions.  Keep bringing them, as a couple, to places in scripture where they will see Your ways more clearly and have Your hope.  Thank You, God, for the many good gifts and perfect leadership You provide for these families I care so much about!  AMEN

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Discussion last week was about hope. This week, we’re reflecting on joy. If you are just reading Finding Glory Wednesdays for the first time, we hope you will join the conversation. Please feel encouraged to share your ideas and perspectives whether you have been a past reader or not.

Today’s scriptures and discussion questions are:

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4

Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and a delight of my heart. Jeremiah 15:16

Have you ever felt “hungry” for God’s Word? Think about a time when you “devoured” a good book. What do you think the psalmist meant when he said that eating God’s words became joy for him?

These “Finding Glory Wednesdays” posts are an online discussion series based on the books Finding Glory in the Thorns and the companion Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

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