Sunday, July 31, 2005

Trust Me

“Trust Me.” I heard God say
in the midst of a troubling time.
“Trust Me.” I heard loud and clear.

I just didn’t know what kind
of “Trust Me” it was.

Was it “Trust Me, I’ll clear the path
and set the course right again.”
Or “Trust Me, there’s another way
I have a better plan.”

Or, “Trust Me, this too shall pass.”
“Trust Me, your strength will last.”

“Trust Me, My Word is sure.”
“Trust Me, you can endure.”

“Trust Me.”
is all He said.

Then suddenly I knew
as I bowed my head low
that “Trust Me” was all I needed to know.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

“In This Place - At This Time” Part III of III

Continued from yesterday…

The parting thought was, ““Permeating worship” requires, nay, demands an overlapping of each area as one’s eyes are opened to the fullness of God. With such, comes the realization and wonderment of such sweet satisfaction that one marvels at what took them so long to reach this state.”

What is it, what desire, what force draws the Christian to this level of comprehension of, and communication with, God? A quote from a secular business magazine stated, “When you begin to understand something at a deeper level, your passion for it begins to brew.” (Entrepreneur Magazine April 2003)

But how does one begin to understand without study? And how does one begin to study without desire? And how does one desire without seeing a need? And please, one more, how does one see a need without beginning to understand that he needs to study?

Is it God’s gift; God’s calling? And if it is, can those not so inclined, blame God for neglect? “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) Or is the faintness of the call to be blamed on the roar of the sirens that beckon from each shore and each separate segment of their lives?

The assurance is certain of God’s desire to fellowship with man. (Rev. 3:20) So then, what can be done to hear the call, to take note of the need to blend the parts into a whole? Does one simply decide to “see” God in everything? Or is it a growth process whereby God revels Himself in all things as the layers of scales drop from our eyes?

No one ever healed themselves, but alas, no one was ever healed either, without turning to healing. As the Ethiopian Eunuch was “faintly” hearing the call, he declared to Phillip, “How can I (understand) except some one should guide me?” (Acts 8:31-35) Thus comes the awesome responsibility of “the witness.”

Those whose lives are filled with “permeating worship” cannot just live lives of personal worship and communion with God in selfish solitude. “Permeating worship” must so permeate all of life that the believer cannot help, but to witness to that for which they live. Many “saved souls” are not fully hearing their calling. The responsibility of this witness then, is to begin to muffle the noises of the world so that “the called” may begin to hear their calling. And where must this “witnessing” take place? It must take place as we “dwell in this place at this time.” It must take place as we are doing the “other things that must be done.” As we are “doing regularly scheduled maintenance and production.” As indeed we are “walking before the Lord in the land of the living.”

Why us? Why here? Why now? “If you hold your peace at this time, then shall there deliverance come to the (called) from another place; but who knows but that you were called to such a place for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

We were created to “dwell” in this place at this time for the Glory of God.

Betty Newman
©September 3, 2003

Friday, July 29, 2005

“In This Place - At This Time” Part II of III

Continued from yesterday…

The question was, “how do we either incorporate worship into maintenance and/or production, or how do we allow worship to permeate all of maintenance and all of production?”

Incorporating worship into our lives includes attending scheduled worship events; such as Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and any midweek services. It also means specific times of prayer, bible study and scripture reading. These generally take place before, during, and after maintenance and production times. In other words, actual “stops” in maintenance and/or production must take place for this worship to occur.

Permeating worship, on the other hand, takes place during maintenance and production. Indeed, permeating worship fosters an environment, which allows maintenance and production to be effective. To worship continually within this dwelling place, “permeating worship” must be practiced. And how does one participate in “permeating worship?”

First of all, “permeating worship” includes “incorporating worship.” “Incorporating worship” on its own however, simply allows for worship to take place in “fits and starts” or “stops and goes.”

That begs the question: must we think of worship continually for continual worship to be attained? No, in fact, that would be impossible, for much of our maintenance and production requires dedicated thought for safe and responsible action. Does then, this goal of “continual worship” mean that we only take jobs that are in specific service to God? Does it mean that we only participate in recreation, only read books, and only listen to music that specifically glorifies God? Does it mean that we only “dwell” among those who live for God?

No, “permeating worship” is an awareness of God that “permeates” every aspect of our being. It is seeing all of creation as belonging to God and responding in stewardship and love to this creation. (Ps. 24:1) It is seeing every person, all “nations, kindreds, people, and tribes” as His children. (Rev.7: 9)

It is seeing all of nature, all of life, as belonging to God and simply “on loan” to be taken care of and to be thankful for. (Deut. 8:10) It is seeing every responsibility, every job, every need, as an opportunity to serve and “do all as for the Lord.” (I Cor.10: 31)

It is “dwelling” in this place, and at this time, while seeing God’s Glory within every book we read, and every piece of music to which we listen. It is understanding that recreation is indeed the “re-creation” of our souls. It is walking “before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 116:9)

However, a great majority of saved souls never get beyond “incorporating worship.” They live lives of compartmentalized parts of the whole. Every piece is in its place, with a place for every piece, never realizing the interdependence necessary for a complete life. Their lives become scattered separateness without satisfaction in any area.

“Permeating worship” requires, nay, demands an overlapping of each area as one’s eyes are opened to the fullness of God. With such, comes the realization and wonderment of such sweet satisfaction that one marvels at what took them so long to reach this state.

To be continued tomorrow…


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"In This Place - At This Time" Part I of III

For the next 3 postings, I will share a paper that I wrote a couple of years ago. I didn’t know where it was going when I started. I didn’t even know where it “came from.” I had never written anything like this in my life. The whole thought process and subject matter was new to me (or so I thought at the time.)

I recently listened (again) to an audio book version of A.W. Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God.” Chapter 10 is titled, “The Sacrament of Living.” When I heard it (again) it came to me that this is where my paper came from, or at least was the inspiration for it. Mine is but an “eyelash” in comparison to Tozer’s great work, but it is mine…

In This Place - At This Time

The most wonderful thing in the world to do, the highest goal for a Christian, would be “continual worship;” to be able to worship God 24/7. Indeed, we were created for God’s pleasure (Rev. 4:11b) and brought to salvation to worship Him. (John 4:23-24) By “worship” that would mean prayer, devotions or meditations and Bible study.

However, we were also created to “dwell” in this place, at this time. And in order to “dwell,” there are other things that must be done. We must eat. We must sleep. We must take a bath and do laundry. We must see to the needs of our bodies. We must make and keep doctors and dentist appointments. We must take care of a “dwelling place” and transportation.

In other words, we must do “regularly, scheduled maintenance” of and for this, our “temple of the Holy Spirit” as well as all these other “temples” that have been entrusted to our care, whether they be our children or our parents who rely on us.

That maintenance has a literal price. It costs “currency” to pay for the items of maintenance - food, homes, and personal needs. In order to create the currency for these needs, we must do something to produce income. We must exchange our knowledge and/or abilities for money. Therefore, a portion of our time and attention must be directed toward “production.”

Thus we have worship, maintenance, and production that makes up our existence while we dwell in this place, at this time.

If we have been created and brought to salvation solely to worship God, the question then becomes, how do we either incorporate worship into maintenance and/or production, or how do we allow worship to permeate all of maintenance and all of production?

To be continued tomorrow…


©September 3, 2003

Monday, July 25, 2005

My New "Title"

As of Saturday afternoon, July 23, 2005, I have a new title - “Mother-in-law” and I couldn’t be happier.

Our son, Joe Jr, married his best friend, Suzanne Inez Short. They met about 4 years ago through a youth ministry group called “YOKE.” It is an amazing story how God brought Joe to this day. Suffice it to say that it was very interesting! (I have a feeling that it will continue to be interesting! Or as the minister said, “Let the ride begin!”)

This part of the “adventure” began in his junior year of high school, in the fall of 1999, because he had a learning disability in math and was exempted from taking a second year of algebra and was “allowed” to take auto mechanics instead…

It led him through a long series of events that took him on a lot of twists and turns - all seemingly unrelated, until it culminated in their meeting at a YOKE counselor (“YOKE Folk”) camp and becoming friends - “nothing more” they kept telling me, adamantly! (And I think they really believed that.)

Joe even dated several different girls, and would call Suzanne afterward and tell her about them! I said “Joe!” You just don’t do that! But he did. (You gotta know Joe!)

Then last fall, both his and her eyes were “opened” and the time was right. God’s time was right, and all the “cogs in the wheel” came together and they began to understand what God had brought them to.

I wrote a letter to them and put it in their truck for after the wedding. It began with “This day is far too important to trust to a greeting card sentiment…”

Of course what I wrote was very personal, but in part it said, “God says in Genesis 2:24 (and both Jesus and Paul quote) “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (I believe it could also say “a man and a woman leave their fathers and mothers…” just as well, because you do.)

Nothing is more fulfilling and more beautiful; nothing brings a man and a woman closer together (literally and figuratively) than “they two shall become one flesh…”

If you’ll notice in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden and the fall, a lot of things change after the fall; a lot of things “work” differently, but nowhere does it say anything about the “bodies” of the man and the woman changing. So, that tells me that everything about our physical bodies - every “pleasure point” was the same before the fall as after. And God said, “It was very good.”

My favorite verse on this is 1Cor 7:4 “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (Emphasis added.)

Dad and I have taken this to mean, ‘Each for the other, and both for the Lord…’ and it has kept our marriage strong, and intimate, for 30 years.”


I believe that, too. And I pray for Joe, Jr and Suzanne, that their love and relationship will grow steadily deeper and stronger over the course of a lifetime.

I have often heard people say “such and such ‘feels’ funny”, and I thought it was just an expression. However it literally FEELS strange to say “my son and his wife” or “my daughter-in-law…” There is an actual “feeling” there…

But it FEELS good!

And for each of you, I pray that you will allow God to turn the “cogs in your wheel” to lead you to where He wants you to be. I am reminded of the book of Esther - “Who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this…”

Thank you for allowing me to share this very personal moment with you.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Concerning these gifts of the Spirit (studies)

Concerning the gifts of ministry as noted in: Romans 12: 3-8

As I was praying and trying to discern how one is really supposed to pray intercessory prayer - I began thinking, “how do you pray when you don’t know what to pray for” - I was filled with a feeling of “I will tell you what to pray for.” I then said, “Well, why should I pray, or what’s the point of praying if You will be giving me the words to just say back to You?”

That thought led to an examination of other “gifts” - giving, compassion, serving, administration, all of the others, teaching and even exhorting - they all are meeting people’s needs, while “perceiving” which often is, uh, perceived as the most important gift is really the least important in many ways. Yes, its major task is intercessory prayer, but that is just giving back words to God that He has told you to say anyway!

I then pictured a big china wash basin into which water was being poured on one side with such force that the water was not staying in the basin, but literally splashing back out the other side. As the words poured into the “perceiver” they rushed back out. Now, what good was that?

But, before that thought had barely left my mind, another took its place - “isn’t the gift of giving, just giving out of what has been given? And isn’t compassion, pouring back out of the compassion that is filling the person? And isn’t exhorting, and all the others, a pouring back out of the very gift that is being poured into the person? Picture that same basin. As the gift is poured into a believer, it is not to stay, but to be “splashed” back out into the world. The gift of perceiving is not any less important (and not any more important) than any other gift. Its focus is just different.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Life is so precarious

Life is so precarious, Lord. No sooner do we get through one crisis, or even minor struggle; no sooner do we get one prayer answered, till we’re right back asking for something else.

I don’t think it’s that we’re never satisfied (though that may be some of it) but there’s just so much that we have to deal with. Satan is so - alive and well - and even if it’s not particularly, specifically, him, then the very essence of “fallen mankind” brings struggles of its own - disease, heartache, apprehensions. Even natural disasters - earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, fires - are all a part of nature “groaning in travail” until the time of the end.

There’s just not a moment in our lives when we aren’t in dire need of some Divine intervention.

But even in the midst of all this, Lord, may we
listen when the birds sing
may we
smell when the flowers bloom
and may we
just take the time to appreciate the touch and the smile of a friend.

And Lord, lead us to the opportunity to be that friend.
Because life is so precarious, Lord…

©2006 Betty J. Newman

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Shortcuts

Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus began His ministry in a wilderness and He ended it in a garden, and both places were places of intense struggle.

In the wilderness, the struggle came from external forces playing on His internal needs - His hunger.

In the garden, the struggle came from an internal turmoil - the dread of separation from the Father, and was compounded by external forces - the impending crucifixion.

In the wilderness Jesus faced what has often been called “the three types of sins in the world.” 1 John 2:16 calls them “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” All of temptation and all of sin falls into one of these three categories.

But take note of how Jesus dealt with it - He quoted Scripture:
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” and finally,
“You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

Not only did He quote scripture, but each of these scriptures comes from the book of Deuteronomy - the book of the Law.

Psalms 1 says “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

What this simply tells us is that there are no shortcuts. If Jesus had taken any of these offers, the rest of the book would never have been written, for there would have been no salvation.

There are no shortcuts for doing the right thing, in the right way.

“He took
no shortcuts.
He said
no ‘yeah, buts’
He was
all God and all man all the time
all the time…”

Betty J. Newman © July 2005

Monday, July 18, 2005

Words for my friend

Just a note to tell you that you are in my prayers this morning and always.

I know you are going through a very difficult time right now. I know there are times when you cry, “I just can’t do one - more - thing… I can’t worry about one - more - person, and I can’t carry one - more - burden…”

I know that you have said, “Oh Lord! What else?” And I also know that you’re almost afraid to even say that anymore, for fear that there could be something else - there could be more…

I know because I have been through that myself. Oh, not exactly the same circumstances, for all our lives are different, but enough so that I’ve prayed, “Oh Lord, when’s it ever going to let up?”

I know there is a fear and despair in the pit of your stomach that even though quelled at times, never completely goes away. There are times of respite and times of peace, but still the anguish is there lurking in the background, in the back of your mind. You’re never really at rest.

Know this! As much as it helps to know that someone is praying for you (and I am) it is infinitely more comforting to know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for you to the Father.

Look up Romans 8:15-28. You’ll see that God is our Father! And not only that, but the word Paul uses for “father” is Abba, which is translated as what we would call, “Daddy” - the most intimate and loving form of father. And then in verse 26, Paul tells us that because we don’t really know how to pray as we should, the Spirit “translates” for us to God, and then brings back to us what our “Daddy” wants us to know.

And if that is not comforting enough, know this. You (yes you) are on Jesus’ prayer list!

Read Hebrews 7:25. Jesus sits at God’s right hand “interceding” for you (and me) continually. In other words, Jesus, Himself, is praying for you. He is whispering in God’s ear, telling Him all about you and your needs. And He never takes a break!

I know that when I was going through the deepest valley of my life, the one thing that strengthened me daily was knowing that others were praying for me. I sensed God’s presence and care just through my own prayers, but at that time I didn’t know these two scriptures. I didn’t know that Jesus Christ, my salvation for eternity, was at that very moment, praying for me.

I wanted you to know that He’s praying for you… He’ll see you through this.

Betty J. Newman © July 14, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Love the Lord (responsive reading)

I will love the LORD my GOD with all my heart
with all my emotion
with all my feeling.

I will love the LORD my GOD with all my soul
with all my spirit
with all my spirituality.

I will love the LORD my GOD with all my mind
with all my thinking
with all my intellect.

I will love the LORD my God with all my strength
with all my touch
with all my being.

And I will love my neighbor as myself
with God’s pure love
I will love myself enough
To love my neighbor.

Betty J. Newman © 2002

Friday, July 15, 2005

I am ...hurting...

This was written during a very difficult time in my life.
I don't want to give a time frame
because I don't want anyone to feel bad.
It's been a good while ago.

But not that long...

I Am…..hurting

I am your church member
your neighbor
your co-worker
And I am hurting.

Did you know?

You must have known
you said
you were thinking about me.
You said
you would pray for me.
You even said
“If there’s anything I can do…..”

But I was too embarrassed to ask you
to mow my lawn,
to cook for me
to do my laundry
to buy me some groceries.

Although, I would have been so thankful.

Did you not see,
the dark circles under my eyes
from sitting up all night
and working all day?
Did you not notice,
my car leaving at odd hours
and always in such a hurry?
Did you not hear,
the crack in my voice
from worry and fatigue?

Did you lose my phone number?

You surely didn’t know
my kids were wearing
their cleanest dirty clothes.
You surely didn’t know
that extra mail
was over due notices.
You surely didn’t know…..

For I simply can’t believe
you don’t care
that I am hurting…..

Betty J. Newman

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Prayer with a breaking heart...

Oh Father, I come to You with my heart breaking. I have just learned of a young woman’s devastating loss of a child that was stillborn.

I have known her, Lord, since she herself, was a child. She has not had an easy life, but this Lord - how can she deal with it? How can she bear it? I can’t even imagine…

Oh God, how her arms must ache to hold this child. As a mother, my own arms ache in sympathy, and my soul cries out in anguish for her and her husband. But my cries have no words for I can’t even begin to comprehend the suffering she feels, and the heartache she now carries.

Father, at times such as this, I think of Paul’s words to the Roman Christians* for Lord, I don’t know what to say, either. I don’t know how to pray as I should, and so I ask that Your Holy Spirit take the anguish of my heart for which there are no words, and with “groanings which are too deep for words”, lift to You this young woman, her husband, and all her family.

Her family, Lord, as they can only stand by and watch. Her husband who is a part, but in many ways cannot be a part, of her pain, and yet, he must be her strength at times, as she must be his, at times. Give them strength together, I pray.

But she, Lord, is the Mother. No one knows the pain she is feeling. No one, that is, but one who has lost a child.

And so, You know, don’t you Lord? You know exactly what she is feeling for You not only saw Your Son die, You chose to have Your Son die. That’s something none of us will ever have to face.

But because You did - we live. And because You did, she shall, “in that day” have her child back in perfection. She will have something none of us will ever have - her baby, as a baby, for eternity. And her arms will never again be empty - “in that day.”

But “in this day” Lord, give her peace…

I pray this in the Name of the One who is called “The Prince of Peace”, Amen.

*Romans 8: 26-27

Betty J. Newman ©June 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hot Stuff

“Ain’t you hot stuff!?”
Satan said to me the other day
“Ain’t you hot stuff
you just pra-aaay
and pray…”

“And you read your Bible.”
He said with a sneer.
“And when God speaks,
you’re all ready to hear.
(oooh, I’m afraid…”)

“With those who seek,
and those who’ve sought
you’re all ready to share
what you’ve been taught.

Yeah, you’re not stuff.”
He said rolling his eyes.
“But what of your fears
don’t you realize
that I’ve got you
right where I want you.”

“Leave and be gone!”
I said, shaking my fist.
You accuser,
You betrayer,
I could go down the list.

Your names describe you
I only need turn
To that Book you derided
And there I will learn
your methods,
your weapons,
your tactics,
and what’s more,
I already know
what God has in store,
for you;
you’re through!

And he did
“until a more opportune time…"

©Sept 2003

(Someone told me of a Church markee they saw recently, it said:
"When Satan reminds you of your past
remind him of his future...")

May God bless and lead you today.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Prayer for the worker in despair

Oh Father, why is it that those who feel Your presence so closely, also feel anguish so deeply at times? I think of Elijah and his depression immediately after so great a victory at Mount Carmel[I], and I think of Jeremiah, who was so devastated that he declared that he would no longer preach, but surrendered and understood that if he did not, the Word would "burn" in his heart "like a fire"[II]. Then there is David, a “man after God’s own heart” and his cries of “How long, oh Lord…”[III] And a host of others in Your Word…

I think of the “saints” - Spurgeon and Luther among the called and realize that they “saw Your face” and yet struggled with the very same “darkness” that many of us deal with at times.

At different times in our lives we cry to hear Your word, to see Your direction, and to feel Your presence. We can’t expect those who have a superficial relationship with You to comprehend the heights of our joys in communion with You - so how can we imagine that they would understand the depth of the agony we sometimes feel when seeking Your face?

But agony we do feel at times, and so today Lord, I pray for those “soldiers of the Cross” who are doing battle with their own questions. I pray, Father, for those who long - no ache, to know and do Your will; those who are miserable and yes, even depressed. I pray that they will hear Your voice and see Your directions; that Your way will be made abundantly clear and Your purpose secure within their hearts.

We know, Father, that You always direct us. We know that Your divine will is perfect. We know from past experience that in time You will direct the footsteps of the one who seeks, that in time, he will be able to look backward and see perfect harmony and how every cog in every wheel fitted so perfectly together.

But in the meantime, Lord, in the meantime, give them peace. Give them the peace that Paul speaks of[IV], which goes beyond any intellectual understanding; that they may say, “Lord, I don’t know or understand what You have planned, but I am calm, I am still, and I know that You are God!”

This I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling or in despair this day, and I pray it in the name of the One who struggled Himself, even Jesus, Amen.

Betty J. Newman ©July 6, 2005

Scripture references:
[I] I Kings 19
[II] Jeremiah 20:9
[III] Psalms 13
[IV] Philippians 4:7

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Prayer for everyone...

This morning I said, "Father, I pray for everybody."

I didn't pray that with a flippant or lackadaisical attitude to get "prayer time" over with quickly, but instead, I prayed it very seriously because I know that, every - single - person has "issues" and struggles. Every - single - person faces each day with things that scare them, things that pain them, and things they are thankful for, whether they know God or not.

And so, at least for today, I wanted to lift "everybody" up to God; all of creation, all creatures great and small. For as we constantly see - worldwide - whether hurricanes or tsunamis, whether earthquakes, tornados or diverse disasters, Creation does indeed, "groan in travail" along with the rest of us...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”

If that line wasn’t in The Lord’s Prayer, would you ever think about praying it? I mean, do we really think about praying to avoid temptation? We know, of course, that God does not “lead” us into places of temptation. He doesn’t have to; we do that well enough on our own! What He does is “allow” us free will.

Jesus told Peter, James, and John, to “watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”, but what did they do? They immediately fell asleep. He tells us also to “watch and pray” but what do we do? We rush headlong like gangbusters into situations where we have no business being - and then pray “Oh Lord, deliver us!”

I probably haven’t specifically prayed “deliver me from temptation…” but what I have prayed (and pray many times) is “Lord, protect me from my own stupidity; protect me from my own foolishness…”

Many years ago, when I was young and foolish (you can roll your eyes here) I decided to bypass the crossbars on a railroad track and cross anyway. Just as my car hit the bump of the tracks, it died - and a train was coming. I cranked a couple of times, to no avail, then thought, “I’m going to try one more time, then get out and RUN!” and I prayed, “Lord, please let it start. I’ll never do this again!”

It started and I got out of the way in, what felt like “just the nick of time”, (in reality, I probably had plenty of time.) Anyway, a very foolish act that I had gotten myself in could have been disastrous, but God heard my cry and delivered me. And I’ve never done that again.

But the point is, I knew better, and did it anyway. What do we “know better” but do anyway? Is that “temptation” or “foolishness” or just plain selfishness?

Good Lord, deliver us…


Friday, July 08, 2005

Heavenly Artists' Guild

In my mind’s eye
I have never known anything
more beautiful
than a sunrise or a sunset.

Vibrant hues from red through blue
to yellow and virgin white,
Christening our newborn day
saluting another’s night.

And nothing would be better,
than on that Judgment Morn,
To have my Savior say to me,
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant,
you have been faithful over a few good paintings,
I will make you artist over many…”

Then to take me by the hand
and lead me to a distant hill,
where I would be painting sunsets
with The Heavenly Artists’ Guild.

Betty J. Newman © 1976

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Everyday" praise/prayer

Dear God, in leaving the grocery store this morning, I look like just another woman, pushing just another buggy, to the eyes of the world.

But You see my spirit. And You see me as I really am - skipping and dancing along with my arms uplifted in praise. I’m “pumping the air” and shouting “Yesssssss! God is so good!”

You have blessed us (yet again). You have touched us and You have answered our prayers. You have even answered prayers that we didn’t even know we had! What is it that Paul says, “Exceedingly, abundantly, above anything that we could ask or think”? Yeah, that’s it. And we praise You.

And though this task, as mundane as it is, had to be done - You know where my heart really is, and I smile at our “secret” and continue my praise.

Betty J. Newman ©2005

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Spirit's Homecoming

I wrote this piece in 2002 when my Mother
was close to her "homecoming."
God gave her another year
and it was used in her funeral in January, 2004.
I share it today for a family very close to me.

The Spirit's Homecoming

Just as one’s sunset
is another’s sunrise,
And one’s dusk
is another’s dawn,
So is the body’s death
the soul’s awaking,
and the physical’s demise
is the spirit’s homecoming.

At that time
infirmities are healed
sorrows are comforted
and God is glorified.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord my God
Who heals our infirmities,
Soothes our sorrows,
And holds us in the Palm of His Hand.

Betty J. Newman © 2002

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I cannot not pray

I cannot, not pray.
I can no sooner not breathe than I can not pray.
For indeed, not breathing would mean death, and that’s the only thing that can stop me from praying.

But I cannot, not pray.
Believe me, I’ve tried.
I’ve kicked at gravels in the driveway and I’ve swung my fist through the air, and I’ve cried with the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:2) “How long, Oh Lord will I cry for help and You will not hear?”

I’ve cried, “How, Oh Lord, can I pray for others when I can’t see answers to my own prayers? How long can I keep telling others that I’ll pray for them when in my own life I hear only silence?”

How long, oh Lord, how long?

“I know!” (I’ve said in my frustration) “I’ll just quit praying. What’s the point anyway? If God’s will is going to be done - regardless of my praying, then why pray? Why worry about it? I’ll just leave it all up to His sovereign will.”

But the next thing I know, I’m talking to God and I “hear” in my spirit, “I thought you weren’t going to pray anymore.”
And I cannot, not pray.

Answers come (or they don’t; at least not that I can see) and I eventually kneel with the prophet Habakkuk and say, (Habakkuk 3: 17-18) “Even though the fig tree doesn’t blossom and there’s no fruit on the vines; even though the olive may fail and the fields produce no food; even though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

Because, I cannot, not pray.

Betty J. Newman © May 26, 2005

Monday, July 04, 2005

If the Son shall set you free... (a prayer for July 4th)

You shall be free indeed…

One of my very favorite books is “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer. In the chapter on “The Universal Presence” he talks about our lack of spiritual receptivity; that “something” in us which is open to heaven, which urges us “Godward.” He says it can be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect. He also says it is a gift which must be recognized and cultivated as any other gift, and to which I say, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

This book, which was written in the 1940s, is so very relevant to today. He speaks of “a generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines” and says they are “impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals.” Oh if he only knew about cell phones, e-mail, and Blackberries…

In speaking to Christians, he says, “We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapters, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story…”

What does this have to do with the fourth of July? For all our “freedoms” we are more enslaved spiritually than ever before. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Ten Commandments seemed to be a blow to Spiritual freedom, but how many of us make a conscious effort to live by them? Just having them posted means nothing if they are just “fixtures” on the wall and not entrenched in our hearts.

Tozer goes on to say, in words equally fitting for today, that “It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to biblical ways.

But here is the key, and where his words must capture our hearts this Independence Day - “What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know. But what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.”

What God’s plan for America is, I do not know, but what God’s desire for your life is, I do know - He loves you and wants you to be “receptive” to His word.

No matter what “freedoms” the world offers or denies, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed!”

Betty J. Newman © July 4, 2005

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sunday School Teacher’s Prayer

Oh Lord, open Your word to my understanding
so that I may be better able to know it,
better able to live it,
and better able to teach it.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

God's Will

Father, we pray for Your will
but many times we don’t know
what that is.

We pray for healing
if it be Your will.
We pray for deliverance
if it be Your will.
We pray for wisdom
if it be Your will.
But how do we answer
what is Your will?

There are things, however
that we can count on,
that we know
are Your will.

Peace in our hearts
is always Your will.
Comfort in our spirits
is always Your will.
Salvation for our souls
is Your consummate will!

sometimes we already know Your will,
but, it’s just not…
complicated enough
To be Divine
or is it?

(“Whattaya’ mean ‘dip in the River Jordan three times…!’ Are not the Rivers of Syria better than all the waters of Israel?!?” II Kings 5:1-14)

Betty Newman
©Sept. 7, 2001

Friday, July 01, 2005

Prayer for the living...

An old song says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
That is so true.
Paul says, “Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?”
That also, is so true.

Oh Father, I lift up to You this morning this dear family who has lost a young man. They have lost a son, a husband, and a father of young children. He, of course is with You. But they, by the very nature of death, are alone.

Yes, they comfort themselves by their faith. They know that death is not the victor. They know that the “sting” of death has been removed by our Savior. But they are still alone.

They (and we) watched him suffer, and knew that with You all things are possible. With You, healing could come in an instant. With You, this devastating illness had no more power than an eyelash in a hurricane, but still he died. For Your will, for reasons known only to You, was not to heal him in his physical body.

Father, I am a “realist”, and by that I mean I realize that we live in a fallen world and that bad things are going to happen to “good” people - even Your people. But I still know, and still believe that You are in total control. I, and they, have no reason to fear not only the grave, but anything.

But now Father, my prayer goes beyond fear. My prayer now goes to the practical, for they must continue to live in this fallen world. The bills will still come due, and the children will continue to grow, and continue to have needs. Father, my prayer now turns to the living. The dead have no needs. The dead in Christ, and especially this young man who loved You so, have only victory. It’s the living who suffer. And so, I pray for them.

Give them not only comfort for the “facing of this hour” but wisdom and courage for the “living of these days” and all the days to come. In the blackest darkness of the deepest night, may they feel Your presence. When panic (however momentary) descends, and the anguish they feel in the pit of their stomach threatens to overwhelm, I pray dear God give them peace and comfort. And not only that, Lord, but give them answers. Open their eyes to see hard and fast concrete answers, because the living must go on living. And we still live in this fallen world.

We remember the words of Paul when he said, “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

And now, Father, may this “Lord of the living” comfort them, strengthen them, guide them, and give them peace.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.