A New Year’s Prayer

2016On December 31, 2015, New Year’s Eve, I awoke from a vivid dream in which I’d been surrounded by others at the sort of conference center that one might find in a nice hotel. A pianist was playing nice background music from the lobby, catching my attention as she began to play a familiar tune. As I began to sing, many others joined in:

God bless America, land that I love
Stand behind her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above
From the mountains, to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home

I’d sung the words as a heartfelt prayer, with my eyes closed. When I opened them there was a nice looking man standing next to me who I believe was the Lord, and He encouraged me to keep on singing. Today, as I welcomed 2016 during my quiet time, He directed me to Psalm 100 and Psalm 101:1:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music.

May 2016 be a year in which we, His people, seek Him above all else and joyfully sing His praises, for:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

May God bless all who read this, whether you are in America or in any other nation on earth, for He is there. May 2016 be a year in which you encounter Him  and His sufficiency, His grace, and His mercy in every aspect of your life.

To Be or Not to Be…

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Happy Birthday to the Standing In Faith discussion group on LinkedIn, for today we are 2 years old.  Not only that, but we welcome our 700th member, which, I must confess, completely astounds me.  I’ve pondered all day what to write in celebration of the occasion, but just couldn’t come up with anything good.  I finally decided to do what I should have done in the first place and ask the Lord (Duhhh!!!).  The easiest way to relate His answer is to simply copy the conversation from my journal….

I sit here pondering what I should write on my blog so I ask the Lord and immediately hear, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” What’s that all about Lord? What does Shakespeare have to do with this?  To be or not to be what? 

Mine.

Yeah but… I need more information.  And I hear a song…

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin, the light of the world is Jesus.

And???

Write about it.

What shall I say?

Send the light, the blessed gospel light, let it shine from shore to shore. (another song)

Lord, if you give me the words to write and I post it on my blog/group, it will go from shore to shore because you’ve grown the group internationally. 

And that was it.  I kept asking Him to embellish the message but there was no response, so I started researching the phrases to figure out how to do it myself.  I guess I’m slow, but I finally got it!  His message is so simple.  Mankind must make a decision, to be or not to be His; and though the whole world is lost in the darkness of sin, the light of the world is Jesus.  It’s a message that doesn’t need embellishment.

That simple message is what the Standing In Faith Group is all about, and my prayer is that He will shed His light around the world as we go forward into our third year.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)  For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

John 1: 1-18 (ESV)