Tag Archives: prayer

#MissionsMonday My Prayer for Paris

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There is so much that could be said today particularly in light of recent news. I’ve been asked my opinion several times since Friday on the attacks in Paris and why that takes the limelight over other radical Islamic Attacks. People have asked if I’m mad that Paris got more attention than the attack in Garissa Kenya in April this year. I’ve also seen many posts of opinions out there and using Paris Attacks as a platform to say this or that. I have to be honest with you and say I don’t have the right answer. What I can say is that people are hurting right now and lives across the globe are being taken at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists. 147 people died in Garissa Kenya in April at the hands of Al Shabaab which yes is close to the number killed in Paris (although wounded count is higher in Paris). I was grieved then and I changed my Facebook picture to a flag of Kenya with a scripture as I also did in 2013 for the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi. I was close to terrorism bombings and killings last summer while in Kenya that never made the news.  In January 2,000+ died in west Africa at the hands of Boko Haram while 12 died in Paris. I wrote about that then to hopefully being attention to what other countries were facing. In Indonesia in recent weeks, 8,000 Christians have been displaced at the hands of jihadists there and threats of imams. ISIS’ attack both in parts of the Middle East this week and Paris have killed numerous lives from many countries and religions, including Muslims. The news reel goes on and on across the globe of devastations even unrelated to terrorism and persecution. We have every opportunity to be informed if we want to be.

Charge To Christians

I saw a few posts by Christians saying statements like “there’s nothing you or I can do about ISIS” or biased posts about the French and many posts about other scenarios like I mentioned above. While I may not have the most eloquent phrases to say to contradict these statements, I must say I disagree with some of it. If you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, there IS something that you can do. You can pray. And by that I don’t mean just cute words, but truly carry the heart of God to pray His will over the lost, the hurting, and yes, even the radical jihadists. Because without Christ, even the “best” of people will spend eternity in suffering far worse than anything we could imagine. God is moving across the globe as a result of prayer and actions to obey Him. Lives are being changed and we can partner with Him wherever we are. If you as a believer have biased or prejudices against certain people groups like the French or Muslims, I encourage you to let God heal that area of your heart. His will is that NONE should perish but that ALL should come to repentance. Lastly, we are to “mourn with those who mourn” and France is mourning right now. Yes so is Lebanon and many others, so let’s stand with them too. If you want to pray for more than just Paris, go for it! There’s never an end to praying for the nations, but let’s not decide France’s pain is any less or shouldn’t be recognized. That country needs Jesus like anywhere else and here’s why.

The Real Paris

When I was in Paris for the first time this summer, I was blown away and not just by the beauty of the city. We had a couple of days to explore, but did ministry as well in a place I’d long been burdened for. I must have met people from at least 30 countries. I met people from all over in West Africa, Romania, Russia, Czech Republic, and Bangladesh to name a few. There were language barriers for some who don’t speak French and many were doing things like selling packages nuts in the subway to provide for their families in this strange new place like a man named Luten. My heart broke that all I could do was smile at him and buy a 2nd bag of salted almonds from him. I wanted to encourage, bring life and hope through Jesus, but he spoke such limited French. Paris is home to over 18 million people and is one of the largest urban centers in the world. My heart broke as I was there in a place where I’ve never seen such diversity and backgrounds before. All the French or Parisians we met were so kind and hospitable. Many were beyond gracious with me and my limited french vocabulary and celebrated my attempts to speak their language all the while assuming Stephen was European and I, clearly American haha. I can’t speak for all French people as I can’t for all Americans either, but I can speak God’s heart and it’s that He loves them all. It’s not just a place of fancy architecture, rich sophisticated people and a romantic tourist destination. It’s a city where people from all over have gathered and I stand with France and I grieve with them in their loss. A massive city filled with the nations is now gripped in terror and fear. My prayer for Paris is that they’d be healed and set free from fear and become a city full of the light of Christ and a place of worship for the nations.

Yes Paris hit more media attention, because it’s a “1st world country” and as bad as it sounds to admit, it wasn’t just terrorism somewhere “over there” where specifically the average American can’t relate to. It’s in our backyard so to speak, an ally, and it shook more people here in the USA. Many people have taken vacations there and strolled through Paris’ lovely streets. It was a place they could imagine themselves sitting at that cafe sipping an evening coffee with friends or attending a concert (maybe not death metal…). It’s different than the college in Kenya and very different from the awful Attacks in Lebanon. Is it right that those are often brushed aside and overlooked? No, absolutely not, but as we’ve clearly demonstrated in the USA, we’d rather discuss the color of a dress or coffee cups as our headlines. I say that with ALL the possible love in my heart for my country. But really, that’s what sells and that’s what grabs attention, not talking about (blank) far away country.

The Encouraging News

I’m encouraged in the fact that despite some criticism, the trending hashtag was #prayforParis. It doesn’t bother me one bit that people are praying for Paris. I’m thrilled that many people who maybe haven’t prayed in years or posted anything about prayer on social media jumped right in to unite in prayer. If praying for the nations and the world at large begins by praying for Paris, let it be so! If this attack then begins to open people’s eyes and hearts to search out what’s really taking place in the world then great! I don’t see any harm in everyone uniting around Paris and praying.

While other news might have been brushed aside, maybe eyes will be open and ready to pray for other places and situations. Maybe hearts will unite around other calls to prayer. Maybe hardened hearts will be more open to partnering with God’s heart for prayer. I sure hope so because the world needs more light in this dark hour. Maybe the next time radical Islamic Attacks wipe out innocent people or persecute Christians, the church at large will stop and pray and be vigilant to stand in prayer. Maybe it’ll be such a culture that we’ll all change our Facebook pictures to a globe with the prayer emoji 🙏🌍 instead of arguing about it ;-) I don’t know, but I do know prayer is needed and it is the means by which God shares His heart with us to reach a very hurting world with the hope of Jesus Christ.

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**I’m a work in progress on prayer and partnering with God’s heart for the nations. I have so much to learn, but a practical tip I use and would encourage you to do is to buy a world map. I have a large laminated one I bought for $10 at Mardel. Place it on your wall or print a 8&1/2″ x 11″ paper for your desk or bathroom mirror. Begin to ask God’s heart over certain regions or countries or cities. Listen and joy down prayer points. Look up scriptures on prayer and the nations. Ask God what your part to play is in the Great Commission. God may lay a nation or a city or even a people group on your heart that you’d never expected. Even if an event is overlooked by man, it is never overlooked by God.

Why I’m Praying for the Terrorists

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Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved loved LOVED Kenya.

The reason I fell in love is still unknown. I can’t recall how I first learned of Kenya or my first thoughts of Africa. This is how far my deep love goes back.

I was determined to save all of the African Elephants who were endangered! ;-)

Then as I grew up, became a follower of Christ and received His heart, I wanted to go to the people of Kenya.

God would orchestrate my life to pray for my beloved Kenya and one day marry a man who grew up as a missionary in Kenya.

While I’ve not technically lived there, I’ve spent about 4 months there in the past 3 years and if it were up to me, I’d be living there.

When devastating things happen there, it hurts my heart. Even though I’ve not lived there my whole life, I’ve loved Kenya most of my life.

Bloodshed of any kind is awful…I can’t think of anything more tragic than murder. Losing one’s life because of the anger and hatred of another’s soul.

Yet, for those in Christ there is hope. 

Hope in this life. AND hope in our death.

While the way we might physically die could range from peacefully in our sleep to a horrific act of torture, followers of Jesus will leave this life and enter eternity with Christ forever!

To those who don’t know Jesus, there is fear in death and an eternity spent in separation from Him.

My heart absolutely breaks for the university students, the security guards, and policeman who lost their lives in Garissa Kenya yesterday. Those who died for their faith are incredible heroes of “whom the world is not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38).

Yet there is hope. In the midst of great sorrow and pain, there is an assurance. That the blood of the saints is a sacrifice that speaks louder than death.

I’m praying for the families, friends and loved ones of those who died.

I’m praying for the other students who witnessed and walked through such trauma.

I’m praying for Kenya, that she’d be united and for the Body of Christ there to move in God’s power and in His love.

I’m also praying for the Islamic terrorist’s families.

I’m praying that they see the light of Christ through this. That somehow they wake up out of the darkness they’ve given themselves over to and find real life in Jesus.

Praying that the sorrow of losing the ones they love would draw them to a sobriety of finding real unwavering love.

I’m praying for the leaders of Al Shabaab to be convicted of their sins. To have encounters with Jesus Christ. To surrender their lives to the way of the cross.

Why?

Because while my brothers and sisters were received by Jesus into Heaven yesterday, four radical Islamic gunmen went to hell.

Sparing a radical moment of salvation in Jesus in the last breath of life, these men vowed allegiance to Allah until the end.

They are now separated eternally from Jesus…

That breaks my heart!!!!

Yes, I’m grieved and deeply saddened over the loss of these beautiful Kenyans more than I could say. And again I’m praying for those effected by this horrific event.

But my prayers are also extended to the terrorists.

Those wickedly deceived into thinking their sacrifice of life was worth something  “good”.

Two types of blood were shed yesterday.

One that pleased God, brought glory to His name through their martyrdom, and then those who gave their lives in vain without knowing Him.

I hate that this happened. I hate that there is pain and suffering in this world.

But I do not hate the terrorists.

They only killed the bodies of men, but they couldn’t kill their spirits.

These gunmen however lost their bodies AND their spirits.

I’m disgusted by the act, but moved in compassion over their souls…

The reality is that the devil doesn’t care about those serving his purposes. 

The devil is not willing to preserve their lives eternally for any good purpose. There will be no reward, no end to the suffering faced on earth for those living for him and not for God.

He used these four gunmen to try to strike fear into a nation’s heart. To try and take out God’s people and to drive others away from accepting Jesus Christ.

But he must’ve forgotten one thing.

He played this card on Easter weekend.

Right before Good Friday, the day representing Jesus’ death on the cross where He died for the sins of the world. Right before resurrection Sunday where Jesus rose from the grave having DEFEATED the devil and death!!!

I am praying that Muslims across Kenya, Somalia, and the world would come to know the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ this weekend! Praying for them to know real love. The deep life changing love only found in the one who died for their sins and sicknesses.

I am praying for the terrorists who are being used of an enemy who doesn’t care about their destruction and their end. Who have given themselves over to darkness of mind and action.

May their lives not be lived in vain and destruction.

May they not spend their eternities apart from the One who died for and loves their sinful souls…

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

Pray with me

1. That the revelation of Jesus Christ would be revealed in the terrorist’s lives and families.

2. That the love of Christ would replace shame and fear in their hearts. That His love would abound in their lives.

3. Pray for their forgiveness–that just like Jesus prayed “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”,  that grace and mercy would be extended to these and that they would call upon the name of the Lord, be forgiven and saved.

 

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”-Matthew 16:24-25

“Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” -Acts 21:13

 

The Best Unused Gift

When my husband Stephen proposed to me on safari, on the Equator, in Kenya, you’d think I would’ve caught every.single.word. that he said.

HOWEVER, because of the location where he proposed, I was preoccupied with why the ring was placed in the wild African plane for any roaming animal to stomp or tourist to steal.

Sweet Steve is on his knees pouring his heart out with a cut-out of Africa behind him and I’m only thinking, “HOW DID THAT RING GET THERE?!“.

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I managed to finally get out of the administrative part of my brain and tell him, “yes!”

I quickly found out that his buddy, Sach, who was with us placed the ring behind there right before we started taking pictures. I was shocked!

Now I had a ring with two rubies, a diamond, and yellow gold on my hand and it was a little loose. What a special gift though. I’ll have to tell the whole story of what happened with this ring later and how God spoke to me, BUT the point for now was that it was a special gift.

A symbol of our lives about to start together–forever.

No more thousands of miles separating us.

I cherished that ring and never took it off once it was sized. I clung to it the entirety of my Africa trip as to not lose it.

Yesterday as I was sitting in a church service, I heard something in my spirit unrelated to the message. I began to think about what a gift the Holy Spirit is.

To have fellowship with the SAME spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. 

To have the ability to communicate with the Father and Son and reveal all things to our spirits here on earth! WOW!

Jesus said when He left the earth that He wouldn’t leave us as orphans, or those without guidance, but that He would “come to us” (John 14:18).

TO be perfectly honest, in that moment, I was thinking about how much I’d let the BEST gift ever given to me get pushed aside recently. I clung to my wedding ring more than the gift of Holy Spirit!

How could I treat the Holy Spirit as a sideline gift while taking care of more material things like my wedding ring, my car, and other possessions? 

Friends, He is our best gift. And it is the best unused gift in this generation.

Our generation doesn’t need more material possessions or titles and positions. It needs a move of the Holy Spirit.

We have access to the greatest gift on Earth! Not to hide Him away or forget about Him, but to display Him in and through our lives. To strengthen us and reveal more of the love of the Father and Jesus to us.

Take some inventory today and ask yourself if the best gift you could ever or have ever received being used less than intended :)


 Question(s) of the day;

What measures have you taken to keep a precious gift from being lost, ruined or stolen?

How can you guard and maximize your gift of the Holy Spirit? If you haven’t received the gift of salvation start here ;

Say: “Jesus, I make You the Lord of my life. I’ve sinned against you and I receive Your cleansing blood, Your work on the cross, and Your resurrection from the dead. I turn from my sin and I give my life fully over to You. Come and live on the inside of my heart, mind, emotions and take over my will.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I love You–thank You for a new life in You! I receive Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, and Your best gift ever–Holy Spirit. Amen” :) Congratulations!!! You now have the best gift EVER AND the gift of Him being with you always and forever!

Scripture(s) of the day;

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.–John 14:26

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.–John 15:26

Worship song of the day;

#giveup40–Your Pain & His love

Easier said than done to write this post, but here I go…

While God doesn’t make bad things happen to us, we live in a fallen world and bad things will happen in life.

The challenges that come are opportunities to invite Jesus into our struggles and our trials and meet with Him in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

When we walk through challenges and overcome them with the help of Jesus, we are then able to reach out to people in a way we never could have on our own.

There are a few thing that you need to know in the midst of a challenging situation in life; 

1. God is good…always and loves you with an everlasting love. If you have this assurance of knowing Him and making Jesus the Lord of your life, His love is always available even when things are hard.

2. Someone around you is hurting and doesn’t have the assurance of Jesus’ love and peace.

I’ve found that when I’ve walked through a particular hardship, that on the other side are people that need hope in that same struggle. While I might not LIKE what I’m walking through in a given season, I know there are always other people who will benefit from my testimony in the end.

We need hope in our difficulties. The world around us needs HOPE not just for the present circumstances, but for their eternity.


Question(s) of the day;

In what ways are you walking through challenges right now?

Have you invited Jesus into your present pain?

How do you think Jesus sees your physical, emotional, & spiritual pain?

Who around you needs hope and encouragement to hold on to His promises?

Scripture(s) of the day;

 2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Colossians 1:13 – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.

Worship song of the day;

This song was written by John Mark McMillian and in the original format (below) he shares the testimony of how God met him when his friend Stephen died. “You met me in my breaking…I know that I still love You God despite the agony”…”He loves us, woah how He loves us…” This song has to this day marked me in difficult times. His love is still available in my pain.

 

What songs and scriptures have ministered to you or do minister to you in hardships?

#giveup40–You Know Me

I looked at my husband at a point today and said, “Can you read my mind?”, to which he replied, “Can you read mine?”. We both ended up chuckling because we in fact knew what the other was thinking.

Some days I make it hard on my sweet husband though.

I don’t even know what I’m thinking or what I want and/or need, so I can’t expect him to know.

There are things that I do know about myself. My favorite season is Autumn, my middle name is Kristen, I love passion fruit and chocolate. Random things like that…

But some days I learn new things about myself that I didn’t know before. Often this comes from times spent in my husband’s company or in a conversation with a friend.

Mostly I learn more about myself by spending time with my Father.

He after all is the One Who created me and knows me for who I really am.

He isn’t guessing, assuming, or basing His assessment on perceived information.

He knows the facts about me. He knows me.

AND…He knows you.

Better than you know yourself.

He knows the good, the bad, the GREAT, aaaaaaand the ugly.

He knows the plans that He created you to walk in and the unique traits, personality quirks, and giftings inside of you.

When you spend time seeking Him and desiring His will for your life, He’ll reveal the best for your life and in the process you’ll learn His heart.


 

Question(s) of the day:

Do we really believe that He knows us better than anyone else?

What ways do we believe other voices including ourselves over His truth?

What can we do to listen to His voice and truth in our lives?

Scripture(s) of the day:

Ps 139: 1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.

Song of the day:

You Know Me–by–Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger

“And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
And You are God and You don’t miss a thing”

 

Comment below on how God has been speaking to you the past couple of days.

Missed a blog? Check out the category on the right margin for “Give Up 40” and use the hashtag #giveup40 for reposting and comments.

Seeking Jesus in the New Year Pt 2

Yesterday I shared a quote that is constantly in my head thanks to my husband. “One life twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.” -C.T. Studd

This quote helps me put things into perspective for 2015. While I hope to find better health, deepen relationships, spend our finances wisely, I want to be found more in love with Jesus more than all else.

Yesterday I talked about the importance of Prayer in the New Year. Speaking to Him and cultivating His heart to be used in and through our lives.

Today I want to talk about Reaching Others :)

2. Reaching Others

Sometimes the distractions of life keep us from focusing on God and on those around us. I can attest that walking through physical challenges and life adjustments can certainly cloud your responsiveness and interactions with others.

HOWEVER, as believers and Christ followers, we are here to serve others, not ourselves. Yes we need to take care of ourselves, set healthy boundaries so that we don’t burn out, but we need to be looking to serve and love others.

Let’s look at a few ideas of how to reach others with the love of Jesus in the New Year.

1. People who already know Jesus

Just because someone knows Jesus doesn’t mean that life is peachy ;)
Matter of fact these people need encouragement to keep the faith, seek Jesus and love Him rightly. It is in times of discouragement that they need their faith renewed.

Listen to what they aren’t saying. Just because they can keep it together in front of you or smile even in midst of trials doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurting and don’t need prayer.

Remind them of the word of God, include them in social gatherings, give small gifts or gestures of encouragements through the year to remind them that you’re there for them.


Sometimes the easiest thing we can do is to send a text saying, “I’m thinking of you–how are you?” We can’t change people’s lives for them, but we can be there for them in the good and bad days.

Make it a point to pray for your brothers and sisters in the Lord and love on them. We’re in this together! :)

2. People who don’t know Jesus

People who don’t know Jesus certainly need our love and patience. We can reach out to those who are without Him by doing more than smiling and being “polite”.

We can be sensitive during the day to listen to God’s voice over someone. Sometimes people are on the brink of very difficult days and one word from God or one act of His love would change their lives for eternity, not just change their day.

Be BOLD!

Don’t shrink back in intimidation or let the time constraints of your day keep you from reaching out. If you feel you should encourage someone and be there for them, do it! Jesus wants His heart made known.

If you have daily interactions with people who don’t know Jesus, begin to get to know them! Find out their struggles, hardships and victories. Celebrate and comfort them. Invite them to your local church or your home for holidays.

Some people just feel lonely and want to feel loved and accepted. We are Jesus’ hands and feet–invite them into your world!

Pray…implement yesterday’s post and pray for those you know to receive His love. Don’t take for granted your own salvation

3. The Nations

Of course being a missionary I couldn’t skip reaching out to the nations!!! :-)

You may not be able to GO to Madagascar or any other country for that matter in 2015, BUT you can be a part of what God is doing in the nations.

If your local church is not involved in global missions, I’d recommend connecting or partnering with missionaries you might know or someone your church might be connected to.

If your church is involved in missions, one of the easiest ways is to give finances! Your church is involved in going to certain countries, partnering with certain missionaries, or doing specific projects because they believe in them! Ask your pastor/missions pastor how you can get involved beyond finances.

From working in different missions offices I can tell you, there is always something to help with! Maybe you are creative and can think about how to better promote missions in your church? Maybe you can help assemble packets for a trip or help plan a missions banquet.

However God leads you to partner with His heart for the nations, I promise it will be one of the best investments in your life in 2015!!! There is a LOT of work to be done and people are His heart.

Reach out beyond yourself and encourage others with the love of Christ this year! You’ll be thankful at the end of 2015 that you purposed to start the year off focusing on His heart and growing in love with Him.