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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Prayer

Stuck, alone and helpless. [The Effective Prayer 9.29.15]

Do you ever wonder how to pray? Do you sit to talk with God and just don’t know what to say? These posts by my Brother Elihu are a great tool if that is you! Because, it is certainly me!


By: Elihu

From: Elihu’s Corner

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.

Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white;
but we decide which is right,
And which is an illusion?

~ Graeme Edge, Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed

Night, peaceful night.

Peaceful, at least, for some of us…

What do you feel when you find yourself in a still and silent place? Do you feel panic, anxiety, peace or joy?

I crave stillness. Life is so hectic. I yearn for those quiet moments when I don’t have to do or be anything. It is a human foible to constantly crave that which eludes us.

Here’s a little perspective:

Imagine for a moment being on end-of-life care or severely immobilized. You’re stuck in a wheelchair or confined to a hospital bed. You have no driver’s license. You don’t have the physical capability to get anywhere on your own.

You feel like a caged bird.

A world that used to brim with possibility is suddenly beyond reach. You can’t strike out on a new adventure unless someone is willing to take you along. You feel Stuck. Alone. Helpless.

Welcome to the life of the shut-in.

In the twilight of life, it is common to struggle to find purpose for those remaining days. People who are confined due to age or illness long for a kind word or a friendly visit. They feel forgotten, isolated. Some grow bitter in their loneliness. Others have physical ailments that cause embarrassment or discomfort. Sometimes, they aren’t elderly. Relatively young men and women struck with cancer or like illness may find themselves in a hospital bed, drawing closer to death far sooner than they’d expected.

Do we just cast them aside and pretend they don’t exist? Are they less deserving of our compassion than the vibrant, healthy and young? On the contrary, they are in desperate need of compassion and encouragement before they meet the Maker.

An example of compassion and purpose

Even though my mother worked full-time, she tried to find ways to visit the elderly ladies from church who were in the hospital or shut-in. During my junior year of high school, we gave a plate of cookies to an elderly couple at church that we didn’t know very well.

We all became fast friends.

A short time later, the man passed on leaving behind his wife. Their children lived elsewhere. She was all alone. Without her husband, she was unable to drive. Nearly every Friday afternoon, my mother would take Mary while she made deliveries for work so that they could visit with each other and pick up some groceries. It was an edifying experience for all of us. I observed that one could grow old and still have joy. One could be shut-in and still find purpose. Helping others could be helpful to you. Mary was a talented lady and she would knit and crochet blankets, sweaters and stuffed animals for new moms and needy folks. She made several of our baby blankets and I still have them today. Mary was a beautiful example of growing old with grace.

It all started with a plate of cookies and ended with a beautiful friendship.

Praying for the shut-ins.

This week’s prayer requires you to reach out a little. If you are an introvert like me, this may be a  difficult task. People are unpredictable and it can be a bit daunting. Remember, God does not call us to do only that which is easy or comfortable; He calls us to be compassionate regardless of circumstances.

If you have a similar personality to mine, I recommend starting out slowly. Begin by sending a card in the mail. Next, find someone who has experience ministering to the elderly and ask to accompany them when the visit people.

Here is a list of specific requests for the shut-ins:

  • Pray that they will seek the Lord until the end. I have observed the effects of debilitating disease and injuries. It either fosters a closer with God or triggers bitterness toward God. Pray that their eyes will be open to the Lord and that they won’t reject Him in their pain, loneliness and fear.
  • Ask the Lord to send them friendship. (This could be you!)
  • Pray that they will be comforted by the Lord’s presence.
  • Pray for those caring for them—both family and health professionals. Pray for those who are making decisions for this individual; pray that decisions will not be motivated by convenience, frustration, exhaustion or selfish desire, but rather what is best for the one cared for.
  • For those Christians suffering from dementia, pray that the Lord will remind them that He has not forsaken them. I have shared a story in the past about a lady I knew who suffered from Alzheimers. Even in that fog of confusion, she always spoke to me of God’s faithfulness. You can read that post here. It is a prayer that offer up for myself at times. I hope I am lucid until I die, but if I should get Alzheimer’s or dementia, I pray that I am like the examples I have seen of people who remember the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord even when all else is forgotten.

Read the original post here on Elihu’s Corner

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Remember the Widowed(The Effective Prayer 8-31-15(

By: Elihuh

From: Elihuh’s Corner

They were quite a pair
The way that love should be
They still held hands
For all the world to see
She’s thankful that she had him all those years
But she still has days she can’t hold back the tears

She misses their Monday night bowling league
When they’d wear their matching shirts
She misses their Wednesday night dinner out
As soon as he got home from work
Saturday morning sleeping late
Holding each other close
But she misses him on Sunday the most

She sits alone on that same old pew again
His tenor voice still echoes now and then
It brings back all those memories of him there by her side
What she’d give for one more Sunday drive

She misses their Monday night bowling league
When they’d wear their matching shirts
She misses their Wednesday night dinner out
As soon as he got home from work
Saturday morning sleeping late
Holding each other close
But she misses him on Sunday the most
But she misses him on Sunday the most

~Diamond Rio, She Misses Him On Sunday The Most

You see them often: the elderly man sitting on a pew alone; the elderly woman who walks in and out unnoticed; the young woman juggling kids, still wearing black; the middle-aged man with the vacant, overwhelmed stare trying to help his elementary-aged children. They have to go home to an empty bed or quiet house. In the case of the elderly, their income is fixed, many of their dearest friends have passed on and they are engulfed by loneliness. In the case of the young mother or father, they are not only grappling with unexpected loss, but they are facing a future of uncertainty and the daunting task of raising children on their own.

At times, people walk hesitantly towards them, unsure what words to use and then keep on walking past to avoid discomfort.

They are the widowed.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

~ James 1:27, ESV

The Lord knows that there are people who need extra help. He has always made provision for those bereft of care. The New Testament has several scriptures regarding widows and the church.

In Acts 6, men were appointed to make sure that the widows in the church would get their daily portion of food, because they had been neglected up to that point.

In Acts 9, a woman named Tabitha cared for the widows; when she died they were deeply grieved and Peter raised her from the dead.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul gives instructions for the church to care for widows who are in need and do not have family to help them.

Imagine if you were in the shoes of the widowed (maybe you are that person). It’s daunting!

I came very near to that point two years ago when I learned my spouse had been in a deadly situation. We had three children under the age of six that day, and I very nearly became their sole caretaker. It’s a frightening prospect to be struck with grief and raising children solo. Incidents like these give you a new appreciation for military spouses with husbands/wives overseas and cop’s spouses who never know from day-to-day if their husband or wife will make it home from work.

Imagine being an elderly man or woman who has been married anywhere from forty to sixty years. Suddenly, you have nobody in bed next to you when you wake up. The house is quiet. Everything you used to do with that person, you now do alone. Just thinking about that prospect makes my heart ache!

We need to wake up to the needs of those around us who are bereft of their spouses. They need our prayers, but they also need our help.

  • Ask to help them go shopping once a week.
  • Offer to take them to lunch and visit with them every so often.
  • Offer to bring them to group events.
  • Look for them on Sundays and make a point of talking with them each week.

They need us—their brothers and sisters in Christ—to show them love and compassion. I will warn you, it may not always be taken warmly or gratefully. I offered to help an elderly lady once shortly after she’d lost her husband and she said, “oh yes, you are doing what James said, ‘take care of the widows and orphans’” It was said sarcastically. Your care and concern will not always be received well, but we need to make the effort just the same. I have to admit that after being pushed away so bitterly, I was more hesitant to approach anyone who was widowed. Keep on trying; remember that they are hurting and people handle their pain differently.

Pray for them.

I write these Effective Prayer posts as an encouragement to myself and to you. I tend to be very self-focused in my prayers (praying for my needs and the needs of immediate family) and I truly believe that I need to be more outwardly focused on the needs of others, not only in my activities, but my prayers.

Here are some suggestions to help focus your prayer:

Pray for them to be comforted.

This will not happen overnight. They pain will be with them for years; it may never fully dissipate. They need our prayers, and our presence.

Pray for them to have friendship.

Don’t we all need friends? Pray that the Lord will send them solid friends who will not take advantage of them (this could be you!).

Pray for them to lean on the Lord.

Where should we always go in our need? Too often we seek outside comfort in a bottle, or medication, or in other dangerous places. Pray that they will seek healthy comfort from God and be fulfilled.

Pray for their protection.

Elderly people are particularly prone to being taken advantage of. They need help, contract work etcetera and people are more than happy to do things half way and ask for double the payment, or steal from them when they aren’t looking. Pray that the Lord will protect them.

Younger widows/widowers could marry another person who is only seeking to rob them of their money or take advantage of their young children. They need protection, especially in their state of grief.

Pray for and encourage these individuals in their time of pain and vulnerability. They need the Lord and they need our help.

Read the original post here

15 Bible Verses and a Prayer for Courage

By: Heather C. King

From: Room to Breath Blog

  •  Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
  • Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • Joshua 1:9 NIV
     Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
  • 1 Chronicles 28:20 NIV
     David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.Do not be afraid or discouraged, for theLord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
  • 2 Chronicles 32:7 NASB
    Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.
  • Psalm 16:8 NASB
    I have set the Lord continually before me;
    Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
  • Psalm 27:1 NIV
    The Lord is my light and my salvation—
        whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
        of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Psalm 27:14 NASB
    Wait for the Lord;
    Be strong and let your heart take courage;
    Yes, wait for the Lord.
  • Psalm 31:24 NASB
    Be strong and let your heart take courage,
    All you who hope in the Lord.
  • Psalm 56:3-4 NIV
    When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
         In God, whose word I praise—
    in God I trust and am not afraid.
        What can mere mortals do to me?
  • Isaiah 41:10 NIV
    So do not fear, for I am with you;
        do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
        I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Isaiah 41:13 NIV; psalm31-24For I am the Lord your God
        who takes hold of your right hand
    and says to you, Do not fear;
        I will help you.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV
     Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;be courageous; be strong.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
     For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
  • Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV
     Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
    “Never will I leave you;
        never will I forsake you.”
    So we say with confidence,
    “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid
       What can mere mortals do to me?”
  • 1 Peter 3:13-14
    Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”

prayer-for-courage

Read the original post here

Praying Through Psalms: 15 – 17

Tonight I am sharing a great post from Pauline at Uniquely Designed Individuals from her series on Praying Through the Psalms


Father, we bless Your Holy Name and we give You the praise and Glory for what You have, are and will continue to do for those who walk upright and blameless before You.

Lord, who is there that can abide in Your tabernacle of dwell in Your holy hill? Only those who walk uprightly, practice righteousness, speaks the truth in their heart, does not slander or gossip to assassinate another’s character with their tongue, does not disgrace or dishonor their neighbor, but honors those who reverentially fears You who is the Lord.

Father God only those who are able to say: Father, lay not this charge against them,” like Jesus, Stephen and so many others that have exemplified their lives by living a lifestyle holy and pleasing to you will be able to abide in Your Holy Presence.

Father, there is no room for extortion nor exploitation in Your Kingdom Father, so we are asking You to help us to keep our focus on You and then according fulfill Your divine will, plan and purpose for our lives we will fulfill the purpose which You have preordained and predestinated us to do before the foundations of the earth were even created.

Lord, all goodness comes from You alone, and we choose by faith to place our trust in You and You alone for our every need that we will require in these last day scenarios that are to come. Lord God, You are our portion and our inheritance in the land of the living.

Father, we thank You for being for us and since You are for us, who is there that can be against us. Our hearts are glad and our glory (hearts) rejoices and our flesh will also rest in hope, hope in knowing that it is You who holds our future which is something no one can take away from us.

Thank You for sending Jesus, Father and we will praise you forevermore, fo it is You who by Your Spirit, leads us in the path of Life through Your Son, Jesus Christ, and in Your presence there is fullness of joy and at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Father, we thank that You hear our cries and answer the prayers of those who are in desperate need of You. Lord, during the times of testing and trials which we have passed and have yet to pass, be with us as we pray as to seek Your face because You are our only source and strength in time of need.

Read the rest here

The Harvest is Plentiful, but… [The Effective Prayer 7.28.15]

As part of our daily devotional series on revival, I keep looking for good post about related topics for evening reading. This is a great one on witnessing from Elihu and Elihuh’s Corner.


The harvest is plentiful, but…

a) it’s infested with bugs

b) it’s covered in powdery mildew

c) it’s been genetically modified

d) the laborers are few.

What’s your guess?

A little over a month ago, our congregation hosted a guest preacher who spoke on the importance of seeking and teaching the lost. The method he advocated contained the same message of salvation, but instead of trying to have weeks upon weeks of classes and struggling to get people to commit to a long-term meeting, a one-hour meeting is proposed to have an overview of the Bible and the good news of Christ.

As he pointed out during his lessons, the problem isn’t with the message. The problem is the lack of messengers.

The terms “Proselytizers” and “evangelizers” are spat distastefully from the mouths of athiests and antagonists. When we talk to people about the gospel, there is an unspoken sentiment that it had better be in neutered, relative or generic terms or else we are considered judgmental.

Read the rest here

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