Taking a Stand

Our Words for the Week show the news is not always all bad. Even though taken from a 2001 report, the trend continues  ….

When Robert B. Rowling bought the Omni Hotel chain, he ordered the pornographic magazines pulled from his hotels’ gift shops and the pornographic films removed from the pay-per-view channels on the TVs in the hotel rooms. To do the latter, he had to switch movie service providers and buy a new television for every room — 8,700 sets! The change cost Rowling $4 million, including lost revenue.

But since the porn movies were yanked, occupancy has increased at the upscale hotels … and other chains have altered their pay-for-view offerings.

While we still have a long way to go with pornography proliferation and exploitation, it all started by one person taking a stand.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: In the end we only need two things for our happiness: to love and to be loved … May you always be loved.

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It Is Not for Kings to Drink Wine

Our devotional for the week is from David Maxson, an evangelist at Northwood Church of Christ, Northport, AL.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine … Proverbs 31:4

Why did King Lemuel’s mother give him this advice?

She explains in the next verse, … lest they drink and forget what has been decreed (31:5). Kings must know and understand the law so they might rule their nations with wisdom and justice.

It is not for kings to drink wine.

As kings and priests (Revelation 1:6) we must be equally concerned about forgetting the law of God. We are given a similar exhortation to sobriety in Ephesians 5:18 to not be drunk with wine. In the context of Ephesians 5 we read we are no longer in darkness, but light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:6, 8). As children of light we are to discern what is pleasing to the Lord, looking carefully to how we walk (Ephesians 5:8-10, 15). We are not to walk foolishly, but to understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17).

It is not for kings to drink wine. Kings are to carefully considering the law of the Lord. Sobriety is imperative.

So before you get drunk (through alcohol or anything else that intoxicates), remember you are a king!

Father, give us sober minds that we might always judge rightly.

Maxson has been preaching at Northwood since 2013. Before that he worked with Embry Hills Church, Atlanta, GA, for 12 years and with Lamar Church, Vernon, AL, for six years. He trained with Pete McKee at Huffman Church, Birmingham, AL. David married Adrienne in 1994 and they have three children: Anna, Joshua, and Katie. The Northwood church is a group of individuals who seek to be “just Christians.” The congregation formally is known as the Church of Christ, at Northwood. But, don’t confuse this name with any man-given names you may hear – this one denotes the desire to belong to Christ.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t make life more complicated than it has to be … just keep it simple. It’s simply life. — LaTrice Brandon

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Prayer Team

As we build this community prayer platform, we ask the Lord to listen to our petitions with full confidence they not only are heard but acted upon by God according to His holy will. These requests are on my prayer list and I hope you consider putting them on yours as you place your petitions before the Lord Sunday.

Approach the throne room and respond with faith and not fear, knowing the promises of God and His mighty hand will hold us through any situation! Sometimes, all it takes is just one prayer to change everything. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer.

What is one of the most important things we should do as Christians? Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

And, so, Lord, we come to You with our petitions, knowing and expecting Your will to be done.

Thoughts and prayers to all worldwide suffering from the consequences of coronavirus flu – and all other strains. Many – many – of the prayer requests are covid-19 related … people diagnosed … people sick … people dying … relatives worried and isolated. We are in this together – in prayer!

Please keep the victims of household abuse in your prayers. Whether it be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect, this time in particular is very horrifying for them to be trapped in a house with their abuser(s) and not being able to escape.

We also need to pray for colorblind peace. Racism will remain a plague until we stop looking at people as black and white, but as human beings created by the same Creator. We pray for new eyes, calmer heads, and softer hearts.

The deadliest monsoon in 11 years has triggered floods and multiple landslides in Nepal. Record snow and freezing temperatures hit parts of South America. Powerful thunderstorms rip through Midwest, leaving tens of thousands without power. Dangerous heat has built across the Southwest and South Plains this weekend and Monday. Southwest temps will range from the 110s to 125 in the hottest areas. Texas heat indices will be in the 100s, with some areas in the 110s. Tropical Storm Fay has been causing heavy rainfall and gusty winds as it moved into Northern New Jersey. Southeastern New York, Long Island, and New England. Continue lifting up in Jesus name!

Andrew continues to struggle. It was a bad week. Pain and puke. “This is my time … but  I shall light such a flame of hope and joy and love as shall never be put out,” he says, “It’s so much worse now than even last week (the ‘good old days’ were the day before yesterday!) but the blessings shine all the brighter. I have to witness that.”

Ana just smashed her finger and it’s turning super purple. She asks for prayers. “I can’t lose another finger.”

Please pray for Kristine. She is the ER. Pain is so really, really bad.

Jenna is undergoing a very serious procedure July 24 and asks for prayers. Her family will be there for my recovery and she won’t be able to work for eight weeks.

Mark is now on a ventilator in the hospital and not doing well at all. It’s not covid, but doctors hope to know more later today. Pray for him, please.

Izzy will be seeing the pediatric cardiologist  Monday morning. Please continue in prayer.

Brent has gone back into drugs, lost his great job, and is currently MIA. Can you lift him up in prayer?

Jen is asking for more prayers for strength and patience. Too much drama and selfishness after a loss in the family and she is about to snap.

Please pray for Jenni and all who are talking about suicide. May they get the help they need.

Prayers requested for Sylvia’s left knee, which is getting worse.

Please pray for Anna who is really struggling in a nursing home and not acting Christian at all.

Please pray for Margaret. She is having severe pain in her hip from cancer and they can’t seem to get it under control.

Nirajan was in an accident and his condition is very serious. Please pray for him.

Please pray for Kanga, who is back in the hospital, and for God’s wisdom and guidance for her medical team.

Pray for Lennard who has diabetes and is suffering from a virus or fever.

Prayers asked for Carmenio for lung healing — bronchiectasis – chronic dilation of the bronchi with mucopurulent phlegm.

Luis is fighting a battle with cancer again. Prayers requested.

Gwen has congestive heart problems and needs your prayers.

Kyle is a young man who is suffering an unknown illness. He’s had four blood transfusions and is still very ill. Prayers requested.

Prayers please for Karen who is managing a heart situation and was hospitalized.

Jay asks for healing prayers from a perforated bowel and kidney stone, for pain to lessen, and both to heal perfectly.

Sheila asks for prayers for the healing of breast cancer, digestive issues, financial issues, and safety for her son and family through these difficult times.

Cindy is very ill and needs a prayer.

Ernie continues to struggle with his cancer. Please keep him and his family in your constant prayers.

Gaystella is asking for prayers for financial rescue.

Geodee is requesting a prayer for her health. She is 25 years old and was a normal healthy girl until March. She has been to a number of doctors because she is always in pain and having some type of symptom. Please pray she doesn’t have an autoimmune disease or cancer.

Please pray for Joe who had a bad parachute accident and is facing paralysis.  He is still in the hospital and will move to a rehab center for four months then home.

Twenty month old Leif has a very rare genetic condition which has resulted in two strokes, epilepsy, vision challenges and global development delay. Prayers are really needed to stop the condition affecting Leif going forward and to heal the damage its caused.

They took out half of Larry’s thyroid and sent it to pathology. They have no idea when they will hear back anything so he is on pins and needles. Pray for a swift and accurate determination of what is going on.

Things in Melissa’s life are going wrong and piling up on me. Please pray for the Lord to sustain her and her trust in Him will not waiver when darkness surrounds her.

Steve is asking for prayer. He suffered a stroke a few days ago and is experiencing some paralysis on his left side.

Please, Lord, protect Lenny from throwing up again.

Please pray against the negative effects of Anthony’s medications and that God would heal his brain, spine, and nervous system.

On Monday Kevin goes for a CT to determine if he have lung cancer. There is an 80% chance he does. He’s asking for prayers.

Patrick prays to be released from financial bondage and asks your prayers as well.

Pray for Judy who needs peace right now following a situation that happened with a stranger.

There were a host of unspoken prayer requests and we heard of a number of deaths this week. Prayers for their families as they go through this earthly trial. We grieve … heaven rejoices.

We come to You, Lord, because prayer is the least yet the greatest thing we can do for each other. When two or more are gathered in Your name, we confidently know You are with us. What better company can we have? You reign and we trust You! We may be broken and battered but know You heal and quiet the soul. You are the source for all that happens in our lives. We thank You for the progress being made. We thank You for the many blessings we have received this week. Some we unfortunately didn’t notice. Nonetheless, those blessings are ever-present in our lives. We thank You for healing. We thank You for slowing us down. We thank You for providing us our daily needs — no more and no less. We thank You for being with us, listening to us, walking with us on this journey. We thank You for the support of our family and friends … for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — sunrises, sunsets, flowers, kids laughing, adventures, good news amid the bad news. We know we can come to You with our concerns and they will be heard. Through Christ all things are possible. We lift up those family members and friends who are battling various physical, emotional, financial, career or spiritual issues and ask not for Your guidance and healing (although that would be welcomed) but to keep reminding us we are not alone in our battles. Specifically we lift up Andrew, Ana, Kristine, Jenna, Mark, Izzy, Brent, Jen, Jenni, Sylvia, Anna, Margaret, Nirajan, Kanga, Lennard, Carmenio, Luis, Gwen, Kyle, Karen, Jay, Sheila, Cindy, Ernie, Gaystella, Geodee, Joe, Leif, Larry, Melissa, Steve, Lenny, Anthony, Kevin, Patrick, Judy, and all those needing Your healing and guiding touch. We pray for the families of all those You have called home. We grieve … You celebrate. We pray for obedience to Your Will so Your “Son” Light shines through us through the power of the Spirit. And we come to You through the confidence of the words taught by Your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep your joys and concerns coming. They have been and will be included during my prayer time and I trust they will be on your lips as well as you approach the altar. All it takes is a couple of keystrokes under the “Contact Me” button on the top bar {or to the right if you’re not a follower yet}. I hope it becomes your best friend as you navigate around the site so we can all be viable prayer warriors. You can also comment or reach me at wisdomfromafather@gmail.com.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Therefore, when you decide to undertake this work of prayer and feel by grace that you are called by God, lift up your heart to God with a meek stirring of Love. – Cloud of Unknowing

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Five Minute Friday — Endure

Sometimes the prompt easily triggers the mind. Other times, it’s more of a struggle. That was this week. In fact, I even considered playing hooky.

I don’t have to tell you the drill — I’ve done that many times over — but there is something different. The link is on Facebook at fiveminutefriday.com. Just start in the Community section. I hope to see some of you there.

If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know how much value FMF has for me. I’ve asked you to join in [you really, really should]. It’s quick. It’s easy {okay, sometimes not always}. It’s challenging. And it’s oh so rewarding. But don’t take my word for it. Here is what an anonymous writer had to say, taken from snippets in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat compiled by Susan Shipe. Don’t listen to me. Listen to her.

“I found my people. Writers. Moms. Singles. We are a choir of words. Sometimes silly. Sometimes profound. Sometimes not making any sense at all. But, our voices rise on this worldwide web and our music is beautiful.”

The timer is set. The prompt is ENDURE. It’s time to GO…

I’ve been studying the crucifixion story as told by Matthew as my quiet time. It doesn’t matter which gospel writer you follow, the depravity of the situation and all that the Lord endured is gruesome and disgusting.

The flogging to the point of exhaustion — before the actual crucifixion. The derision Our Lord had to endure. The spiritual separation from His Father as He took on His humanity and paid the ultimate price for you and me.

I know a couple of friends who are enduring unthinkable human pain as they battle various maladies. The fluids, the tumors, the degradation of their lives. I’ve seen it with other saints here on earth as they endured health battles with grace and humility and pray I can do the same.

And then there are … STOP

us. We’ve endured a half year of almost non-stop upheaval in our lives — the virus, the unabated killings, the protests. They have disrupted our norm. There are times the isolation and separation have been unbearable, the masking of America has been demoralizing and somewhat dehumanizing, the images of upheaval leading to rioting and looting and perpetuating stereotypes has been unnerving. Even mundane tasks, like changing addresses, evolve into an hour-plus endurance marathon.

Yet, when we look back at the first half of 2020 in the rear view mirror, we will recognize we didn’t endure anything but inconveniences. Read the gospels. Look around at family and friends going through physical, mental, or spiritual pain with grace. That’s real endurance.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Small changes can make a huge difference.

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The Way Life Should Be

I’m back home. It’s my adopted home, the latest in a long string of  states, towns, and villages — Dexter, ME.

Except for the last nine months when I was on the road, I came to love the Pine Tree State over the past five years. It is quiet and refreshing … definitely a change of pace that moves at its own gait. Where I am — The Maine Highlands just about dead center in the state — rural is an understatement. My apartment complex has been carved out of woods and the community room patio overlooks the Dexter Municipal Golf Course.

I did spend four years in Dover-Foxcroft, just across the county line 13 miles north of here. It was there where I gathered my appreciation for the Maine life — the people, the beauty. But it was Dexter where I visited my first prospective house and it served as a base as I wandered around the state looking to retire and relocate.

Before I decided not to renew my Dover-Foxcroft lease, I applied for housing at Fairway Knolls. I never heard a word … until February when I received an unexpected all about an apartment becoming available. I did manage a walk through in late February when I was in nearby Howland on a pulpit supply gig while staying with my son, daughter-in-law, and family in Massachusetts. I was No. 2 on the tenant list and called because the No. 1 candidate had a lease at another complex and wasn’t sure she could get out of the lease. Alas and alack, she did and moved into the apartment, moving me up to No. 1.

But along came Corona. I ended up sequestering in place at my older son’s place in Bowling Green, KY. The next available apartment was scheduled to be vacated in April … but the resident couldn’t move because of restrictions in Maine. So, we all were frozen until mid June.

But, I’m HERE! So far, so good. Life is a little different with masks and restrictions, but just as I remembered nine months ago.

Moving is never easy — especially when you get rid of most your furniture. So Friday — my first full day in the new digs — I made sure I have peanut butter, jelly, hard salami, provolone cheese, mayo, milk, 12 grain bread, and ice pops for my belly; a cast iron pan, a few plates and glasses, utensils, bathroom ensemble, pillow, and a rocker to sit on; ordered my Internet; met some new neighbors and my landlady; discovered a complex laundry room and community room; and slowly started unpacking.

After a full night’s sleep — first in a long time interrupted by you know who around 6 — we enjoyed coffee and computer time on the patio behind the community room open to the golf course. Visited with some neighbors, waved and spotted some golf balls for the golfers, just chilled out in the morning breeze. Angelina spotted a doe less than 100 yards away on the golf course and just stared silently as she meandered into the woods, had a stare down with a chipmunk who ventured to the edge of the patio, and watched the golfers — quietly with no barking.. No barking. I even left her home when I picked up burgers for dinner (and set off the smoke detector while cooking them). She is a character, though. I had to close the front windows when I left. As I got into the car I noticed she was sitting on the windowsill … just like a cat.  I also left her alone Monday for the first time. My neighbor said he heard a few whimpers … but no barking. And my Internet was connected!. Lightning fast … okay Maine lightning fast, which is still faster than the phone connection.

I went on a search for a recliner. I found one online but it couldn’t be delivered until mid-month. I went to the local furniture store. All they had on hand was a broken floor model. Up popped a Marketplace listing for a recliner so I drove to Winslow, checked it out, haggled a little, loaded it the back of the CRV. It works like a charm. Dozed off through a movie. $40 investment. And it was Angelina approved. I think she slept there last night and was perched on her throne when I returned from one of my laundry runs. I had previously picked up a rocker for $20 … but it was hard to work on. I feel blessed.

I did laundry yesterday. I know. I know. That’s not much of a blessing, but I literally had to just go to an adjourning room to do it. Apparently, the laundry room for my building (each building has its own) is next door. Talk about convenience!

It’s only been a week — okay nine days — but I feel like I am home … again!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God never forces us into anything. — John Maxwell

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Midweek Mirth

One of the misconceptions about being a Christian is non-Christians think we don’t know how to have fun or have a sense of humor. Trust me, if the Big Guy can have a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with us mere mortals, so can we.

The difference for Christians is we don’t have to debase ourselves or others to generate a smile. Laughter at life or ourselves is a gift from God.

Here’s this week’s edition of Midweek Mirth  … so let’s smile a little!

Going Out With A Bang

A tough old cowboy once counseled his grandson if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a little gunpowder on his oatmeal every morning. The grandson did this faithfully and he lived to the ripe old age of 93. When he died he left 14 children, 28 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and a 15 foot hole in the wall of the crematorium.

… And just so we don’t forget to laugh at the virus {maybe for the last time, but I’m making no promises} …

More?

Finland has just closed their borders, so nobody will be crossing the Finnish line.

World Health Organization has determined dogs cannot contract Covid-19. Dogs previously being held in quarantine will be released. Now we know, WHO let the dogs out.

I’ll tell you a coronavirus joke, but you’ll have to wait two weeks to see if you got it.

I ran out of toilet paper, so I had to start using old newspapers. Times are rough.

The grocery stores in France look like a tornado hit them. All that’s left is de brie.

So many coronavirus jokes out there, it’s a pundemic.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever. — Walt Disney

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Just Write

Someone posted a question on an author/prospective author group the other day.  “What is the most difficult part in writing a book?”

I answered, “Sitting down and starting.” I’ve consistently said the short answer is to just write. Everyone has a story. Just write!

What made this question interesting — and more challenging — is we don’t know what 0level the author is at. She is new to the group, but I’m not sure whether she has written anything, published anything, just getting started, or facing other issues unique to the book publishing field.

So, while my answer was somewhat flippant, there were a host of others offering suggestions as well from one end of the spectrum to the other. Here are just a few:

Jordan agreed with me {I think} with the one word, “Writing.” Dorothy extolled the virtue of “believing in yourself” although admitted marketing could be challenging. Mike contributed, “Writing it. That’s what I encounter when talking to people. EVERYONE says they want to write a book but only those willing to put in the effort actually do it.” Joshua also feels “the writing” is the toughest part. Jessica also had encouraging thoughts, “Staying courageous enough to hold onto your dreams, even when so many quickly reject such careers paths as being foolish. You have to keep believing in yourself, especially in moments when you feel you maybe your only supporter.”

The most pragmatic advice came from Nandhini, “Finding the pen.” Pippa offered, “Deciding what the book is going to be about.” Morley felt “organizing it” was the toughest challenge.

Adam lamented, “Finding the time.” Charlese agreed, “Time to write.” Catherine lamented, “Not enough hours in a day.” Mohammed also felt “time” was an issue, and Chandana added “time with a kid!” Milind said, “Time matters.” Liz put in some perspective, however, with the comment, “Someone once said if you write for 30 minutes every day — three pages —  in three to four months you have a book. Keep writing about things you know.”

Krishnamurthy provided, “Self control.” Rosetta added, “Commitment.” Spencer offered, “Writer’s block.”

Elaina felt the “opening chapters” were most challenging. Mickey suggested “writing the middle” as a potential writing minefield. Marshall noted, “Making sure it all fits together.” Karen added, “Getting it to flow …” Jack submitted, “finishing …”Anthony chimed in with, “Writing the ending.”

Suzie gave the advice, “Memories waking you up during the night if you are writing your autobiography. The whole process is a challenge!” Kylie-Anne had a similar thought. “The hardest part of writing my story was knowing I am going to lose what little family I have left. The truth will set you free.” That was echoed by Jay who noted, “I have almost completed my new book. Same sentiments as yours [Kylie-Anne]. Orphaned at age of four  … Emotional memories.” Daniel submitted, “Putting thoughts into words that readers can understand.”

Braam lamented, “The almost never ending revisions.” Kornelia, Marina and Stephanie gave the simplest answer, “Editing!” ToniAnn expanded, “Editing! Oh God, it about killed me!” Chavashree also agrees, “Right now for me it’s editing.” Aarti noted, “Editing by yourself is a reallyhard job.” Marty Jay tendered, “Staying the course and writing a whole book, then going back through and making sure its all right, then editing and editing and did I mention editing.”

Tahani suggested,” I’ve found that writing the books were easy compared to marketing them.” I whole-hearted agree with the comment, as does David who commented, “Promoting it” and Jack, “Getting someone to read it.” Meghna added, “Getting readers to read our book.” Eldon was more emphatic, “Marketing, by far!” with Suboor adding, “Marketing is very difficult for new writers.” Roxanne and Richard agreed “marketing” topped their list. Joan added, “Marketing! Definitely!” Adewale offered, “Marketing for sure.” Liz suggested, “Market through Amazon at 99 cent to start sales then sell the price you would like [especially for] less than famous authors.” Nicola also feels “marketing” is most challenging. Mary contributed, “Writing is a breeze. Promotion is difficult.” and Jim added, “Selling. Most difficult by far.”

Sanjeev concluded, “Writing, editing, marketing — all are difficult.”

I think the best answer came from Michael, though, “Paying for it.”

There you have some thoughts from one writing group. I can’t disagree with any of the comments. Each phase of the process has unique challenges.How about you? What thoughts do you have about the most difficult part of writing a book?

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER:The tendency to seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack is the greatest tragedy on earth. Count your blessings – not your troubles! — Dale Carnegie

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Embrace Life

Our Words for the Week come from a “wear your seat belt” ad the UK recently aired.

The ad was created by a private individual not hired to do it, but because the cause was important to him. He came up with this idea, and now it has been hailed across the world as a “beautiful”commercial. The video became so popular with the general public, people have been forwarding it to friends/family on their own so quickly, it has spread all over the world. Feel free to share. It is breath-taking.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for. — Joseph Addison

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Finding Unity in a Time of Division

Because the world seems filled with division right now, those at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints blog asked three different people to share their perspectives on the unity we can feel with others when we center our lives on the Savior. Their experiences follow.

A few summers ago, I interned with a nonprofit just outside Seattle. My husband and I were living in the most diverse school district in the United States. I helped run a school readiness program for 30 refugee children who had recently resettled with their families. These were children who’d seen, experienced, and lived through more in their short lives than I probably ever would. I was terrified we wouldn’t be able to find common ground, let alone a common language.

On my first day, I walked next to a cafeteria table and heard five different languages at once. I panicked when I realized I could only pick out two of those languages. I watched young children honor Ramadan by abstaining from breakfast and lunch. I asked a girl if the tooth fairy visited her when she lost her tooth. It took three girls to cross our language divide and explain they were taught to throw a lost tooth at the sun in the hopes the sun would bring back a better tooth.

But as the weeks passed, I began to see more of what made us similar. During recess, I would gather flowers with the little girls and watch as they gathered berries to bring home to their moms. The boys asked me to play soccer with them until I was dripping in sweat and laughing as they dribbled in circles around me. In the library, I sat with a little boy and read a children’s vocabulary book in English and Arabic. I taught him the English words, and he patiently taught me the Arabic words.

The world often teaches us to build walls between us and those who act, believe, or seem different from us. The Savior teaches us to love one another. He teaches us to help people who aren’t accepted in our society, even those who might be outcasts. He teaches us to care for people who have made mistakes. He teaches us to forgive the very people who have hurt us.

These refugees — these outcasts — taught me there is common ground between all of us because we are all children of God. Heavenly Father loves every one of us for our similarities and our differences. Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again for all of us, not just some of us. If we choose to look for common ground, we may just find new friends, a new sense of community, and a deeper relationship with our Savior.

—Jenessa Taylor

Let me tell you about one of my favorite photographs. But before you say I have poor taste in art, let me explain I love this photograph because it helps me put things in perspective.

The image I’m referring to was taken by the Voyager 1 space probe and is dubbed the Pale Blue Dot. In this image you can see the earth from about 3.7 billion miles away, and it’s less than one pixel in size. I like to imagine this is the vantage point from which God might see us.

When I’m having a hard time, I like to look at this image. This perspective makes it easier for me to grasp the notion whatever is troubling me may actually not be as bad as it seems. In times of contention or division, this makes it easier for me to grasp the concept there is no “us versus them.” From that far away, we have no choice but to accept that there is just an “us”, a “we” … God’s children.

From that far away you can’t see borders, political opinions, religious differences, or any other excuse we use in our everyday lives to create division in Heavenly Father’s family. From that far away we are all just one. One of God’s creations, here for one purpose, which is to learn to be like Him. To learn to love like He loves. And all those perceived differences and divisions are simply a distraction.

I love Heavenly Father, in His perfect view from where He sits, has enough patience to allow us to learn from trial and error. When we step back and see the big picture, it becomes easier to focus on the things that matter most: our spiritual growth, our families, our friends, our neighbors, and all the people God has placed in our path. He gives us the capacity to lend them a hand, because He knows we can lift them higher.

—Hirepan Zarco

The other day I was on a social media site, scrolling down my feed and generally just passing time. Someone I followed had liked a post that intrigued me, and I opened it up to read the comments section. I was not prepared for what I found there. The conversation that followed the original post was angry and argumentative, with a lot of hate-filled speech directed toward one group or another. After spending a few minutes glancing over the conversation, I clicked away with a sick feeling in my stomach.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me or to anyone I know. Because, as citizens of the Internet in this modern era, I and everyone else have seen too many of these conversations to count. Whether the conversations stem from a disagreement of politics, religion, culture, or otherwise, the end result is always ugly, with people leaving the interaction feeling hurt and misunderstood, and often with contempt or even hatred for those they disagree with.

This is not the Lord’s way. He commanded us to love one another (John 13:34­­­­­-35), and notice there are no caveats to His command. It isn’t “love one another, but only if he thinks the same as you,” or “love one another, but only if she loves you first,” or even “love one another by showing them the error of their ways.” Instead, He shows us we need to love one another and forgive each other of our imperfections. But we lead with love first.

While today we are divided physically — let us strive to be unified spiritually and emotionally. While we are prevented from comforting each other in person — let us comfort each other through letters, e-mails, phone calls, and on social media. Rather than focusing on the things that pull us apart, let us strive to cling to the things that hold us together. We all need each other in the work of salvation, and that work is only accomplished through the unifying love of the Savior.

—Mackenzie Brown

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Start each day with a grateful heart.

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Prayers Up …

As we build this community prayer platform, we ask the Lord to listen to our petitions with full confidence they not only are heard but acted upon by God according to His holy will. These requests are on my prayer list and I hope you consider putting them on yours as you place your petitions before the Lord Sunday.

Approach the throne room and respond with faith and not fear, knowing the promises of God and His mighty hand will hold us through any situation! Sometimes, all it takes is just one prayer to change everything. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer.

What is one of the most important things we should do as Christians? Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

And, so, Lord, we come to You with our petitions, knowing and expecting Your will to be done.

Thoughts and prayers to all worldwide suffering from the consequences of coronavirus flu – and all other strains. Many – many – of the prayer requests are covid-19 related … people diagnosed … people sick … people dying … relatives worried and isolated. We are in this together – in prayer!

Please keep the victims of household abuse in your prayers. Whether it be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect, this time in particular is very horrifying for them to be trapped in a house with their abuser(s) and not being able to escape.

We also need to pray for colorblind peace. Racism will remain a plague until we stop looking at people as black and white, but as human beings created by the same Creator. We pray for new eyes, calmer heads, and softer hearts.

Andrew continues to struggle. It was a bad week, as in, h can barely eat, doesn’t have the breath to even whistle (his current form of communication), and his metastatic lung tumors have started to bleed. Yet he continues to battle through prayer – and a sense of humor.

Asking for prayer for Jason who has been battling colon cancer for a year and was just hospitalized for an obstruction and it feels like he won’t be coming home.

Masahiro was hit in the head with a line drive during today’s simulated game. He is currently alert, responsive and walking under his own power, but is being sent to the hospital for further evaluation and testing.

Please pray for Mike who is in serious condition following an automotive accident.

Hollie is hospitalized in terrible pain. Staff is awaiting a doctor to decide the next steps. Thank you everyone for your care, prayers, and support.

Please keep Tia in your prayers …. She was just admitted to the emergency room with some complications and she’s really not doing well.

Mary continues to recover from surgery. Prayer requested.

Prayer request for Mick who has been taken to hospital with chest pain.

Please say a prayer for Gunny. A hemiplegic episode is starting, his left arm and leg is affected, and his head feels like it’s splitting open.

Prayers needed for Caylie who was diagnosed with embryonal tumors. The cancer has no cure as of yet, and she has the rarest of the type that she was born with.

Ineligible for Medicare and unable to return to Peru, Ines is facing a $500,000 medical bill. Prayers needed.

Please pray Emily’s CT scan of her spine, lungs, etc. comes back completely normal. She’s been through so much and now the doctor tells her there is a new area of concern on her T 12, a possible bone tumor. Please pray it is not and her CT scan has NO abnormalities. She is so scared. Too much confusion and no answers.

Please pray for Margaret. She has Stage 4 cancer and is in severe pain.

Amy’s arthritis is really, really bad in one of her hand’s right now. Please pray for pain relief.

Please pray Lee will be approved for disability for life and will be reinstated to help with bills.

Carol has been very anxious and depressed. She will be seeing a therapist Monday. Please pray for comfort and healing.

Lisa asks for prayer about her ACL diagnosis. If it is Your will, Lord, she requires surgery, please bless the hands and minds of the medical professionals who will be caring for her.

Please pray for Chi, a seriously ill mum of four who is in hospital. She has many life threatening conditions she battles on a daily basis, including  PTSD from being ventilated many times.

Kristi asks for prayers for her blood pressure, anxiety, and overall health. She is 36 and has had two heart attacks since 2016. With the virus and other things going on in the world she has a lot of stress and anxiety. Her blood pressure has been going really high for the last couple of weeks, even with my blood pressure medications.

John continues to have a fever. Prayers asked he does not go to hospital as he has four times in ICU and his body is too weak. He has not fully recovered.

There were a host of unspoken prayer requests and we heard of a number of deaths this week. Prayers for their families as they go through this earthly trial. We grieve … heaven rejoices.

We come to You, Lord, because prayer is the least yet the greatest thing we can do for each other. When two or more are gathered in Your name, we confidently know You are with us. What better company can we have? You reign and we trust You! We may be broken and battered but know You heal and quiet the soul. You are the source for all that happens in our lives. We thank You for the progress being made. We thank You for the many blessings we have received this week. Some we unfortunately didn’t notice. Nonetheless, those blessings are ever-present in our lives. We thank You for healing. We thank You for slowing us down. We thank You for providing us our daily needs — no more and no less. We thank You for being with us, listening to us, walking with us on this journey. We thank You for the support of our family and friends … for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — sunrises, sunsets, flowers, kids laughing, adventures, good news amid the bad news. We know we can come to You with our concerns and they will be heard. Through Christ all things are possible. We lift up those family members and friends who are battling various physical, emotional, financial, career or spiritual issues and ask not for Your guidance and healing (although that would be welcomed) but to keep reminding us we are not alone in our battles. Specifically we lift up Andrew, Jason, Masahiro, Mike, Hollie, Tia, Mary, Mick, Gunny, Kristi, John, Caylie, Ines, Emily, Margaret, Amy, Lee, Carol, Lisa, Chi, and all those needing Your healing and guiding touch. We pray for the families of all those You have called home. We grieve … You celebrate. We pray for obedience to Your Will so Your “Son” Light shines through us through the power of the Spirit. And we come to You through the confidence of the words taught by Your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep your joys and concerns coming. They have been and will be included during my prayer time and I trust they will be on your lips as well as you approach the altar. All it takes is a couple of keystrokes under the “Contact Me” button on the top bar {or to the right if you’re not a follower yet}. I hope it becomes your best friend as you navigate around the site so we can all be viable prayer warriors. You can also comment or reach me at wisdomfromafather@gmail.com.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: I believe that it is impossible to grasp all the different forms of prayer without great purity of heart and soul. There are as many forms of prayer as there are states of soul. A person pays in a certain manner when cheerful and in another when weighed down by sadness or a sense of hopelessness. When one is flourishing spiritually, prayer is different from when one is oppressed by the extent of one’s struggles. – John Cassian

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