Tag Archives: suicide

Crafting Prayers

I stumbled across a phrase in a book I am reading that set my mind and heart on fire, and I want to share it with you.  “Crafted prayers.” Does that stir your heart like it does mine?  The moment I read it, I recognized a concept that I wanted to invest in more deeply.  Crafted praying is a phrase that expresses how I desire to live.  It gave me ‘vocabulary’ for the passion of my heart–that is learning I believe in and love to share!

Terry Tykel, a self-described ‘emissary for prayer’ uses it in his book, divine strongholds.  It is a beautiful term depicting the prayers of Scriptures and the timeless prayers recorded in Christian books through the ages.  It is a tool we can employ individually and corporately in seeking the vision of God.

Crafted praying is the essence of communion with God.  It flows from worship of who He is and from understanding His desire to commune with us.  Teykl offers some key questions to help readers develop their own crafted prayers for situations they are facing—or situations God has placed upon their hearts.

  • What do you want to teach me through this situation?
  • How should I pray about this?
  • What do you want to do in and through this situation?1122171304e
  • How do you want us to change and grow?

To help me grasp the depths, I added these:

  • What do I not see or understand in this situation?
  • What more can I know (do I need to know) about God’s glory in the context of this situation?
  • How do I personally play into this situation (or a mirror of it in my own life)?

A vital component of ‘crafted prayers’ is the Word of God.  There is nothing that weighs upon our heart that God has not addressed in His Word.  Crafted prayers weave the Word of God into prayer—because both flow from His heart.  Seeking God’s heart in worship and prayer combined with seeking His heart in His Word provides the content for crafting words into prayers.

As Teykl says, this praying is ‘praying the answer’ from the beginning.  It is exciting; it is grounding…it is powerful.  God spoke the world into being with Words…we have the privilege of using words as we live out our lives.  Let’s use them well…for the good of others and the glory of God!

In this day and age where constant crises abound, deep prayers are so needed.   The immigration horrors, the political biting and devouring, this culture of shaming and disrespect that destroys people, the devaluing of life…the list is nearly endless.  Prayer IS participation.

Should God lead you to craft a prayer, won’t it you share it for others to join with you in storming the gates of heaven? Post it as a comment here, email it to me or post in on the Heartsong Facebook page!

Courage for Life!

Life is hard.  Suicide is NOT the answer.

There are no easy answers and no short cuts to the clichéd idea of ‘a life worth living.’  The spate of suicides we’ve seen among the rich & famous scream out the emptiness of fame and fortune.  The devastating statistics on addiction declare a dead-end for escaping through mind-altering drugs. LIFE is worth living!

There is only one path to full, abundant living:  Jesus Christ.  He understood–and understands–the difficulties of life and made a way where it seemed there was no way.

John 16 33

ALL life is a gift from the God of the Bible…the One who spoke the world into being and created from nothing.  There is but One God.  He doesn’t want life to be hard…but He uses the ‘hardness’ to draw us to Himself.  He wants us to bring the hard things to Him, trusting His plans for us are good–and His power to accomplish those plans sufficient!

omins

The courage we need to face life is found only in the character of God.  We must know who He is and live in that awareness.  What our mind knows that our heart can’t feel is useless to us.  It isn’t being able to state the ‘omni’s’ of God; it is being able to rest in those truths.

As difficult things come to us, we need to rest on the Truths of God’s identity–and our own.  We who believe in Jesus Christ–in the truth that we are lost/doomed to a dark eternity without the Saving work of Christ–are God’s beloved children; His chosen.  Those who do not have that kind of faith in God seek to make their own way to peace.  It is a hard road with a harder ending.

If you have faith but not victory, this short video from Kirk Cameron might give some insights on enjoying the benefits of relationship that aren’t found in religion.  If you do not have any faith, my prayer is that this same video will give you hope and this one offer clarity.

The essence of ‘salvation’ – of believing that Jesus is our personal need – is a reality we must live moment by moment.  Salvation is a one-time decision; living its truth is a daily necessity.  The Bible IS a light for our path.  We need to mine it daily to find the Truths that will transform even the hardest things into treasures from the King Himself.  God meets us right where we are if we will turn to Him.

God’s children can know that He is present in every difficulty.  Any challenge is a Father-filtered reality and His love surrounds it.  There is nothing that happens in our lives that takes Him by surprise or derails the good plans He has for us.  His power is unlimited.  What He purposes will take place.  He promises guidance.

Our task in life is simply this:  seek God’s face in all things.  In His presence is purpose and peace…abundant life for us and those around us.  He wants us to be connected to each other, loving each other and spreading His glory as we live.

How can I pray for you?

Comment below or send an email to:

billiejoyoumans@heartsongministry.net

 

Bunnies are Bullies

BULLYING

Current statistics indicate half of school-age children report having been bullied in the past month.  A strong link exists between bullying and suicide–the leading cause of death for young people.

Bullying is an increasing problem, but it isn’t a new problem nor is it confined to schools.  Businesses bully, politicians bully, police bully, minorities bully, families bully–and sadly, even Christians bully.

Bullying isn’t always violent, but it is always an attempt to control.  It manipulates, pressures, shames and intimidates.  It’s a learned behavior that destroys lives as it proclaims, “It’s all about ME!”

  • Bullies want their own way more they want anything else.
  • Bullies are bossy.
  • Bullies demand their own way when they want it & how they want it.
  • Bullies set themselves up as god.

We can stop bullying…and the creation of bullies…by living as a child of the Most High God!  God NEVER bullies, though the sad truth is many think God is a bully.  He is humble, generous and good.  His Way is the way to end bullying!  Jesus is that Way!

Of course, knowing the answer is way easier than living the answer!

Let the animals teach…
Heartsong Bunnies and Bullies

Bullying is a natural trait of….wait for it…BUNNIES!

I saw that roll of the eyes.  Stay with me.

Yes, bunnies are a prey animal. In nature, they are often on the receiving end of much more than bully-ing.  By nature, though, within their social structure, bullying is a way of life.

BIG Bunny

Bunny hierarchy is pretty interesting but visit this link if bunny details are your primary interest because this will just be a fly (well, hop) over.  While every colony (or warren) will have a Chief BIG BUNNY (BB), there are many BBs  in the bunny world. Every BB expects–demands–to be worshiped and obeyed by every other bunny.  The message from every BB (Big Bunny or Big Bully) is the same:  “This life–including your life–is all about me.”

Good Goals Gone Wrong

Even good goals get lost with a self-centered approach.  Respect & affection are the foundational values of bunny life.  Every demand a bunny makes is for one of those purposes.

Good goals pursued the wrong way stop being good.

Disobedience to bunny social rules is read as disrespect–and receives a punishment.  There are a lot of ways to offend a bunny.  Hopping by without speaking, attention to another bunny or being too familiar can generate a foot flick, an angry look, a growl, bite or complete shunning.  Taking offense is a bunny characteristic…it’s a bully characteristic too.

War in the Warren

Bunny bullying is pretty tame when they live in the wild.  But a bunny stuck with humans who don’t speak bunny can get pretty aggressive.  We humans are prone to disobeying bunny rules and creating resentments.   Bunnies hold a grudge, and just like with people, grudges create walls of separation.  Bully bunnies become so damaged, they do not want a relationship with people.  Sometimes, fear, anger or pride take over every other desire and their innate sociability is destroyed.  It is a sad state for the bunny-and its human family.

Does the Bullying problem in our world make more sense?

A World of Bullies

Self-centeredness and resentments are the commonality in warrens–and in our world.  Selfishness and unhealed, open wounds create bullies…and victims.  Unforgiveness is poison to yourself and the world around you!

The answer for both self-centeredness and resentments is the same:  

Jesus, the Healer….Jesus, the reconciler.

Like bunnies, we people are created to be social.  God so longed for relationship He created humanity.  But God humbly loves…He gave humanity the freedom to choose to love Him or not.  It is a fearsome choice with serious consequences.  While God is generous and good, He is also holy.  We are accountable for our choices.  Every choice is a choice of LIFE or DEATH.  Our choices are actions that produce one or the other.

Sadly, sometimes in our lives, greed, fear, anger and pride push God aside and we take matters in our own hands.  We choose our way instead of The Way.  We choose death.

Bullying is not solved by becoming a bigger bully.

Bullying stops when we refuse to bully–and when we refuse to be bullied–the same WAY Jesus responded.  Instead of taking offenses to heart and holding on to them, we must know who God is and who He created us (ourselves & our offenders) to be.

Victors not Victims

Knowing God as the Bible reveals Him to be gives us victorious courage.  We can walk through life secure in His care.  That does not mean we will never have trials.  Learning to trust God enough to die to self is a daily (moment-by-moment) necessity.

Jesus is the Way…and if we look at His life, we see His earthly life ended by bullies.  In America, that is not a common danger–though it is in some places and sometimes is true here.  Jim Elliott, who gave His life that others would have life, speaks eloquently to that concern:

Image result for he is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep

Finally, the cure to bullying is in knowing the value of every life.  The King of Kings died on the cross for individuals–not the masses.  He died not as a martyr but as a sacrifice with great purpose:  destroy the works of the devil and re-open the Way to relationship with the Father in heaven.  He gave His life that we would be able to live in union with God and others.  Our lives flow with that power and purpose when He lives in us.

Victors over Bullying

  • Victors want God’s way more they want anything else.
  • Victors are humble and meek.
  • Victors respect people’s right to choose.
  • Victors bow before their God and enjoy His presence.

What things tempt you to bully?

What ways are you bullied by others?

Will you choose The Way?

 

CLICK here for more info or to schedule a Heartsong visit.

 

 

 

 

Who am I

I have one eye that is used a lot but I cannot see.  What am I?

You see me where I never was…and really can never be.  What am I?

If you say my name, I disappear.  What am I?

If I drink I die, if I eat I’m fine.  What am I?

Riddles are kind of fun, aren’t they?  If you want the answers, join the Six-Days to Abundance journey and let me know about it.  I’ll send the answers on! 

But did you ever consider that each of us is a bit of riddle?  We spend much of our lives trying to answer that question, who am I?  It is a critical question because it is the foundation of our lives.

Whether we know it or not, we make our decisions based on what we believe gives us worth.  We choose our actions, our friends, even life-time pursuits based on what we feel gives us ‘value.’  In fact, who we understand ourselves to be is a life & death matter.  The heartbreaking reality is that over 44,000 people commit suicide every year…and that’s the reported suicides.  Life is difficult.  Without understanding the value of this life we have, we end up assigning value to parts of life.  Those parts will not hold up to the rigors of life.  Identity rooted in the Giver of Life grows stronger as the years progress.  It is the only foundation for life.  So, how do you define yourself…do you even know?

Write an advertisement for yourself.

What would someone need to know to know you?.

What do you come up with?

Wife.  Athlete.  Or maybe disabled.  Mom.  Divorced.  German or Italian.  Teacher.  Pet owner.  Couch potato.  High School drop-out or PhD candidate.  So & So’s child…or parent.  A Christian, a Muslim.  Jewish.  Homosexual.  Prisoner.  Addict.  Pastor. Winner.  Loser.

 All of those are important but anyone of those things can change (even ethnic heritages are sometimes not what we thought).  When things change, you will still be you.  So ‘who are you?’

We are each a riddle…until we go to the One who created us.

You (God) made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

God is the Giver of Life.  As Paul said to the Romans, in Him we live and move and exist.  The only way to know who we are is to go to Him.  God has given us life to search out the answer to the question of identity.  He calls to us throughout life and sent Jesus to open the way for us.  The choice to go to Him is ours.  What often drives us to Him are the disappointments that comes with a faulty understanding of self.

  • If I am what I achieve, what happens when I fail?  My identity…my sense of self bottoms out.
  • Or what if I achieve great things…think of the celebrities who have ended their own lives or whose lives are stolen by addictions….and still can’t find fulfillment?  The praise of others is not life-giving.
  • If I build my life on my children…or a spouse…and their quest takes them from me, what is my foundation?
  • Or if my identity has been in my job and my company closes, how do I face the rejection that comes with job-hunting?
  • What if I made one bad choice that haunts me for decades?  Is that the sum of who I am?

No!  The stuff of life is where we live out who we are…it is not supposed to make us who we are!

We find out identity by going to the maker.  We recognize that in other realms of life.  Take a look at this picture.  What is it for?  You can click the picture to find out but thepoint is we go to the creator (or one who has experience) to find out purpose.  

With the precious gift of life, why would we not do the same!?  We want to be the masters of our fate, but the ways that seem right to us often create havoc.  Jesus came that we might have abundant life!  Listen to who the Master says you are…and then live with awe for His love and the masterpiece He has wrought in you.  Give yourself to the world and to revealing Him.  You will be blessed and so will the world!

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Image result for identity in Christ verses

There are countless resources aimed to help Christians embrace the identity that comes with faith in Jesus.  This is one.

Living out this identity is a life-time challenge that requires us to stay connected to God and others.  It gives us a foundation for living.

All that we search for is found in Jesus. Let Him Love You! 

Faith Stories: From Suicidal Despair to Living for a Legacy

Every life has a story, and every life has impact on others.  Walk with my friend as he found his way from despair to hope–and seeks to help others do the same!

Proverbs tells us that without vision, the people perish: God used some interesting lenses to focus the eyes of Tim…lenses one might expect to give a bleaker picture. A long harsh winter, the financial stress of unemployment, a deadening lack of purpose and funerals were some of God’s magnifiers. As his own hope dwindled and he contemplated suicide, God pierced Tim’s heart through the deaths of friends.  Attending the wakes, Tim saw a sharp contrast between the hopelessness of those who lived only for this life and the life-honoring celebrations of home-going saints. The common end of all focused his eyes on his own responsibility to live well—to leave a legacy of life and hope for those who would come behind.

With that desire in place, Tim was again ready and able to feel the love of God. After one funeral, Tim stopped by his brother’s home and mentioned that it had been some time since he had made it a point to go to a church for any reason. His brother replied ‘it’s been 14 years’, and then went on to tell Tim he had been praying all that time for Tim to return to God. It was a prayer heard by God and now received in Tim’s own heart. Shortly after, some Christian friends sought Tim’s help with some home repair projects. Their lives were their testimony: the true concern they had for Tim broke through the hard defenses he had built. Their genuine concern had a profound effect. God’s love was having its way.

During a walk with his dogs one morning, the Spirit broke through and called Tim to humble himself before God, agree with God about his mistakes and turn back to the Father’s love that had never stopped. The beauty and blessing of Tim’s obedience is best in his own words:

“The words were hard—not because of confessing, but because I was weeping uncontrollably. Weeping and thanking God for more than one chance; weeping for the years lost and behind me for the waste they had been…when the prayer was finished, the burden lifted. It was a relief I hadn’t had in years…not just figuratively or spiritually but physically as well.”

Today Tim is a beloved part of a local church…actively living and loving in Jesus’ name.

God’s promises are real. Forgiveness and cleansing restore us. Our prayers and our love for others matter. Sit at the feet of Jesus and soak in His goodness…let us join Tim in embracing the blessing of confession and rejoicing in God’s gracious presence!