Category Archives: Prayer

My Fave Five Devotional Helps

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I call them “helps” because these should only augment your time with God, not replace it. Nothing, no, nothing, can beat just an open Bible, a fresh clean page of a journal, a pen and, well, of course, good coffee.

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ASIDE:
(Coffee is a must. It opens the receptors of the mind and infuses them with revelatory abilities that are stratospheric – not to mention it fills the inner temple with the aroma of heavenly incense.)

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Back to front. Sorry.

The following are my own personal helps, ones I’ve used and continually go back to, those that faithfully reinforce my time in the holy place.

There are others, of course, that deserve a place on the grid but these are very personal to me so I’m blessed to share them with you. Undoubtedly, you’ve used some of these yourself.

Come Away, My Beloved
by Frances Roberts

Streams In The Desert
by L. B. Cowman

My Utmost For His Highest
by Oswald Chambers

Daily Walk Bible (Living Bible)
Walk thru the Bible Ministries

The Valley of Vision
Arthur Bennett, Editor

I’d love for you to share your devotional aids with me. I’m always looking for tried-and-true resources!

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Glorious Assignment

Not to put too fine a point to it, this is the grand sum of all I want my life to broadcast.*

Jesus, it’s my joy. Whatever the price, whatever the burden.

You are worth anything…and everything.

To the praise of Your infinitely glorious Grace. Amen

*It’s probably already clear enough from previous testimony, but the only “me” I want others to recognize is Jesus in and through me. Anything other falls prodigiously short.

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8:59

Our last good-bye to Graham wasn’t on his death bed, it was 9 months and 2 days earlier – the early morning of March 14th at which time he left our home and went north to Minnesota. The memory sits like yesterday. US Airways flight #1822 out of Atlanta at 8:59 a.m., connecting in Charlotte, arriving in Minneapolis just after one o’clock in the afternoon, central time.

You saw this snapshot earlier, but I’ll post it again. It’s a grainy, shadowy reminder of that morning, the ‘didn’t-know-at-the-time’ appendix to our story with this fabulous young man to our right and your left. Say hello to the Mitchell family.

For the last time.

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As I post this exactly a year later, this morning marks the first anniversary of that semi-sweet occasion.

An empathic friend sent this to Sandy and me yesterday, a Facebook post from Kay Warren. She and her husband, Rick, buried their son almost a year ago, also under horrifically tragic and unexpected circumstances. Obviously, being vastly more public figures, their grief has been exposed and commented on more openly. For the record, thankfully, we’ve not endured even a smidgen of what they’ve faced – not even close – but, then again, our season of mourning is not over.

Closure? Is there ever such a thing?

Healing. Yes. Certainly.

In Jesus’ burden-bearing Name.

But closure?

I share it, in part, not the whole (the entire post is difficult, at times biting, especially for those who haven’t ‘been there’) because it’s a reminder of those who’ve gone before us on this same stubbly road and who are coming through it, not perfectly, not according to some script or calendar, not even suitably, but are coming…

…through…

…it…

differently.

Kay has to see a mountain before her, we a foothill. Her pain is blistering, ours a soft injury. We don’t voice her same complaints, don’t feel the depths of her sadness, haven’t felt her sense of betrayal. But a few of the miles she’s traveled are vaguely familiar to us.

Read, beloved, and pray for our sister and brother, the Warrens.

And for us. Yes. We’re still not through it.

As the one-year anniversary of Matthew’s death approaches, I have been shocked by some subtle and not-so-subtle comments indicating that perhaps I should be ready to “move on.”

The soft, compassionate cocoon that has enveloped us for the last 11 1/2 months had lulled me into believing others would be patient with us on our grief journey, and while I’m sure many will read this and quickly say “Take all the time you need,” I’m increasingly aware that the cocoon may be in the process of collapsing…for most, life never stopped – their world didn’t grind to a horrific, catastrophic halt on April 5, 2013.

In fact, their lives have kept moving steadily forward with tasks, routines, work, kids, leisure, plans, dreams, goals etc. LIFE GOES ON. And some of them are ready for us to go on too. They want the old Rick and Kay back. They secretly wonder when things will get back to normal for us – when we’ll be ourselves, when the tragedy of April 5, 2013 will cease to be the grid that we pass everything across. And I have to tell you – the old Rick and Kay are gone. They’re never coming back. We will never be the same again. There is a new “normal.” April 5, 2013 has permanently marked us. It will remain the grid we pass everything across for an indeterminate amount of time….maybe forever.

You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that it was standard in our culture for people to officially be in mourning for a full year. They wore black. They didn’t go to parties. They didn’t smile a whole lot. And everybody accepted their period of mourning; no one ridiculed a mother in black or asked her stupid questions about why she was STILL so sad.

I can be callous with the grief of another and rush through the conversation without really listening, blithely spouting the platitudes I hate when offered to me…We’re not good grievers, and when I judge you, I judge myself as well…True friends…love at all times, and brothers and sisters are born to help in time of need (Prov. 17:17 LB).

The truest friends and “helpers” are those who wait for the griever to emerge from the darkness that swallowed them alive without growing afraid, anxious or impatient…They’re ok with messy and slow and few answers….and they never say “Move on.”

Thank you, Kay. You have eloquently expressed the heart of a griever’s innermost vocabulary, when they are honest with themselves. Thankfully though, because Christ is a Healer and His compassions never fail, we need never sorrow hopelessly.

The day following our son’s passing, this was my own post on Facebook:

God blessed Sandy and me with the gift of a lifetime, our son Graham. We were blessed to have our baby boy (our only) for twenty-four fun-filled, amazing, tragic, adventurous, never-a-dull-moment, heart-wrenching, miraculous, painful, sweet, cuddly, hard, eye-opening, jaw-dropping, hand-clapping, sweet-as-pie, soft-as-silk, abrasive-as-sandpaper, thrilling, magical, wonderful years.

Yesterday, he went Home. He’s with Jesus. The war is over. The struggle has ended. Devil, you scoundrel, you wanted to destroy him but God promoted him. You can’t touch him anymore. Can’t. You lose. Gra-Gra is with God now. Praise Jesus, his chains are gone. Amazing, amazing grace.

Hallelujah. Selah.

Psalm 85:2

All THAT makes all THIS worth it.

Remind me to tell you about my recent dream. It’s bona-fide Graham.