Paula Update

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Yesterday (October 8, 2020) Paula was greeted by her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at 5:45am (Eastern Daylight Time). I want to thank all of you for your prayers and concern for Paula. My heart breaks for Mike, Katie and Chris and I would ask that you would pray for them when the Lord brings them to mind.

Father God, I do not know how to pray. I have no words. Lord God, I ask that Your Presence comfort the Weimer family. Help Mike to have strength and patience with his children while processing his own grief. Lord God, thank You for this reader and for their support and prayers for the Weimer family. We praise You Lord that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom 10:9-10 ESV). Thank You Jesus that for those of us who call on Your Name death is not the final answer. Thank You Jesus that for those who belong to You have life in You now and for eternity. Amen.

Psalm 51

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      7       Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

      wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

            8       Let me hear joy and gladness;

      let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

            9       Hide your face from my sins,

      and blot out all my iniquities.

            10       Create in me a clean heart, O God,

      and renew a right spirit within me.

            11       Cast me not away from your presence,

      and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

            12       Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

      and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:7-12 ESV

This is David’s well-known psalm of repentance after Nathan confronted him with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12).

In verse 10 the word create (bara) is the same word used in Genesis 1 where God created (bara) the heavens and the earth. “Strictly used, this word describes what only God can do; to create ex nihilo, out of nothing” (Boice, Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary, 2005, p. 432). David is commanding God to create a new heart in him. “Derek Kidner writes, ‘With the word create he asks for nothing less than a miracle.’ He desires what only God can provide” (Boice, p. 432).

Robert Altar translates the first half of verse 11 as “Do not fling me from Your presence” stating “this Hebrew verb has a connotation of violent action for which the conventional translation of it as “cast” is too tame” (Altar The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary vol 3, 2019, p. 134). Fling/cast is a hiphil in Hebrew which is a verb of causation. David is asking God not to cause him to be violently or forcefully flung/cast away from His presence.

I cannot help but to think that David had King Saul in mind when he says in the next half of verse 11, “and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” I want to be clear, David is not worried about losing his salvation; however, he is worried about losing God’s Presence, anointing and fellowship like King Saul did in 1 Samuel 16. James Boice states, “Today most commentators recognize that David is not talking about eternal security or the fear of losing his salvation at all. He is only acknowledging that he is unable to live a holy life without God. Therefore, he needs the help and power of the Holy Spirit every single moment if he is to be able to overcome temptation and follow after godliness” (p. 434).

In verse 12 David commands God to restore (hiphil, imperative) to him the joy of His salvation. David knew that his fellowship with God had been broken and needed God to cleanse and restore him. David, again, did not lose his eternal salvation, but he did lose the joy of it. What’s true of David is the same with us, there is NO joy when we are living in sin. There is no peace when our relationship with God is broken.

“Many think that the way to joy or a good time is by sinning. They think that godliness is dull. Actually the opposite is the case. Sin brings sorrow. Righteousness brings rejoicing. Allowed to continue, sin will remove every good thing from our lives—joy, health, wealth, and at last even life itself. Only righteousness will restore them” (Boice, p. 434).

“The fact that the psalmist prays for so many things [in vv. 7–12] indicates how many things he knew he had lost when he plunged into sin” (Leupold, Exposition of the Psalms, 1969, pp. 405-406).

Father God, thank You that Your saved and redeemed people never need to fear losing their salvation. Thank You for the gift of salvation by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Trinity, for those who have lost the joy of their salvation due to sin or looking at current events, I ask that You will lift their minds, hearts and hands to You. Lord God, thank You that when we confess our sins to You that You will forgive us. Lord God, forgive us for the times when we put the things of this world before You. Lord God, restore to Your Body the joy of Your salvation, whether we are gathering together in person or online. Lord God, in these ever changing, challenging and tumultuous times, I ask that we will desire to dwell in Your Presence, growing in Your character and serving You with passion, authenticity and boldness until You call us home. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

October 2020 Prayer

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Lord God, thank You that You are the better way that leads to life rather than death! Lord God, thank You that in You we have wisdom, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Thank You Lord that there is NO law against such fruit! Lord God, direct our steps, direct our paths, guarding our hearts and minds. Lord God, may we live according Your Word, not being tangled, enslaved and caught up in the sin that this world is promoting. Lord God, this is hard to pray because it requires conscious effort on our part; however, help us, grow us to be content in Christ in this new month!

Father God, thank You that You are God and that You know the beginning, middle and end. Each day Lord this world gets more angry, hostile and violent. Lord God, each day I am amazed by Your grace and patience. Lord, all of this fighting is NOT pleasing nor honoring to You. May we be reminded of the difference between righteous indignation and just plain anger.

Lord God, help us to hold people accountable, seeking justice also while remembering that vengeance is Yours. Lord, I know that if my heart is grieved by what I see going on around me, I know that You are even more grieved!

Lord God, reveal to us any idols that we are harboring in our lives. Teach us to trust You and not our emotions and feelings. Lord God, give us discerning hearts, eyes and ears. Help us to process our surroundings with Your mind wearing Your Armor.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, prepare anyone who will be effected/affected by the election in the USA. Lord God, more and more am I understanding what Jesus means when He says He comes not to bring peace but a sword. Lord, prepare us for this election. Help us to remember that You are in control, that You are constant and that NOTHING will ever overthrow You or Your coming kingdom. Now more than ever is Christ’s return near.

Lord, help us this month to not live in fear, worry or anxiety. Lord God, I am reminded that even before the Jews stoned Stephen, they at least allowed him to speak without interruption. Lord God, may we be a people who will listen to others even when we do not agree with them. Lord, may we be a people who seek to be different than what the world has to show.

Lord God, I get it wrong so often. I give into anger. Help me to want to please You rather than fleetingly satisfying my desire to be right. Lord God, guide our minds, hearts and hands in this new month. Only You can change hearts and minds, I pray that You will do so while also strengthening Your people.

Lord God, thank You for the gift of this reader. May they dig into Your Word, leaning into You more this month than previously. Thank You Lord God that as the sun rises and sets, You are with us. May we trust and believe there is nowhere that we can go that will escape Your Spirit. Thank You Jesus that freedom is found in Your Name. Thank You Jesus that Peace is a Person and it is found only in You. Lord God, we praise You, we love You and we need You now more than ever. Amen.

Prayer for Paula

Paula and I at Hershey Park, 2018

No matter how many times I type and delete this post asking God to give me something better or more eloquent to say, about how amazing and wonderful Paula is, nothing better is flowing out of me. I do not want this post to be about me but about Paula. With that said, here it goes!

Paula and I first crossed paths in January 2008 in a fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assistant course at Central Pennsylvania College. To say Paula was NOT a very big fan of me would be an understatement! As Paula told me yesterday she thought I was “loud and annoying.”

The next class Paula and I together was an oral communications class with like six other people. Paula had NO choice but to hear my “loud and annoying” voice (yea God!). Through this class, Paula and I became friends.

As our classes advanced Paula and I became study partners. Now you have to understand, I am NOT science nor math minded at all! So, to help me learn the origin of muscles, their insertions and primary functions, I made color coated poster board charts of each region of the body and then tacked them all over the walls of my townhouse. The first time Paula saw my work of art all she said was “overachiever!”

What I appreciate the most about Paula and her husband Mike is their heart for Jesus. Paula, Mike and I over the years have had many beautiful, hard and at times heated talks on what it means to live for Christ.

Paula and Mike’s daughter was born on September 17, 2011. It still excites me that Katie and I have the same birthday! (I was 30 when she was born. Less than two years later Paula gave birth to Chris). In November 2011, I found out my dad had stage IV lung cancer. Paula and Mike rallied around my family praying for us. Paula was constantly checking in to see how we were doing. I cannot express in words how much this meant to me!

Paula is one of the most authentic, real and optimistic people I have ever met in my life. Paula is consistent, loyal, funny, a real salt of the earth woman. There is no fakery with Paula. She is who she is. Paula never compromises her faith, nor does she shy away from calling sin, sin. I am SO thankful for my friend Paula!

In the beginning of 2018 Paula was diagnosed with cancer. Paula has been a warrior and fighter for her husband and her children, enduring chemo and radiation. Paula has never waivered in her faith and her love for Jesus. On Monday September 21, 2020 Paula was in the hospital with liver failure. As of yesterday, September 23, 2020 Paula was sent home from the hospital on hospice.

Only Jesus knows what the future looks like for Paula, Mike, Katie and Chris. With tears in my eyes, I humbly ask that you would keep the Weimer family in your prayers.

Father God, thank You for Paula. Lord God, I ask that You surround Paula, Mike, Katie and Chris with Your Presence. Lord God, give the Weimer family peace. Holy Spirit, thank You that when we do not know how or what to pray, that You make our prayers known to the Father. Thank You Jesus for interceding on our behalf. Lord God, I ask that You comfort Paula, Mike, Katie and Chris. Remind each one of them that You know them and that You see them and that You will not abandon them. Lord God, give Paula and Mike courage. Lord God, I ask for Your grace and mercy to be upon each one of them. Lord God, keep the Weimer family in perfect peace. May we never take our time with our loved ones for granted. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Identity

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Today, September 17, 2020 is my 39th birthday. I LOVE my birthday! The reason why I love my birthday is NOT to receive gifts or attention, but rather to take time to reflect and celebrate with others what God has done in our lives. I have always loved having people gather on my birthday NOT to celebrate me but as to thank and celebrate all those who love, encourage and care for me. Folks, I have made SO many mistakes in my life. Each year that God gives me is an opportunity to practice worshiping, loving and serving Him on earth before I am called home to worship, love and serve Him for eternity.

This year I am reminded now, more than ever that my identity is in Christ. As believers our identity is rooted in Galatians 2:20-21 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (ESV).

I want to encourage you my dear brothers and sisters that no matter where you are living, no matter your familial role or material status, no matter your political affiliation, your race, sex, gender, ethnicity, occupation you are a Christian before anything else. What I mean by this is that I am a Christian woman, Christian daughter, Christian wife, Christian blogger, Christian American, Christian Caucasian. Christian is the word that defines me, it is unchangeable.

If you live in a country where you are allowed to vote, as a Christian it is your civic duty to do so. It is not Christlike to put your political views before your identity in Christ nor is it Christlike to ruin Christian relationships because someone has differing views.

I have no idea what your identity looks like but I pray that you will take time to reflect that whether you are Christian Filipino, Christian Black, Christian male, Christian single that Christian is what comes first. May we be known for our love and not our divisions and infighting. As a people who have been “crucified with Christ” it is paramount that both our identity and unity be wrapped up in the One who gave His life for us.

For those who are longing for a new identity, or longing to be a part of something bigger than what this world has to offer, I pray that the Holy Spirit will turn your heart and mind toward Him.

Father God, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, thank You for drawing us to Yourself and pointing us to Jesus. Jesus thank You that we may pray in Your Name knowing that our prayers and petitions are heard by our Heavenly Father. Teach us Lord to put You before any earthly title. Teach us how to manage the tension that our differences cause. Teach us to be Kingdom focused while also being god honoring citizens on earth. Thank You Father for this reader! Thank You for their love, care and encouragement. Lord God, may this reader know that Jesus loves them and so do I! Amen.

September 2020 Prayer

30 August 2020 Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve, Conestoga, PA; photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, I pray for the kids all over the world who are starting school; whether in person, online or hybrid. Lord God, give the parents of the students grace and mercy when it comes to the teachers learning how to teach at this time. Lord God, may teachers give themselves grace and mercy as well. Lord may parents and teachers NOT take their frustrations out on their children/students. Lord God, thank You for the advancements in technology that make distance learning possible, even when things do not work the way we would like. Lord God, I ask that You help the students focus and concentrate whether learning online or in person wearing a mask. Lord God, my heart breaks for the world that these young people are entering today.

Father God, I ask that You comfort Your people all over the world who are hurting. Lord God, I ask that You will come near the brokenhearted and fill them with the peace of Your Presence. Lord God, this life is NOT easy. The world that we knew last year at this time seems so far away. Lord, may we long for You more than we long for the past. May we fix our eyes on You and not look too far back, forward or sideways. Thank You Jesus that You are the Author and Perfecter of our faith!

Lord God, it does not take a genius to see that the United States is falling. Lord God, I ask that You will strengthen Your people all over the world. As the United States goes, so do many other countries. Lord God, when it comes to identity may we come to depend on You more and more and not depend on the world and its political systems. Lord God, may we live as good citizens in this world until You call us home.

Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit transform Your people into Your image and remind Your people that ALL people are created in Your image. Lord God, help us to live holy and blameless lives. Thank You for this reader. May You stir in them a desire to grow closer to You in this new month. Thank You for the gift of time You have given this reader and myself. May we make the most of the time You have given us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

We’re Here and It’s Getting There

black home area rug
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Praise the Lord progress has been made since I wrote “Under Construction”. After working on cars all day, covered in grease and sweat, Nathan would drive out to the house and spend hours beating tile for very little reward. Beating/ripping up/removing tile is the most difficult work I have ever done in my life and an experience I will NOT repeat!!!!

While the house was out of commission, Nathan and I stayed with my dad. I have to give my dad a public, “thank you!” for allowing us to stay with him for six weeks! When I gave the leasing office notice that we would be moving out, I never dreamed that we would end up staying with my dad! While I LOVE my dad, I have not lived with my dad for over 30 years (my folks separated when I was six, divorced when I was twelve and I will be thirty nine next month just to give y’all some context!).

As many of you know, my mom lives in Florida. On June 29, 2020 my mom arrived in Pennsylvania. So now my mom, Nathan and I are staying at my dad’s house, talk about strange!! (This is where I have to thank God that my parents are able to get along. I did not appreciate this when I was younger.) At this point Nathan and I have been with my dad for a month and all of us are ready for our departure.

On July 11, 2020 Nathan, mom and I were finally able to move in! While many projects have been completed, there are still more projects and deliveries scheduled for the Fall. There is one project that needs to be scheduled for next Spring. In all honesty, authenticity and transparency, this is the project that eats at me because I want it done now or at least in this calendar year.  How sad/selfish/entitled on my part! No wonder the Lord said to Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds'” (Jer 17:9-10 ESV).

God has made a way for me with this house in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. The fact that I have any agitation about waiting for a patio is horrific! My attitude reminds me of a quote by John Hartley, “Greed prevents a person from enjoying what he has, for it drives one to spend all one’s energy on getting more” (Leviticus, 1992, p. 445). Greed causes discontentment and dissatisfaction. Left uncheck greed can cause one’s heart and mind to become desperately sick.

I want my eyes focused on our Triune God, the Gift Giver and not the gifts He gives. In all honesty, the gifts are meaningless without the Giver! How quickly I can forget this. Praise God for His conviction and for giving us the ability to self-reflect!

Lord God, forgive us for the times that our focus is not where it should be! Lord, forgive me, forgive us for all the times that we do not give You the thanks and praise You deserve. Thank You Lord God for all the things that You have done for us over these past few months. Lord God, now more than ever may we seek to align our hearts with Yours. Father God, thank You for this reader. Thank You for allowing this reader to journey with me and for not giving up on me when I mess up! Lord God, I do not know what greed, discontentment or a disquieted spirit looks like for this reader; however, I ask that they will humbly and sincerely allow You to prune any area that is hindering their walk with You. Lord God, confession is good for the soul! Thank You Lord for all the object lessons that You have given me with this house that correlates to the life of faith. Lord, reveal to us our hidden sins.  May we never take Your forgiveness, mercy and grace for granted. Lead us and teach us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

August 2020 Prayer

backlit dawn foggy friendship
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Father God, thank You for this new month. Lord God, give us ears to hear and hearts to listen to the pain and hurt that others are experiencing. Lord God, give us empathy and compassion. Help us as we do life online to remember that the one talking on the screen is a person created in Your image. Lord God, I pray for those of us who are huggers and whose love language for lack of a better word is touch. Lord God, may we not lose sight that emotional and physical healing can be found in a person’s touch. Help us to be wise in regards to social distancing and touch, but may we also not use this as an excuse to not make contact with others or to isolate ourselves. I confess Lord I have to be mindful of not becoming a recluse and hermit under the guise of social distancing.

Lord God, help us to be wise with our words and discerning with what we read and hear especially on social media and TV. Give us Your mind and peace as we traverse this earth. Lord God, I pray that we as a Body will strive for unity in the midst of diversity. Lord God, all over the world it is becoming more costly to be Christian. Strengthen Your people, give us courage, boldness and a spirit to endure and persevere.

Lord God, thank You for this reader! I have no clue what challenges and joys they are facing, but I am thankful that You do! Lord God, all of us are being stretched in our dependence on You. Help us to want to depend on You rather than on the world. Help us to be in the world but not of the world. Teach us to be holy as You are holy.

Lord God, help us to look for ways to do good and to share Jesus with others. Wherever we go may people smell Jesus on us. Lord God, now more than ever may we learn to walk by faith and not by sight and emotion. Lord God, You do not call us to give thanks for all things, but to give thanks IN all things. Lord God, no matter the circumstances and challenges that we will face this month, prepare us to give thanks to You. Prepare us to live our faith in this hurting world. Lord God, help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Lord God, fill us with Your Holy Spirit.

Lord God, each day may we be more aware that we are dust and nothing without You. Lord God, I pray that all believers everywhere will be filled with the peace of Your presence. Lord God, now more than ever may those who are mature in their faith seek out those who are younger in the faith to mentor. May those who are younger in the faith seek a mentor. All of us are called to evangelize in some way or another; however, Lord God, help us to disciple, encourage and come alongside others.

Father God, once again, thank You for this reader. Thank You for the call that You have put on their life. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

July 2020 Prayer

Father God, thank You Lord for this new day and month. Lord, I ask that You strengthen Your people and convict hearts for their need of You. Lord God, may we as individuals and as a corporate body come together, listening and reasoning with each other.

Lord God, we know that You are not the author of confusion. Thank You that You know what is happening and what will happen. Thank You that You are our Divine Director and Producer. Thank You that You are our Divine Editor, correcting our mistakes.

Lord God, the Gospel flourishes in hostile situations. May we represent Jesus well in this time. May we be a pleasing and fragrant aroma that brings You glory.

Lord, I confess, I do not know what or how to pray. Thank You Holy Spirit for bringing this prayer to the Father in accordance to His Will. Thank You Jesus for interceding on our behalf. Lord God, may we be reminded: know Jesus, know peace because where there is no Jesus there is no peace. There is only strife, rebellion, hurt and conflict.

Lord God, may we press into You now more than ever. May we grow in our love and devotion to You. May we become more Christlike in this new month. Thank You Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Under Construction

Hardwood Pile
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

On May 8, 2020 I purchased a house; however, sometimes things are not as they appear! The house is currently under construction which means that Nathan, PQ and I are staying at my dad’s. Nathan and I painted the upstairs and I will be honest, marital harmony necessitates a painter! I do not like spending money; however, I dislike arguments even more! We are replacing all the flooring in the house. I have tremendous appreciation for those who work in flooring! I pried up most the hardwood floor and moved that stack of wood more times then I care to count before it finally found its resting place on the deck. Nathan will take care of busting up the tile, thank God!

Over the past month I have really meditated and found comfort in the fact that Jesus is preparing our heavenly homes (John 14:1-6). Whatever our homes look like I know two things: they will be clean and they will be perfect!

This world is under construction. I want to make it known that I stand with and support my black and brown brothers and sisters who are peacefully protesting racial injustice. I hate racism! I have absolutely no tolerance for people, especially from those who profess to be Christian who discriminate others based on the color of their skin. I have traveled and worked in many different countries. I have experienced first hand what it is like to be the only white person someone has ever met. I am VERY sensitive to make sure that the people I meet in life do not feel like outsiders.

Before I met Nathan, there was a man named Cecil who very much wanted to marry me. Cecil is a wonderful and godly black man. I grieved when Cecil and I came to an end but sometimes God closes doors. I have nothing but love and respect for Cecil and God used Cecil to prepare me for Nathan. I will be honest that some people did not like that Cecil was with a white person. I also had a married couple in my life that did not approve. My response to the them was: “are you saying it would be better for me to be with a white atheist then a black Christian? You are wrong and may God convict you of your small minded, faulty, segregated and racist thinking.”

I would love dear reader if you would ask yourself that same question. If you find that you are more offended by your child, sister, niece, brother, etc. dating or marrying a Christian of a different skin color, than dating or marrying an atheist with the same skin color, I pray and implore the Lord to purge that unbiblical, ungodly, evil way of thinking from you! Unequally yoked has everything to do with one’s spiritual condition not their skin color!

I have no clue why God made me white while another person black or brown. What I do know is that God is a color creating God whether that be in the form of a sunrise, flower or one’s skin color. Another thing I know is that all of us are under construction. All of us are a work in progress. All of us are in need of the Holy Spirit to convict us and purge us from the errors that we have in our thinking.

The Kingdom that is coming has no room for looting and destruction. That is the work of the devil not God. I am so thankful that in Heaven God will wipe away our tears, hurts, pains. The work that we are doing on our physical house is overwhelming and exhausting; however, the end product will be worth it. The work that God does in us is often painful and unenjoyable, but produces joy and richness when we look back and reflect on His working in our lives.

Dear reader, may you take some time today to meet with our Triune God. May you ponder how the Lord has you under construction. May you ask Him to reconstruct, remodel or take away any beliefs that do not align with Him and His Word. May we be a body of believers who seek His Kingdom above all else.

Father God, thank You that all of us are under construction in some way, shape or form. Lord God, I ask for You to purge from us any spirit of segregation, racism or classism that exists in believers hearts. Lord God, thank You that this earth is NOT our home. Thank You that You are preparing our future homes. Remind us that we are a people in the world but not of it. Lord God, help us to be a people who seek unity in our diversity and to place You and Your will above any form of personal pride or self-ambition. Lord God, may we be reminded that You are a color creating God whether that be in a sunrise, a sunset or a person’s skin color. May we see color as a gift and not something to exploit, weaponize, demonize, oppress or reject. Holy God, help us to grow in our love and devotion to You and to each other. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.