More than a comforter

The Lord is our comforter. The prince of peace. He creates a tranquil calm in the midst of storms that transcends all our human understanding. Holy is He who casts out all fear and soothes our souls! 

2 Cor 1:4, ” [He] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
So, we find out someone is sick and we comfort them the way He has comforted us in the past. We hear about a struggle and we pray for His will to be done, that they would know the supernaturally perfect peace of the Savior. And we move on. Mission accomplished, right?
Maybe not. Maybe praying, hoping, even striving for comfort is a great intention but…maybe stopping there is among the deeply insulting ways we fall short in loving God. We must love Him and His people bravely and deeply, bolstered by the power of the Holy Spirit, who calls us to speak the truth, and be doers of the Word. 
If you and your children were trapped in a car as it fell into a lake, would you want an onlooker to pray for your comfort? To call out “boldly”, “Peace, my peace I leave you!” My heart aches just thinking of the cowardice that would display. The sad reality of how often that happens. Remember, when we do things for others, we are doing them for Him and through Him. God’s is not a coward. Jesus was not a coward, the Holy Spirit is no coward. This is how He came: “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them” (Acts 1:2-3). That is the same Holy Spirit who dwells within every baptized believer! Would someone who valued that Holy Spirit and His power watch the car plunge through the depths of a watery grave and begin to mourn before the car was fully submerged? 
Of course not. So why do we learn bad news from men and immediately jump to platitudes and peace offerings? Do not misunderstand me. Peace is amazing, and it is the opposite of fear, which we should call on the Lord to quench at all costs. But, peace is just one of the limitless perfect blessings the Lord will bring to us. Not through manmade objects, positive thinking, or will power, but through true faith in Him. He tells us time and again to pray, pray, pray. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). The parable of the persistent widow taught us to always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8). “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7) Then do it again. And again. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15). 

The bolder the prayer, the more faith it takes to pray it. It’s hard, sometimes impossible, to pray for impossible things. But if things were possible with men we wouldn’t need to pray. We wouldn’t need a hero…but we do need one, and we have Him! He came, freely, to save us, it’s already been done! The blessings that come from Him answering impossible, faith-filled prayers are so much greater than whatever He did to answer it. It is for His glory, and not for our own. So no man can boast, we pray and seek this Mighty God who does so much more than comfort us. He heals, loves, empowers, gives, and takes away. Let’s treat Him and His people like they are worth the risk of acting boldly and expecting mighty results!
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A Prayerful Life

Well, the Lord is at work again! Just when I think He’s doing something different, He brings me back into this prayerful lifestyle. He has revolutionized my prayers and is working quickly. I’ll be praying and hear my voice pray for a random thought that comes to mind, and then He answers it right away. It’s happened several times in the past few weeks. I prayed about whether to keep (or, restart) writing, and He showed me Isaiah 12:4, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name, make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted”. Then, I prayed for more opportunities to share what He has done, and three different people who I know from this blog contacted me for prayer. All within one day. So, I get it that He wants me to pray and blog, so that there will be more people to pray for. And that He wants to keep using me to exalt His perfect name.

2 Samuel 22:47, “The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation”

What? It probably shouldn’t be that exciting or surprising to me that He wants to keep using me, but He never fails to amaze me. I am so irrelevant, unimpressive, unfaithful…but He calls me anyway.
He put things in my heart–in all our hearts– just to show He’s there. The miracle He blessed me with wasn’t a one-time deal, but was just a moment that opened my eyes to this world where the Creator reigns so powerfully that the scientific laws–and common sense– do not prevail. Hail to this God whose love knows no bounds, mercy never fails, grace is limitless, and whose sacrifices are unmatched! He IS good, when the money is in the bank, kids are behaving, work is fruitful and doctor reports are clear. He IS good, when the storms come, the money disappears, the loved ones are unlovable, or the diagnosis or prognosis worsens. When man’s report provides no hope, He is always good.

“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Isaiah 53:1

I forget His goodness often, and revert to feeling sorry for myself and the minor problems I struggle with. I’m struggling with minor health problems related to either my thyroid or the Arimidex I’m taking. The more I pray about them, the more He reminds me of people with real problems. I keep hearing how the flu is going around, but it seems to me that cancer is going around. I don’t always know exactly how to pray for these people. I know God could heal any and all of them, but the most important part is really the spiritual healing we all need. So I just start with the fear and pain caused by their physical circumstances and wait on the Holy Spirit to move my prayers from there.

2 Thess 1:11, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work by faith of His power”

One girl, Amanda, is my age, and I don’t know the back story, but she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008 (around age 29 I think), and it’s come back multiple times since then. We went to high school together and the clearest thing I remember is that everyone said she would be the first female president. It’s not too late for that! But, I’ve noticed many people send her “positive thoughts” and other nice intentions. But I think interceding for her, to the One who can do something about her health, is the most valuable gift we could give. I also am praying for a local woman named Julie, who is seeking the Lord as she fights stage 4 breast cancer. She believes He will heal her and has already found many sweet blessings from the Lord through this. I call those “love notes” because they are so personal and dear to us. Ioa is another woman, who just finished treatment for breast cancer, and then they found cancer in the lining of her brain! That feels like an extra-large test to me. ALL cancer patients have at least a moment of fear that the cancer will come back or isn’t really gone. Even if you’re so faithful you cast it out quickly, it still crosses through your brain a time or two. And this is the worst one. She was probably counting down the days to finish treatment, then trying not to panic when her head kept aching. And the doctors couldn’t find anything at first, so she probably second guessed herself and now knows she can’t always count on her doctors. Anyway, she is undergoing radiation on her brain now and is believing in the Lord for a total healing. Please pray for her mental and physical healing and support during this traumatic time. Finally, Lyn was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and is currently figuring out what type of treatment to go through. This is such a hard time for anyone with such a diagnosis. It’s nearly impossible to focus on the joy of Christmas, and spending focused time with your loved ones, when you are still reeling from the diagnosis. And you don’t know what God would have you do for treatment, or even really how to pray and hear from Him amidst the turmoil, fear, outside opinions, and chaos of the holidays. I can’t help but think back to the Christmas of 2011 when we went through that. It makes me dizzy and a little nauseas, even though I know how my own turned out!

Mark 9:23, “All things are possible for one whom believes”

Please pray for these women with the joy of one called to work for Him. Praying doesn’t require much from us, but can open more doors than money, fame, or force. Luke 16:10 says “he who can be trusted with little will be trusted with much.” So, we do our part by praying, especially for those He puts heavily on our hearts. I think when the Holy Spirit really tugs at your heartstrings about someone (or something), it could He is specifically calling you, entrusted you with, to expectation pray for her. He can answer the prayers for big things as easily as those for little ones, and does so to increase our faith, and His glory. What a privilege to commune with Him, and to intercede for the underdog!