Sunday, December 23, 2012

Just Say Thank You!


Advent Praycation 2012
There are so many people stressed out about picking the perfect gift for someone right now. It can’t be any ole toy but THE toy of the season. It can’t be any pair of shoes but the ones that say you rank in the social pecking order. Oh no, it can’t be just any piece of bling bling the real bling that makes the heart $ing. The gift must be something special that says I love you, I care or you’re special, wonderful and I took all this time, trouble and expense just for you!
Half the people you care about want you to be a mind reader. You have to figure out what they really want without them telling you. The other half will give you a long list to pick from or want you to get the whole gift.
Amazingly, some people promise themselves that they will not get caught up in the shopping frenzy especially those who don’t shop or hate to shop. Yet they do. And you? Sure you’ll be out there getting the last minute something for someone or yourself. There is food to cook…lots of it. Final preparations to attend to….people are coming, you’ll be going… you’ll be giving and getting…won’t it be great?!
Try to remember whose birthday it is! Christmas is the time to celebrate with those around you that God reached down into the world and gave us the gift of all gifts. God knew exactly what we needed. So God did the God thing by reaching out to the world through Jesus Christ who came with salvation for all. Love invaded the world and grace came along for the ride. Hallelujah the Lord is come!
So this Christmas, if you haven’t already just accept THE  gift called Jesus. Say thank you a lot because this gift fits all sizes, races, and origins. This gift will never run out, run away or go away. Just say thank you, thank ya Lordy!
Repeat your Advent Affirmation throughout the day: In everything that happens today I will give thanks to the Lord.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.”
Psalm 111: 1
Thanksgiving for God’s Love
O, Lord our God, how excellent is Your name in All the Earth!
We pause at this time in the Season of Advent with over flowing grateful hearts
And say, “Thank you, Lord!”
Thank You for Your unconditional love gift of Jesus, the Christ!
Thank You for loving us before we loved ourselves;
Thank You for sending Jesus that we might live through Him.
Thank You God for showing us that true love is patient,
And thank You for teaching us the endurance of true love!
Thank you God, for loving us through our sins
And providing us a way back to You and Your love.
Thank You for Christ’s unspeakable gift of eternal life!
We are truly grateful, Lord, in Jesus Name. Amen.
1 John 4:7a, 9-10
Bishop Sarah F. Davis
16th Episcopal District
AME Church

Friday, December 21, 2012

You're Worth it!


Advent Praycation 2012
Rejection is one of those things that know no gender, race, religion or social economic status. It happens to practically everyone in life. Friendship offered is refused. Genuine love given and it is rejected. An attempt at kindness is met with the cold shoulder. A gift is offered and then turned away.

We do not like it when a coach, teacher, parent, friend or family member makes rejection noises that sound like this: We don’t need you; you’re not wanted; if I needed you I would have called you; you don’t measure up; you’re not good enough, strong enough, bright enough, smart enough, wise enough or cute enough to be with us, play with us or be a part of our group. Rejection happens. It is painful when it does happen to us and yet we are blinded when we do it to others. Lord, forgive us!

Mother Teresa is reported to have said that there are drugs to treat people with leprosy. The drug however does not treat one of the main problems of the disease – that of being unwanted and rejected by everyone.

The Bible reminds us in this Advent season that Jesus came unto his own and was rejected. Jesus and His mission to save people from their sins was misunderstood and rejected. He tasted the bitter waters from the well of loneliness. Yet, he did not allow his haters and intimidators to distract him from what he was called to do. The opinions of the religions establishment and the whims of the populous did not deter Jesus from doing the will of the Father. What about you?

God loved you so much that he gave us his best gift - Jesus. And do you know what? You're worth it!
Repeat your Advent Affirmation throughout the day: Let wisdom flow from my mouth, compassion from my heart and understanding towards those who are misunderstood.

“He came unto his own, and own received him not.”
John 1: 11
Let us pray:
Almighty and Everlasting God, we lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving for loving us even when we were unloving; holding us when others refused; helping us when we were turned away and accepting us without question. When the world has made rejecting noises, you whispered in our ear – Come all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest!

Forgive us Lord when the rejecting noises have come out of our mouths causing pain to someone else, even those closest to us. Help us Lord to forgive those who have rejected us. Help us to forgive ourselves when we have done the same thing to others.

Teach us to fight against the temptation to wallow in the self-pity when we feel unworthy and unloved. Empower us to rise above rejection to keep doing what you have called us to do in church, the community and country. Your love does not fail!

Show us a better way to demonstrate your love in great and small ways throughout the day. Let wisdom flow from our mouths, compassion from our hearts, joy from our souls and understanding towards those who are misunderstood. In Jesus name, Amen.

VMM
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shut-the-Door


Advent Praycation 2012

Beloved,
Taking the time or making the time for shut-the-door prayer can be a challenge in any season of your life. It can elude you in the minutia of the day or with exhaustion at the end of it. Daily distractions can disrupt the time set aside for engaging in your spiritual disciplines. Even the most determined among us can get sidetracked.

No matter how busy you are today, take the time for shut-the-door prayer. The recent tragic events at the Sandy Hook School gripped all of us in its horror. It’s hard to imagine being a parent receiving the news that your first grader was shot and killed at school. It is equally hard to imagine being the one who has to inform that parent of the news or be the first responder who had to walk into that carnage to search for the perpetrator.

Beloved, it is time for shut-the-door-prayer! Only God can get us through a season of senseless acts in a school, a mall or a movie theater! Shut-the-door prayer will strengthen your grip on your shield of faith so you can hold it high again. The enemy of our souls has not stopped shooting fiery darts but the Lord has equipped us with what can quench them.

Prayer will also help you find the courage to do what you can to protect children everywhere from Detroit to Darfur or Calcutta to Connecticut.

Repeat your Advent Affirmation throughout the day: My hands are stronger to do the work before me, my heart can bare any burdens ahead and my mind is being renewed to make decisions that honor God.

"Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door."
Matthew 6: 6

Merciful God, we have shut the door against the intrusions of the day. We who are weary from the challenges and changes of this uncertain season seek rest in your eternal changelessness. Thank God that You are the same yesterday, today and forever more.

Speak now a word that dispels the clouds of doubt and fear. Speak a word that will sustain us in the mundane or monumental moments ahead. Speak a word that will strengthen our hands for the work before us, our hearts for any burdens to bare and renew our minds to make decisions that honor you.

In this shut door prayer, whisper your instructions so that we may emerge to do your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Vashti Muphy McKenzie
VMM

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Help


Advent Praycation 2012
Have you noticed that some of the traditional stories circulating within our cultural matrix every year strives for a happy ending when help finally arrives? Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose. He helped out when the weather turned into an obstacle on Christmas Eve. The Grinch finally had a change of heart and became a help not a hinderance  in Whoville. Scrooge finally gets it in the end and helps Tiny Tim. God bless us everyone. Kris Kringle gets sent to a psychiatric hospital in Miracle on 34th Street but gets help in court, which affirms that he is genuine. George Bailey in Its A Wonderful Life thinks the world has come to an end when Clarence, an angel trying to earn wings helps out. In the Bible Mary and Joseph needed a place to stay. They didn’t have a reservation but an innkeeper helps out by finding space for them among the animals.
Everyone needs help every now and then. In these uncertain times, now and then comes along a lot. We need the kind of help that we can provide to each other. The help may be a kind word, a hand up, a few coins, food, shelter, safety, security, a hand to hold and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.
We also need the help that only comes with Divine intervention. We need God to step into the situation to either make everything all right or make us all right with everything.
Today repeat your Advent Affirmation throughout the day: Lord, make everything all right or make me all right with everything!
"I lift up my eyes to the hills from where my help come. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1
Lord of heaven and earth, we come to you in weakness seeking your strength. Our lives are too empty without your joy. Our burdens become too heavy without your help. Our fears run away with us without your peace. Our anger becomes too destructive without your love.
Our world has become fractured, hungry and hurting. We look to you for help. Help us Lord and give us the power to help, and make our helping effective. Please make everything all right or make s all right with everything. In Jesus Name, Amen
VMM
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Trash Day


Advent Praycation 2012

When you’re the youngest in the family, usually the lowest chores are left for you to do. Taking out the trash is often on the list. It meant in our family collecting all of the trash from every receptacle. Bag it tightly and carrying it all to the hugh trash cans on the back porch. Drag those two big cans to the curb in the evening for the next day pick up! Ugg! Hated it!

As painful as it seemed at the time, it would be worse if the garbage was left in the house…rotting, stinking, an incubator for germs and a magnet for pests. It was best to get rid of it, while it was manageable at the appropriate time that to have it mess up the house.
All of us have a bit of trash that needs to be put out of our lives at appropriate times while it is manageable. If we don’t, it could stink up our lives for a long time.

Advent is the season of preparation. Let’s prepare for a new life in Christ by getting rid of some stuff that has the potential to mess up our spiritual houses.

Repeat your Advent Affirmation throughout the day: Today I will take out the garbage. I will discard thoughts, attitudes, people and habits that are not compatible with an abundant, beautiful and excellent life.

Get ready! Be Prepared!”
Ezekiel 38:7
Let us pray: 

Prepare me Lord to begin a new life. Lead me to do those things that help my heart and mind to be receptive to a fresh start.
Today, I will begin by throwing out the garbage. I will discard thoughts, attitudes, and habits that are not compatible with an abundant, beautiful and excellent life. I turn away from negative people, places and things and turn towards that which is positive and uplifting.

I let go of whatever has caused past discouragement, disappointment, or disagreement. I reach for those things that encourage, support and nourish my body, mind and spirit.

So, I stand boldly on your Word.. behold you shall do a new thing in me.
Open the eyes of my heart and my mind to be receptive to new ideas, activities and relationships.
In Jesus name, Amen
VMM

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Arrival Ready?


Advent Praycation 2012

Beloved, we are all waiting for something. We are waiting for something to happen, something to cease, something to start, something to end, somethng to get better or somehing to arrive. Advent is the season of arrival. What are you waiting for to arrive? Jesus Christ is coming, again! The personification fo God's love, joy and peace. The government shall be upon His shoulders in spite of what the politicians think. (Isaiah 6:9)
Since we know that God answers prayer, be sure that you are prepared for the arrival. The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Since you have committed yourselves, your stuff and you ways...now it time to prepare for the arrival of your blessing!

Repeat your Advent Affirmation throughout the day:
Lord prepare my head, my heart and my life for your arrival and the arrival of Kingdom blessings!
VMM

"Prepare for God's arrival. Make the road smooth and straight." Mark 1: 1-3
The Message
Let is Pray: 
Dear Lord in this season of eager anticipation of a rebirth of hope, a transformation from distress and gloom-we believe that those things that have held us down and kept us bound—will nevertheless cease and will be no more.
As your people we shall no longer walk in darkness for the Light of the World has come and His name is Jesus. We cling to your name Jesus because it reminds us that you took on human flesh for our sake. We recognize your divinity Christ because you never lost the ability to change your situation but instead chose to save our souls. We pray that through those times of despair that we remember your bright light that guided us all to you.
In this day, we believe fervently that you will again enlarge our territory, restore joy where despair sought to disable it and we will again rejoice in your name always. We shall have no fear of what could go wrong, we have no fear of what will go wrong-we simply believe that because you are Lord, you are Savior and you are God that all things are indeed working together for our good because we have been called by you and because we truly love you.
In you we seek our eternal Wonderful Counselor-the One who is able to guide us into all truth, we believe our Mighty God desires only what is good for us, we know that your mercies endure forever for you are the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace—we love, adore and anticipate all great things during this most sacred period in our lives-Jesus come, it is you we love, it is you we serve. Father receive our prayer in the name of the One we love-Jesus Christ.


Rev. Deborah D. Jenkins,
Wife, Mother, Pastor, Author, Entrepreneur

Monday, December 3, 2012

Give 'Till It Hurts


Advent Praycation 2012

Giving is a joy especially during this time of the year. Giving until it hurts or until you max out your credit cards is not a joy. Every year so many of us promise ourselves we will not overdo, overspend, or overeat. Yet, by the time the advertising messages, sales, smells of baking pies, cakes, roasting turkey and Christmas carols get through with us it is not a joy to our world.
During this Advent season prepare yourselves to give what’s priceless and never on sale.

“The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving.”
Psalm 37:21
Lord, our soon coming King, you have given us the gift of eternal life through your son Jesus Christ. Now, may the spirit of generosity overcome us and lead us to give our all to you today.
Empower us to speak your word into the lives of those around us;
Give wise counsel when asked;
Give a kind word ; 
Give  comfort to those who are suffering; 
Give of our time to causes that need our input and influence; 
Give our love without seeking reciprocity, 
and give our treasure to under gird your work.

Direct us Lord in all of our giving. Help us to give unselfishly and grow beyond self-serving lifestyles. Help us to give what money cannot buy love, acceptance, forgiveness, peace and understanding.

In Jesus name, increase our eagerness to give ourselves to you..again! Amen.

VMM

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Come Home For Christmas


AN ADVENT PRAYCATION

It seems we have created a cacophony of magical moments this time of the year. Our Christmas moments tend to be a cross between the remnants of European practices where there are lots of Tiny Tim’s whose needs are met miraculously by the transformed Ebenezer Scrooges of life and Santa Clause breaking and entering in homes every year without being arrested or incarcerated. Swirling around in this mixture are Christmas Carols promising nights that are silent and holy and invitations to the faithful who can still come to adore Him.
Family traditions are kept. Memories are being created. Our hearts long to be bathed in the warm glow of a holiday season where war and rumors of wars fade, problems disappear in the glare of holiday lights. It’s Christmas. It’s on sale right now. You can use cash, credit, debit or layaway to have the Christmas you want this year!
We want things to be the way we want things to be: everyone gets what they want; everyone eats what they want; everyone gets to be with who they want to be with; everyone is safe and secure; sane and surrounded by familial love. Right?

If we’re not careful, we will miss the coming Messiah because of the materialism of the moment.
You are cordially invited to Come Home For Christmas this year. This home is not a physical location but a spiritual reality in Christ Jesus.

Join us for Praycation Advent 2012 – Come Home for Christmas beginning Sunday, December 2, 2012. Make this moment of Scripture, prayer, reflection and response one to be enjoyed alone or shared with family and friends. Use it to invite someone to go to church with you during this season of preparation called Advent and into the New Year. It’s a great way to start the day or the study moments in your local congregation. Share it on your social network or just email it to a friend.
Come Home to Christ for Christmas…and stay!

Let us Pray:
Lord, amid the chaotic rush of this Advent moment, help me not to miss the Messiah in the materialism. In Jesus name, Amen.

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Lord, open our eyes that we may see you working behind the scenes of our lives.

Open our hands that we may share generously the gifts you have provided.

Open our mouths to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Open our mind to receive new ideas, concepts and innovations.

Open our hearts to love our neighbor and ourselves better today than yesterday. Help us to be more open to your Word so that we will be hearers and doers of your Word. In our name, Amen

VMM

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chaos to Calm


My soul only waits for the Lord. In silence I sit in anticipation for the one who is my rock and my salvation.  Draw me out of the chaos of this world and into the calm of your intimacy. I breathe out chaos and breathe in calm; breathe out the chaotic experiences of living in an uncertain world and breathe in the calm of a peace that surpasses all understanding; breathe out chaotic personalities and breathe in the calm of a changeless Christ; breathe out ignorance and breathe in the calm of your wisdom that instructs me; breathe out my will and breath in thy will be done.

Calm me just as you have calmed the winds and the waves.
Speak to me just as you spoke to the storm.
Touch me in places I’d rather leave untouched.
See me and know what I thought was hidden from you.
Cross my inner threshold so that we are one.

Here I am Lord your servant is listening...and having heard your voice clearly, I go to stand boldly before my adversaries to speak truth to the powers that be; to bring about a future, your future that is a benefit to all, not some but all.
In Jesus Name, Amen

VMM

Beloved, just as there is an eye in a hurricane, you can find calm in the midst of any chaos swirling around you. Breathe deeply inviting the presence of God to preside over your day. Seek calm centers within that keep you focused and on task even when everything seems confused. Create the calm wherever you go!
Blessings!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Praycation - DAY THIRTY-ONE


Sometimes the things that keep us up late at night are more than dietary issues. An emotional hurt or pain, a disappointment, an attack, grief, a loss or the memory of a cruel injustice can sweep over us ruining more than one night’s sleep.

A young child wrote her experiences of wrestling with great agonies in the midnight hour. She wrote that when she cried out to God, she heard in response “Love covers all”. She began to pray asking God to cover all of her pain with the God kind of love that has the power to cover every issue. Then she mentally dug a deep grave. She buried the offense that had wounded her heart and covered it with dirt. Her testimony was that she covered the hole with green sod and planted white roses and forget-me-nots on top and walked away.

Restful sleep found her once again and the issues that wounded her so deeply healed without a scar. God’s love completely covered her pain.

Today in prayer, allow the love of God to cover every negative person, place or thing in your life. Bury it deep. Preach the eulogy. Pronounce the benediction and walk away. God’s love will bath you in its glory and grant you the peace to grow through troubling times. As the hymn writer sings: “When nothing else would help, love lifted me.”
“Love covers all wrongs”
Proverbs 10:12
Let us pray:
Lord, I bury all of the people, places and things that have caused me grief into your love that has the power to cover all wrongs.

PRAYCATION 2012 –THE TRANSFORMED LIFE

Beloved, it is hard to believe that we are coming to the end of our 31-day journey! It has been a joy. I pray that the experience has been a blessing. More than 7,000 people have prayed during our 31 day sojourn world-wide!!
It's not over, we've only just begun. 

Weekly prayers will continue to be posted on this site beginning September 1, 2012. At other times, devotions by different authors will also be posted. Weekly audio messages will begin again on September 1st at www.thisisyourwakeupcallonline.com. Subscribe today and new messages will automatically come to your email inbox. Invite others to do the same. It's free!

The next prayer intensive will be the season of Advent, those precious days leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Please share your prayer experiences in the comment section on this site. If God has answered your prayers, please share your testimony. Also let me know if you will continue to practice your spiritual disciplines! The journey continues…

Blessings
VMM

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Praycation - DAY THIRTY


Is there a sweet, sweet Spirit in your work, witness and worship? Invite the Holy Spirit into your life today. Listen for His promptings and urgings as to when it is time to pray, to be still, silent or speak in Jesus name. Ask Him to convict and comfort you as you breathe in the Spirit and are filled by the Spirit. Breathe in life. Breathe in peace. Breathe in joy. Breathe in the Spirit.

Try it now. Find a quiet place somewhere in your day. Breathe deeply. Breathe in life. Breathe out all dead things. Breathe in peace. Breathe out chaos. Breathe in joy. Breathe out pain. Breathe in love. Breathe out anger, arrogance and jealousy. Breathe in the Spirit. 

As the Spirit fills you, you will be better prepared to embrace the gifts of the Spirit. You will find that anger, arrogance and jealousy do not stand a chance against goodness, kindness, patience and self-control.

Beloved, be led by the Spirit today. There is an incredible spiritual adventure waiting for you. Surrender to the Spirit of God. Ask Him to shut every door but the right one. Open every door to the opportunity prepared for you from the beginning of the universe. Trust the Holy Spirit to stop every step that is not of God and order the steps you are to take now.  Listen for the Spirit to be the voice behind you telling you which way to go.

Live in the Spirit today. Create the opportunity in prayer to be more aware of His presence.

Sing in the Spirit today:
Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev’ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend (2006)

“If we live in the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or jealous of each other.”
Galatians 5: 25-26
Let us pray:
Come Holy Spirit. I surrender all that I think, say and do today to You. In Jesus name, amen.

PRAYCATION 2012 –THE TRANSFORMED LIFE

If Praycation this month has been a blessing to you, please invite others to take the journey. Our 31-day sojourn may be coming to an end but weekly prayers and audio messages will begin again on September 1, 2012 at www.thisisyourwakeupcallonline.com. Weekly prayers will continue on this site. 

If you started late, you can still catch up. Scroll down through the archives to continue your own personal praycation. If the Lord has blessed you, your family, ministry or congregation, be sure to let us know in the comment section.
What more can we do for you?

Blessings,
VMM

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Praycation - TWENTY-NINE


Luggage is an important item for those who travel whether it is across the country or around the world. It carries what you hope is everything you will need for your journey.

I must confess that I have often traveled with too much luggage. I have tried to pack too much into too many small places. You never know if it will be colder or warmer than predicted. There could be extreme heat or a hurricane and just like the post office you still must deliver the mail.

There may be only one scheduled event but  when you arrive you find out that it is actually two or three events. Sigh… and of course, who doesn’t like to have choices…right?

If you are flying now you have to pay for what you packed to go with you to your destination.

Confession number two: I have had carry-on luggage envy. There are people who are so organized that they can pack one week’s worth of clothes in carry-on luggage. There is a special place in heaven for them.
Let’s face it we all have excess baggage. We’re carrying around too much stuff and we’re paying for it. It's not costing us money but it is weighing us down physically and emotionally. What we really need to do is to get down to the carry-on level.

We pack so much into our daily lives. We carry around everything in case we must deliver under adverse circumstances. We fail to prioritize – that is saying no to carrying things that are not really our responsibility or saying no to carrying around other people's problems or worries and our own stress, regrets, grief, shame, or the sins that so easily beset us.

Our hands, minds and hearts are so filled with yesterday's issues and tomorrow's concerns  that we fail to say yes to the best things that God has to offer today. We may also fail to recognize the season we’re in so we carry everything around with us for all seasons and sometimes the load gets too heavy to bear.

We keep adding more and more stuff to our luggage because we’re afraid of not having enough or not having what we need when we need it; or not having the right thing for the right occasion; or we have gotten so use to some stuff we just can’t let it go.

The most talented among us can pack all their issues into their luggage and carry them around both day and night. Stop the madness.

Put your hands up, drop the baggage and back away. It may be overwhelming to drop the luggage and carry it no more all at once. But at least strive to get to a carry-on level.

Try this. Matthew 6:34 therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Ok each day has enough for us to deal with without us carrying overweight luggage filled with the worries or troubles of yesterday, last week, last month or last year.

I had to learn how to plan and organize better for my cross-town and cross-country travels. Some things are best left at home or left out. Some things do not need to be apart the  journey.

Whew, I’m down to carry-on luggage and getting better everyday. Every 24 hours has enough for us to deal without dragging yesterday’s issues and tomorrow’s worries in a set of suitcases everywhere we go. Lighten the load and enjoy your day.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
Let us pray:
Lord, help me to let go and let you handle what happens today! In Jesus name, amen.

PRAYCATION 2012 –THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
Beloved, we have enough to deal with on a daily basis. Try not to carry around with you today what already happened, what may happen or what may not happen.

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Matthew 6: 34 (The Message Bible)
Someone you know needs to read this message and pray today’s Praycation simple sentence prayer. Send it to them!

Remember to do the steps of Praycation: Silence, Solitude, Submission, Service and Selah! Scroll down the archives on this site for more details. Subscribe. It's free!
Blessings,
VMM

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Praycation - DAY TWENTY- EIGHT


How long O Lord, how long? In psalm 13, the poet cries how long not once but four times. It reminds us of the cry of the lonely, lost and left out. It reminds us of those who are waiting for answers that have not arrived, yet. It reminds us of those who are waiting for retribution or those who are waiting for a sudden reversal of tragic situations. How long O lord, do we have to endure seasons of insecurity and lack; how long do we have to put up with policies that castigate and praxis that defame the huddled masses yearning to breath free!

What then do we do when what we want or need we cannot get? What do we do when what needs to change seems perpetual? What do we do when we’re ready to move on but are caught between a rock and hard place?

Imagine with me what it is like to have a mind fertile with ideas that need to be born but the ideas at worse are aborted or at best still born; an imagination pregnant with the things of which dreams are made; a consciousness that has been cultivated with the sperm of visions; feet equipped for running; hands have been crafted for doing; your heart has been constructed for compassion and there is no one to love; your very being overflows with the gifts to nurture but nurture goes untried; your eyes dance with insight; your mouth is full of wisdom and your arms ache to hold the harvest of blessings that are yours. And like the subject of our text God is silent. All you want to do is to raise your voice and cry how long O lord, how long?

The psalmist then prayed consider and answer me O lord my God lighten my eyes. In other words, bring me back to life again, let there be a gleam in my eyes again. What began as an anxious cry ends as the psalmist realizes that God’s steadfast love will never let him go. I know that my trust is well placed in a God who loves me even though I feel lost between rocks and hard places. The poet begins Psalm 13 with a cry and ends with a song.
Have you ever done that been there in prayer? You start out with a cry and end up with a song. You start out anxious or troubled and end up shouting.

Today, pray your prayers trusting God that no matter what, the Lord loves you too much to let you go. The answer or solution hasn’t arrived yet. The operative word is yet! It’s coming. Hold on a little while longer!

"How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?"
Psalm 13: 1 (NKJV)
Let us pray:
Lord, help me to hold on just a little while longer! In Jesus name, amen.

PRAYCATION 2012 – THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
Beloved, I don’t know about you but there are times when the answers just do not come fast enough. It seems like God has forgotten all about us. The psalmist is trying to tell us that no matter what it looks like God can help you rise above your enemies. Nudge your neighbor and say hang in there. Lord, help us to hang in there!
Encourage someone today to hold on until the answer or solution arrives. Send this message to them or post it on your Face Book or Twitter pages.

Blessings! You are already blessed with every spiritual blessing! 
VMM

Monday, August 27, 2012

Praycation - DAY TWENTY-SEVEN


When was the last time you did a little extra? A little extra these days can be difficult in our Google world of texting, scanning, skimming, retrieving, emailing, blogging, information-at-your-fingertip world. Oh, and this is on top of your regularly scheduled activities.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus speaks about a little extra. If you have two coats give one away and if someone compels you to go one mile you go two – the extra mile.
The word “compel” carries with it the idea of “a readiness and willingness to submit to inconvenience or unreasonable demands.”
In context this has reference to the Roman army; if a Roman soldier demanded that a Jewish man carry his burden or equipment a mile, about 1000 paces, which was what the law specified, then Jesus said that he should carry it two miles.
But notice the wording that Jesus uses. He doesn’t say anything about a Roman soldier. He says, “and whosoever shall compel thee”. To you and I today this would mean, “If a teacher, supervisor, administrator, family member, loved one, friend, a neighbor” or a “co-worker” or a good doing “church member” would compel us to do a little extra something then we should do twice as much as they expect us to do.
Now if you are human, and we all are, many times when we are asked to the little extra, there maybe a little dragging of the feet, mumbling and murmuring, some resentment spread all over the task. After all we’re busy! Our agenda is already over crowded.
Going the extra mile may require a different attitude! Lord help!
Scripture tells us of another who was “compelled” as Jesus made his way to Golgotha: Matthew 27:32 "and as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross."
Simon had no choice but to carry the cross. However, Jesus infers that this extra mile thing will be up to our own volunteering efforts.
The extra mile will not be an enjoyable trip unless we do it as unto the lord.
Art Williams once said, “You beat 50% of the people in America by working hard; you beat 40% by being a person of honesty, integrity and standing for something; and the last 10% is a dogfight of the free enterprise system. If you want to win those dogfights you will have to learn do a little extra.”
In prayer today ask God what little extra should you do, when should you to do it, with whom, how and where. What would happen if you did a little extra before asked? Is it possible to do a little extra with a smile and a genuine desire to serve?
Pray and then put in a little extra time, extra research, extra study, extra help, extra concentration, extra love, extra hug, extra kindness, extra attention, extra work, extra rehearsal, time, extra training, extra practice, extra service, extra smile, extra filing, extra organizing, extra effort or an extra mile…maybe just maybe that little extra will go a long way.
Whatever extra you do today, the trip will be more enjoyable if you do it for the Lord. Remember to do all to the glory of God today and everyday!
“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”
Matthew 5: 41
Let us pray:
Lord, show me when, where and how to do a little extra today. In Jesus name, amen.

PRAYCATION 2012 – THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
It’s hard to believe that we are down to the last week of Praycation 2012. For those who are taking this journey for the first time, welcome! For the veterans, you know that these 31 days of prayer intensive may be coming to an end but our prayers and other spiritual disciplines will continue. Our regular weekly audio messages, which will begin again on September 1st.
If you need to catch up, just scroll down in the archive section on the home site in the “Read” section. Subscribe and new prayers or messages will automatically come in your email inbox. It’s free!
Share this message with your friends, family and church members. Do a little extra today and let me know how God crowned your efforts with success.
Blessings
VMM

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Praycation - DAY TWENTY-SIX


Every now and then God will send us a dream that we cannot shake. We wake up in the morning and the dream is right there shouting at us to respond. The dream may come in the middle of the night or it is a dream that comes to us in the day while praying, reading the scriptures or listening to the preached word. The dream may come tip toeing through the silence while we are listening for the still small voice of God to unravel the intricacies of the Kingdom.

There are at least 28 accounts of dreams in the Bible. They include the dreams of Solomon, the wise men, and Pilate’s wife on the eve of the crucifixion and Mary’s betrothed Joseph who was warned in a dream to run away with baby Jesus to Africa.

This is not the first Biblical Joseph to have a dream. The progenitor of our faith, Joseph of Genesis fame also had a dream that not only changed the direction of his life but changed the course of an emerging nation.
The Joseph in Matthew’s gospel had a dream that compelled him to raise the child in Mary’s womb. In the language of the faith …it is the Immaculate Conception born not of humankind but of the Holy Spirit… the Word of God made flesh that dwelt among us. Joseph’s dream was a call to action to mentor, protect, nurture and support the Christ child.

In Genesis, a young Joseph had a dream of a future that God had in mind, a future in stark contrast to his present reality. There were detours in the road ahead but the abuse of others did not abort the dream. He ended up with a prison record and was paroled into pharaoh's employ. The dream was delayed but not denied.

Listening and responding to the dream that God gave Joseph in Matthews’s gospel as well as in the book of Genesis made all the difference in the world. It made a difference to the lives of their families, in the lives of those who were apart of their community and the expanded community of the people of God.

What are God dreams calling you to do? Are you listening to the dreams God gives you?

Next time God gives you one of those dreams that won’t let you go, a dream that blows your mind or one that imagines a reality that seems impossible…listen, pray and then act. The Bible says whatsoever we bind on earth we bind in heaven and whatsoever we loose on earth is loose in heaven…so we pray those binding and loosing prayers today …because of a dream that won’t let us and because it just might make all the difference in the world.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 18: 18 (NIV)
Let us pray:
Lord, I bind whatever hinders the dream of great things to come for me and mine and loose the power of God in my life. In Jesus name, amen.

Praycation 2012 – The Transformed Life

I was glad when they told me it was time to go to church! Beloved, go to corporate worship today with a glad heart not begrudgingly or out of duty. Go expecting signs and wonders to follow the preached word of God!
Later in the day, do catch up on the Praycation messages and prayers. Invite others to the journey. It may make a difference in your marriage, family, parenting, relationships, career or congregation!

Remember the steps of Praycation! Go to August 1st for details.
VMM

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Praycation - DAY TWENTY-FIVE


Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount to consider the lilies of the fields. The lily could have been the scarlet anemone whose lavishness was compared to the robes of Solomon. The lily could have been a generic term for the flowers growing abundantly in the fields. They do not spin or toil but are glorious.

The Bible mentions lilies 15 times with 8 of them occurring in the Song of Solomon. These verses indicate that the lily grows in the fields, the valleys, in gardens and among the thorns. Wherever they are planted, they grow.

When we are considering the lily, consider this: They grow in places where there is a lack of resources for optimal survival. The lily stretches its root system deep into places that is cultivated for her to flourish as well as into places where good soil is hard to find. The lily grows abundantly in broad places with plenty of sunshine to enhance its growth and beauty. It also grows in the shadowy places of a valley where fauna, flora and hillside may block the sun. Yet, the lily grows.

What about you, child of God? We may find ourselves planted in places that do not provide the right amount of nourishment or support. We may find ourselves just like the lily down in the valley of despair, depression, disappointment, disillusion, desperation, and devastation. We may be planted in places that have been cultivated to enhance our gifts and skills. We may also find ourselves in places that hinder our growth because of a lack of resources. Our roots struggle to find what it needs to grow or we are in a place that does not appreciate our beauty – beauty of head, heart and mind. Yet, just like the Lily, we can grow.

Consider the Lily today in prayer no matter where you are planted – in the broad spaces of community and congregational life, in cultivated manicured emotional, socio-economic and physical landscapes or buried in valleys unprotected by policy, praxis or legislation – you can still grow!

Repeat after me: It doesn’t matter where I am now; God is able to prosper me to grow and flourish.

“Consider the Lily of he field, and how they grow;”
Matthew 6:28
Let us pray:
Lord, help me to bloom where I'm planted! In Jesus name, amen.

PRAYCATION 2012 – THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
It’s Saturday! ‘nuf said!
Someone needs to read this message today. Send it to them now. Post this message in your social network system on Facebook, Twitter or Digg. Be sure to share your prayer experiences in the comment section.
Enjoy the day. Be sure to be prayed-up and praised-up before going to worship tomorrow.
Blessings,
VMM