Father May I?

Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father.  It’s not as complicated as some folks want to make it.  We speak, God listens, He speaks, we hopefully listen.  Prayer is a way we reinforce truth in our hearts and souls.  It’s how we practice our faith…  we put feet – actionreinforcement, to our faith.  What if we had parents, but we were never allowed to interact with them?  Never allowed to talk, laugh, even argue with them?  That would not be much of a relationship, would it?

The best way to give Satan a black eye is to start praying to God in Jesus’ name!  Satan cannot read your mind – remember that when you pray.  If you can possibly think your prayers, it’s best.  Satan can’t get a foothold on a prayer that is from your mind to God’s heart.  He could possibly get a foothold on one said aloud.  If the devil doesn’t know what you’re thinking – he can’t possibly come up with a counter measure!  Spiritual warfare is a real thing – and it starts with humility before the Lord, with sincere heartfelt prayers.

This portion of Scripture tells us to pray in Jesus’ name.  That’s why we always tag our prayers with that phrase.  I remember being asked to pray aloud once in teen group – and I forgot to say “In Jesus’ name” at the end of my prayer.  I was given a tongue lashing by the teen leader afterward.  I still get scared when someone asks me to pray aloud – and if it happens to be a pastor asking me to pray – it’s worse yet and I probably won’t do it.  We really must be careful when dealing with young people as we teach them.  They are so vulnerable and the smallest thing can affect them for the rest of their lives.  Encourage young people…  they’re doing their best and we should love them for that.  Correct them in private – not in front of the rest of the class.

If we ask anything in Jesus’ name He will do it so it will glorify the Father.  So, asking God to give me a dozen donuts in Jesus’ name is probably a bad idea.  I can’t imagine that it would glorify the Father for that prayer to be answered.  God already knows what we want, but more importantly, He knows what we need!  He knows best, but He still wants us to ask.  He wants to hear from us because He loves us so much!  Remember that prayer isn’t about getting what we want.  Prayer is about getting to know God.

When I started writing the Heart Hunger Blog, I weighed a whopping 220 pounds and had a horrible food addiction.  A friend in my group, “A Second Helping of Wellness… with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith”, told me about how her husband lost 100 pounds when he embraced a low-carb lifestyle.  So many people ask me why I called this blog HEART HUNGER and the answer is really pretty simple.  There’s a God-shaped place in every heart, and nothing but GOD fits there.  We try to put all sorts of things in that place, but they don’t fit!  God is the piece that fits in the God-shaped place.

During the month of May, as we ask “Father, May I?”, I want to imagine we are baking a batch of spiritual cookies.  We already know that cookies are little carb bombs, so eating real ones would not be a good idea if we want to watch our weight, right?  So – these spiritual cookies we bake need not only special ingredients, but they need to be made with special utensils from God.

I want to use a good brand of flour for my spiritual cookies because it’s the flour that holds everything together.  I also want to use a Holy Ghost sifter to discern the words I hear and know truth from lies in this life.

Dear Lord, We’re asking “Father, May I?” this month.  We want to bake the best batch of spiritual cookies we can.  Please bless our hearts and minds with Your flour of strength so everything will hold together when it seems to be crumbling.  When we experience doubt or confusion, help us to send everything we hear through Your special sifter of discernment and read the ultimate cook book, Your Holy Word, The Bible, to make sure what we are hearing in the world is in line with what You want for us.  When we ask for anything in Your name, we know if it’s within Your will, You want us to have good things.  As we sift the flour, may we please hear from You?  We need to hear from You!  It’s in Jesus’ precious and Holy name we pray, Amen.

I love spiritual cookies.  There are no calories, no carbs, no weight gain and no guilt.  There is happiness, joy, love, freedom and peace.  🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I doubt that we need to review examples of living according to the flesh.  It’s sad to see people get caught up in fast living, only to crash and burn in the end – sometimes literally.  Why does God want us to kill fleshly desires when they seem so attractive sometimes?  The answer is simple:  HE LOVES US!  He loves you and me so much – and He knows that those temptations are dangerous to our bodies and souls.  God wants to protect us – body, mind and soul.  We can’t overcome these things alone.  It’s only through God’s precious Holy Spirit that we can turn tail and run away from harm’s way.  He’s not trying to keep us from having fun!  He’s trying to show us a better way to live – and if we belong to Christ, we need to run into His arms and ask Him to show us His way of life.  Only with the Spirit’s help can we make wise choices.A relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit means that we have everything we need to avoid sin and win.  Of course, we have a free will to choose either way – right or wrong.  Nobody has always chosen the right – nobody that I know, anyway.  We’re not perfect all the time, but we know that if we choose badly, we can turn from that bad choice and ask our loving Heavenly Father, through Christ, to forgive us and forget our transgression.

One day I was driving home from work in a terrible rain storm.  I took an unfamiliar route because I was sure the regular route was flooded.  As I drove, I prayed aloud in the car, asking the Lord to protect me.  I was frightened, but confident that God would get me home safely.

There were not many cars on the road I took, which I thought was strange, but I forged ahead.  When there is water on the road, it’s difficult to gage how deep it is – or the condition of the street below.

The next intersection was full of water – the flash flooding was catching up with me… I felt led to make a left hand turn and go to the street just south of the one I was on.  I made the turn and ended up on a street that was a bit elevated and the water was running off.  I had a straight shot home.  I sang praise & worship songs and thanked the Lord for helping me get home.

I was curious about the flooded intersection where I made the turn.  I went back to look at it, and found there was a very large pot hole – and had I kept going straight, I would have gone in the hole and would probably have water in the car.

When we live life waiting for the next big thrill with no regard for the God who just wants to protect us, we end up being a slave to the very thing we thought was such fun at first.  I don’t understand why some folks think that Christians don’t have fun.  We have such fun – it’s just a different kind of fun.   God protects us and His Spirit helps us stay away from sin because all sin does is cause harm.  God doesn’t want us to be harmed – He wants us to be free!  And so we are.

Free from the law…  oh happy condition.  Jesus is mine, oh precious redemption.

A LIFE OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST…  it can be yours!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you heard a Christian say they regret inviting Christ Jesus into their heart and life?  Neither have I – and I don’t imagine I ever will.  We make hundreds of decisions daily, but that is the only decision that will matter beyond this life – what will you do with Christ Jesus?

Sin is fun…  for a season.  It makes your heart beat a little faster and there’s a bit of danger involved and so much risk.  Get caught and you could lose everything.  How much do you want to gamble away?  Even Christians sometimes listen to the enemy when he says it’s not going to really hurt anyone and there’s no risk involved.  It’s a lie.  Be on guard against his lies and ready to tell him to get away in the name of Christ Jesus.

There’s a time when every Christian has to stop playing church, walking the fence, dabbling in the things of God – and get real.  That’s what it means to count yourself DEAD to sin.  Don’t even go there.  Put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6) and make your faith real.  Until you do that, you may be fooling many people – but you know you’re not fooling God and you’re actually breaking His heart.

Once you know that you know you’ve made a decision for God and God alone – get baptized – get washed clean and live for Him.

To be truly ALIVE in Christ is the best!  Once you’ve put all your past sins on the altar and asked God to forgive them, He will – and He remembers them no more (it’d be nice if people would forget, wouldn’t it?)  Sometimes it’s difficult to forgive yourself for your past sins, but think of it this way…  if Almighty God says He’s going to forgive and not bring it up ever again, who do you think you are to hang on to those sins of the past?  You have to forgive yourself and it’s not easy – but if you ask God to help you, He’s faithful to help you forgive yourself.

Once forgiveness takes hold, you can be ALIVE IN CHRIST!  That’s the best life because it’s honest and simple.  Sin keeps us in chains, but life in Christ sets us free!  No lies to have to remember, no sneaking around doing something you shouldn’t be doing, no more drama… just freedom and joy in Christ forever!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s not the law of religion nor the principles of morality that define our highways and pathways to God; only by the Grace of God are we led and drawn, to God. It is His grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved; favor is received. ― C. Joy Bell

The grace of God – THE UNMERITED FAVOR of God – is bestowed upon us like manna from Heaven.  As we pray and seek God’s will for our lives, He keeps blessing us with His matchless grace.  We don’t earn God’s grace – and couldn’t if we tried.  Praise God for His gifts in your life today!

And as grace is free, so is it sure. Nothing can change, or alter, or turn away sovereign grace.  – Alexander Whyte

In 1997, Philip Yancey, an American journalist and editor-at-large for Christianity Today, wrote a wonderful book called What’s So Amazing About Grace? which contends that people crave grace and that it’s central to the gospel of Christ.

As the book examines the role of grace in Christianity, it also states that many local churches have ignored grace, instead seeking to exterminate immorality.  It includes stories from the Bible as well as anecdotes from Yancey’s life.

If God’s people choose to ignore God’s grace and take on a more worldly view of sin, declaring that there is no sin – it’s a sad state of affairs indeed – and sinful in itself.  The fact is, we do sin, and we need God’s forgiveness and we’re dependent on the amazing, wonderful, miraculous GRACE of our Lord.

The most popular hymn of all time is AMAZING GRACE.  Why?  Well, I imagine that it’s because the grace of God – the unmerited favor from our Lord – brings a tear to the eye of every child of God.  We know what we deserve, yet God has chosen to bless us because He loves us so much.  As God gives His wonderful grace to us, we must be careful to give Him praise in return.

May God’s wonderful and amazing grace be with you today.  Aren’t we thankful for it?  Pass the Kleenex.    🙂

 

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

8-11 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

On August 11, 1976 from the rooftop of what was once a Holiday Inn, a sniper armed with two rifles, a lunch box filled with ammunition and evil intent in his heart to kill because he was distressed over a broken romance, opened fire on innocent citizens – strangers – in Wichita, Kansas.

He killed three people and injured seven.

At that time, the Holiday Inn was the tallest building in Wichita and in the state of Kansas.  It is now the second tallest since we now have the Epic Center.

The Holiday Inn was built in 1964-67.  I remember the excitement in Wichita back then.   It was wonderful that Wichita was finally going to get a big name hotel.  Our city was really going to grow because we had this nice place for visitors to stay.

We don’t have a crystal ball, do we?  We had no way of knowing that nine years after the Holiday Inn opened its doors, Michael Soles would change so many lives in just eleven minutes!

Wichita has had its share of crime, but there was something about this one that made all of us more frightened.  We all felt so safe in Wichita for the most part.  There are higher crime areas in America to be sure.  But the idea of shooting people you don’t even know to take out frustrations about your own love life?  Seriously?

I’ve followed his case and his parole hearings.  In 2007 once again the victims and families of victims made a plea to keep Soles behind bars for the rest of his life.  It absolutely blows my mind that he will be eligible for parole in July 2017!  That is next year!!!  I hope and pray the victims and families of victims will once again show up to keep him from leaving prison!

Here’s my question.  I want to know if he got some psychological treatment, because if he is released next year, what’s to say he won’t do it again?  He killed people – on purpose!  Why is his evil butt not in jail with no possibility of parole???  Is that not premeditated murder???  I know they don’t like to use the “S” word anymore, but that is exactly what he was…  a SNIPER!

The Epic Center is now the tallest building in Wichita.  I love the design because the roof is at an angle – nobody can stand on top of that building with a loaded gun!  The windows at the top of the building do not open – another plus in my book!

The people of my generation think of one event when we see the Epic Center, and we thank God that the city was wise enough to utilize this design.  It doesn’t make what happened in 1976 right.  Of course I am aware that God is in control of this situation.  I’m also aware that God gave every one of us a brain and made it possible for us to form a sense of right and wrong – and the ability to forge change when we see something that is wrong.

Law enforcement officials made it clear in the testimony at his 2007 parole hearing that Michael Soles spoke of the murders as though he was telling a story about someone else.  He has not taken responsibility and seems to not feel a bit of remorse about what he did.  He is obviously detached from the event and feels nothing.

Time doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change what happened.  Time has a tendency to make people forget how horrendous this crime was.  – Carl Hensley, son of murder victim

To let him out next year would be the biggest mistake – especially if he has not had any psychological treatment.  He’s clearly unstable and does not deal with strife in a constructive manner.

Michael Soles is evil.  He was evil then, he is evil now.  – Kevin O’Connor, Sedgwick County deputy district attorney

I’m not an attorney (but I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery on television).  There are cases where people kill one person and never get out of prison.  Soles killed THREE people and will be eligible for parole next year!  That just doesn’t pass the smell test for me – sorry! 

As a Christian I believe in forgiveness because of how much I’ve been forgiven for.  My problem in this case is that Soles has not received any psychological help (in my research I saw no evidence of it) and will undoubtedly be a repeat offender because he’s not taking responsibility.  He’s not OWNING what he did!

I sure don’t want to be walking around the downtown area when he decides to go up on a rooftop and start shooting again.  Yes I know that security is better than it was in 1976…  Well, maybe it is – but what if it isn’t? 

And those apartments in the old Holiday Inn…  are they renting out that penthouse level now – and how secure is that?  I’m not the first to ask that question, by the way.  Why don’t Wichitans deserve to be kept in the loop about things like that?  Time is a wonderful healer, but sometimes it’s just time that has passed.  Change happens in the heart – and Soles doesn’t even acknowledge he did anything wrong.

Part of me thinks, “What are the chances that he would go to the same building and walk up to somebody’s penthouse apartment and walk out on the balcony and open fire?”  How unlikely is that?  Well, I don’t know – but I think it’s just the thought that he would have the freedom to do that – I’m sure that is what has me so angry and so paralyzed.  I was a kid – I was only fifteen in 1976.  I can tell you though that it was the beginning of the end of commerce in our downtown area.  Nobody felt safe to shop there anymore and the folks who worked downtown didn’t leave their office buildings to go out to lunch for a long time.

Wichita has not been the same since 8:46 pm on August 11, 1976.  The Garvey Center used to be a symbol of progress and hope.  Now that building is a bunch of apartments, but every time I look at it, my mind goes back to that day in 1976.

One more thought before I get off my soapbox.  To the city officials of Wichita: they implode buildings every day for all sorts of reasons.  Why in the world did we keep that building after the Wichita massacre?  I hate it – I still hate seeing it – I think it’s a stain that should have been imploded a LONG time ago.  It’s my blog – and that’s my opinion.  Take it or leave it.  That HOLIDAY INN building with it’s uniquely shaped architecture and bright white color – it makes me cry to this day.  We continue to build all kinds of new buildings – heck, we’ve built three ARENAS – and closed one and the other one is in critical condition.  We could have taken the opportunity to rid ourselves of a very painful eyesore, but did we?  NOOOOOOOOOO!  We didn’t.  It’s still there – like the haunted house in the small town that nobody wants to get close to.  What a sad, sad reminder of the worst day in Wichita’s history!  What are we thinking – and is it too late to re-think it?  Am I overthinking it and just need to get over it?  I dunno – maybe.

Maybe it’s still there because it’s part of the Garvey Center.  I don’t know how much other than the hotel is there – maybe that’s why it still stands.  I’m sure somebody is making mega bucks renting out apartments.  I’m not against making money or renting out apartments, but seriously – I’m tired of the LANDMARK being there.  I mean – I dunno – repaint it or make some changes to it so it stops looking like an old Holiday Inn.  Even Holiday Inn hotels have changed their architecture – quite a bit.  I’m just tired of associating that building with this event.  Is anyone else in Wichita feelin’ it or is it just me?

In July, 1976 we were celebrating America’s Bicentennial and there seemed to be so much excitement and promise.  What a difference a month made.  😦

 

 

 

TEN DAYS OF PRAYER FOR AMERICA

TL 7-1 THROUGH 7-10 TEN DAYS OF PRAYER FOR AMERICA

AMERICA ON THE ROCK

FREEDOM is something to thank God for everyday!  He has blessed this nation so abundantly with His grace and mercy.  God is good to America and today we need to thank Him for being so good to us!

Precious Father, You have ensured our freedom here in America.  We know that without You we are nothing as a country.  Thank You for freedom to practice our faith as we believe is right, freedom of speech.  Under a dictatorship I could not be posting prayers in a blog, or saying them aloud.  Thank You that I am not oppressed, but free to express my love for You without fear of punishment or worse.  The press in our country is free – to be left of center, right of center – or to be on target with You.  We are free to agree or disagree with others on facebook or in person.  We are free to unfriend a friend on facebook if things get too intense.  We are free to read the Bible in public.  We are free to choose right or wrong.  You gave us a free will – that came from You.  America is great but You are greater.  May we wake up and realize that our freedom to do what we want and choose to follow You – that freedom comes from You, not from laws on the books in the U.S.A.  Our laws are based upon the fundamental Christian values we hold dear.  I pray that as a country we never stray away from that truth.  If we begin making laws that support sin, we are surely in dangerous territory and we will lose Your blessing.  We know You cannot look on sin.  You will always forgive us our sins, but You will not tolerate sin to continue in Your presence.  We don’t want to lose Your blessing in America.  May we have the wisdom to know right from wrong and make laws that support the right and shun the wrong.  We want our nation to please You always.  Thank You for our freedom.  It’s in Jesus’ matchless Name we pray, Amen.

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MEMORIAL DAY

TL MEMORIAL DAYFREEDOM TO PRAISE HIMMEMORIAL DAY IN MAIZETHANK GOD FOR THE TROOPSMEMORIAL DAYKEEP YOUR CHIN UP

Praise the Lord, who is my rock.  He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer.  He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.  Psalm 144:1-2

That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.  – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863

Precious Heavenly Father,

As Americans pause today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy, we pray You would remind us to look to You for strength, comfort and guidance.  Be close to all who serve in our Armed Forces.  Bless them and their loved ones.  Grant them with Your loving protection and let peace prevail among the nations, O God.  Let Your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving Your blessings on America in the past.  We pray Your perfect will be done in all our lives, and that our men and women in uniform be protected by Your Almighty hand.  We pray You turn both military and civilian hearts to Your holy Word where true peace for sinful souls exceeds all human understanding.  May we repent of sin and walk so closely to You, Lord, and find Your saving grace on a daily basis.  It’s in the matchless name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives this peace and hope for eternity, we pray,

Amen.

Customs surrounding Memorial Day have changed so much since it began back during the Civil War.  For starters, it was first known as Decoration Day and was not always observed on the last Monday of May.  We should try to keep some decorum though, I believe.  Our society has become so casual – and we need to know the “do’s and don’ts” about Memorial Day.

General Orders No. 11 stated that “in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed,” but over time several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday.

• It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half-staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.

• Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union Gen. Dan Butterfield “grew tired of the ‘lights out’ call sounded at the end of each day,” according to The Washington Post. Together with the brigade bugler, Butterfield made some changes to the tune.

Not long after, the melody was used at a burial for the first time when a battery commander ordered it played in lieu of the customary three rifle volleys over the grave. The battery was so close to enemy lines, and the commander was worried the shots would spark renewed fighting.

• The World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The sale of poppies has supported the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I have to admit, I did not know about the poppies.  It’s important that we learn about customs so we can keep them alive.  🙂

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