Gratitude for Dad

All my dad ever wanted was for us to grow up to be good, honest God-fearing people.

He worked hard to put food on the table, clothes on my body, a roof over my head and provide my education. He never asked for a special thanks for those things. We all tried our best in our own ways to be fine, upstanding human beings, which I think was our a way of indirectly saying “thank you” to him. 

As I think about Father’s Day, my thoughts turn to my Heavenly Father. Just like my dad never needed special thanks to be our provider and protector, God’s goodness toward us is not dependent on our acknowledgement and gratitude. But is it enough to just be be fine upstanding human beings for God? The Scriptures indicate that God desires to hear our praise, our gratitude for who He is and what He does (see Hebrews 12:28, Ephesians 5:20, Psalm 107:1). That this is the appropriate response of someone who understands the gift, and the Giver, of life and blessing (see Luke 17:11-19).

There’s also hidden blessing in a lifestyle of gratitude. When I became a mother, I had a profound realization that showing appreciation and gratitude don’t just benefit the recipient— the act of expressing gratitude actually strengthens our own character and well being.

A posture of thankfulness means not taking things for granted, or feeling entitled, understanding that everything that comes their way is in large part due the effort of many individuals coupled with the grace of God. Mental health professionals actually agree that gratitude improves physical health, psychological health, improves sleep and increases self esteem.

So, on Father’s Day, I want to publicly thank my dad, who is now in heaven, and my husband. Thank you for loving me like our Heavenly Father loves us. I wouldn’t be the God-fearing person I am today without the lessons you’ve taught me.

A Prayer for Fathers

Heavenly Father,

Today we ask You to bless our earthly fathers for the many times they reflected the love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy that You exemplify in Your relationship with us, Your children. We honor our fathers for putting our needs above their own convenience and comfort; for teaching us to show courage and determination in the face of adversity; for challenging us to move beyond self-limiting boundaries; for modeling the qualities that would turn us into responsible, principled, caring adults.

Not all our fathers lived up to these ideals. Give them the grace to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Give us the grace to extend to them the same forgiveness that you offer us all. Help us to resist the urge to stay stuck in past bitterness, instead, moving forward with humility and peace of heart.
Give new and future fathers the guidance they need to raise happy and holy children, grounded in a love for God and other people –and remind these fathers that treating their wiveswith dignity, compassion and respect is one of the greatest gifts they can give their children.
We pray that our fathers who have passed into the next life have been welcomed into Your loving embrace, and that our family will one be day be reunited in your heavenly kingdom.
There’s a popular phrase that encourages me to look forward to the month of April with excitement and enthusiasm, in spite of the depression that looms from the hard and long winter of the past several months and challenges in life:

“April showers bring May flowers.”
As families around the world gathered recently to celebrate the life, death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter, I was reminded of how His story parallels with the idea of sunshine following a season of gloom and sadness. Jesus’ suffering and death produced new life. Throughout scripture and throughout life we are faced with the reality of frailty and brokenness. “The grass withers, the flower fades.” But those of us who have trusted in Jesus know can cling to the hope in phrases like “joy comes in the morning,”

We all have experienced showers, or seasons of gloom and sadness. I have lived through many, with the passing of my father, my son being sick as a baby, trouble in my marriage, moving my mom, sibling rivalry, loss of grandparents, shut down of business, church heartbreak, brokenness, depression and anxiety, illnesses, cancer,  etc..etc.. Maybe you are even experiencing some right now. It can be easy to dwell on the negative things in our life. But Ezekiel 34:26 says:

“And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing…”

Just like this scripture, “April showers bring May flowers” is a reminder that even the most unpleasant of things, in this case the heavy rains of April, can bring about very enjoyable things indeed— even an abundance of flowers in May. 

The phrase is also a lesson in patience. Many of life’s greatest things come only to those who wait, and by patiently and happily enduring the clouds and damp of April, you can find yourself more easily able to take in the sights and smells of May if you change your outlook and keep your eyes and heart focused on Christ and His blessings. 

Even though my hardships brought brokenness and heartache, good came out of every situation. When my son was sick, fighting for his life in the hospital for seven years, I fought God. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and I questioned if God was even real. I cried out day after day, “If there is a God you will heal my boy?”
In the waiting and the hurting, God pierced my heart. I gave my life to Christ and my husband Jonah confessed “I give you my son, like you gave your son to us.” In our newfound surrender, we had hope. The “may flowers” came when I surrendered my life to Jesus. There was healing in our own lives, and, thankfully, we also witnessed the miraculous healing of our son.


Surrendering your life means trusting God who gave us his one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us. I am so thankful that God healed my son, but I know that this isn’t always how God chooses to answer our prayers. Sometimes He has a different plan. The beauty is knowing there is a plan, a purpose, and a loving God who is orchestrating all things for “good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” 
I pray your flowers come too. Be ready for the April showers by praying and surrendering your all and allow the flowers to come in May in every area of your life. Change your outlook and keep your eyes on the prize, Jesus! Leave a comment with your prayer request. I would love to pray for you during the month of April Showers! 
Spring is always a beautiful reminder of the possibility of new beginnings and fresh starts.
As you reflect back on the past months, what are some things you can (or need to) let go of in order to enable you to begin experiencing the freedom God has for you? For me, daily quiet time in God’s Word has been lacking because of busyness. Honestly, the result has been a shift in my focus on myself rather than the journey set before me from Christ. 
But here is the good news—His mercies are new every morning. Just as Spring reminds us, new beginnings are always possible with Jesus, even when things seem far beyond hope. Because God has unquenchable grace for us, we need only turn, let go of the past,  and embrace a new perspective—a fresh look at the future and all the wonderful possibilities it brings, free of failures and disappointments.
Let’s embrace that new perspective today. Let’s commit to growth together in Christ. Let’s be consistent in our walk this month, and allow our faith to strengthen. 
My prayer for you this month is that you will experience the favor of God in your life. May things turn around and work out for your good. May your tears transform into joy and laughter because the good Lord will grant your heart’s desires. May you be consistent in your walk with Christ and your desire to grow closer to Him.
 
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 4:6-7
When you hear the word “love,” what comes to mind?

Most of us think of our spouses, children, family, or friends. We think of people who are easy to love, because they love us back. We often don’t think about those who are hard to love. Jesus says If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? (Luke 6:32). He goes on to issue this challenge to His followers: But love your enemies, do good to them” (Luke 6:35). It is not enough for us to love the people that are easy for us to love; we are called to love those who are hard to love.
But how?



How to Love the “Hard to Love”

Do we just put on a smile and make fake conversation until we can make the quickest exit? It’s important to remember here that biblical love is not about warm feelings. It’s about actions. Through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit within us, Jesus has given us the ability to love everyone, in word and deed—even those we think we can’t love. Here are some steps you can take to tap in to that power:

Pray often for God to change your heart. When we pray for our attitudes, and when we pray for our enemies, it’s amazing how or hearts begin to soften toward those who we find tough to love.

Forgive often as Jesus forgave us. This word in the Bible can mean everything from remitting a debt, to leaving something alone and even to simply overlook. And if you need motivation, just think about how God has done this in your own life!

Set healthy boundaries. Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to be that person’s best friend. We can love even the most difficult people by being kind, meeting their needs, and showing them respect. 


Why We Love the “Hard to Love”


As Christians, we lead by example. Servant leadership is one of our core values at Feed the Missions. We believe it’s important to approach everyone with an attitude of service, just as Jesus did.
Loving people who don’t love us back can feel thankless at times. But we have a Savior who can relate.

Jesus loved us before we knew who He was or wanted a relationship with Him. So when we feel like it would be so easy to bring attention to ourselves or be angry at someone that has hurt us, let’s remember that we are who we are because of a God who never gave up on us. And if we’re committed to loving others well, one day maybe the hard-to-love folks in our lives will be able to look back and say the very same thing. 


Praying for a Heart to Love the “Hard to Love” 

 
Lord Jesus we ask that you forgive us for the way we treat others. Change our hearts to be more like yours. Thank you for loving us unconditionally and teaching us hard lessons. Allow us to be faithful to your word and walking out truth. Fill our hearts with compassion and servant leadership skills to help us love those that are hard to love. Your word says people will know we are His followers by the way we love- John 13:35. May we be reminded of who we are as we continue to love everyone. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
 
Welcome to 2021—A brand new year is here! 
 
While New Year’s Day as a holiday has no biblical significance, this doesn’t mean Christians shouldn’t pause and reflect on the turning of the calendar.

A new year can remind us of new life, hope and opportunity. Every new season is a testimony of God’s grace. Creation itself reminds us of God’s great faithfulness as we witness renewal and rebirth. Things can be renewed. Even in a cursed, fallen world, hope for change can exist. In a sense, every day with Jesus is a chance to turn the page on an old way of life and embrace a new one. We are, after all, new creation people, and we serve a King who renews us daily by the Holy Spirit. 
 
A new year can remind us to be intentional. A new cycle of life can serve as a reminder to be present and intentional with the time we’ve been given. The writer of Ecclesiastes says, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them”’ (Ecclesiastes 12:1). As Gospel-centered people, we should be mindful of the fragility of human life. 2021 is young and the opportunities seem fresh. Every breath is a miracle, a gift given to us by our Creator. 
 
A new year is a great time to recalibrate. Last year was a mix of joys and sorrows, goals accomplished and goals missed, friendships gained and friendships lost, year of pandemic, new jobs and some lost—but now it’s behind us. Choose God first this year! The proper response to the past year, whether good or bad, is not “I made it through” or “Look what I achieved.” It should be “Thank you, Lord!” Purposefully remembering God’s goodness instead of our own performance is a great way to begin again. 
 
A new year is the perfect opportunity to pray and reflect. May this year be brighter as you push into Christ. Let’s spend time in prayer recounting what Christ did for us. Let’s repent and fully worship his Majesty. Let’s renew our minds and commitments to Jesus first, then marriage, family, and church. Let’s rest this year. Don’t let the whisper of the enemy say you have less worth because you blew your resolutions last year. Jesus loves us unconditionally, and He doesn’t need our perfect performance to call us home and empower us for His mission. 
 
So as we make plans for 2021, let’s remember that even in our failures, we serve the One who remembers our frame and knows we are dust (Psalm 103:14). Trust your future to the King who holds the world in his hands. 
For the world, Christmas has become a commercialized frenzy of crazed shoppers who trample each other underfoot while trying to get a good deal on shoes, games, and clothing. It seems so many have forgotten the true significance of the birth of the Heaven-sent King on that very special night.

For the Christian, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the Lord—the heavenly and yet humble entrance of Immanuel into our world. The verse below is a prophecy fulfilled in Jesus. It was Jesus who was born in a manger so that He might hang on a cross to rescue us from our sins. The birth of Christ heralds our redemption, our blessing, our cleansing, and all our hope.

This Christmas, share the Christmas story with your family before opening of gifts. You can listen to the Christmas story from Luke 2 here. And as you go about your busy day, enjoying family and food and festive traditions, here’s a simple, centering prayer for you to share at your dinner table:

Happy birthday, Jesus! We celebrate your birth and your life. Thank you for coming to earth as a baby, bringing life and hope to us all. May everyone at our dinner table surrender to you. May each day be a celebration of who You are in our lives and may we be reminded that you are our WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE. In your name, we pray, amen.


We hope that you find the Hope and Peace in Christ this Christmas season!
When you gather at the Thanksgiving table this year, gratitude will certainly be a theme on the minds of both you and your loved ones. From saying a blessing over your Thanksgiving meal to reflecting on all you have, Thanksgiving prayers can be a wonderful way to let God — and your family — know how blessed you feel.

As Thanksgiving draws near, let’s remember that gratitude is something we should pursue always, not just on any one particular day. Let’s be grateful for the things the Lord has given us, not just for Thanksgiving, but every day. If you haven’t begun praying together during a meal or at bedtime, now is the time to start. 

We are incredibly grateful and thankful for those involved in Feed the Need Missions. What are you thankful for this year? 

Here’s a prayer for you to pray, but also this is the prayer of our hearts at Feed the Need Missions to those we serve and our volunteers. Millions of people across the globe live in difficult and trying conditions. It’s easy to forget the lack of freedom that so many others face on a daily basis. This Thanksgiving prayer helps put the focus on the Heavenly Father who has given you and your family so much.
“Father, today we give thanks for all the blessings You have given us. We’re safe from harm, we have food to eat and despite the challenges in our lives, we know that we are blessed. One of the things we’re most grateful for is Christ’s finished work on the cross.”

May you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. 
Let us know how we can pray for you. 

Autumn is a time for change. Weather changes, time changes, colors change, deadlines change, housework increases, sports have started and it’s a time to be thankful during all the changes. Let’s pray together for the month of October and ask God where you need to change. We will join you in prayer too.

O God of Creation, you have blessed us with the changing of the seasons. As we welcome the autumn months, may the earlier setting of the sun remind us to take time to rest.

May the brilliant colors of the leaves remind us of the wonder of your creation.
May the steam of our breath in the cool air remind us that it is you who give us the breath of life.

May the harvest from the fields remind us of the abundance we have been given and bounty we are to share with others.

May the dying of summer’s spirit remind us of your great promise that death is temporary and life is eternal. We praise you for your goodness forever and ever. Amen.

September is Disaster Preparedness Month, and this year we are encountering two disasters in September: COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura. What an adventure we have been on and very grateful for the relationships we are building. Please pray with us, for us, those affected, and those who may be affected by this upcoming season.

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” Psalm 130: 1-2

O Lord, you have surely heard the cry of those directly affected by these disasters. We also present to you our prayers for those wanting to assist, and those who are assisting in the relief. Lord, give them the strength to continue in adverse conditions.

Lord we pray for those who will provide clinical care and support to the wounded. Lord, give them the skills and fortitude to work long hours with limited resources.

For those who have and will bury the dead and comfort their loved ones. Lord, give them compassion and a heart for mercy.

For those who will organize acts to aide in relief. Lord, give them prudence and patience to understand needs. We also pray for those that have been invited to the journey to provide relief services, medical care, and hot meals. Give them all the gifts of compassion and charity in their coverage.

Hear us, merciful God that through this time of tragedy for those most affected, those who will be affected, and who have lost so much in previous disasters, that they will know of Your presence and learn of the Holy Spirit’s comfort. We ask that all Christians will remember their struggling brothers and sisters, and contribute the time to assist them in their continuing need. May our prayers rise up like incense for those affected by disaster, especially those who have lost their lives previously. For the families of the loved ones and for the lives who will be affected this season.

In Jesus Name we Pray, Amen.

After weeks of splashing in the sun, and going on vacations, educators and children are heading back to school. As we enter into a new school year, we ask that you join us in prayer. For some students, school is a safe place away from home, and for others it’s filled with fear. This year as we move forward with COVID, school may look a little different for students and teachers. We ask for the 2020-2021 school year that all students and educators (including parents) are covered in prayer throughout the world.

We are blessed to have educators to pour into our students. To teach them, to love them, to show compassion and mercy. But now we also have parents who are being educators at home because of COVID. We thank you all for the time spent investing in your/our children.

Here’s a few bible verses to help guide you in prayer:

1. Pray for Peace (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7; Romans 5:1).
2. Pray for Protection (2 Thessalonians 3:3; Psalm 46:1; John 17:15; Psalm 91)
3. Prayers for Perspective (Galatians 2:20; Matthew 28:18-20; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:17-20)
4. Pray that the students and educators will develop an eternal perspective and purpose, not an earthly one. Help them to see life–and every challenge–through His eyes.

Thank you for joining us in prayer.