Partakers in Prayer

Years ago, one of my sisters in the Lord made a friendship bread recipe that she shared with me; well this recipe made several batches of yeast starter that was easily divided to share with others. Pretty soon the majority of the women at CC Livingwater were baking and exchanging friendship bread. I am not sure how many women made friends, but we all enjoyed talking about how smelly the yeast starter was and how delicious the bread tasted. So we were united in this one endeavor, friendship bread.

Recently the Lord reminded me of how I partake in the lives of my sisters in the Lord through prayer. First, I was given the opportunity to witness answered prayer through two women. I don’t know these women on an intimate basis, but they are my sisters in the Lord. I hadn’t seen them for many months until one day they came back to visit the church, my heart was overjoyed to see. When they shared what the Lord did in their lives– restored marriage, I was so happy and encouraged to know the Father heard my prayers.

Currently I am reading the 3 year “Reading through the Bible plan,” we are in the book of Philippians. This book is referred to as the missionary letter because the Philippians sent Paul an offering while he was in a Roman prison. Paul founded the church on his second missionary trip. Paul had not physically visited the church for three or four years, yet the Church of Phillippi sent an offering to Paul. Thus, this letter is Paul’s response to the offering.

This leads me back to the friendship bread. I can imagine that many new converts were attending the Philippian church. Some possibly had never met Paul or had a friendship with Paul yet they found themselves encouraged throughout the four chapters of Philippians. In the first chapter, verse 3-11 there is a prayer for them. Paul’s prayer consists of:
• Thankfulness (vs 3)- “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”
• Prayer – vs 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy.
• Confident of God’s work in them – vs 5 being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
• He has them in his heart – vs 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in defense and confirmation of the gospel.
• Partakers – vs 7 you all are partakers with me in grace.
• Prayed – v9 and this I pray,
o Love – that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.
o Approve – approve the things that are excellent,
o Sincere – that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ
o Being filled – being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ.
Paul is our example of praying for the church. There are many women because of life circumstances (work, small children, care takers, illnesses) that don’t have close friendships or are in a different country that need our/your prayers. If you are thinking “I don’t know what to pray for,” Paul’s prayer serves as our example. I have so many friends that live in other countries, states and cities, yet through prayer I am connected to them. So my encouragement is don’t forget to pray for your sisters, you are a partaker in grace with your sisters in Christ.

Elsa D

God’s Got This

Can you remember a time when you felt so weak, so exhausted and overwhelmed that you couldn’t go on? Perhaps it was the result of a physical illness, the death of a loved one, or maybe a time of extraordinary mental stress. I experienced this as George and I started our vacation recently. Our trip started out exciting, we were traveling with my parents, flying from LAX to Philadelphia, and then catching our flight to Venice, Italy. Then I did the unthinkable… after placing my passport in the back of the seat in front of me, I forgot it when we left the plane in Philly. It wasn’t until we were at the next gate, ready to board the plane for Venice, that I realized I didn’t have it. In sheer panic, I ran to the counter to tell the U.S. Air agent and he called the previous gate we were at to check but the plane had already left the terminal, and was flying back to Phoenix. Heartbroken, I listened as the agent said I would not be going on this flight and heard him call someone to have our luggage removed from the plane. I told George to go on without me, I couldn’t believe this was happening. He assured me he was not going to go without me, and we practically pushed my parents onto the plane to leave without us, not knowing if we would be seeing them again in time for our cruise. Watching the plane pull away from the terminal and head for the runway just ripped my heart out. The weaker we feel, that harder we lean on God. We sat there in that area for quite a while, praying that somehow, God would work everything out.
My rubber band bracelet I was wearing caught my eye…it says GOD’S GOT THIS. I needed to remember that God is bigger than anything we were going through, and that I need to trust Him that He will work everything out. In difficult times, God has promised to undergird us with His divine strength whenever we need it. All we have to do is ask.
After making plans to get a passport photo taken and going to the State department to get a new passport in the morning, we got a call from a U.S. Air Supervisor in Phoenix at midnight that said he had my passport and they were going to fly it back to Philly in the morning, and it should arrive about 2:30pm. Praise to You, Lord Jesus! “He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
Suffice it to say that we did get my passport back, made it to Venice, surprising my parents and the rest of the family. “The Lord is the strength of my life.” Psalm 27:1. You don’t have to wait until your heart becomes overwhelmed to call on Him. He is waiting to hold you up and fill you with inner strength- during bad times and even during good times. Just call on Him!

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 is known as a psalm of David. It is said to be about David’s maturity, but also a remembrance of his youth as a shepherd. Sometimes we don’t want to remember our past, but at times God wants us to reflect on what He has done in our life.

A few months ago I heard a teaching on the Good Shepherd that has stayed with me . I marvel at the length to which the shepherd cares for his sheep. Jesus is our good shepherd. The Lord presented me with a circumstance I did not want to do, or go thru last week. I fought my emotions. But after going thru it, this message has become clear to me that as God took me back to face my past, Jesus in every possible way has been, and still is, MY shepherd. Here are some points how he shepherds. He is a………………………………..

1. Personal Shepherd –Ps 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd.” This speaks of Jehovah God. Jn10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” V-14 “I know My sheep, & am known by My own.” This speaks of a personal relationship. Do you know your shepherd’s voice? Can you say the Lord is my Shepherd?
2. Providing Shepherd-v- 2 “He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.” He is a guide. The sheep didn’t need to know where provision was; all they needed to know was where the shepherd was. He provides both our physical & emotional needs. He guides us to what we need. He provides from food to peace in our life. We will not be in want.
3. Pardoning Shepherd –v-3“He restores my soul.” He knows sheep are dumb and by nature wander. We too do the same when we get our eyes off the shepherd to what we think is greener fields. He’s a tender, loving God always ready to forgive if we confess our sins. Why? Because He cares. He is interested in every circumstance. We are important to Him. He desires intimate fellowship.
4. Protecting Shepherd –v-4 “ Though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For YOU are with me.”The The shepherd slept at the door so no animal could cross into the fold to get the sheep unless they didn’t go thru him first. Our shepherd never leaves us. Guzik states,”Yet when following the LORD as shepherd, one may still walk thru troubled and fearful times. It is the conscious presence of our Lord as shepherd that makes it bearable”
5. Preparing Shepherd –v-5 “You prepare a table before me.” He’s inviting you to the table as host, cleansing and refreshing you. Despite the dangers , David writes here we can enjoy the richness of our host’s goodness.The psalm ends with assurance that we will enjoy the presence of the LORD forever. In OT times, to eat and drink at ones table created a bond .So to be God’s guest is to be more that an aquaintence, invited for a day. It is to live with Him. Reflect on your life and allow the Lord to show you the numerous times He has guided, provided, pardoned, protected and prepared for you . Praise and thank Him for being your GOOD SHEPHERD.

-Zelda

Unchangeable

Hebrews 13:8 was painted on the sanctuary wall of the church I attended as a child. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” In a world where it’s difficult to keep up with the changes that impact our lives, it’s comforting to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ does not change. Unlike my cell phone and car, a new improved model will not be coming out later this year.

Do you recall when God revealed Himself to Moses? God wants to reveal himself to you. He doesn’t change, He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do you recall when God comforted Hannah’s broken heart? God wants to comfort you. He doesn’t change, He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do you remember when God delivered Israel from captivity? What’s holding you captive? God wants to set you free. Remember, He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do you remember when God fulfilled His promise and gave Abraham and Sara a son? What has God promised you? Do you believe God is faithful and that He’ll fulfill His promises? Let me remind you God doesn’t change, He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do you remember how God protected Noah and his family during judgment? God wants to protect you from the judgement that is yet to come. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do you remember that God didn’t leave Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego alone in a burning fiery furnace? God desires to be with you through your trials because He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

The more I learn about who Jesus is, the more I want to know Him. I know He’ll never disappointed me, because he doesn’t change. I’m amazed at how Great our God is. He’s Faithful. He’s Loving. He’s Forgiving. He’s Kind. He’s Gentle. He’s Righteous. He’s Our Defense. He’s our Comfort. He’s Our Deliverer and so much more.

Today, my encouragement to you is to know God. Spend time in the Word of God and ask God to reveal Himself to you. I’m confident you’ll learn that, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

-Micah E