Prescriptive Prayer

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous [wo]man avails much.” (James 5:16, NKJV)

This prayer was electronically delivered to my inbox this week. This prayer was purposefully penned for my friend Meg. Meg is fighting a reoccurring battle of cancer, specifically a reoccurring brain tumor.

During trials of life, we need the support of others. This prescriptive prayer is an example of a prayer warrior in action. Meg and the author of this prayer, Anne H., gave permission for me to share this with you.  Meg refers to this prayer as her “prescriptive prayer.” Friends, thank you in advance for taking Meg’s need before God’s throne.~April

 

Prescriptive Prayer by Anne H. 

Lord,
I come worshiping You for who You are, and thanking You for Your amazing love… “You were before all things, and through You all things exist.” (Colossians 1:17)

You, Father, knew Meg before she was ever born, You “fashioned all of her days when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:16) This brain tumor did not take You by surprise, and You have called Meg by name and have said to her,Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

So, I come Lord, putting the entire burden of this brain tumor on You, and I ask that You defeat it, that You take it apart, that You bring it to nothing, for Your glory and for Meg’s good, and for the good of her children. I know that “the thief (the enemy of our souls) comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that You came to bring life, and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Fill Meg with Your abundant life, and remove the enemy’s attempt to destroy her. I speak against all fear that would come against her and ask that tormenting fear would leave her, and that Your perfect love would cast out all fear. (1 John 4:18) I ask, “No weapon formed against her would prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)

I ask that You cover her, and her children, this treatment plan, her family, and friends who are supporting her and praying for her, with Your protective shield and Presence. I ask that You watch over every aspect of Meg’s life and journey, and that You and Your name be lifted up throughout this fight of faith! Keep her and her children grounded in You and in Your love, and “when the enemy comes in like a flood, that the Spirit of the Lord would lift up a standard against him!” (Isaiah 59:19)

I thank You and praise You that in this world You never leave us alone and without hope. “You never leave us, nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5) and that You hold our hand (Isaiah 41:13) and walk us through the fire (Isaiah 43:2) so that we might come forth emblazoned by You, with a deeper love and understanding of all that You are and of all that You accomplished at the Cross on our behalf.

Thank You Holy Father. Thank you precious Jesus.Thank You magnificent Spirit.

In Jesus mighty name, we ask and believe all these things!

Amen.

A Go Fund Me account was established for Meg an the family. Click on the link below for more information. 

https://www.gofundme.com/megs-radiation-treatment-fund

Life is Hard, but God is Good

Is God good?

I don’t know what prompted my husband to ask the question. It was an ordinary day. We were zooming down the road to Rachel’s (aka Pop Fly) softball game. Shifting into fifth gear, my husband turned toward the backseat and asked, “Is God Good?”

Rachel, our twelve-year-old, immediately answered, “Yes.”

Non-verbal sounds emanated from Andrew’s throat with a not-no-sure moan.

Chris asked again, “Andrew, Is God good?”

“Well….um…” He began.

Panic raced through my veins. Have I failed as a mother? I wonder.  I pray, “Lord, why isn’t he answering this question? Lord, help him to know the truth.”

“It’s just that…” He continued struggling to form his thoughts.

Memories flash through my mind of all the bedtime prayers, family devotions, long discussions about hard topics, vacation Bible schools, and even private Christian school. Yet my fourteen-year-old son struggles with this three-word question.

Sighing, Andrew spoke, “God is good, it’s just that life is hard right now.”

Continuing he said, “Mom has an illness and is unable to work. Dad has all the weight on him right now. I broke my ankle and we need to sell our house.”

Keeping his eyes on the road, Chris nodded, “You’re right Andrew, God is good and life is hard right now.”

Turing to look at him in the back seat, “Andrew, both of those statements are true. The reality of our current situation does not change the fact that God is good.”

I realized the delay in Andrew’s response was not due to a lack of knowledge, but rather a crisis of faith. Deep down he knew the right answer taught by his parents, the church, and even his school. However, his teenage brain had developed deeper thought processes. Truth and reality wrestled in his mind.

Life is Hard, but God is Good. Click To Tweet

There will come a time in everyone’s life when there is a crisis of faith.Surrounded on every side Truth and reality will wrestle in our minds.  Which one will win? Much of the outcome depends on our perception of God. Do you perceive God as good? If you struggle in this area, try this this exercise in faith: for one-week jot down everything, you are thankful. Big or small, write them down and give God praise for His faithful provision.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Exercising Our Spiritual Muscles: Guest Post by Amy Ahrens

I am honored to introduce you to my friend, Amy. When she shared this principle with me, I asked her to share it for Red Chair Moments. Enjoy! ~April

Exercising Our Spiritual Muscles

by Amy Ahrens

Recently, I pulled on a sleeveless dress to wear. Observing myself in the mirror, I realized I needed to start working on toning my arms. At the gym, I asked the physical trainer about toning my upper arms. Once I was taught the exercises, I began to implement them into my routine. If I put on that same dress today, would I miraculously have toned arms? No, it will take several weeks of exercise before I start seeing results of this discipline.

Later that week, I facilitated the Experiencing God, Bible study by Henry Blackaby. The class discussion for the week focused on the difference between being self-centered and God-centered. One of the women raised a great question, “Now, that I’m aware that I’ve been more self-centered, how do I change to be more God-centered?”

I responded, “Just as my upper arms were not toned overnight, in a similar way, becoming more God-centered is not going to happen overnight. Once you become initially aware, ask God to help you become more aware of the Holy Spirit’s voice in your day-to-day life. Ask for the courage to listen and obey.  As you begin to “exercise” this muscle of listening and obeying, the more strengthened and toned this muscle becomes.”

However, the more we ignore and disobey God’s Spirit, the harder our hearts become to hear His voice.  It’s like each time we put another cotton ball in our ears, until there are so many we can’t hear anymore.  The hardest times to listen and obey are in the tense situations, such as an argument where you sense the Spirit cautioning you not to speak hurtful words,  but you are so angry that you find yourself doing it anyway.

Take baby steps. Start exercising your spiritual muscles by obeying in the non-tense situations. This could be when you feel the Spirit nudging you to reach out to someone who is hurting or by praying if God wants you to fast.   Fasting is a spiritual discipline like communion, prayer, and reading your Bible.  It is the act of denying yourself of particular foods, drinks, or a meal, or activity (such as TV or social media).  When you deny yourself, and feel that craving for whatever you are sacrificing, reach out in prayer. Cry out to God in a hunger for Him.  It makes you more aware of what He is doing in your life.  By fasting, your prayers will be more fervent, and it exercises that spiritual muscle of becoming more God-centered.

This year for Lent, my daughter felt led to fast from ice cream and soda. It was difficult for my husband and two teenage boys to remember. However, it was a great learning experience for her. Shed had to stand firm when people around her were eating or drinking those items, and not bring attention to herself. Ultimately, it deepened her relationship with God. Each time she cried out to God during those difficult times of craving ice cream and soda, was reevaluating why she was fasting to begin with.

Sometimes God calls us to fast when He knows we are about to encounter a trial. It strengthens us as we shut out the noises of the world and connect to the Vine (John 15:5) When we remain in Him, we produce His fruit (Gal 5:22-23) in every area of our lives.   Trials would be those “tense” times, and after strengthening those muscles, then we are more likely to be “toned” and to act in God-centered ways in the midst of the hard times.

The more we obey and experience God at work, the more we trust Him.   We see in the Bible how God works in unexpected ways, and as we see Him working in our lives. We also see that He answers in unexpected ways. Trusting in God’s promises when we can’t see His hand will tone our spiritual muscles.

Amy is married to Peter and together they have 3 teens.  She works from home as an administrative professional in addition to owning her own Mary Kay business.  She serves in her church as a middle school small group leader and coaches and mentors moms of young children through a ministry called Moms & More.

Serving Pieces

“Serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

I sat on the kitchen floor, crisscross applesauce style, pulling out rarely used items from the base cabinet. With our home on the market, we need pack away any non-essential pieces. Three piles quickly emerged—store, donate, and toss. I wondered how I acquired this much plastic ware with out matching lids. Toss.

I slid over to the next kitchen base cabinet, and extended by back into a cat stretch, feeling the strain pull across my shoulders and back. This cabinet contained serving pieces. I carefully wrapped the cut glass serving dishes and my “good” Pampered Chef items in bubble wrap before placing them in the storage box. Once the box was full, I taped the lid closed and labeled the box:

KITCHEN: Serving Pieces

I reread the contents of the box “Serving Pieces” and looked down at my hands.

Our hands are built in serving pieces. Click To Tweet

Something was amiss. This level of pondering requires coffee. I opened the refrigerator door and reached for the half-and-half. A 1970’s white plate with avocado green flowers caught my attention. I smiled as I thought, “My mom still has these plates.” Nestled on the forty plus year old plate sat a homemade cheese ball. My daughter requested Grandma’s savory delight for her twelfth birthday.

My mind wanders to author Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. My mom’s language of love is Acts of Service. Mom serves on cooking and cleaning committees at church. Not a week goes by that she is not cooking for someone in the community. While the dining room is full of serving pieces and pink Depression glass, passed down from her mother, mom’s serving pieces are utilitarian and filled with love and prayer. Like mom, I also share in the Acts of Service language . Mom taught me, our hands are our serving pieces to wrap around others in need.

Our serving pieces are extensions of our arms to wrap around others in need. Click To Tweet

The microwave dings and startles me back to my current task. I sip the reheated liquid mercy, and ponder the significance of serving pieces. Our hands are our built in serving pieces. Our serving pieces are extensions of our arms to wrap around others in need, to push a grocery cart or a lawn mower for those who cannot. Our serving pieces become gnarled and wrinkled after years of baking meals for the ill,  recently widowed, or neighbor in need.

Questions probe my heart as I ponder, what about us, do we serve others well?

Do I serve God faithfully?

Do I practice hospitality on paper plate days?

Do I wait to plan the perfect meal and perfect moment?

After nibbling my daughter’s cheese ball, I return to packing. Only God knows how long our home will be on the market. However, should that keep me from serving? No. God calls us to serve. Our hands are our serving pieces, to share with those who are in need. From the bottom cabinet I pull out two disposable pans to make a homemade dish for a few shut-ins in my community.

How can you use your serving pieces (your hands) to wrap around someone in need today?

 

Mom’s Homemade Cheese ball Recipe

2 bricks of cream cheese

¼cup red or green pepper

2 tablespoons of onion finely chopped

1 teaspoon of seasoned salt

8oz can of crushed pineapple (drained well)

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix first five ingredients together.

Roll into a ball.

Chill.

Roll cheese ball into in chopped pecans.

Bible Verses about Serving

Serving God by serving others is one of the most important principles in the Christian faith.  Here are some verses to ponder as we joyfully serve others.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” (Ephesians 6:7).

“But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:24).

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13).

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38).

How can you use your serving pieces (your hands) to wrap around someone in need today?

~April Dawn White

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

This article was first published on Inspire a Fire.com.

A Season of Saturdays: Between the Pain & the Promise

I am stuck in a season of Saturdays.

The last three days of the Holy week, Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday, represent the pain of loss and the hope of the promise we have in Christ. What about Saturday? I understand the purpose of Good Friday and I eagerly anticipate celebrating the risen Savior on Easter Sunday. But what about Saturday? What is the purpose of Saturday?

As I studied the Bible for the events of the Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, I focused primarily on the last three days; Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday. I found it interesting that the gospels recount the various activities of Friday and Sunday morning, but there is little mention about Saturday. What about Saturday? What is the purpose of Saturday?

According to the Bible, the day after Christ’s death was the Sabbath. Jewish law prohibited work on that day. Perhaps each follower was pondering the words Jesus spoke during his three-year ministry. Maybe they were shocked and bewildered thinking, “This wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.” Maybe they felt stuck—stuck not knowing what to do next or how to pick up the broken pieces and move on.

I am stuck in a season of Saturdays. Stuck not knowing what the next step will be or which direction set forth. Like the movie Groundhog Day, I wake up and experience the same day repeatedly.

What is the purpose of Saturday? For weeks, I pondered this question. Slowly two words rose to the surface of my heart: wait and hope.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25).

“We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

My season of Saturdays are filled with confusion and curiosity, grief and loss. I am waiting on God to ease my suffering as I try to make sense of all the life changes. Meanwhile I reach out for the promise of hope that Sunday brings. Scholars tell us the Bible contains over 8,000 promises. If you chose one promise a day, it would take nearly twenty-two years to read all 8,000 promises.

Are you in a season of waiting? As you wait, wait with the promise of hope in Jesus Christ. Together as we wait with hope, let us remember to trust God’s sovereign hand.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Forget the Frock This Easter

As a girl, purchasing a new frilly dress, lace embellished socks, and white patent leather shoes, was my favorite part of our Easter tradition. Easter was the one time of year when we had new clothes. The rest of the year, we wore hand-me-downs.

Growing up in the Bible belt in the south, Easter was the one Sunday when the phrase “wearing your Sunday best,” took on a completely new meaning. Boys wore a suit and tie and girls dripped in accessories, even the parents have a new outfit. If you are a woman, you probably have a new handbag and shoes to match.

The memory of my childhood Easters returned to me recently when I came across a video called “Forget the Frock”. As I watched the video, I instantly connected with the mission of this organization. This Easter, forget the frock. Instead of spending money buying new clothes this Easter, spend the money supporting missionaries and feeding orphans.

Forget the Frock this Easter and Feed Orphans instead. Click To Tweet

This Easter, our family will support Serving His Children.
Our family has been ministry partners with Serving His Children for years. I am excited to introduce this organization to you. Serving His Children is a non-profit organization that partners with the Ministry of Health in Uganda to treat the severely malnourished, provides health education, teaches effective agriculture methods, shares the gospel of Christ, and brings communities together.

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27, NLT)

Forget the Frock

Forget the Frock, I’m wearing a Serving His Children T-shirt this Easter.

Jesus’ ministry included caring for the sick, the widows, and orphans. This Easter our family will refocus our attention on where Christ spent his attention.  This Easter we will forget the frock and support feeding the malnourished.

Will you join hundreds of others who are also choosing to forget the frock?

~April Dawn White

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Gratitude Is Always In Season

“I want my old life back,” I sobbed to my husband. “Yesterday, I felt good and went on a brief walk. My fifteen-minute walk caused over two hours of muscle weakness and paralysis. Today, my entire body hurts.  This disease sucks.”

My beloved of nearly nineteen years, inched closer to me. He knows I needed a compassionate listening ear.  “I wish I could have my old self back just for one day.”

Sipping his own mug of liquid mercy, my husband asked, “What would you do?”

“I would run. I miss the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest, breath synchronized to rhythm of my pace, and sweat on my face.”

He laughed and said, “I guess I’m lazy because running does not sound fun to me.”

“After running,” I said, wiping my eyes, “I would play soccer with Andrew and softball with Rachel.”

“Now, that sounds fun,” my beloved said and offered a hug.

An hour later, I sat alone in my red chair reading Scripture and praying.  Peace replaced the sadness I felt earlier. It is amazing what time with the Lord can do. “Thank you Lord for the peace, Amen.”

Placing my coffee mug in the sink, I studied the kitchen chalkboard sign. The chalked verse and mini pumpkins have been in place for seven months. It is now spring. These pumpkins are leftovers from two seasons ago. I examined each pumpkin for signs of decay, but the pumpkins are just a firm as the day I received them.

Pushing back the darkness that lingers with chronic illness, I read the verse: “In everything, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Gratitude is Always in Season Click To Tweet

The mini-pumpkins decorating my kitchen counter are out-of-season along with the candy cane Christmas kitchen towel, but gratitude is always in season.

Friend, are you stuck in one season hoping for another? Me too! As we journey together let us not forget that gratitude is always in season.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

The Sudden Move of God Doesn’t Require a Running Start

“God doesn’t need a running start.”  —Althea Brown

Suddenly I awoke to the sound of bass boats zooming down the lake. The roar of dozens of engines reverberated across the water. If it had been only one bass boat the sound would not have woken me, but today must be a tournament day.

In that early morning semi-sleep state, birds chirped a delightful melody while the bass boats accompanied in a harmonious roar. This symphony welcomed the introduction of springtime on Smith Mountain Lake.

As I awoke, God suddenly reminded me of a recent conversation with counselor, Althea Brown. She said, April, “God doesn’t need a running start.”

God doesn’t need a running start. —Althea Brown Click To Tweet

During my last counseling session, I shared the numerous circumstances that are beyond our control. Each choice, each future decision hinges on one aspect—how God will provide in a few short weeks.

During my counseling session, I was reminded God doesn’t need a running start. When God is ready, He will move. Suddenly a path or opportunity that wasn’t there before will suddenly appear.

Suddenly.

Suddenly, the word ‘suddenly’ was the focus of my Bible study. I began to dig into God’s Word and studied the times when God suddenly moved. When Abraham collected wood for the altar, he prayed for God’s sudden move. He continued the necessary preparations, while he prayed for God’s provision. Then suddenly there was a ram in the thicket.Ram in the Thicket

Moses had tended his father-in-law’s sheep for forty years. He probably wondered what his purpose in life was. Perhaps he questioned why Pharaoh’s daughter, rescued him from the river, to be raised in an Egyptian palace merely to tend sheep. Then suddenly, God appeared to him in a burning bush, giving Moses purpose and provision for the next phase of life.

As my counselor stated, “God doesn’t need a running start.” When God moves, it is a sudden move. Suddenly, the provision will be there. Suddenly what we need for the next step will show up and God doesn’t need a running start. As God told the prophet Isaiah:

“I am making a way in the desert. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV).

Friend, are you waiting for God’s sudden move? Invite Christ into your life and cast your burdens to him. Then pray and trust in God’s Sovereign timing of provision.

Lace up your running shoes and be ready when God suddenly moves.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

 

Hobbit Holes and Castles: Refuge My Word for 2017

“But as for me it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my REFUGE; I will tell of all your good deeds” (Psalm 73:28, emphasis mine).

When twenty-seventeen began, I wanted to crawl into Bilbo Baggin’s hobbit hole. I wanted to seek refuge with his books, dishes, and doilies. I had too many unanswered questions and carryover burdens from 2016. I wanted to go into hiding and wait it out while God sorted out my life.

“Tell me when did doilies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you?

…The world is not in books or maps, It’s out there!”—Gandall

What I wanted was refuge, a place to go and feel protected and safe.  I wanted a place where I was cared for and did not have to make every decision. I wanted a place of peace and rest. What I wanted, God was willing to provide.

The word refuge is found ninety-eight times in the Bible. Here are a few of my favorite passages on refuge:

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

 “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” (Psalm 31:19)

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)

 “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” (Psalm 59:16)

 “But as for me it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my REFUGE; I will tell of all your good deeds” (Psalm 73:28, emphasis mine).

As I began to mediate on God’s Word and study the meaning of the word refuge, peace began to flood my soul. God revealed to me it wasn’t the items I needed, rather it was whom I needed to seek refuge.

The place I envisioned as my refuge changed from a hobbit hole to a grand castle or fortress surrounded by water, bulkheads, stone towers, and cannons. Perhaps Martin Luther had this in mind when he penned the famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

What do you envision when you hear the word refuge? Have you experienced a time in your life when you felt protected by God’s refuge?  If so, please share.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Rare Disease Day & Alongside Giveaway Winner

Rare Disease DayThis is the day the Lord, has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, HCSB)

Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year. The goal of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness to the public and lawmakers on rare diseases and their impact on patient (and family) lives.

Last year, I was diagnosed with hypokalemic periodic paralysis, a rare condition that is prevalent in 1/100,000 people.

I celebrated Rare Disease Day, as I celebrate every “good day,” talking with friends. These particular friends are battling their own health crisis. As I set out to encourage them, I was the one who was encouraged.

Do you know someone whose illness is rare or chronic? Perhaps you can come alongside them today, tomorrow, or this week and provide a little extra dose of sunshine and encouragement.

This is the day the Lord, has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, HCSB)

Giveaway winnerAlongside

Earlier this month, I reviewed the new book by Sarah Beckman, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. Click on this sentence if you missed the book review.

The winner of the new book by Sarah Beckman, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial is Leah L.  I will contact you soon for address information.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay and Morgan James Publishing

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

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