do not stop praying

Intentional: I Will Not Stop Praying

Stop Praying? No Way

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Have you ever looked at a prayer warrior and thought, “I could never pray like that?” Friends, you have the same power of prayer in you that she has. Please read on as my friend Bettie Gilbert explains and expounds on 1 Samuel 12:23

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friendship

How to Be a Friend to the Chronically Ill

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Today, I share another Psalm that uplifts the chronically ill. I hope that it will uplift you as well.

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in my distress

The Day of My Distress

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Today, we have a beautiful devotion by my sister. Kandy Chimento and her husband, Tony, live in Liberty Hill, Texas. They have spent many years in ministry together.  Their greatest joys are their two amazing kids; Christa, and Tyler (and his lovely wife, Rebekah), and their two grandsons, Gideon & Jude. Kandy is the Director of Operations at a local Food Pantry & Resource Center, where she enjoys working with the hundreds of volunteers she manages, and the neighbors they assist.  

So without further ado, my sister, Kandy…

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protect

Psalm of Mandy: Prayer for Protection a Pain Warrior, continued

But as for me—poor and in pain—

let your salvation protect me, God.

Psalm 69:15
protection
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This scripture jumped out at me since I can totally relate. Pain most of the time. And we live only on Social Security. Thank God for Medicare and Medicaid or we could not make it. Especially with inflation the way it is. This portion of Psalm 69 needed little change to apply to my life.

This is a paraphrase from Psalm 69, continued. [First part here] David had many times in his life when he felt he was drowning in troubles. This scripture jumped out at me as I read “poor and in pain”. I can relate to both of these entirely. When I read this psalm of David I can feel my own soul praying this prayer with just a few changed words. As you read it, you may understand some of the things that chronic illness causes in our lives. My words are in [ ]. Highlighted words link to another post I have written concerning the issue.

Mandy’s Psalm continued…

Answer me, Lord,

for your faithful love is good.
In keeping with your abundant compassion,
turn to me.
17 Don’t hide your face from your servant
for I am in distress. Answer me quickly!
18 Come near to me and redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies.

You know my pain

19 You know the [pain] insults I endure—
my shame [flares] and disgrace [fatigue].
You are aware of all my adversaries [invaders of my health].
20 Insults [Unable to serve as I once did] have broken my heart,
and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none;
for comforters, but found no one. [They came at first, but now, no one].
21 Instead, they gave me gall for my food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink
. [They say I don’t look sick and that I am making it up. This tastes like vinegar to me.]

Repay Them For What They Do

[ I’m a bit shocked when I read words like these from David, I am more inclined to ask God to open their eyes and understand my plight.]

22 Let their table set before them be a snare,
and let it be a trap for their allies.
23 Let their eyes grow too dim to see
and let their hips continually quake.
24 Pour out your rage on them
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 Make their fortification desolate;
may no one live in their tents!
26 For they persecute the one you struck
and talk about the pain of those you wounded.
27 Charge them with crime on top of crime;
do not let them share in your righteousness.
28 Let them be erased from the book of life
and not be recorded with the righteous.

Prayer for Protection

29 But as for me—poor and in pain—
let your salvation protect me, God.
30 I will praise God’s name with song
and exalt him with thanksgiving.
31 That will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with horns and hooves.
32 The humble will see it and rejoice.
You who seek God, take heart!
33 For the Lord listens to the needy
and does not despise
his own who are prisoners.

Let God Be Praised for His Protection

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them,
35 for God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah.
They will live there and possess it.
36 The descendants of his servants will inherit it,
and those who love his name will live in it.

Mandy

Follow my Journey with Chronic Pain

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ribbon image by Marketa Machova Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain

More About Fibro & Chronic Pain

Letters to Friends ~ How Are You Doing Since Your Diagnosis?

Letters to Friends ~ Why Are You So Tired?

A Day in the Life with Bettie G

What is Fibro Fog? Why are you Crashing?

Volunteer with Disabilities like Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain

Fibro Bloggers Directory

Give Thanks to the Lord

Welcome to today’s “Time in the Word”. I told you last week we’d finish up our Colossians passage, but I’ve got thankfulness on my mind with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up.

Our scripture today comes from Psalm 136, with our focus on verse 1. If you are reading this digitally you can simply click on the highlighted text, otherwise, I invite you to grab your bible and turn to Psalm 136:1, or I have enclosed the scripture below for you. How are you giving thanks to God? What are you thankful for?

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Why Still Sick

If God is my Healer, Why Am I Still Sick?

“For I am the Lord who heals you.”

– Exodus 15:26 NLT

Why Am I Still Sick?

Have you ever wondered why so many people struggle with illness and weakness? You would think that since God is a Healer that He would reach down and heal his people, especially those that are believers.

You would think that since God is Our Healer, He would heal me. #godismyhealer #chronicpain Click To Tweet

It’s a question that has been asked down through the ages, I would guess.  And many have searched to find the answer. I have learned there are many reasons why God may leave us in our sickness, disability, or weakness.

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The God Who Fights For You

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17
God Fights for You
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Throughout the Bible we see that the godly are not exempt from troubles; however, God is always near to us. He is ever watching and He will help us through. Isaiah always shared comfort in that God was walking through those trials with us. He hears our cries and He provides what is needed as we go THROUGH the trial.

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pain and suffering

Pain and Suffering: An Indication of God’s Love

This is Going to Hurt me More than it hurts you

Have you ever heard your parents say this to you? I can remember a time or too when it was said to me. However, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I saw the truth in that statement. We never had to discipline our children much but when the need arose, it broke our hearts.

It’s the same with God.

pain and suffering

He loves us so much and He wants to keep us on the right path. And as we know there are times that the only way to keep us on the straight and narrow is to apply the rod of discipline.

I learned this lesson when I was hit with chronic pain in 2011. It was excruciating. But as time went by I realized that God was trying to get my attention. I was “working for the Lord” … very busy with children’s ministry and other things that draw the attention of a pastor’s wife. But in retrospect, God was saying to me, ‘Hey, you going out on your own and forgetting to rely on Me.” It was then that I turned my attention back to God. I got serious about studying His Word. And I found this statement from David.

It was good for me to be afflicted

so that I could learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons

Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. But there are other reasons as well. C.S. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain,

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Have you ever noticed that when tragedy comes, this is when people turn back to God? (At least for a while). And this is God’s purpose. .. to draw us back to Him. He did it time and again in the Old Testament. We may need to repent of sin or just develop our faith. You see, He doesn’t want us to stay infants in Christ. He wants to bring us to maturity.

Like a Shepherd, He gently guides

We, humans, are like sheep. dumb and ignorant. God places us in a green pasture and we start gobbling up the grass, never looking to the right or the left. Until that moment, when we look up and we are nowhere near the rest of the flock and now we don’t know how to get back.

So we need a shepherd to guide us and correct our paths. Just as David said in the 23rd Psalm. He allows us to go through the shadows of death, but He is right there to guide us and comfort us. He never leaves us alone.

Not long after my illness began, a friend reminded me of a wonderful book, Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet in High Places.

a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.

Hind’s Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard

One surprising element in the book was that the Shepherd gave her a guide named, Suffering. Why would she want this guide? But the Shepherd assured her that Suffering was the best guide she could have. I have found it true as well. My pain and suffering has kept me at the feet of Jesus and caused my faith to continue to grow.

Even Years of Pain and Suffering are for our advantage

I just reached year 9 of chronic pain. LIke Paul I have talked with God about taking the pain away. But God and I have come to an understanding.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:9
2 corinthians 12:9  My Grace is all you need

You see, I have found that through my pain I have many blessings.

  • I am maturing in Christ daily.
  • Writing and blogging have been my new ministry.
  • Friendships around the globe have been cultivated.
  • I have more empathy for those who suffer.
  • Becoming an advocate for others who suffer.

I previously wrote about these things and came to one conclusion, If pain is what it takes to keep me in the center of God’s will, then …

BRING ON THE PAIN!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA


I agreed to review this book because of my own journey with pain. What a great reminder of the reasons God allows pain and suffering in our lives. Just as we discipline our children when the veer off the path of righteousness, God also loves us enough to direct our path on the straight and narrow.

All of us will at some time, experience a bit of pain and suffering. That is when it is time to remember that God is with us in the Furnace of Affliction and it is for our good.

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true repentance

True Repentance What Does it Look Like?


True Repentance Makes us Ready to Meet the Lord.

We see the day coming but we are no more ready to face the King of Kings and the Lords of Lords than they were in Joel’s day. We sit in our padded pews and “mourn” the sinfulness of our nation but ignore the subtle sins in our own hearts. Our nation will not “turn and repent” until they see that living for God looks different than the rest of the world.

Our nation will not "turn and repent" until they see that living for God looks different Click To Tweet

When we look in the mirror of the Ten Commandments, what do we see? Is it righteousness or self-righteousness? Does reading this list cause us to fall on our knees in true repentance like the prophet Isaiah did when he saw the Lord in the temple?

Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Isaiah 6:5

Challenge to Examine Your Heart

true repentance

I challenge you to read down the list of commandments. Ask God to show you where you have failed him. If you don’t see any failure, read it again. And then again. Slow down, read slowly, and consider the subtle things that Satan has blinded you from.

  • How much time do you spend with God? 5 minutes a day? Do you have a quiet time? study the Word?
  • What have you placed above God? Job, Success, family, sports?
  • Do you treat the Sabbath just like every other day of the week?
  • What ways do you honor your parents?
  • Have you stolen anything lately? Extra time at lunch? office supplies? Have you robbed from God, by withholding tithes and offerings?
  • Do you lie and cheat to climb the ladder of success? Do you gossip in the guise of a prayer request?
  • Are you jealous of those who have more than you?

Hmmm… I wonder why people want nothing to do with Christianity.

Yes. We are all sinners

It’s true. None of us are righteous. We are all worthless and separated from God. Even King David who was considered “a man after God’s own heart” sinned. And he sinned BIG!

CLick image to go the Study of Psalm 51
Click this image for the study on Psalm 51

The size of the sin is not what matters. What matters is our response when we see that we have sinned against God. This week I wrote at Gracefully Truthful about David’s response when he was confronted with his sin. Click the purple image to read.

What matters is our response when we are face to face with our sinfulness. #repentance Click To Tweet

So, What Does a Repentant Heart Look Like?

Let’s take a look at the words of the prophet, Joel. He said if we repent, maybe God in His Mercy will forgive us and visit us once more. Let’s check it out.

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him;

Joel 2:12-17
true repentance; Joel 2
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if we #repent, maybe God in His Mercy will forgive us and visit us once more #confession Click To Tweet

3 Actions of a Truly Repentant Heart

Turn to God

True Repentance requires more than just “I’m sorry”. It produces change, a turning away from sin. Too often our apologies are not sincere. We are more sorry that we were caught than mournful of our sin. We say “I’m sorry” but we don’t turn from our wicked ways. There must be a change of heart and life. If it is real, the change will be noticeable.

Seek His Face

Many times God says in His Word if we seek Him, we will find Him. Right smack in the middle of the Bible is Psalm 119. It’s a poem using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The entire chapter is all about seeking God and meditating on His Word. Start here in your search for God.

Don’t just read a quick devotion or a few verses and go on your way. Think about what it says and how it applies to you. Ask God to show you why that particular passage is there for you. What can you learn? If you need help with this, I would suggest the online study Gracefully Truthful or try the First Five phone app which studies a chapter a day. This and many others are free online. There are also some great Bible apps for your phone.

Also, invite His Holy Spirit to take full control of your life. Consider your heart as a house. When you ask the Lord into your heart when you are saved, He comes in. But do you only allow him to stay in your living room? Do you allow him into your kitchen? your bedroom? closet? attic or basement? God wants it all. He wants full control. And until we surrender it all to Him, we are still the one in the driver’s seat. We aren’t in full obedience to God.

Fast Weep Mourn

fast –  Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Today, some will fast other things they “can’t” live without. The importance is that you use this time for prayer.

weep –To express sorrow, grief or anguish by outcry. 

mourn – The Greek word used for mourn is “pentheo,” which means to “wail or passionately lament, grief so all-encompassing it cannot be hidden.” The same word is used in Mark 16:10 to describe the emotions of Jesus’ followers after His crucifixion, a soul-deep sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.” Thus, it is a necessary mourning, required for us to reach a place of complete repentance before God. 

Honestly consider, have you been truly repentant for your sins? For the sins of the nation? Regrettably, I doubt that most of us have. In Bible times, people would tear (rend) their clothing in remorse. But sometimes this became just a show. (like the Pharisees) Try Anne Graham Lotz’s prayer from the National Day of Prayer. You can find it on her website here.

What rituals are you doing by habit or just showing off your spirituality? I’m reminded of the Pharisees praying, “Thank you, that I am not like them.” We need humility and true sorrow as we pray. This is what Joel meant by “rend your hearts, and not your clothes”

Let’s come to God with a broken and contrite heart as David did in Psalm 51. He was a picture of true repentance.

With gentleness and sincerity,

Mandy Farmer