Thursday, August 17, 2017

Baby Eli: A Precious One-Month Smilestone!!

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward."
Psalm 127:3
(KJV)

In my last post, I shared two of the many times God has laid a heaviness upon my heart to pray,
even though I wasn't sure for whom or what I was praying.
One of the times I mentioned was the night before I found out my niece, Kristen,
who was expecting a baby boy, collapsed in the ER from a blood clot in her lung.
Many of you have followed Kristen's journey, and you have fervently prayed for her and her precious baby, and you are already aware that last month, God answered our many prayers!

Little Eli was born, perfectly healthy and beautiful and just amazing,
and his sweet Mommy came through the C-section delivery just fine.
Oh, how we have praised our dear Lord for this amazing answer to prayer!!!
He is SO worthy of all praise, and He has proven, once again, that there is nothing too hard for Him.

Recently, little Eli and his grateful family celebrated his ONE-MONTH BIRTHDAY!!!!


Isn't he just a living doll????
What a little sweetheart!!

Also, MORE GREAT NEWS!!!!
Kristen had a CT Scan yesterday, and guess what, dear friends??
The blood clot in her lung is GONE, praise God,
and she was able to go off the blood-thinning shots!!!!
We cannot praise God enough for the amazing miracles He has performed!!!

Precious Eli and his Mommy, Kristen

Every time I think of all God has brought these two through,
my heart just fills to overflowing with praise to the God Who can do anything!!!!
Praise His wonderful name!!!

Kristen, so graciously gave permission for me to share some photos of the little birthday guy
and their sweet dog, Harley!

Be still, my heart!!
This is SO adorable!


Such a happy, little guy!


Have you ever seen anything so cute??


So many times, I have to break down and cry as I praise the dear Lord for the mercy He has extended to my dear family and me.
How we praise Him for the precious, dear, sweet gift of baby Eli, now one month old!!!

I just wanted to share an update on him for all of you prayer warriors who have helped to 
pray us through!!

So many times, I have come here, so heavy-hearted and desperate for God's help,
and I have asked you, dear friends, to pray.
So many times, in answer to my plea, you have taken our burdens as your own,
and you have bombarded Heaven for my family and loved ones and me,
and you have reached the throne of God and touched His heart on our behalf.

It gives me so much joy to share the results of the prayers YOU have prayed!!!

I want to encourage you today.
Whatever you need can be found in the Source of all of our strength.
God is still alive and well, and He is still listening for the prayers and cries of His children.

"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers..."
I Peter 3:12

I am now working on a post that will be entitled "According to your faith",
where I, once again, delve into the subject of prayer.
I hope to share it with you soon....we have had a lot going on in our family and lives,
and there hasn't been a lot of time for blogging lately.
God knows when the time is right for a particular post,
so, stay tuned!!

May He bless each one of you, meet all of your current needs,
and keep each one of your hearts turned towards Him.

I love and appreciate each one of you,
I cherish each comment you leave here,
and I am praying for every, single person who will ever read these words.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

When God Says Pray, & Why We Should Never Ignore That

"Pray without ceasing."
I Thessalonians 5:17
(KJV)

Before I begin this post, I wanted to ask you to please pray for the family of a young woman who was killed in a one-car traffic accident.
Her little 2-year old son was in the back, unhurt.
I can't imagine the pain in the hearts of this family, and I know they would greatly appreciate your prayers during this sad time.

*****************************************

This is the amazing, beautiful view outside the home of our nephew, David, and his wife, Stacie.
I could literally sit and take in this view for hours.
My eyes...and heart...are drawn to the far, distant hills, and to the God Who created them.

Those of you who have been reading Homespun Devotions for a while,
know that a little over five years ago, God called my mother home to Heaven.

Losing her, and Dad, nearly twelve years before her, has been beyond hard.
I will miss them forever.
Anyone who has lost their parent(s) can attest that there is nothing on earth that can fill that kind of void.

We never had much in the way of money or worldly wealth while I was growing up.
But, even though we struggled, financially, Mom and Dad possessed and passed on something to me that is greater than any monetary treasure they could have ever bestowed.

Mom and Dad taught me how to pray.

Prayer was observed as the first resource in our home.
Through their example, and by means of their normal behavior,
Mom and Dad never made prayer their last resort.
If one of us or another loved one was sick, we prayed.
If we were broke, we prayed.
If we needed food, we prayed.
If the car wouldn't start, we prayed.
When Dad's prospective employer was hesitant about hiring him, due to his health problems,
we prayed.
During the treacherous Ohio blizzard of 1978, we prayed.
If we couldn't pay a bill, we prayed.
We prayed about everything.
We went to hospitals and nursing homes, and we prayed...for people who were sick, lonely, and depressed.
We rarely missed Wednesday night "prayer meeting".
We gathered together in our living room, at the end of each day,
and we all three prayed an individual prayer out loud around our family altar.

I learned, early on, that circumstances were often rearranged when we would pray.
Mountains that seemed to be immovable were brought low and conquered.
It didn't take me long to realize that, within the life of a Christian,
prayer is not just a tool, it is a weapon that, when properly wielded,
will absolutely turn the tide.

Mom and Dad's prayerful influence and daily, consistent encouragement to pray
has had a lasting, permanent effect upon the person, wife, and mother I have become.
Prayer is an integral part of who I am.
It is woven through so many fibers of my being that, it seems,
 I hardly know when I stop praying and when I start up again.
God and I are having a conversation the biggest part of the time,
and prayer keeps me in close proximity to Him.
We seldom stop communicating....and even when we do stop talking,
it is there, in the back of my mind.
Always flowing...ongoing.
My prayer life is a precious thing to me, and I say that, not with haughtiness or boastfulness,
but with much love and respect for Jesus in my heart.

Now that I am married, thankfully to a man who also loves to pray,
Kevin and I endeavor to make our home a house of prayer.
In addition to individual prayers, we believe it is vitally important to have regular family worship...
the three of us...together....like Mom, Dad, and I used to do.
A lot of "stuff" comes to the surface during those times of all three of us listening to each other
pray out loud.
One of my greatest desires, as a mother, has always been to ingrain a quality of prayer into the fiber of Zach.

The other night, it hit me how automatic prayer has become in our lives as a family.
Kevin had to work, and Zach and I were on our way to Bible Study.
We started listening to the radio, and all of a sudden I felt a strong sense of needing to pray.
So, I asked Zach if he minded, and, bless his heart, this boy who loves to pray about as much as his Mama, quickly turned the radio off.
He was all in.
We prayed...and prayed...and prayed...nearly the whole 40-45 minutes there.
If he needed to add something, he would pipe up and start praying,
and I would stop, then I would resume again when he was done, etc.
This is something that is happening more often, as Zach grows and matures.
I can't put into words how precious those times are to me.
Not only to have that beyond-dear time with this boy in prayer,
but to be reminded, once again, what a habitual and instinctive force prayer has become in our lives.

There is no way to measure the value and power of effectually and fervently
wielding the weapon of prayer.


If video doesn't load, click here.
Written by Charles & Ira Louvin

In the posts found herehere, and here, I have been talking about spiritual warfare and how important it is to memorize the Word of God, so our Sword stays steadily sharpened.
Prayer is also a vital component of God's strategy for us to win the ongoing battles in this spiritual war.

When the Apostle Paul wrote instructions concerning our need to put on the whole armor of God
in Ephesians 6:11-18, he put strong emphasis upon prayer, after he had named off several individual pieces of armor that we should put on.
In verse 18 he says this,
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."

Jesus spent much time in prayer when He was on the earth,
even spending all night in prayer and rising very early so He could be alone to pray.

Wouldn't you have loved to hear some of the heart-wrenched prayers He prayed?
Every, single one of His prayers were fervent, and they were effectual.
I have no doubt.

Jesus Christ realized how valuable it was for Him to stay connected to His Father at all times.
Therefore, He took the necessary time to make sure He fit that communion into His day,
even if it meant giving up sleep, comfort, and ease.
It was just that important to Him.

Shouldn't it be to us?

"And He (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end,
that men ought always to pray, and not to faint..."
Luke 18:1

We've probably all seen the plaque at some point throughout life.
"Prayer Changes Things"
If I remember correctly, I think the first time I saw it was on my prayer-warrior Papaw's living room wall.
Papaw prayed more than anyone I have ever personally known.
Each morning, he rose early, in order to find time to spend interceding to God for his family,
the congregation he pastored, and the many needs presented to him by others.
Seeing that plaque on his wall is a vague memory, but the message stuck.

When my sister, Sandi, called and told me my niece, Kristen, who was expecting a baby and also suffering from a blood clot in her arm, had driven herself to the ER and collapsed after getting there, then found out a blood clot was in her lung, I'll admit that not just a "normal" fear, but full-blown terror gripped my heart.
And, what was astonishing to me, at the time, was that the night before this phone call, I had felt an overpowering, pressing burden to pray.
I remember telling Kevin and Zach that I needed to pray, and it needed to be NOW.
I didn't even know who or what exactly I was praying for.
I just knew that someone needed help that only God could provide, and it was imperative that I fervently pray.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
James 5:16

Not that I am in any imaginable way righteous.
It is only through the precious blood of Christ that I have been redeemed.
It is HIS righteousness working in me that opens the opportunity for me to approach Him in prayer.

Kristen's situation was not the first time I had felt an overwhelming burden to fervently pray, even though I didn't know for whom or what I was to pray.
One other time, in particular, that will be forever embedded into my memory happened on the night of April 30th, 2016.
I remember telling Kevin and Zach that a burden that I could not seem to shake was upon me to pray.
I didn't have a clue who needed help or what was happening, but I knew, without a doubt, that someone desperately needed my prayers, and I should not procrastinate.
I remember that even after I prayed, I could not seem to find relief, and there was this nagging sense of needing to continue to pray.
It just wouldn't let up.
What I didn't know until my sister-in-law called was that just a few, short hours after the crushing heaviness in my spirit, a demonic-controlled, maniacal man, (animal seems more appropriate), would enter the apartment of my dear niece, Victoria, and she would die an agonizingly brutal and painful death, at his cruel and murderous hand.
(If you would like to read more, you can click on these links,
Prayers Needed For My Family,

I can't tell you the number of times I have wondered why my earnest prayers were not enough to protect Victoria or spare her life that night.
At some point in my wondering, God showed me that my prayers WERE heard, and that they were answered, too.
Our Lord was there, incredibly near to her during those final hours.
He was with her...comforting her, as she lay bleeding and dying, and He never left her side.
I will never know how many ways He answered my prayers that night.
Maybe, He lessened the intensity or duration of her agonizing death.
Perhaps, He shielded her from worse...if such a thing exists.

As I prayed, I did not know the reason for the heaviness in my spirit, but the Spirit of God knew,
and as I entered into that time of prayer, He carried my burden to the throne of grace in an intelligible way that God completely understood.
Later, it all became clear, and I found out who had needed that prayer.
He knew all along.

In these two situations, as in many, many other times throughout life, I have learned to trust that sense of burden that comes over me.
I have learned to drop whatever I am doing and fall to my knees when I feel that compelling call.
I have learned the meaning of Romans 8:26,
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

This kind of praying is not easy...
not knowing who or what we are praying for,
not even knowing why we are praying,
yet feeling such an intense burden for prayer.
Does anyone else ever feel the temptation to not put forth the energy and effort required for such intercession?

It is a temptation to which even the very disciples of Jesus Christ were not immune.

Jesus faced the most challenging, excruciating night of His life, and He needed support.
Not just moral support, but earnest prayerful support.
When He asked the three men in His inmost inner circle to pray for/with Him,
He came back a little while later only to find them asleep.
They could not seem to muster the stamina required to shake off their drowsiness and intercede on behalf of the One who would soon lay down His life for them.
As a result, Jesus lacked support when He needed it most.
And, as a result, they lacked the necessary personal fortitude to remain faithful to their profession of faith when faced with the threat of persecution.

Sometimes, it would be easier to succumb to the pleasantry of letting someone else do the heavy lifting when it comes to entering into intercessory prayer.
But, I have learned to pay attention...to take heed...when I feel an inward prompting to pray.
I have learned that there is always good reason behind a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
I have learned that if I fail to pray, something, or more importantly, someone, could suffer for my disobedience and negligence.

Mom used to often tell me that "prayer is a long-range weapon".
It reaches as far as it needs to, and even when I cannot be there in person to show support,
I can pray...even when I don't know exactly who needs those prayers.

God is always listening for the prayers of His people.
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers..."
I Peter 3:12

He invites us to approach His throne when we are in need.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

There are times a special burden for prayer is placed upon the heart of a burden-bearer.
When we feel called to such a task, it is of vital importance that we push through the temptation to ignore such a call, regardless of personal cost.
So much is riding on our faithfulness.
God help us to rise to the challenge and be the prayer warriors that He and our loved ones need us to be!

We may never know or realize the scope of the effectiveness of our prayers on earth, 
but I am deeply comforted by the vision John saw and described in Revelation 8:3,4,
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

Your prayers and intercessions count, my friend!
They are being carried to the throne of God by the hands of angels!
Don't ever give up on producing your cause before God through the channel of prayer.
"Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob."
Isaiah 41:21

May we ever be mindful of those God-sent urges to pray.
May we press through our weariness, fatigue, and temptation to give up, and
pray on!

To read a sampling of past posts on prayer, click these links:
A Praying Mother's Reward
What If I Don't Pray?