Worship; definition?

Esther's Petition

It was a mid-week church service, sometime in the early 1980’s.

Who was preaching? I don’t remember. Who was leading the singing? I have no memory of that. Who was playing the pipe organ, the piano, the drums and guitars? I can’t recall that either. Who was present? A few relatives, a few friends, myself and many others whose names I didn’t know. I was only a visitor, not knowing what to expect.

What was happening? That I will never forget.

The main floor and the balcony of the sanctuary was filled that evening. The preliminaries had taken place – greetings, announcements, offering, followed by hymns and praise songs accompanied by enthusiastic clapping. The congregation had taken their seats. But then…

A complete hush fell over the congregation. The silence was so deep you could have heard a pin drop. Literally. It was as if a thick cloud had descended…

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Miracles in my life

Esther's Petition

Testimony, part four

Miracles in my life

(1) For a time in the early 1970’s my children and I attended Parkwood Presbyterian Church on the Pamplico Highway. The church had an Easter Sunrise Service one year and the weather was beautiful. Several dozen church members assembled outside on the church grounds as the sun came up, and suddenly Jesus stood there facing us, smiling, his arms outstretched. His figure was much taller than any of the people there and translucent, not quite transparent.

After a few minutes the figure faded away and he was gone. After the brief sunrise service we went inside for breakfast before the regular Sunday School classes and Worship service. At first I thought I was the only person who had seen the figure of Jesus, but later several people cautiously asked around, “Did you see anything – unusual – during the sunrise service?” and we…

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Guess Who Wins?

We probably need a reminder.

Esther's Petition

20 September 2021

Praying before going to sleep, I asked Father God, “What’s going on in the world now, Lord?” His answer was fairly long.

Two types of supernatural warfare are going on, he said. The enemy is stepping up his attempts to destroy God’s most precious creation, mankind.

As a multitude of images rolled through my inner vision, the Holy Spirit repeated at intervals, “Guess who wins?”

So what should we be doing about all this, I asked him? Jesus is your model, your example, he said. Ask Him what he wants prayed, pray that. Use your delegated authority: Ask Him what he wants commanded, declared and decreed; command, declare and decree that. If you aren’t sure, pray the Word until you are sure. Stay alert. Listen for His voice. Pray, command / decree / declare, praise, worship, and thank Him. Repeat.

The conversation continued… One type of spiritual…

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Empowerer of me

Esther's Petition

EagleSoaringPhil413“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  I memorized that verse many years ago when I was going through some tough times.

A divorced woman whose married friends had suddenly become “busy” all the time, a single parent with growing teenagers to raise, sometimes no car, always too many bills and never enough money to pay them with, sometimes I had a hard time keeping a positive, Christian, faith-filled attitude.

I would stand in the middle of my bedroom floor and repeat that verse with clenched fists and teeth, refusing to give in to depression, frustration, and anger toward the Lord.

Whispers of “Why me?” ran through my mind and heart. It was tempting to demand that out loud – “Yeah, God, why me?”

Occasionally I did say it aloud, but then would determinedly follow it with that verse. I’d say, “No matter what it…

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God’s joy, my strength

Ten years ago…

Esther's Petition

FilledWithJoyWomanNoBirthdayMessageThe article below about Joy was originally posted on December 28, 2011.

2011 was a hard year for me. In January 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of that year was then spent undergoing chemotherapy, mastectomy, and radiation therapy.

I had serious side effects to all of those, including pretty bad radiation burns that cut short the number of those sessions. I published a personal diary of those adventures at the time, and some since then. (www.BettesJournal.wordpress.com)

The Lord told me clearly at the beginning of these adventures to “put the unbelievers out of the room.” He meant, for me not to talk about the diagnosis to everyone, only to Christians who truly believed God’s word – who truly  believed what Jesus said in John 10:10. I have an enemy out to kill me, who wants to steal my health and destroy my faith. But Jesus…

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Who doesn’t like Christmas?

Esther's Petition

This is a re-post from November 2010… still appropriate for many people, I think.

That rhetorical question from a movie blurb has played over and over in the last week – Christmas movies have arrived on cable TV. But it’s not rhetorical for me. The answer is, “Me.”

Christmas used to be a happy time of year, before the 1968 one where my severely depressed mother took an overdose of pills and washed it down with vodka. I found her unconscious in her bed, after she didn’t show up for work one morning.

The family took turns Christmas day sitting with her at the hospital, then after she was stabilized, my husband and I drove her to MUSC. Still clad in a hospital gown and robe with thin foam slippers on her feet, she huddled up in a hospital “blanket” (folded bedspread) on what seemed to be the coldest day…

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Merry Christmas 2021

Exciting. Adventurous. Fascinating. Wonderful. Interesting.

Do those sound like your 2021? Maybe, maybe not.

For me there have been a few exciting times, others a bit interesting; not so much fascinating or wonderful, though, if looked at in the purely natural. (Which I don’t do as much as I used to — the supernatural is much more fun!)

What ARE fascinating and wonderful are Father God, His son Jesus, and my constant companion Holy Spirit. All have an extraordinarily fascinating way of looking at things. A totally different viewpoint from our merely human ones. Like current events. Holy Spirit can take us behind the scenes, let us look at what’s really going on. Major news media never really do that.

Or what I used to think of as “familiar” verses of scripture. Take up my cross and follow Jesus? Where, to be crucified? No, no. That was Jesus’s previous assignment on earth. He has a new assignment these days, and so do I. So do you.

Follow him wherever he is going, or wants to go — or wants us to take him, rather. Like Harris Teeter for groceries this week? On a Tuesday? At 10:00 AM? That may be my assignment. Maybe not the most interesting, but who knows? I may just run into somebody I’m supposed to talk to, or pray for. That happens a lot.

The Trinity have a fascinating viewpoint of space. And oceans. And mountains. Why so big? So deep? So tall? And interesting stuff too – the purpose of conversion, for instance. There is a very real purpose! A real change from the inside out, a real reason for it.

Have you ever considered the edges of leaves? Holy Spirit asked me one day. I wrote about that.  https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/have-you-ever-considered-the-edges-of-leaves/  And so I did! They are so interesting! The tremendous variety! Sizes, shapes, shades, thickness and texture… and colors! So many shades of green.

Until the Holy Spirit pointed all that out to me one day, I had NEVER looked at the color green or the edges of leaves like that. “They’re part of my delicate design and engineering,” he explained. “Made for the eyes of those who care enough to see the wonder of my creation.” Wow! He wanted me to see that wonder and to appreciate it, and Him, the designer of it all.

He has a unique insight into the background of news stories, too, or bits of recent or ancient history, Bible characters named or unnamed. Spiritual discernment. Revelation knowledge. Wisdom. All shareable with us for the asking! Now that’s REALLY wonderful.

And he has a sense of humor, too, one you can’t duplicate! I was reading a devotional one morning and one sentence declared “Jesus is always by our side, no matter what.” Holy Spirit whispered, “And IN your side, too!” with a chuckle.

This year of dreadful news, fears and isolation, has been different. Difficult. Some friends died, others were very sick, some are struggling with slow recovery from health attacks – and I believe attacks is exactly what they are. John 10:10 was true when Jesus spoke it and it’s still true today. Remember, “You’re not paranoid if somebody really IS out to get you!” And somebody is.

But Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4) I’m so very glad of that.

At our house, Shelby, kids and I are doing well this Christmas Season, and so are Millie (puppy), Friday, Baby, Smokie and Twila (cats), plus Fred and Rainbow (fish). I’ve done some Esther’s Petition blog writing this year (although not as much as in past years), and basically keep up with friends and family around the nation and world online. There’s been a lot to pray about this year, that’s for sure!

May we all have a wonderful Christmas celebrating the One who is the Reason for the Season, and a truly blessed New Year ahead!

Love, Bette

What does Jesus do all day? Some suggestions

Esther's Petition

JesusPerhapsGod in human form appeared to people on earth even before Jesus was born as a tiny baby in Bethlehem. Is he still doing that today? I think so…

Here are a couple of reports from Operation Mobilization’s December 2012 Global Prayer Update.

Syrian Refugee God Encounter

A man from a Christian relief team recently delivered food to a Syrian widow living in a rural Muslim village near the border. When the anxious widow opened her door to him, the Christian explained he had come out of love for God. She told him about an encounter the previous day.

While sleeping during the night, she heard a knock on the door. She responded but no one was there. After a while she heard the same knocking and went to sit next to the door, where she eventually fell asleep.

While she was sleeping someone put His hand on her shoulder…

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Acceleration, happening now

18 October 2021

Last night the Lord quickly answered my prayer question, “What’s happening now, Lord?”

Acceleration, He said. More and more things are happening fast, and faster, and faster. Some are visible, some invisible.

Some people – believers and unbelievers – have been blase up to now, simply shaking off news of behaviors and actions of ungodly people. Now they have begun to feel uncomfortable. They wonder if perhaps they should pay closer attention to current events. Their discomfort is growing more intense by the day. Soon their discomfort will have to be addressed.

Some ungodly ones who thought their way of doing things would benefit them and their friends are noticing unplanned results instead. Their ideas have brought results they didn’t anticipate and don’t like. Things are worse for them today than yesterday and will be worse tomorrow than today. They’re wondering what to do, but none of their ideas will be better than their past ones. Indeed, they will be worse. Some will be much worse.

Yet things are better today for many who now have life. Yesterday they had death; they were working for the wages sin brings, and that is death. Yesterday they came to a decision, decided right, and today they have life. Today many others will come to that same decision, will decide right and also have life. Their numbers are increasing exponentially.

The acceleration is working both ways. Watch for it. Pray about it.