Jan 28, 2012

Saturday SHINE.....

Happy Saturday, SHINE girls! If you are new to SHINE, we do not have any scheduled readings on the weekend. So, the weekends are the perfect time to catch up on the previous week. I encourage you to do this! You will be so blessed and fresh and ready by Monday.

As always, I will post the reading plan on Sunday.

Today's guest blogger is Rebekah Vepraskas.  She has posted before, here. We were all blessed by her post then, and we will be blessed again today.

Can I toot her horn for just a second? Okay, thank you.

I love this girl. I mean like really, really love her. Let me tell you one of the reasons.

Just this week, I got a note in the mail from her with another scripture that she had written down for me on a beautiful green note card.  The timing of her note, could only be the work of the Father. The day that I received it was a not-so-great Jill Hill day. Down in the dumps, dreary, feeling sorry for myself kind of day if I'm being completely honest.

Rebekah lives in communication with the Holy Spirit, daily. Her gift of  being  a "counselor", has helped me and many others through some deep, dark, and ugly days.

 If you are Rebekah's friend, consider it a gift from the Lord. For real.

Be blessed, friends. This is mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, good. :)

Rebekah's boys. All 4 of them. 

Prayer, God and us:
by Rebekah Vepraskas

If I could rename 2011, it would be the year of prayer.  Prayer changed in my life last year.  Why?  Well, quite honestly, a lot of tragic things happened.  Cancer diagnoses in two, equally-incredible peers from high school, the death of my grandmother, a suicide attempt in my immediate family, the death of a my sweet friends’ child, the death of my friends' dad, miscarriages, the return of my nephew to jail--- over and over again, hurt.

If it were not for fear, hurt and tragedy, would we really turn to God?  Trials are gifts in many ways.  A chance to refocus our attention on Christ.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. “James 1:2

But, we don't believe that. We often say, Why God? And we look for relief.  He is our relief.  He is already there.  Are we listening? Are we open to Him, our answer?

1 Peter 4:12  
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”  

This year, I prayed so much for healing for my two friends’ cancer, one friend was healed, totally cancer free and one went to heaven.  Were both healed? Absolutely!  However, I prayed and prayed for my friend to be healed of cancer, even if it was not God’s will.  As his health worsened, I literally prayed, “Lord, I do not want your will, if your will is for him to die; how can you be glorified in this man’s death?!”  Do you know what happened? My friend died and God was glorified. Gloriously glorified, really!!!  (I still can’t believe I challenged God in this way and that He still loves me. Thank you, Lord.)

He can work, He will work and He is working… do we trust Him?

Jill Hill was Christian when Christian wasn’t cool. :)  Trust me. She is my peer, but also she leads me in the sweetest ways in my relationship with Christ.  She was a friend in verb form this past year and prayed in all of these areas with me.  In one of our afternoon talks, she shared something she had recently learned about prayer that I will never forget, (I am paraphrasing); “When we pray, we are breaking through the flesh and literally taking hold of God’s willingness to do His plan on earth. Prayer causes His power to be released and manifested in our lives, on our behalf.”

Eureka!  Did we get that?  HIS POWER. Not “our power” or “our plan…”

Prayer isn’t what “I want."  Prayer is seeking God’s best so that it can be manifested in our lives.  What is God’s best?  Do we trust God with these lives that we have in our white knuckle grasp?

Quite simply, more often than not, No…

Doesn't the Lord want me to have children? God where are you? How could they be sick? God where are you? He isn't getting better, he’s getting worse?  God where are you? Are these the children I raised? God where are you? My husband is horrible? God where are you? My friend is really missing on Mt. Rainier? God where are you? We can’t pay our bills? God where are you?  My parent is horrible and not what I deserve? God where are you?  My friend double crossed me? God where are you? My marriage is a dead end? God where are you??????????????

Is it possible God is working and we don’t see Him? Is God there and we missed Him?
When we pray, and then look around, are we only really looking for the answer we wanted?
Are we acting in obedience in all areas of our life or are we just expecting others to be obedient while we complain?
Is that what God is waiting on, our willingness to obey?
If it isn’t what we wanted, could we miss an answer that is beautiful and clearly there?
If the answer came, would we see it?
Are we only waiting for God to bring about what we thought was the answer to the problem?
(I have done all of these things...  I have it all figured out, I just need God to get on board!  Do you know what I mean?)

Let’s pray for God’s will and let’s walk in this sweet path. Let’s be accountable to each other to really, truly trust our Creator.  Let’s look for answers outside of the answers we thought were best.  Let’s consider letting God be the control freak of our lives.  He is surely better equipped.

How will we know?  Well, we will need to be in tune in prayer and we will need the Holy Spirit to meet us and lead us.  We need spiritual counsel.

John 14:25-27
He said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Listen to the Holy Spirit, love the Lord with all of your heart and keep His ways.(obedience)
Listen to the Holy Spirit, pray for the Lord to manifest His perfect will in your life.
Listen to the Holy Spirit, then, trust Him.
Listen to the Holy Spirit.

Lord, let us have a heart like King David. You protected Him, Lord, even through multiple attempts to end his life and to cause him pain. You made David victorious.  David was obedient and had beautiful trust in You, Lord. In response, You granted David favor at every turn.  Lord, may we turn and seek You, listen to You and walk in Your path. Refocus our eyes on You, Lord, and when we stray, help us to heed the Holy Spirit and come right back to Your way.  Help us to be so in tune that we can be bold and courageous in our faith just like David was.  Thank you for loving us while we strive to know You like David did.  Give us a humble, peaceful, childlike trust in You. Keep us in Your frequency, God, to hear You.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit and equip us for our walk, Amen.

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