2016: Page 298

Page 298 was back to work — sort of.  While the preschool was back in session today, the school was still on fall break so I didn’t need to go in early to do the morning cleaning.  In fact, with Monday being my typical writing day, I worked from home so Susan could sleep in and hopefully catch up on some rest following our trip.  After making sure MJ could get the pest control guy access to everywhere he needed to be, I settled into my prayer and listening mode to see what God would have me put together for next week’s prayer guide.  Other than the morning cleaning that I usually do early, I typically try to protect my Monday mornings as it is always unknown how much time it will take to come up with the topic God wants me to write about and then the time to write it also varies greatly.  Today was one of those times when each part seemed to take longer than usual.  I always figure that is a reflection on my listening more than anything else as I anticipate God desires to communicate what He wants me to write about.

Because I try to practice the lifestyle of prayer that I teach about, there are weeks that I have a good idea what the next topic will be before I begin my Monday morning routine.  Even then, I spend time praying and listening as I want to make sure that the topic in my mind is really what God wants and not just something I want to write about.  There are also other weeks when it seems like the topic doesn’t want to come to mind and my time with God becomes more focused on listening to what His Spirit is saying through His Word.  With each of the prayer guides being scripture-based, it is important that I’m listening to God with His Word in my heart, mind, and hand.  Then there are days like today when the topic comes rather quickly but I spend time trying to see if there is something else — anything else.  Fairly early in my prayer time this morning, God directed me to the promises He makes to those who overcome.  It was not so much that the topic is one I wanted to avoid, but the scriptures that God filled my mind with were from the messages in the book of Revelation from God to the churches.  Because I believe some people tend to misuse Revelation to further their own agenda and others misunderstand it because of its misuse, I try to steer clear of passages that may cause further confusion and conflict rather than increased prayer.  And so I went back to God in my prayer time until I was confident about the topic of overcome and the corresponding verses from Revelation.

To me it is sad that there has been so much conflict over a book I believe God shared with us in order to help us remain faithful no matter what.  While so much attention is focused on the severe trials that take place and arguments arise as to when they will happen and where the Christians will be when it happens, the message woven throughout the entire book is that the crown of life will be given to all who overcome and remain faithful.  If life wasn’t difficult, if hardships didn’t come our way, if bad things didn’t happen, and if the wrath of God against unrighteousness wasn’t real, there would be nothing that needed to be overcome.  Each of the messages that God asks John to write down and share with the corresponding churches contains both a critique of how they’ve been doing when it comes to faithfully following God and a promised result that awaits those that overcome.  

So, with a topic in mind and the scripture texts to use for each day’s prayer focus, I spent most of the morning digesting those seven letters and writing the prayer points to be used next week.  Once the prayer guide was complete I turned my attention to writing the monthly Impact Prayer Ministry newsletter for October.  God continues to use the prayer ministry, and the resources He gives me to write and share, in places and ways that are often amazing and likely even more often in ways that are unknown to me.  Eventually I had put in a full day and finally sat down to go through all of my photos from our recent trip.  Today’s photo is from underneath an interstate road bridge.  It stands in stark contrast to the old covered bridges we had been photographing just days before.  In at least one way, it is also similar to those old covered bridges.  Some would say that this is a bridge that was built to last.  I’m guessing that something similar was said about many, if not all, of those old covered bridges when they were built.  The truth is that all of this stuff that  is “built to last” will eventually be gone.  Proper maintenance and good care will prolong its days of usefulness, but a day is coming when this earth and everything in/on it will give way to the coming of a “new heaven and a new earth”.  I pray that you and I will be found faithful and ready for that day as we are found among those who have overcome.

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