“P. S. prayers” are the ones I write in my journal after I’ve written all the requests I think are important by God’s standard, the ones I think God is pleased to hear and answer.  They are the prayers I believe God may not be interested in hearing, or the ones I think I’m supposed to handle on my own.  They are prayers that I think are either too insignificant or too selfish for God to want to hear.

I remember the first “P. S. prayer” I ever wrote in my journal.  I remember it because I almost didn’t write it down.  That morning, after recording the requests I thought God was interested in answering, I sensed the Holy Spirit ask, “Is there anything else?” 

“Well, yes God, since you asked, there is something else.”

Then, in an act of childlike faith that God wanted me to pray for something I’d thought I should handle on my own, I wrote, “P. S. God, my feet hurt.  Could you help me to find a solution so they don’t hurt so much?”  Then, closing my journal, though I didn’t know how He would answer, I knew that He would.

The next morning, His answer came.  While setting up food for my small group at church, one of the women started talking about why she travels to another city to a specific store to buy donuts.  This led to her telling me about a man in that city who builds special inserts for her son’s shoes that help keep his feet from hurting.  Knowing this was likely God’s answer to my prayer, I asked for the man’s contact information.  Within a week, I had travelled to get my own specifically-built inserts, and, miracle of miracles (no surprise there), my feet stopped hurting.

That first P. S. prayer informed me that God is waiting to hear and eager to answer all my prayers, not just the ones I think He thinks are important.  My heavenly Father is interested in everything that concerns me. He wants me to ask for the things I need, so He can show me how much He cares about every aspect of my life.

As I close, I’m wondering about you.  Do you only pray for things you think are important by God’s standard? If so, I’m wondering if the Holy Spirit is asking you, “Is there anything else?”

I encourage you to pray for all the things that concern you.  I believe God loves you, and that He wants to answer your prayers and meet your needs in His own unique way.

I would love to hear from you.  If this post resonated with you, and if it encouraged you to begin praying and recording your own “P. S. prayers,” please let me know by going to the top of my blog, clicking the “Contact” tab, and submitting your comment. 

P. S. Thank you for stopping by.  If you would like to be contacted about future blog posts, scroll to the bottom of the screen where you will see the words, “Follow Blog via Email.”  If you enter your email address and click “Follow”, you will receive an email notification each time I publish a post.

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Many years ago, I read an article entitled “Satan’s Agenda”. This fictitious story tells about a worldwide convention where Satan teaches his demons how to keep Christians from having an intimate relationship with Christ.   

His strategy?  Keep them distracted. Satan promises the demons that if they can distract Christians with a never-ending supply of reading material, noise, TV, and nonessential activity, soon they (Christians) “will be working in their own strength, and they will have no time to seek power from Christ.”

The article concluded with this question:  “Has the devil been successful in his scheme?”

That question convicted me.  I knew I had fallen prey to Satan’s strategy in this area of my life.

 I desperately wanted to return to the intimacy I’d once experienced with Christ, yet nothing in my life seemed “nonessential”.  I sought to honor God in my many roles as a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a Bible teacher at a Christian school, and a volunteer at church.  How could I eliminate any of these things?  Didn’t God ask me to be responsible in the roles He had given me?  

Yet the question haunted me.  The busyness of life was keeping me distracted and I didn’t have an intimate relationship with Christ. I repented. I asked God for wisdom in knowing how to unbusy my life, and regain the intimacy I once shared with Him. As the years passed and the busyness persisted, I repented again and again while praying for wisdom in knowing how to reestablish intimacy with God.

Some years later, God’s answer came.  While teaching the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) to high school students, God called me to a lifestyle change that has helped me resist Satan’s agenda of distraction and never-ending busyness.

This lifestyle change began when I required my students to memorize Exodus 20:1-17, the Ten Commandments.  

Because I was obeying nine of the ten commandments, it was easy for me to teach them to my students. Yet, the fourth commandment, the one I was not obeying, was a different story.   Its words convicted me:

“Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:  in it thou shalt not do any work. for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:  wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hollowed it.”  Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV) 

I’d been a Sabbath keeper as a child, but had long-since given it up in my attempt to fit everything into the schedule I believed God was calling me to do.

As I continued teaching the Pentateuch I noticed more verses about the importance God places on the Sabbath.  Over time, I became convinced God was asking me to obey Him in this area of my life.

Albert Einstein once said, “I want to know the thoughts of God.  The rest are just details.” Deep in my heart I knew God was showing me His thoughts in this area.  He was asking me to obey the fourth commandment.  I stood at a crossroads, fearful, yet desperately wanting to be obedient.    

Because I had no idea how to fit seven days of work into six days, I remained undecided for a number of weeks.  When I imagined obeying God in this area, visions of my life spinning out of control haunted me.  Yet, the question from the article haunted me even more.

I remember the moment I stood in my office and said “Yes” to God.  With that “Yes,” as peace descended, I exchanged fear for relief. 

 It has been some years since I made the decision to faithfully obey the fourth commandment. I have never regretted that decision.  Each Sabbath, the intimacy I once had with Christ is reestablished.  I spend time reading, meditating on His word, praying, and listening for His voice that speaks peace to my heart.

When the Sabbath is over, I face the week ahead able to hear His voice more clearly. He helps me resist the Enemy’s barrage of distractions intended to keep me from doing what God has called me to do.  During the week when I spend time in silent meditation, His still small voice calls me to an intimate relationship with Him.

Thinking back on Albert Einstein’s words, “I want to know the thoughts of God.  The rest are just details.”, my heart replies, “When I obey the thoughts of God, He takes care of the details.”

As I conclude this blog post, I would love to know how you are doing in this area. If you would like to share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you. As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment along with your contact information and I will do my best to answer.  Thank you for reading my blog.  I pray for God’s best in your life.

This blog post was written and published by Robby Kautz

*The article, ”Satan’s Agenda,” is written by Geralsine Harris and Kristen Maddox.

Every morning, I set aside time to meditate on God.  Going into a quiet room, I begin by repeating Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My goal is to spend time worshipping God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and to invite Him to be present with me.

Some days the silence that surrounds me is as real as the peace that calms me.  Saying the verse slowly, then repeating it, I easily focus on God.  As the moments pass, I am filled to overflowing with gratitude, worship, and awe.  On those days, when my time of meditation is done, I feel I have accomplished my goal.

My preference is that every day my time of meditation be like this, filled with peace in God’s Presence.  But some days, my silent time is not so tranquil.  On those days, my experience is very different. 

Though I start out well and with good intentions, shortly after repeating the verse, “Be still, and know that I am God,” a person or situation pops into my mind and demands my attention.  Though I refocus on God, it isn’t long before another person or situation pops up. On days like this when my “silent time” is less than silent, condemning thoughts cause me to wonder if I really trust God or if I’m just going through the motions.

One day, I discovered a strategy that has helped me use these distractions to my advantage and to affirm my trust in God’s sovereignty. 

When my time in silence is interrupted by distracting thoughts, instead of fighting them, I intentionally focus on the person or situation that has come to mind.  I tell it, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  When reciting this verse, I am not saying that I am God, but that God is the God of whatever is distracting me.

By repeating this verse, I remind myself that the same God who controls the universe, is also the God of each person and situation in my life.  This strategy allows me to reaffirm my trust that God can take care of every detail in my life. That done, I am free to refocus on God.

I recently had an opportunity to apply this strategy during my time of silence.  Shortly after repeating the verse, “Be still, and know that I am God,” an email I needed to write but had been avoiding popped into my mind.  Instead of worrying that I was not trusting God, I focused my attention on the email – the words that would be typed, the recipient, and finally on my feeling of inadequacy in communicating my thoughts.  I then reminded myself of Jesus’ promise, “Behold, I am with you always.”  I pictured Him sitting with me at the computer.  Then, to the image of the email in my mind’s eye, I said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

Immediately, peace surrounded me.  Knowing I could trust God with every aspect of the email, my anxiety vanished. I was then free to return my focus and gaze on God. 

My preference for time spent in silent meditation on God will always be the days when focused worship brings awe and peace.  Yet when my intended time of silence is disrupted by anxious thoughts, I am grateful for the opportunity to re-remind myself that the same God who controls the universe also controls the smallest detail of my life.

As I conclude this post, I am wondering how you are doing? My hope is that you are finding peace in your time of meditation. If you have struggled with thoughts that pop up during your time of silence, I encourage you to try using the strategy I’ve shared in this post. If the strategy is helpful for you, please let me know by leaving a comment.

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Thank you for visiting my site. I am praying for God’s favor on your life as you seek to know Him more.

This post was written by Robby Kautz and published on Christianquietude.wordpress.com

This is preparation day for the Sabbath. As I look at my “to-do” list from the past week I see things I’ve crossed off, and things I did not have time to do.

I remind myself that every day this week, I prayed for the Holy Spirit’s leading, wisdom, and discernment, and that it was my desire to use my time wisely. I remind myself that every day, I prayed I would know how to redeem the time God has given me. I see that I’ve made some progress on my list. I know this because some things have been crossed off.

I’ve also been frustrated by circumstances that have stopped me from doing more than the judge-y voice in my head tells me I should have been able to get done. Still, throughout the week, I have reminded myself that God is sovereign and that He is in the mix of the circumstances of my life.

Now, on this preparation day, I rewrite my “to-do” list on a fresh piece of paper. This reminds me that after the Sabbath, there will be a fresh week to once again work on my list. I remind myself that my times are in the hands of the One who “works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I remind myself that after this day of rest, I will start the new week refreshed, with renewed strength for the days ahead.

Remembering these truths brings calm. My heart fills with gratitude that God ordained the Sabbath, a day when I stop working, and rest. A day when I experience the truth that my Heavenly Father’s priority for me is spending time with Him. A day to sit with Jesus and enjoy His Presence. A day when I re-affirm that I can trust my Heavenly Father with my “to-do” list, and my very life.

On this preparation day, I look forward to lighting a candle at sunset and welcoming the gift of the Sabbath. On this day, I am grateful to be His child and under His care.

Amen.

If you observe the Sabbath, I would love to hear what value this day has for you? I’m also interested in how your “to-do” list affects you. If you have questions or thoughts about Sabbath keeping, let me know.

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Photo by Daria Volkova on Unsplash

 

 

Recently, the news media’s primary focus has been on the negative effects of the corona virus.  We are bombarded with statistics of businesses forced to close, people who are unemployed because of these closures, and the crashing stock market.  We hear about schools closing and parents scrambling to adjust, about those who have contracted the virus, and about those who have not survived.  From the call to shelter-in-place, to the mandate to stay at home, the effect of this virus on people’s lives ranges from a mild inconvenience to a catastrophic disruption.

Within this range from mild inconvenience to catastrophic disruption, there is a sub-group of people whose lives are being doubly affected by this virus.  This sub-group  are those who live with domestic violence.  For them, the negative results of this virus are intensified, because anything that disrupts their normal routine increases the danger that something can (and likely will) upset the abuser.  The result is often dangerous, at best.

For victims of domestic violence, work and school are often unspoken shelters.  In their homes, anything can set off the abuser, and they know that unsettling times increases the incidence of domestic violence.  They walk on egg-shells, hoping and praying to keep from upsetting the abuser, knowing their lives are at effect of the abuser’s anger and control.  During this time of crisis when people are forced to be confined to their homes, the abuser, who holds the power, now seems to have absolute power.  

This topic is near and dear to my heart, because I grew up in a home terrorized by domestic violence.  I know the fear, and the way it affects people’s lives long after the abuse has stopped.

I once heard that the pen was mightier than the sword. Because I can’t wield a sword, I will now pen three suggestions that you and I can do to help victims of domestic violence during this corona virus crisis:

  1.  Pray.  Pray that abusers have an “Aha” moment where they see their behavior for what it is, and repent.  Pray for wisdom and discernment, and for angelic protection on those who live with an abuser.
  2. Pay attention.  If you suspect that a friend or neighbor lives in domestic abuse, reach out.  Let them know you are there for them and that you care.
  3. Draw on God’s Kindness in order to be kind to others.  Your kindness will bring hope and healing to those who are suffering in silence.

Please let me know if this post was helpful to you.  And, as always, if you have thoughts you want to share, I would love to hear from you.

Robby

 

Prayer Partners

I remember knowing I needed prayer support the first time I took a step of faith in obedience to God’s specific leading.  I asked three close friends to pray.  Almost immediately, I felt as if a bubble of protection surrounded me.  I loved knowing I was being prayed for!

Recently, I was scheduled to share my testimony at a Christian Women’s Connection luncheon in Pocatello, Idaho.  As always, I asked my friends to pray.  The day before the luncheon, I sensed God urging me to seek more prayer support – specifically prayers for safety. I emailed the prayer request to one more friend, and to my local church.

Early the next morning, leaving my home in the Boise Idaho area, I saw that the tire-pressure warning light on my dash was illuminated.  I assumed it was because of the change in temperature, and that it would go off shortly.  It didn’t.  The light was still on when I arrived in Pocatello four hours later.

After speaking and returning to my car, I drove to a gas station to ask for help checking my tire pressure.  With a gauge, the manager checked my tires and determined that the pressure was extremely low.  She filled all four tires to the required thirty-six pounds of pressure.

When I started my car, I saw that the tire pressure warning light was still on.  I called the dealer to ask what I should do.  He assured me that the light would go off after I drove a few miles.  It didn’t.  Not knowing what else to do, I traveled back to the Boise area, driving the speed limit of 80 miles per hour.  When I arrived home later that evening, the tire-pressure warning light was still staring at me.

The next day my car was scheduled for an oil change. I told the serviceman my story from the previous day and asked him to check the tire pressure.

When my car was ready, the serviceman told me that the gauge the manager at the gas station used must have been broken, because all four tires had been filled with ninety pounds of pressure!!!! He told me I was lucky I didn’t have a blowout on the freeway.

Words cannot express my gratitude as I realized how “lucky” I was!  I was “lucky” to have prayer partners.  I was “lucky” God’s Spirit urged me to ask for extra prayer.  And, I was “lucky” God protected my car and my life.

I’m wondering if you have ever thought about asking people to be your prayer partners?  Do you have stories about God’s answers to their prayers?  Is so, I’d love to hear them

Over the years, my mother’s hearing has diminished.  And, as she hears less, she talks more.

I suspect this is because she doesn’t want to have to keep asking, “What did you say?”  I also suspect she feels badly that we no longer have phone conversations like we had in the past, before she lost most of her hearing.

Recently when I called, she was having a difficult day.  She is normally a positive person, but on this day, she could only talk about how hard life had become.

After listening for a while, I thought of a way to divert her attention.  I asked, “Mom, did you get the cookies I sent?”

She didn’t hear.  She just kept talking.

A bit later, I asked again.  This time, louder, “Mom, did you get the cookies I sent?”  Again, she didn’t hear.  She continued telling me all that was wrong in her life.  Again and again I tried, but, without success.

When the call ended, I felt sad.  I wanted so badly to help her focus on something good in her life.  I wanted her to be reminded that I think of her, and that I had sent cookies to bring her joy.

Momentarily, my thoughts turned to my relationship with God.  When things are difficult, do I just keep talking, unaware of His voice?  Do I stop to listen for what He might be saying to me?

Do I hear Him when He asks, “Did you get the cookies I sent?”

 

 

Time with God

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” KJV

Morning and evening, my habit is to spend time in silent meditation on God.

I tell Him I have come to be with Him.  I tell Him I want to know Him, and that I am listening should He want to speak.  I invite Him to be present with me.  Though my body stays still during this time, my mind frequently wanders in any number of directions.

My purpose during these times of quiet is to focus on God.  Though I fail to always stay as focused as I would like, I am convinced of something that gives me hope.  I believe it is impossible for me to sincerely seek God, and for Him not to show up.

Though I may not be exactly sure what has happened during the time I spend with God, I am sure that something has happened.  Somehow, as a result of time spent in His Presence, I am changed.

God sees my heart.  He knows my desire is to know Him.  He is faithful to keep His promise, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”

Before mom went into a nursing home, week by week, her dementia worsened.  Her frantic early morning phone calls communicated confusion, agitation, and ever-increasing fear.

As her calls became more frenetic, my fear for her safety and well-being intensified.

Again and again, I prayed for her safety.  I reminded myself that mom had belonged to Jesus since she was young, and that God had taken care of her all her life.  Logically, I knew God could be trusted with her care now.  Yet shortly after praying, fearful thoughts returned.

One night I fell asleep, only to wake a few hours later.  Anxious thoughts swirled, and fearful “what if” scenarios played like a video in my mind:  Would mom wake in the night in confusion, and do something that might harm herself or someone else?  If she got up and left her apartment, would her caretaker wake up and help her back to bed?

I tried to pray the Lord’s prayer, but my mind refused to stay focused on the words.  Instead, as if drawn like a magnet, my thoughts insisted on returning to images that created fear and worry.

Finally in exhaustion, I prayed “God, help me!”  Silently, the words came to me:  “I am Yours, You are mine.”

My mind easily focused on those few words.  God loved me, and He loved mom.  I didn’t need to pray again.  I didn’t need to worry any more.  God had heard my prayers for mom’s safety, and He held her in His care.  All was well.

Peace.

 

 

On New Year’s Eve, I found myself missing the Watch Night services I attended at church as a child growing up in Michigan.

The service started between 10 or 11 in the evening.  We sang, spent time in worship, then listened to a sermon.  There was time set-aside for people to share about God’s work in their lives in the past year, and when midnight neared we gathered at the altar or remained in our seats to “pray in the New Year.”

Since leaving home and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve never attended a church that held a Watch Night service.  Recently over dinner, my family was discussing the ways people celebrate New Year’s Eve, and I mentioned this service and the practice of “praying in the New Year.”  The mixture of disbelief and shock in my son’s eyes informed me that this may be something foreign to many people, and it made me sad.

I miss this tradition of the Watch Night service when I set aside time to invite the Holy Spirit to look back with me on the previous year, and to seek His guidance for the coming year.  I miss taking the final few moments of each year to stand still and acknowledge that God is God, and I am not.

I may not be able to bring Watch Night services back into vogue, but on December 31st as midnight was nearing I spent some time in quiet.  I invited the Holy Spirit to speak to me about 2017, and to pray for His guidance in 2018.  It was hopeful, and time well-spent.

If you’ve ever attended a Watch Night service, let me know your thoughts about the experience?

How do you spend New Year’s Eve?

This article was written by Robby Kautz for the blog:  Christianquietude.wordpress.com