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A Prayer for my Sons -Acts 18: 24-28

 22.1.16



In Acts 18:24-28 we read of Apollo, a man who labored with Paul to serve God and the saints in the primitive church, and who stood faithful to his calling to the end. The Lord has drawn me to read this passage several times lately and after mediating on it, I have made it a prayer for my sons (and my daughters' future husbands).

Father, I pray for my sons, for these men. Thank you because they have grown before You and grown in You.

Lord, I pray for them, for no matter where they are or how old they are, I will never cease to struggle in prayer for them before you. I know that you are the God who hears, who sees, who answers the prayers of your children.

I pray for my sons -and future sons-in-law- Father, that they will be eloquent and competent in the Scriptures, that they will understand that the only way to win arguments and hearts, and battles is with the Word abiding in them and working in them. Father, draw them to your Word and let it dwell richly in them.

Father, in your grace and kindness you have granted me and my husband the privilege and honor to instruct our sons in the Scriptures since their early years. Now they have become Men, now it is only You and them. Now it is my time to watch them, like robust trees, bear much fruit in their life. It is only You who through your Spirit, the Word, and your church, that can establish them, and make their roots stronger and deeper; only You can make them bear much fruit, only You can make them bold and zealous, and fearless -and humble.

I pray for my sons, Lord. I pray that they will be fervent in spirit, that they will speak and teach accurately all things concerning Jesus and the gospel. I pray that their lives will match the words of Truth that come out of their mouths.

I pray for my sons, Lord. I pray that they may speak boldly in the church, in their homes, in the corners, in the public square; but that as they grow in boldness, I pray that they will grow in humility. For what is a bold man without a humble spirit and a teachable heart other than a tyrant and a prideful man? Oh, Lord, Good Master, give my sons good teachers and friends, and pastors and elders, and the desire to humble before them to learn. Give my sons friends that will be like iron in their lives, friends that will encourage them to grow in piety and that will be good examples to follow, to imitate. Give my sons feet to follow the counsel of the wise and boldness to reject the one from the wicked. Give my sons eyes and ears to listen to all, and discernment to judge according to your Word. Help them consider all the "ifs" of this life through your Word. And at the same time, Lord, I beg you, make of them good examples for others to follow. Make their lives worth imitating.

Draw my sons more to you, and to your Word so that they may grow in grace. Father, as they grow in grace give them a desire to help greatly those who have believed in you. Help my sons to grow in grace so that when the opposition comes, when the arguments of the evil men arise, they will powerfully refute them. I pray that all the days of their lives, they will not cease to see it for themselves and show in the Scriptures to others that Christ is our Savior.

I pray for my sons, Lord, I pray that they will love You and your Word more, so that they might be able to love their own wives more and more.

I pray in the name of Jesus who lives and reign forever and ever,

Amen.



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And the Winner is!

 19.12.15


And the winner of the promised devotional, Dear Pilgrim by Diana Lovegrove is EJN!

Thank you to those who participated!

Have a most blessed Lord's Day!


Grace and peace,




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An Interview with Author Diana Lovegrove -and a Giveaway-

 12.12.15

Buy here.
I am so very happy to introduce you to a wonderful devotional book that is clearly steeped in the Scriptures: Dear Pilgrim by my dear friend Diana Lovegrove.

So, dear friends, grab a cup of tea and enjoy this interview with my Diana Lovegrove.

B-Why this devotional: Dear Pligrim: A Series of Exhortations and Encouragements

Diana -First of all, I want to thank you, Becky, for inviting me to this interview and allowing me to visit your beautiful blog. May the Lord richly bless you!

Pilgrim began with a visit to the mountains. We so easily focus downwards, on what is around us, our circumstances, and our eyes get drawn down. But the Lord showed me the importance of us having a heavenly perspective, of making an ascent or Aliyah – going up! As I started reading in the Word of those occasions when our eyes are lifted up, it became clear that the Lord brings revelation at those times. And it is through revelation that our God transforms our lives.

As I continued writing and following themes throughout the Scriptures, I discovered that no matter where I began, or what topic I was looking at, I was always led to Christ, to look up to Him, to feed from Him. So every chapter is, in essence, an ascent. And from there, from that place on the mountain peaks, we gain the strength and perspective to continue our journey in grace and righteousness, even if that journey takes us to the lowest valleys. For He tells us that “the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven” (Deuteronomy 11:11). If we’ve been on the mountain top with Him, we can go with strength into the valley below, knowing that the valley also drinks in the rain from heaven. As we grow in our understanding of the depths of the riches of our inheritance in Him, the light on our path becomes brighter and the honey in His Word becomes sweeter. Through Pilgrim I wanted to encourage others to see the riches that are ours in Christ, riches that we can enjoy today in our walk with Him, being made whole in Him, and to exclaim and delight in those truths together!

B- When and how did your pilgrimage begin? 

Diana  -I was brought up in a church-going family and regularly attended an Anglican church. Lots of ritual, and lots of good behavior. But I never understood that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. My dad was killed in a car crash when I was 13 years old, and we drifted away from church after that. I never stopped believing in God, but I lost my way in finding Him. I became interested in New Age thinking, and even encouraged my mum to take up Transcendental Meditation. I was 20 when the Lord finally opened my eyes to the beauty of the gospel message. I’d been away at university for a term, and when I returned home for Christmas, I was struck by the difference I saw in my mum’s behavior. Whilst I’d been away, she had become a Christian. The change I saw in her life drew me to find out more about Jesus, and when a friend of hers explained the gospel to me, I repented of my sins and believed in Him. 



B -What has been the hardest thing to learn in your pilgrimage?

Diana 
-To die. I spent the first 18 years of my Christian walk going round and round in a circle of despair. It was the most frustrating experience, and I had severe bouts of depression. I was filled with guilt and condemnation. I knew that God loved me, and had forgiven me, yet I couldn’t seem to walk in that truth, and I kept trying to earn His love for me and failing miserably. Looking back, I can see I hadn’t died. The cross had not slain me. I had crossed the Red Sea and had escaped from Egypt, but I hadn’t yet crossed the Jordan to enter into a land flowing with milk and honey, the place of inheritance. I was going round and round in circles in the wilderness. Praise God, He used our time of malnourishment in a seeker-sensitive church to draw me to search for the gospel message in all its fullness, and when my eyes were finally lifted up to behold the Lord in all of His glory, I died - and I have to continue to die every day. There is a passage in Luke 13:10-13 which tells of a woman crippled by a spirit and bent over for 18 years. Jesus came and touched her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. This could be my own testimony, including the length of time she was crippled and bent over! I can’t wait to meet this woman in glory one day!

B -What has been the most joyful?

Diana
-To walk in assurance of His love and forgiveness, whatever the circumstances, whatever the difficulties, that is a place of deep joy, blessing and of peace. To be at peace with God, the Creator of the Universe, the Holy, Holy, Holy God….to be reconciled to Him, all because of what His Son accomplished for us, to be free of condemnation - there is no better state. The devil will seek to kill, to destroy, to rob us of that joy – and admittedly there are times when I am shaken, and despair threatens to creep back in. But the moment I lift my eyes, the very moment - nothing can take away the assurance He brings through His Spirit. And then to discover that the inheritance He has for us is a land flowing with milk and honey….what provision He has made for us…I have tried to capture that joy in Pilgrim as He has revealed some of that abundance to me.

B -What has sustained you through it?

Diana
  -He has! In my darkest moments, I was intent on self-destructing. I had pushed God away, and I had completely isolated myself from those around me. It makes me tremble now to recall how cold I was towards those who loved me. Yet He never let go of me. More than that, He pursued me. He sought me out and He rescued me from the prison of my despair. And He continues to sustain me. Time and again, He reveals to me the weakness of my flesh – which makes me more desperate to cling to Him. He provides everything I need to keep on keeping on. 



B  -How is it important to have faithful companions in our pilgrimage?

Diana 
-I don’t believe God ever intended for us to pilgrimage alone, and yet so many of us have this mistaken view that all that matters is our own individual walk with the Lord. That was my own mindset. But it is not true – God’s purposes are much greater than that! I have been so blessed by my husband, Peter. His love of the Lord, and his faithful love to me over the years has never wavered. He has been such a firm rock and support to me. And then the Lord has brought along friends in the Lord to encourage. I must make mention of Liz, who wrote one of the chapters in Pilgrim. The Lord brought her into my life when I was still trying to find my way out of despair, and He used her faith-filled words of counsel to encourage me to look up, to reach out for a touch from Him. When someone knows their God, has spent time in His presence because of the revelation He has given them of Himself, it affects the way they see things, their language, everything. There is an aroma of Christ about them. People have testified as to how they have found Dear Pilgrim to be warm and encouraging – this is because it reflects the warmth and encouragement that my own ears have heard from those around me who have exhorted and encouraged and comforted me in the Lord.

And then the local church – truly, we have been so blessed as a family through our church, Gateway Christian Fellowship, in Yateley. This small fellowship came together almost 4 years ago, and we have grown so much in our walk and understanding of the Lord since then. Our dear pastor, Tom Chacko, and his wife, Dorothy, pour themselves out for us as a fellowship. Tom’s heart, reflecting the heart of the Lord, is that we will learn to walk together as a community of believers, being involved in one another’s lives during the week and not just on Sunday. We are gradually learning this, and we are beginning to taste the firstfruits of the richness this brings to us as a fellowship.

B -I know you love to sing, to play the guitar, and to compose music (and poetry!) for our God. What role has music had in your pilgrimage?

Diana
  -I began writing songs when I was in despair, and whenever I sang those angst-filled songs, I would remind myself of my misery. It is such a blessing instead to be able to write songs of praise to the Lord that we sing in our fellowship! Songs that take our focus away from ourselves and onto Him! As a fellowship we were recently blessed when one lady wrote a beautiful poem called “All to His glory” that I was able to set to music – and this is inspiring others in our fellowship to write – the children are now writing their own songs too!

B. Where are you heading now in your pilgrimage?



Diana
  -We are currently in a season as a family where I am working part time as an accountant to enable my husband to retrain from teaching into accountancy, and also devote time to serving the local fellowship through teaching the Word and the other duties he has as a deacon. We also have some important decisions to make regarding the schooling of our son, Harry, as it is our hope that Peter will begin homeschooling Harry next year. We are also excited to see where the Lord takes us as a church fellowship. Whatever we do, wherever the Lord leads us, we need to spend time with Him on the mountains so that He can supply us with all we need to walk in the good works He has prepared in advance for us.

*******

Thank you, dear Diana, for taking the time to share with us more about you, your pilgrimage, and your book.

Now let me share with you about the giveaway of this beautiful devotional book! To enter, please leave a comment here, and if you feel inclined to do so, share this interview on social media for extra chances to win.

I will announce a winner next Saturday, December 19 (the draw will happen Friday, December 18 at 7:00 PM CT).

Grace and Peace,


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The Forgotten Role of Women

 3.12.15

Simeon and Anna Praise the Infant Jesus by Arent de Gelder

We have read of all the many and different roles Christian women have. We know of the stay at home mom, the faithful wife, the single woman, the teacher, the counselor, the friend, the writer, the one who is always there to encourage others, the one who is always willing to serve, the first to come and the last to leave-, etc. We need all of these women in the church and we need the gifts God has given each one of us to help us grow and become more Christ-like.

However, I have seen that there is one role that is many times forgotten among women. We don't talk about it; we forget how much we need it and how much we should strive for it. That is the role of women who intercede, who live in the face of God, who can say, like the psalmist, "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere." (Psalm 84:10)

This week as I was reading Luke, the account of Anna touched me deeply. Look at it with me: Anna was an eight-four years old widow (she was only married for seven years), and Luke tells us that, "she did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day." And on an specific day and hour, the day and hour Jesus was presented in the temple, she came to the temple and  "began to give thanks to God and speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel." (Luke 2:36-38). Anna was a woman who was not thinking too much about what was she supposed to be doing with her life in the midst of her circumstances, she chose the best part -just like years later Mary would choose (Luke 10: 38-42), she was happy to be a woman of who loved being with God. Anna did exactly what I want to practice doing more and more, she worshiped God, she gave thanks, she prayed, she fasted. She waited. And her waiting was not in vain, she saw her Savior, her prayers were answered, her reward came.

How much do we hear of women exhorting women to become women who are faithful intercessors?

Young women, start now. Start in the midst of your circumstances, start in the early morning hour before going to school. Start now, on the commute to your job. Start now, while you cook breakfast and dinner for your husband. Start now, while changing diapers and organizing closets. Start now. Start today, don't wait until you are older to become a woman who values intercession. Don't wait until the hard trials come. Don't wait until the well of your soul dries up. Pray now. We need your prayers and you need your prayers.

Is your nest starting to look empty? Is mid-life staring at you on the face? Are you still waiting for *that* promise? This is the place to start. Start praying. Pray more. Pray faithfully. Pray with thanksgiving. Pray without ceasing. Pray to the God who hears. Pray with hope. Pray waiting for an answer. Pray big prayers to a big God.

I love to see that Anna's prayer life was not something that was kept locked inside a closet. Notice that Anna came out of the temple, the place where she would meet with God, and because she had seen her Savior there, she was able to speak of Him to those who were in need. A rich prayer life leads to a rich life with others.

Note that she was not a teacher -I love to teach and I love teachers, but this is not what Anna does here-. She spoke God's words to those in need, she spoke about Jesus, the Spoken Word, the Incarnate Word of God. You cannot have a true woman of prayer if you don't have a woman who loves the Word and abides in the Word, and studies the Word and meditates and prays the Word. And when you have a woman like this, you want to be close to her. She will speak words of hope, words that promise a redemption to those around her. She will reach out and give the Word.

This Advent season pray that you may pray more. Wait before Him in quietness and prayer, and then go out and share Jesus and His Word with those around you.

Under His sun and by His grace,




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Heavy Hearts With Big Prayers

 28.11.15

This year I am more ready for Advent than any other year. I actually started a couple of weeks ago to dig in through the Gospel of Luke and I really hope to finish sometime around the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.

As I was reading through Luke 1 when the birth of Jesus was foretold by the angel Gabriel to Mary (vv.26-38), I had to stay there a bit longer -a day longer actually- to really take in something that I had not seen before.

When the angel told Mary that she had already found favor in God's eyes and was going to have a child who would be the Savior of the world, Mary's heart sank because of the bigness of the promise. "How will it be, since I am a virgin?" She asked, and the angel responded saying that she had to do nothing else than to believe the promise and carry it within her. God, the Holy Spirit, would come upon her and overshadow her with the power of the Most High, and therefore the promise would be fulfilled and have a name (I love that *therefore* on verse 35). Do you see it? How we need to dare to hear and to ask "How will it be?" and then, after you ask, trustfully rest and wait on the God who keeps His promises.

The promise was too big to bear for Mary, -and honestly, too big to be believed, but at the same time she didn't have to do anything else other than believe and carry the promise within her until the fullness of time (oh, Waiting, how sanctifying you are!). Because God had decided to look on Mary with favor, because He had promised the Promise, because God's Holy Spirit was overshadowing her and giving her the gift of faith to believe, because it was His doing, *therefore* she was able to believe, to carry the weight of the promise, to wait and see the fulfillment all the way through. She not only saw and felt the baby growing in her womb, she delivered the baby and laid Him on the manger, she saw Jesus grow and saw Him being betrayed and hanging on the Cross. But she was there also to see Him conquer Death. She was given the gift to believe God's Promise, the big promise, the heavy promise. Calvin said that we, Christians,  have one thing in common with Mary, and that is Grace. Grace! What else do we need in the longing, in the waiting, in the meantime?

This Advent I want to pray that God will grant me the same gift of faith that Mary had. My heart, like that of Mary's sometimes asks when I am facing a promise too good and too big to believe, "How will this be...?" But at the same time, I want to join Mary and hang onto the Promise and carry it within me until the time of its fulfillment comes. And I know that I can do that because God's Holy Spirit has been given to me to believe. He helps my unbelief.

Think of this, which is harder to believe, that God's Holy Spirit will overshadow a virgin woman and have her conceive the Savior of the world, or God saving your own child, or giving you that child you long for, or that job, or that husband, or that friend, or that reconciliation you have been praying about? Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. The angel of the Lord said before departing from Mary, "For nothing will be impossible with God." His promises are true and firm and never change because He is both, the Promise Giver and the Promise Keeper.

Someone said, "God's promises claim us, we don't claim them" and, Oh, how I agree with that! If we are His children, we have already found favor in His eyes. We have been given Jesus, the Promised One,  and with Him we have received faith to believe all of His promises which are true, all of them are yes and amen. Just say "yes" to his promises, He will bring them to pass.

This Advent I want to pray big and believe big. I don't want to be doubtful and not dare to believe that God wants to save many, to reconcile many, to give husbands and wives, and children to his people, and healing, and good jobs, and endurance, and joy, and forgiveness of sins,  and more faith, and more perseverance and patience. I want to embrace the promises as much as they are embracing me and wait expectantly to see their fulfillment.

I pray that as you read this, you won't think that I am foolishly embracing the "claim-it, get-it" unbiblical approach to God's promises (the so called Prosperity Gospel). No. Not all. But at the same time, I think that we, hardcore Calvinists, Sound-Doctrine-Lovers, need to wake up and see the Promise-Giver with open hands and stop trying to see if that promise "fits" in our perfect-by-the-book-theology, we need to learn how to receive His promises and believe in His goodness as much as we believe in His Sovereignty. How we need to embrace His promises by faith and believe His Word, and pray over it and wait to see how God will fulfill each one of His promises. We don't dare to pray eagerly for the lost, for example, trusting that God can and wills to save them because of the "what if they are not elect" that is always present in our minds. How often do we dare to pray for the big things in concrete big ways?  Oh, how easily we forget that God is big and His promises are big and His grace is big! I will pray big prayers and trust that God can bring big promises to pass.

May our hearts this Advent be heavy with many big prayers and big promises. May the Holy Spirit come upon us and overshadow us so that we may believe and wait.

Under His sun and by His grace,


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Who is Becky?

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Becky
If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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