Jesus has already prayed

Be encouraged that if you are going through a trial, Jesus has already prayed for you.

As Satan was accusing the High priest Joshua, the Lord said to him: “the Lord rebuke you, Satan! the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?

Jesus prayed for Peter to strengthen the brethren before Peter even denied him. (Luke 22: 31-34) Jesus sees you at the other side of the struggle you are going through, strengthening others.

And Jesus has prayed for us (John 17:20-26). This does not mean we don’t pray. It means we pray even more, praying in agreement with what Jesus wants in the world.

Jesus comforted me about a situation I was facing, saying he had it handled. I have seen the results, but was greatly comforted even before I had seen them. I, along with most people I know, am facing several challenges. We need to pray more, and obey anything we hear to do.

Gazing on Jesus

“We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.” (Hebrews 12:2, TPT).

There is so much to look at today, so many distractions. I had a friend help me remove games from my cell phone because they were taking too much time. There is Covid 19, the fear that comes from it, the Black Lives Matter movement, people (not necessarily from BLM) looting and starting fires in the States. There is also ‘the neccessity’ of being not only politically correct, but Woke. I looked up the meaning: ‘woke’ means alert to the injustice in society, especially racism, also being aware and knowing what’s going on in the community. I am writing this is June, which is ‘pride month’ and will be watching a required webinar at work about how to become an ally of the LGBT2 community.

So much to concentrate on and get right — but right according to who?

I want to live a “crucified, hidden and seated” life with Jesus. I will be writing more about this, but feel it is so crucial to my life at this time, that I should change the name of my blog from “the 15th day and more” to “Crucified, Hidden, Seated”. How do I walk that lifestyle of closeness to Jesus in my day to day life with all that is going on in the world today?

I desparately need to look away from the natural realm — and fix my gaze on Him.

I am thankful that He also has His gaze on me.

Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. the PassionTranslation.com

(I will update my cover photo in the near future).

She’s Annoying Me Again (Part 4)

Okay, so it’s happening again — that person is dong the same old thing, making the same old comments, not letting well enough alone, trying her best to ruin my day . . .

Arrrrgh . . . . . .

But is there something bigger going on behind the scenes? (In my case, probably not . . . well — maybe the Lord is trying to make me more patient or teach me to stick up for myself or something . . .) However, in Hannah’s case, there was ‘a bigger picture.’ Hannah may or may not have known about the bigger picture, but she might have been aware of some problems in the temple.

The priests were misusing their authority. 2 Samuel 12 – 17 tells how Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were treating both the Lord and the people.

2 Samuel 12 – 17

Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD or for the priests’ share of the sacrifices from the people. When any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-prongred meat fork while the meat was boiling and plunge it into the container or kettle or cauldron or cooking pot. The priest would claim for himself whatever the meat fork brought up. This is the way they treated all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh. Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast because he won’t accept boiled meat from you–only raw.” If that man said to him “The fat must be burned first; then you can take whatever you want for yourself,” the servant would reply, “No, I insist that you hand it over right now. If you don’t, I’ll take it by force!” So the servants’ sin was very severe in the presence of the LORD, because they treated the LORD’s offering with contempt.

Eli was aware of what his sons were doing.

2 Samuel 25: Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meetings.

He tried to correct them. They did not listen.

Since the priests treated everyone’s offering with contempt, it is probable that the same thing happened to Elkanah. The offerings were made with the family present, so Hannah may have watched her husbands’ offering being misused.

And year after year, Hannah was provoked to tears by Penninah’s taunts. Finally, praying from a place of deep hurt, Hannah made a vow that if she was allowed to have a son, that son would serve the Lord all the days of his life. She would bring him to the temple — the temple run by Eli and his sons. She fulfilled her vow.

The Lord was angry with Eli and his sons. The priests would not take correction from their father and walk closer to the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:25b says: But they would not listen to their father, since the LORD intended to kill them.

The next verse talks about Samuel.

1 Samuel 2:26

By contrast, the boy Samuel grew in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.

Hannah had a deep need. But ‘the bigger picture’ included the fact that the Lord saw that the priesthood was acting unfaithfully toward Him and interfering in the worship of the people. The ‘bigger picture’ was that the Lord wanted to make a change in leadership. He needed someone in the temple that He could raise up to lead the nation of Israel. His choice: Samuel, Hannah’s little boy. Hannah’s need for a son helped God fulfill his bigger picture of his plans for the nation of Israel.

Are the struggles we face part of God fulfilling his work in the earth? It is something to think about . . .

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

She’s Annoying Me Again (Part 3)

Family holidays can be trying times!

Elkanah took his family to Jerusalem to celebrate before the Lord. It was supposed to be a special family time. Yet, Penninah always made sure that Hannah did not have a good time, taunting her. It’s easy to understand in some ways — they were rivals for Elkanah’s love. Yet, Penninah knew she had blessings that Hannah did not — at least four times over for she had both sons and daughters, so she must have had at least two of each. She could have just left her alone — but maybe in some way, she was jealous of Hannah, angry that Elkanah honored her, even though she had no children. Elkanah even had to encouage Hannah to eat!

After the family ate, Hannah went to pray.

1 Samuel 1:10 – 13

Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, “LORD of hosts, if you will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord, all the days of his life and his hair will never be cut.

While she continued praying in the LORD’s presence , Eli watched her lips. Hannah was praying silently, and though her lips were moving her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk

I have not done enough of what Hannah did — go to God, taking my hurts to him and being willing to cry in front of him (verse 10). Verse 12 says Hannah prayed silently in the Lord’s presence. In verse 16 Hannah told Eli that she was ‘ praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment”. Wow — she wasn’t praying from the Lord’s anointing, from joy, from His grace, from the mountaintop — she was praying from anguish and resentment — and she was still in his presence! No matter, what we face, who we have to deal with, whether or not we will be falsely judged or what mood we’re in — Let us pray! God is able to hear us and He will answer us.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Stand Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Homan Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

She’s Annoying Me Again, part 2 (A Weekday Paragraph)

A Weekday Paragraph is a short scripture and a short paragraph (or two or three . . .LOL) of how it applies to my life. This is written by a Christian who is growing in her relationship with Jesus, for other growing Christians. Please be encouraged, challenged or both . . . and feel free to comment or reply.

1 Samuel 7b,8 : Hannah wept and would not eat. “Hannah why are you crying?” her husband Elkanah asked, “Why won’t you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?”

Hannah was focused on what she did not have. Probably it was being pointed out to her regularly that she did not have children, even though it was obvious. Scripture says that Penninah had sons and daughters, so she had at least four children.

Hannah was so vexed with Penninah who had all the chilldren, that she missed what she had – Elkanah’s love.

I have done the same. I can become so focused on what an annoying person is doing, that I miss the good parts of my life. A simple change of my focus will not change what the othe person is doing, but it will make my life easier.

I plan to concentrate on the good areas of my life, no matter what a certain individual does today. If you are facing a similar situation, will a change of focus help you as well?

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

She’s annoying me again . . . Part 1 (A Weekday Paragraph)

(A Weekday Paragraph is a short scripture and a short paragraph (or two or three . . .LOL) of how it applies to my life. This is written by a Christian who is growing in her relationship with Jesus, for other growing Christians. Please be encouraged, challenged or both . . . and feel free to comment or reply.)

1 Samuel 1: 4-7

Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he always gave portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to each of her sons and daughters. But he gave a double portion to Hannah, for he loved her even though the LORD had kept her from conceiving. Her rival would taunt her severely just to provoke her, because the LORD had kept Hannah from conceiving. Whenever she went up to the LORD’s house, her rival taunted her in this way every year. Hannah wept and would not eat.

To quote the new Kings James version:

verse 6: And her rival also provoked her severely to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.

Ladies, do you have another woman in your life, who does things that make you unhappy? How are you handling your relationship with her and others?

I have a woman in my life that has done things that annoy me for years. I have let her affect my emotions. I have let her affect my life outside of the times I have to deal directly with her. I have let my emotions about her affect my dealings with others. I have let my annoyance, my vexation with her, be a central point in my life. That is not wisdom.

In the next few posts, I will be looking closely at how Hannah dealt with her situation and how I can apply it to mine.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Stand Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Jesus will shine

Jesus will shine

Jesus will shine

Jesus will shine through me today.

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you.

(This is being published waaay earlier than it should be — I believe it is the beginning of a song between the Lord and myself. It may have other verses. Anyway, let Jesus shine through you today . . . )

(It is a huge challenge to myself to write something everyday that’s worth publishing!!)

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Maintaining Hope in Difficult Circumstances, Part 2

I’d like to talk more about Moses and situations he faced. He could have felt overwhelmed a couple of times.

Exodus 2: 11-15

Years later, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his own people and observed their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. Looking all around, and seeing no one, he struck the Egyptian dead and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you attacking your neighbor?”

“Who made you a leader and judge over us?” the man replied. “Are you planning to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”

Then Moses became afraid and thought: What I did is certainly known. When Pharoah heard about this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharoah and went to live in the land of Midian and sat down by a well.

Early in his adult life, Moses was living as an Egyptian prince. He saw an Egyptian misusing a Hebrew slave. He did not like what he saw. He took action, killing the Egyptian. Soon after he saw two Hebrews fighting. He spoke to them, but one asked him if he was going to kill him, just as he had killed the Egyptian. Moses knew that his actions were known — and fled. His life would not have been long if Pharoah had found out what he had done! He handled that difficult circumstance by running away.

Running away did not change the call of God on his life. He was called by God to lead the people out of Egypt. When he was approached by God, he handled the situation by trying to argue with Him. Moses did not win the argument . . . the story is told in Exodus 3:1 – Exodus 4:13.

Ex. 4:10 – 13

But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent–either — in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant–because I am slow and hesitant in speech.

Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, seeing or blind? It is not I, Yahweh? Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

Moses said “Please, Lord, send someone else.”

Moses eventually accepted the challenge of leadership. He accepted the help that God offered, in the signs that God gave him and by having Aaron as his spokesperson.

Fast forward several more years, and he is trying his best to lead the people, handling all their concerns. Moses was wearing himself out with too much work and the people were getting worn out by having to wait so long until he could handle their concerns. The story is told in Exodus, chapter 18.

Exodus 18: 13-16

The next day Moses sat down to judge the people, ;and they stood around Moses from morning until evening. When Moses’ father-in-law say everything he was doing for them he asked, “What is this thing you’re doing for the people? Why are you alone sitting as judge, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?”

Moses replied to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me, to inquire of God. Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I make a decision between one man and another. I teach them God’s statutes and laws.”

Jethro made the suggestion that Moses get help, setting commanders over the people and having them deal with the less important matters, while Moses was to represent the people before God, bring their cases to him, instuct the people and deal with the harder cases. Moses listened and his load became more bearable.

Moses was called to lead Israel, but when he was young, tried to help the people the wrong way. He had to run away, which saved his life, but did not help him accomplish his goal of helping the Hebrew people. Arguing with God, telling God that he (Moses) was not good enough, was not a good idea. God had given him signs to show the people, but Moses was still afraid to do it alone. God told him that his brother Aaron was coming to meet him (for more information on this, please read Exodus 4:14-31).

Accepting help enabled Moses to carry the load. Yes, he had the help of God, but God sent human helpers, in the form of Aaron and Jethro.

Are you in an overwhelming situation? Accept the help that God is sending you.

Dear Jesus, we all face difficulties, challenges and things that could overwhelm us at times. Help us to turn to You and give us the wisdom to accept the help You send. Amen.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Maintaining hope in difficult circumstances, Part 1

Life can be overwhelming. What do we do when it become too hard for us to handle? Has today been easy or hard, a good day or one filled with challenges?

If we are facing challenges or difficult circumstance, how can we maintain hope? I was overwhelmed the other day by circumstances and this was the question I was asking. My husband listened for a couple of minutes after he came home from work, and then decided we had to pray. (He didn’t think I could go to sleep if I didn’t spend some time seeking the Lord, about the situation.)

One of the things that has helped me handle hard circumstances is realizing that the Bible was not written by people who had easy lives. Paul wrote most of his letters from prison, he was not on vacation, he was in jail. Moses led the people, but almost wore himself out, until his father-in-law told him to get help. He was judging the entire nation of Israel, every matter large or small. He father-in-law told him to appoint elders. The story of Joseph in the Bible talks about him as Pharoah’s right-hand-man, but before that he was sold into slavery and thrown into prison. So the advice in the Bible does not come from an ivory tower: it comes from day-to-day battles, amidst the sometimes cruel circumstance of life.

Several scriptures come to mind.

1Peter 5:6, 7 Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

We have a caring God. We do not have to carry our anxieties alone. He is there for us. We can rest. We can put off anxiety; but not by ignoring it, not by pretending it doesn’t exist. I’m so glad we can say life hurts; we don’t have to pretend everything is all right. We handle anxieties by putting our cares into hands that are bigger than ours.

We know He is always going to be there for us.

Hebrews 13:5, 6 Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Remember that the Lord is there for you, and that you will never leave you.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Pleasant Boundaries and an Unlimited God

Psalm 16: 5,6 Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

God is limitless, all knowing, present everywhere, all sufficient in himself. I am not . He has put boundaries in my life and for them I am grateful. These boundaries include time, space, my energy levels, the need to work and the family I am part of.

  • Time

I live now, during this time in history. We have many conveniences and many things that could serve as distractions. There are only 24 hours in a day, and some time must be spent working, eating, sleeping and relaxing. God has given me time every day and given me choices of what I can do. It is good to know that I cannot do everything, so I can make choices that are the correct ones for me. I can train myself to not waste time, but to invest it in knowing God better, spending time with family and friends, working at jobs that give me a sense of satisfaction and having hobbies or activities that enrich my life or the lives of others.

  • Space

I cannot be everywhere at once. Again, choices are necessary. I can be present and contribute to where I am.

  • Energy

I am not an “energizer bunny”, and feel the limits to my strength and energy some days. God’s gift of rest helps renew my energy levels.

  • The Need to Work

Working at a full-time job outside the home takes many hours a week. Yet, it helps provide financially for myself and my family and is a source of satisfaction and an area which can be used for personal growth, both in knowledge and people skills.

  • Family

It is wonderful to have people who have known you all your life. You don’t have to explain who you are or how you grew up to your siblings — they were there! For married people, their ‘second family’ can also be a source of joy. Yes, sometimes family members can be a source of stress — just ask my husband! But having someone to share your life is a great blessing.

The Bible says “God sets the lonely in families.” Even introverts like myself are not to spend all our time alone!

Living within boundaries, under the grace provided by an unlimited God, is a cause for joy and thanksgiving. It is a reason to worship him.

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All scripture references are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Photo credit: M Carswell