Tonight in the final calm of the day, the outdoors softened and quieted by blankets of snow, I heard your voice loud and clear. “With the right Spirit, or not at all.” Over and over, the words came — a phrase cutting right to my heart. I could the correction in your voice. My walk became about me. Seeking attention. The farthest from humble. What led my heart astray I’ll never know. Other desires silently came flooding in. I left myself unguarded and soon this Holy Spirit vessel was diluted by something like unholy water. Impurities clouded my vision and washed me off your path. But Lord, as you so often do, you taught me through my own failures. Before I share my testimony, before I share my faith, I have to be sure my heart is soft, my purposes are genuine, and you receive the glory. “With the right Spirit, or not at all. With the right Spirit, or not at all. ” Those words burned forever on my heart.
On the mountain pass, just before daybreak, I found you alone in prayer. I passed your followers a ways down the trail, still slumbering around a dying camp fire. By mistake I managed to find your holy ground while out searching for my own place to offer thanks to God for my blessings and then watch the sunrise. As I came nearer, I heard your Spirit speak to me. I put my blanket down at your side and prayed. An overwhelming peace came over me, as though I was in the presence of God himself. I felt so much love and my words came so easy. I don’t how much time passed, but I felt the sun rise and its sharp glare begin to warm my skin. When you said amen, I lifted my head and saw your eyes full of tears. “Thank you for making my morning prayers a blessing,” you said. All I could think to say was “Amen.” I watched you walk back down the pass, and like a little lost lamb, I followed after.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord,
As twilight comes down and the color drains from the world, I offer my gratitude to you for being with me throughout the entire day. You kept watch over me and my family, as I prayed this morning, and presented no challenges too great for me to weather. I offered myself as a living sacrifice. I humbled myself. I did not give in to temptations. I shared your love with whomever I saw. You provided me clothing and warmth and food, and there was enough money to supply me with other needs. I am thankful for my house and honored to call it a Christian home. My few possessions are truly valueless compared to your eternal love.
I will lay myself down to sleep soon and I ask that you extend your protection over me into the night. I ask that you watch over my children and provide them with the same blanket of safety and care. I ask that if any dreams are given me that they somehow be prophetic or honor your kingdom in some way. I pray that when I rise, you are first on my mind, and that I can spend another day in pursuit of your own heart. I am so blessed to be yours, Lord. Amen.
Blessings be upon you. My children … my flesh and blood. May the Lord pour out his steadfast love over you and lead you in his ways.
I pray for you everyday. Before the morning breaks, I am at my window on my hands and knees praying for you. At the close of day, I can be found in the same way, in the same place, saying more prayers asking him to lead you to his heart.
I have but three children and two of you are well on your way to him. The other believes because I do. I ask the Lord everyday that he strengthen and embolden each of you to receive his saving grace and to feel his eternal love. For the longest time, part of me wanted this for you so you would understand me and how the Lord changed my life. But now I see the error of my ways. My ego fell away some time ago and now my hope for you is as simple as wanting you to feel his Spirit in you as I do.
I led the youngest of you to Christ. The oldest … it was your first visit to a church service where I watched you step out in front of hundreds of people and walk down front to the pastor to give your life to the Lord. I wasn’t a follower then – so close, but not yet. The Lord was just beginning to call my name then. My middle child – my son – you have it in your heart to believe, I know, but aren’t just there yet. I pray fervently that he overtakes you – that you begin to see all your blessings and gifts.
Here were are some six years later, now on a much deeper path. You all have Bibles and crosses in your bedroom. At least one of you is stepping into your God-given gift of vision or perhaps prophecy. Your hearts are opening. I pray that will continue – that his light will pour into your hearts. I pray, I pray, I pray! I put it in the Lord’s hands, everyday. He has your names in his book. All three. Amen.
My room is protected by your image. On your cross, you hang in sheer agony. Hands and feet pierced. Your head rests on your shoulder, your crown positioned so its thorns won’t pierce your skin. In this recreation, your body is gold and there is no blood to be seen. You appear to be resting or even relaxed, but as a follower I know you are locked in the most intense spiritual battle against Satan himself and the ranked demons of his principalities. I choose this relic to rest above my door as a daily reminder of your sacrifice and to keep demons out. But in my heart is where you reside as my true protection. If this cross somehow became real wood beams and I was suddenly at your feet, among all your other followers, would I close my eyes in fear? Would I run away from the hurt of seeing you in such pain. Or would kneel face down in worship, celebrating your eventual victory of death. Lord, I don’t know the answers except for the certainties that come through you. You are the way, the truth and the life. I will keep my cross on the wall and wonder at your courage and sacrifice. Not just a son —but God’s son — who descended into death for the forgiveness of the filth I bring into this world.
Thrown down from the heights of Heaven, the dragon preys on us. He breathes an overwhelming fire that consumes us on the battlefield, but even more cunningly in our homes. He causes distrust between husband and wife and brings them to war with one another. Children disobey the guidance and loving parents and choose the ways of the world over anything holy. In our prayers, he distracts us — subtly offering reminders of our terrible sins and bringing up the guilty feelings in us. We feel unworthy and we break off into lost thought. Only a knight sealed in the full armor of God can stand firm in his hell breath. Swinging the Sword of the Spirit, we can decapitate our enemy the accuser. Give me the strength to lop off his head, O’ Lord. Brace my feet and steel my heart for his charge. Let me be precise with your word. Let my sword be swift and sharp.
Break these strongholds that bind me to my sins.
Wrists and ankles affixed to the ground,
the noon sun stings my flesh.
The twilight will bring relief,
but the night animals will soon smell me out.
I’ll be defenseless.
So Lord, please,
I pray you recognize my repentance.
I am not just sorry for what I’ve done.
My heart has changed.
Shatter these thick chains that keep me down.
Give me the strength to rip free from this dry earth.
Let me run into the night shouting your praises.
Unchained, unafraid, uninhibited, freed, forgiven …
I will never forget my imprisonment.
Left to die by the evil one
out here in the wilderness.
Only you protect me.
Only you care to.
Poor fishermen, harlots, tax collectors, former zealots and reformed murderers were among those you lifted you up. Leading a band of the dejected, you went into places that the “Godly” shunned. That alone was evidence enough of your amazing love and grace, but you did so much more.
Raised the dead
Brought life those deceased in spirit.
Lord, when I think of all you did for me and who you used as your instruments, I drop my head. I close my eyes. I fall to my knees. Tears begin to pool. I am at your feet, at the cross. Undeserving to even speak your name, and yet mine is on your lips – and has been before I was born and will be for all eternity. I am part of your traveling band. A sinner … but a forgiven one.
Come and see how we live. I lead but one household of the Christian faith, but please come take a look inside. Before dawn, in the first light of a new day, I’m on my knees in prayer or reading scripture by lamplight. My children sleep in rooms protected by holy scripture and the sign of the cross. We pray together before meals and set out filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in the warmth of His light. At times we feel secluded and untouched by the outside world – uninterested in the events of the day.
Every need we have is met, and every fear is condemned with prayer. We put the Lord on our hearts and he draws us so close to one another that we can discuss what other families do not, with a surprising realness that’s not common for families now. We close out the day in prayer, offering our gratitude for our blessings and the events of the day – whether positive or negative – and we cover those around us in God’s love. Come sit with us or join us at the table and feel how different life like this feels. With Christ in the lead … how beautiful it is to let him go before you and clear the way. If you won’t believe, then come and see.
It is error to read God’s word and then say “I think” or “I believe.” The only way to reference His word is to use phrases like “The Bible tells us” or “Scripture says.” Our opinion is not relevant to man and especially not to our Lord. His word is not conjecture. He gives us moral absolutes to live by, not to twist or adapt to society’s codes. With Jesus in our hearts, we are to love and offer ourselves as living sacrifices. God’s word instructs how to do this – and it does not confuse.