Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NIV)

I probably feel the same as you do. Go back and read that scripture verse again.

The Apostle Paul wrote it. This is the same guy who was imprisoned regularly, lashed five times and beaten with rods three times by his fellow Jews, stoned, shipwrecked three times, constantly on the move and in danger from rivers, bandits, friends who betrayed him, whether in the cities, the country or at sea, and was always hungry, thirsty, and without sleep.

And Paul’s advice to us:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”

I’m with you here—the man has obviously got a few screws loose.

Why? Why does Paul say that? Because—are you ready—God has never left us. He is still on the throne. Through whatever we are going through—God is still at work, still sees us, cares, and controls eternity. He still walks with us, beside us, behind us, before us and carries us when we need to be carried. And no matter how bad things seem at times, He can weave them into the tapestry of our lives to continue to leave a legacy and impact for good and for His glory.

They don’t stay overnight with us as much as they did when they were younger. But when they did, every night when our granddaughters were with us, I made it a habit to go back into their room after they had gone to sleep, and pray for them once more. Every time—never missed. One-at-a-time, I would lay my hand on their heads, pray for them and then lean down and kiss them on the cheek and whisper in their ear “I love you.” Every time—never missed.

When they returned home, I prayed for them still, and have been privileged to include—at your request—some of your children by name in those same prayers.

In those moments, I realize that even though they might think at times that Granddaddy can do anything—I can’t. But I know that my God can and will. And so I try my best—with all of my doubts and my desire to fix it all—to do what Paul suggests:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”

Let me share that prayer with you again. I say it specifically for both Hannah and Ellie. Ellie turns fourteen (14) today, and my prayer is the same for her today as then.

Perhaps you will fill in your own name or the name of someone else you love. Perhaps it will help to remind you, as it does me, that in the midst of all we face—God is still there, and can be trusted…

“Dear God, I ask Your blessing on [this precious girl—Hannah or Ellie Kate]. I ask that You would keep Angels around her to protect her twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

I ask that You, Your Angels and all who have been entrusted with her care, would do everything to protect her youthful innocence, to protect her from evil, and from all that would seek to harm her.

I ask that you would give her Mommy and Daddy a huge measure of Your Divine wisdom so that they would make decisions for her and her welfare that You would make. I pray that You would keep a hedge of Angels around her Mommy & Daddy to protect them from the influences and opinions of friends and others which are not Godly and not in [Hannah or Ellie Kate’s] best interests. I ask that You would keep a hedge of Angels around this precious girl to protect her from the influence and opinions—of those others and her peers—which are not Godly.

I pray that You, Your Angels and all who have been entrusted with her care, would lift her to the glorious sunshine of all the potential You have placed within her, all the dreams You have placed in her heart, and the stars You have placed in her eyes, so that she will always reach for the heavens and touch the face of God.

I pray that she would follow You all the days of her life, that she would grow more and more in her relationship with Your Son, her Savior and Lord, and that she would follow Him each day, and that she will follow the sunshine path You have set before her, and that Lord, when she needs it, that You would carry her on that path, and through the valleys of her life, and up the mountains and over the mountain-tops into all that You have intended for her to be.

I pray Lord that each day You would reach down in a special way and touch her so that she is always reminded how precious she is to You and to those who love her. I pray that You would always make sure she knows that she is a precious creation and child of Yours.

And finally Lord, I ask that You would continue to protect her and grow her into the precious young girl You created her to be.

In Your Son’s Name I pray. Amen and Amen.”

It may be hard to admit that our brains are not big enough, nor our arms strong enough, nor reach long enough to control what we or our loved ones are facing. But God, through Paul, tells us to…

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”

And when you remember to Whom we’re looking, praying and giving thanks—well He is enough. For today and all eternity.

And Happy Birthday, precious Ellie!

In His Name—Scott