By Elaine James –
A song came to mind, “The ants go marching ten by ten hurrah, hurrah! The ants going marching ten by ten hurrah, hurrah! The ants go marching ten by ten the little one stops to say ‘The End’, and they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain. Boom, boom, boom!”
All I could do is sing as I cleaned and sprayed my kitchen counter when I was confronted with a whole lot of ants. I wasn’t happy. In fact I was tired. I had been resting from surgery. I was just getting back in the swing of cleaning and this mess was wearing me out.
Before discovering the ants I was on my back porch taking in the blue sky, sipping a good cup of coffee and spending sweet time with God reading his word. Peter greets, “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours… For this very reason, make every effort to add … perseverance … For if you posses this quality in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1-8 NIV).
I was totally caught off guard with the ants. In a flash I was itchy and crabby. It took quite a while to clean and the heaviness was not lifting. I contacted a friend who was clear headed. She had me pray “by the weapons God has given to me and by the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name I take authority over every belief system, high thing and thought that keeps me blinded from the truth. I capture and demolish that in Jesus name. Thank You, Lord, for your help. Amen.”
I doubted that spending time with God would give me energy for today. That is a lie. I had a bump in the road. I did exactly what God asks; persevere. On any given day one of my children could need me more than usual. They may come to me constantly. I would keep opening arms and comforting them. I was needy.
Instead of pouting like our children tend to when trouble brews we need to pause for prayer. Realize God is there 24/7/365. It was “The End” for those ants but not for me.
By Elaine James –
“I’ve prayed for you since you were baby. You are the one who had asthma, right? I know things were difficult for you,” the nun softly said.
While celebrating my aunt’s 90th birthday and her 60th Jubilee in the religious life as a nun, one of her friends at the retirement center, who is a nun also, spoke to me. Her words surprised me as I repeated them back, “I have been prayed for since a baby?”
As I walked away God showed me in a flash the answers to her prayers. I no longer suffer from asthma. I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age. I have had a hedge of protection around me, and that explained so much of my life.
As a child I had fears that came from my illness and from observing my parents dealing with their brokenness. They ended their marriage after twenty-seven years. From my mom’s deep issues with anxiety to my dad, who had so much anger, life was difficult. My mom did not want to live when the twenty-seven year marriage ended. I became anxious and angry about life. I was in need of my own inner healing.
The prayers of the nuns helped me to truly find the peace of Jesus. My aunt, now long gone, had given me a lifelong gift.
Some days do you catch yourself saying “I don’t have anyone to pray for me?” All prayers from scripture live on. They hold true for you and me today. Peruse the beauty of the Word for the prayers of the faithful and realize those prayers live on in our lives.
Paul prayed, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” (Colossians 1:9 NIV).
Jesus prayed, “…Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21 NIV).
Jesus prayed for you and me. His prayers never die. They live on. We can count on that.
I know I am never alone. I have my God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the faithful.
We don’t have anyone? We can shut our mouths and unclog our minds from that lie!
PRAYER: Father in heaven thank You for reminding me that I am never alone. Amen.
By Elaine James –
Stinkin thinkin! I felt like giving up. I had had this back pain for months. Things weren’t getting better. I tried many avenues for healing and nothing had changed. Fear was creeping its ugly head into my brain, and interrupting my peace with the interjecting question, “What if…it is something serious?”
Over twenty years ago I had to address the problem with my thoughts; to think about what I am thinking. My conclusion was that I had to re-train my brain. I went through four steps: awareness, acceptance, action and available. Those four steps were the technical ways I was led to inner healing.
My fun personality likes to put it this way:
God reached down and did what I love most: decorate and shop! He decorated my mind as I shopped through the Word picking out my favorite verses that help destroy old patterns of thinking and gave me a new sense of freedom and perspective. Not Elaine’s perspective, but God’s perspective. In my newly decorated mind I have this brand new gorgeous shelf now full of thoughts filed neatly with plenty of space for other thoughts. I feel lighter and brighter to shine with the glory of God, awaiting the moment to speak to any audience of overloaded or stressed-out lives to welcome this “God Story.”
My favorite verse that was the catalyst to this process was:
“We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity” (2 Corinthians 10:5-6 MSG).
I can now rejoice that He is enough for me. When I am in pain I remember the powerful God-tools and in my awakened state, I choose the path Jesus taught me and together we walk the road.
PRAYER: Father in heaven thank You for the powerful God-tools. Thank You for reaching down and clearing my mind obstructions and bringing me to a place of peace. Amen.
By Elaine James –
I was so sad for Moses.
“One day the Lord said to Moses, ‘Climb one of the mountains east of the river, and look out over the land I have given the people of Israel. After you have seen it, you will die like your brother, Aaron, for you both rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin’” (Numbers 27:12-14 NLT).
My thought upon reading this is that God wants Moses to look over the land and maybe worship with Him. Then the blow came when God said, “You’re going to die because you rebelled.” All my thoughts of this being a Sacred Moment instantly came crashing down. But wait a minute! I took a look at Moses’ response. “O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community” (Numbers 27:16 NLT).
My reaction was, “Are you serious, Moses? Defend yourself!”
Instead, Moses’ response was full of humility, worship, care, compassion and love. He was “other focused”.
How would I have responded if God had just told me that I would die because of my rebellion? With deeper thinking and prayer I asked, “God, why did Moses not come to his own defense? Was he so old and worn out that he just accepted this fate?”
Hebrews 3:5 says, “Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant.” (NLT). He was a holy man of God. God said “look out over the land”. Moses acknowledged, worshipped, praised and gave thanks! In that moment he connected to God as he always did. He loved God and trusted God more than his life. Moses clung to his hope of being in heaven with God one day. That hope far surpassed his earthly calling. What a leader Moses was. He didn’t have anyone around to impress. It was just him and God. Truly a sacred moment. Some days I do not find time to spend with God, yet I respond to social media, watch TV shows, exercise, read a book, do my puzzles and volunteer. These are my distractions. I allow them to keep me from being fully devoted to God. Are you distracted, too?
Moses’ sacred moment with God helped me with a sacred discovery, not to condemn myself, but to pray for more sacred time with God. PRAYER: I pray that I can fix my eyes on You today. I look forward to sacred moments with You, Father. I want to be other focused. Help me to be more aware of how I can do that. Amen.
By Elaine James –
When my son was about two years old he bit a little boy in a child play class we were taking together. The mother abruptly turned to me and blurted out “Why did your son do that? What are you going to do about that?”
I thought to myself: First of all, the bite did not break skin-thank goodness. Second of all, let’s let just ask him? Really?
I was appalled. I wanted to lash back asking, “What did your son do that made my son bite him?” But I restrained myself.
I think we can find reasons daily to quarrel with anyone. I left that lady with a quarrel going on in my mind thinking, “I should have said that or next time I will say that.” Aren’t quarrels crazy?
James stated: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17-18 NIV). I use this as a guideline to go through my list of arguments against a person to see what my motives are all about.
Why quarrel? The James approach regarding wisdom is a great list to use as a self-exam so we can measure our reasons for not quarreling.
Joseph used the word “quarrel” when he made a deal with his eleven brothers to go retrieve their father Jacob and bring him back to Egypt. As they were getting ready to leave Joseph turned to them and said, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” (Genesis 45:24 NIV). Joseph had an intuition just like James about wisdom. It helped him to deal with his brothers and to run the country of Egypt. He sowed in peace to reap a harvest of righteousness. Something he obviously knew his brothers lacked.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1 NIV).