Thursday, October 17, 2013

Practical Power of Prayer

I listen to a lot of gospel messages from many different sources. God's people are everywhere and God is using His faithful ones to shine the light of the gospel everywhere, too! I watch and I listen everyday to keep growing and knowing what God's people are doing throughout the earth. I trust the Holy Spirit to help me find truth and goodness in every message I hear. God tells us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.." (2 Peter 3:18).
I heard Bishop TD Jakes speak on prayer during one of his Potter's House Church broadcast on TV. I thought it was a very practical, powerful mesage and I took a few notes.  I love to share good news when I am encouraged by it. And as a child of God, I am fully aware we are at war (spiritually) every day and prayer is one of the weapons our God has given us to push back the darkness and keep on going!
Bishop TD Jakes @ The Potter's House, Dallas, TX


Here's what Bishop Jakes said:
"There used to be a time when old church ladies' houses were filled with prayer. They were always on their knees praying! But now, we will talk for 25 minutes to someone who cannot fix our problem but won't spend five minutes on our knees to the One who can help!
Here are five main benefits of prayer:
1. Prayer empties the heart of its cares. (But we want to turn to people and call them and complain. We MUST pray to God. Hannah unloaded her troubles onto God.)

2. Prayer acknowledges the answer is beyond our human ability.

3. Divine protection is a result of prayer. (Decisions made without prayer leads to storms and destruction. Look at Jonah.) GOD is our "Wonderful Counselor!" Divine direction comes through prayer -- the Bible says, "Thy will be done!" Prayer is a hook-up of God's will in heaven. Prayer is not a monologue, it's a dialog.

4. Prayer changes circumstances.

5. Prayer changes me."

Wow. Yes. We are the Body of Christ. We are the light of the world. We need to get back to the power and simplicity of making our homes into houses that are filled with our prayers! It's for HIS glory and our good.

Serving Jesus with what He has put in my hands.
Polly

Friday, October 4, 2013

If We Pay Attention, We'll See GOD in Everything!

One week ago today we had to put our sweet, little, four-legged family member, Lexie, to sleep.

.
Lexie Balint
 
It was a shock that we had to do this --there was no warning she was desperately ill. My husband Don and I watched Lexie suffer with some sort of discomfort. It took two visits to our local veterinarian in two days and  then I was immediately sent with Lexie to an emergency surgery animal hospital. After examining her they told me Lexie had a spinal cord injury with a very grim prognosis. Then I shared the agonizing news  with my hubby Don, and then to our daughters Grace and Mary. It became a dark day for us all.
Our whole family adored Lexie's sweetness, boundless joy, endless energy, faithful obedience and her constant companionship! Yes, we loved her and she loved us. She was a gift from God. She was one of His precious creatures.
Don, Polly, Mary, Grace; Lexie is in Grace's arms.
 
Lexie was a rescue dog; which means she was an orphan dog and we adopted her. We were prayerful before we set out to visit all the locations who were featuring adoptable dogs. We believe in the sovereignty of God and we wanted a dog that God wanted for us.  She was sweet, frail and frightened when Mary found her at a animal rescue adoption day event. But after much prayer and searching, we agreed that she's the one! We chose her to join our family.

Mary & Lexie @ the adoption location.

But that's just how God rescues us and takes us into His family! He adopts us and gives us all the privileges and responsibilities of being of a member of the family of God! So if we are paying attention to God's still small voice, we can see Him in every situation -- even in the loving act of adopting a homeless little dog! Jesus is our example. When we become His, we take on His traits and ways. We want to love the unloved, the broken, the lonely. We want to help them! No matter if we're talking about adopting children or animals, we want to show them love! When God adopts us He tenderizes our hearts!
When we adopted Lexie she became a member of our family. She lived in our home. She was fed healthy food, was bathed regularly, was loved unconditionally, was well-trained, and was a very happy, contented dog!
It's the same with us when God adopts us! We become a member of His family! We trust Him the way I saw Lexie wholeheartedly love and trust us! She was secure.


 When Mary was recovering from very painful sinus surgery, Lexie kept watch.
 
 Lexie loved to ride in the car and the "I smell chicken!" came upon her every time we passed by the  Chick-fil-A in Canton!


Lexie & Grace having a conversation. :)


Grace & Lexie distributed Christmas Cookies to our neighbors.
 

She got a lot of attention when we put doggie dresses on her. :)


Don & I loved to take Lexie on hikes in North GA. She loved it! (She's on his lap.)
 
Yep. Lexie the bumble bee. Gotta love it. (No, she didn't have to wear it very long.)

 
Every morning Lexie was at my side during my devotions. I'm not kidding; she heard me praying every morning and stayed there until I got up.
Lexie loved the long walks along the golf course. 
 

I called Lexie my personal assistant when I started That Girl Marketing, LLC, in 2009.
She wore the corporate colors! I even gave her the name Lexie as part of the brand of  my business: my car is a little black Lexus and so was she!
 
God gives us pets to enjoy for His glory. If we're paying attention by being sensitive to His voice through the Holy Spirit,  we can learn many things about God's ways, about life, about love. We enjoyed Lexie so much. She had fun. We had fun. And it was a very surprising blessing for me that  God used her to inspire me in writing life applications in my devotions. My devotional books have many photos of her as I tell stories. In my plans to begin writing Totally Devoted 4, I have saved pictures of Lexie  to use as applications of other Bible verses.
Another hiking day...taking a water break with Lexie.
 
God knows what we need and He prepares in advance for what He will do in our lives. When my siblings and extended family heard of Lexie's passing, they rallied. That is exactly what the Body of Christ is supposed to do! We are not meant to live our lives for ourselves. We are meant to love God and our neighbors. That's what brings Him glory: to act like the Body and be One. God uses people in our lives: to help us, to teach us, to protect us, and even to speak to us through them. But we have to walk intimately with our God to hear Him whisper to us.
For example: Our daughter Grace flew in from CA. Mary stayed with us, too. It's rare that we get to be together when it's not Christmas! I knew God already had this set in place. He is in control of the universe. He made Grace's job schedule and last-minute flight to work out perfectly so she could easily come and be with us last week. He had Mary available to come alongside us, too.
Grace, Don, Mary and I were able to worship together at church last Sunday and then enjoy a delicious lunch together!
 
When my sister Julie heard the news about Lexie, she invited us to have breakfast at her home on Wednesday, in Cumming, GA! I told her we were taking Grace to the airport at 12:30 but we could certainly have breakfast with her. She invited our brother Bill and his daughter Sarah and her baby, Hannah to join us! It was another delightful surprise! Almost last-minute, too, but obviously still orchestrated by God. I was watching Him weave His tapestry of grace for this family.


 From left: My niece Sarah, her baby Hannah, my sister Julie & my daughter Grace.
 
 Breakfast bunch @ Julie's home in Cumming, GA. My brother Bill is pictured here, too.
 
When I received the news first that Lexie's condition was very grim, I thought of the verse of where Jesus promises, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). So in my agony of watching Lexie in agony and driving her to the various animal doctors, through my tears I was actually comforted by the word of God and His presence. Having "trouble" is part of living. If you know God, you know He pulls you along with His truth and His love. I also knew the passage that says God will not give us more than we can bear, but will give us a way out if it becomes overbearing. (paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 10:13). In other words, God was telling me that in my pain, He was with me and will help me/us though this.
So yes, last Friday, Lexie was put to sleep and put out of her excruciating pain. We miss her. We are sad she's gone. But there is so much more to this story because God does not do anything that isn't spectacular in some way. This story is not about a dog, not really. It's about a God who can use the life of a sweet little dog to show our family -- in a new and creative way -- who HE is.
He brought a new rescue dog into our lives yesterday after our family made a prayerful, unanimous decision to rescue and adopt another homeless dog in honor of our dear Lexie. It is also an effort to help heal our aching hearts.
Our new little family member is named Fendi. Fendi Balint. We adopted her so we have given her our name and will share our home and provisions with her. She's 11 months old. Weighs only about 8 pounds because she was recently rescued by a shelter as a stray on the streets. And if we're paying attention to what God is doing and saying, He is showing us the grace and love that comes with adoption. How beautiful!
Before we adopted Fendi we were told to expect to have to work with her for at least three-five days until she calms down and will trust us enough to let us get close to her.
This is day we met Fendi in her foster home. She comes from a homeless dog shelter, again sent by God to give us more life lessons in Jesus' name.

This was taken two hours after we had Fendi in our home. I took her for a ride. 
She was so relaxed she fell asleep in the car.
Fendi fell asleep on Don's lap last night. She had only been in our home for a four hours and we were told it would take DAYS for her to get over being nervous, skittish and untouchable.
Mary had a break at work today (20 hours after Fendi was in our home)and came home to get to know Fendi a little more. It a very short time they were snuggle buddies.
 
Can I explain this? Yes, God is showing His amazing and wonderful grace toward us. I'm paying attention and I can see that God has used the death of one of his adorable creatures and the life of another one to move mountains. That's exactly what I've seen Him do.
 
 
All glory to God.
Polly