Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hanna's Thanksgiving


Hannah’s Thanksgiving                               


Hannah was brokenhearted that she had no children. Years came and went yet her womb remained empty. A godly Jewish woman, she was dearly loved by her husband, Elkanah, who tried to console her but her barren womb yielded barrenness of heart. 

After years of disappointment, Hannah asked the priest to pray for her and promised that if God would give her a son, she would give the child back to Him. God answered her prayer and within the next year Hannah bore a son and named him Samuel. As time went by God blessed Hannah and Elkanah with five more children.

After Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the priest and dedicated her boy to Yahweh just as she had promised. Her expression of gratitude to God became a well-known portion of Scripture, known as Hannah’s Song

This beautiful passage exudes many attributes of Yahweh—He is Savior, holy, mighty, all knowing, powerful, compassionate, faithful, sovereign, and a righteous judge. 


The first ten verses of 2 Samuel contain her exultation of thanks to God. With grateful hearts, let’s join Hannah and lift God up using the modern language of The Message


“I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation. 

“Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God. Don’t dare talk pretentiously—not a word of boasting, ever! For God knows what’s going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens. The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces, while the weak are infused with fresh strength. The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts, while the hungry are getting second helpings. The barren woman has a houseful of children, while the mother of many is bereft. 

“God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up, God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives—a place in the sun! For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation. He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step, but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark. No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle! God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky, crashed in a heap and burned. God will set things right all over the earth, he’ll give strength to his king, he‘ll set his anointed on top of the world!” 

Our world is far from perfect. Our lives are far from perfect. But our God is perfect. 

As Thanksgiving approaches, we can look to God and be truly thankful that He is on the throne no matter what goes on around us. As always, we are thankful for God’s love, for our families, our freedom, our homes, food, and material possessions.    

But let’s have a fuller perspective on Thanksgiving this time and be like Hannah and focus on the amazing attributes of our mighty God and our wonderful Savior.    






©Connie Wohlford 2019


Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving


Hannah’s Thanksgiving                               


Hannah was brokenhearted that she had no children. Years came and went yet her womb remained empty. A godly Jewish woman, she was dearly loved by her husband, Elkanah, who tried to console her but her barren womb yielded barrenness of heart. 


After years of disappointment, Hannah asked the priest to pray for her and promised that if God would give her a son, she would give the child back to Him. God answered her prayer and within the next year Hannah bore a son and named him Samuel. As time went by God blessed Hannah and Elkanah with five more children.

From Pinterest


After Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the priest and dedicated her boy to Yahweh just as she had promised. Her expression of gratitude to God became a well-known portion of Scripture, known as Hannah’s Song





This beautiful passage exudes many attributes of Yahweh—He is Savior, holy, mighty, all knowing, powerful, compassionate, faithful, sovereign, and a righteous judge. 


The first ten verses of 2 Samuel contain her exultation of thanks to God. With grateful hearts, let’s join Hannah and lift God up using the modern language of The Message


“I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation. 


“Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God. Don’t dare talk pretentiously—not a word of boasting, ever! For God knows what’s going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens. The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces, while the weak are infused with fresh strength. The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts, while the hungry are getting second helpings. The barren woman has a houseful of children, while the mother of many is bereft. 


“God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up, God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives—a place in the sun! For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation. He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step, but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark. No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle! God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky, crashed in a heap and burned. God will set things right all over the earth, he’ll give strength to his king, he‘ll set his anointed on top of the world!” 


WOW! What an impassioned utterance!   


Our world is far from perfect. Our lives are far from perfect. But our God is perfect. 


As Thanksgiving approaches, we can look to God and be truly thankful that He is on the throne no matter what goes on around us. As always, we are thankful for God’s love, for our families, our freedom, our homes, food, and material possessions. But let’s have a fuller perspective on Thanksgiving this time and be like Hannah and focus on the amazing attributes of our mighty God and our wonderful Savior.


©Connie Wohlford 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019

Thank you, Pastor.


Thank you, Pastor.                                       



Pastor Appreciation Month is coming to an end, but I appreciate my pastors all year through. 


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Dear Pastor, 


I can count on you

-      like a lamb counts on the shepherd.

-      like the daisies count on the rain.

-      like the sick counts on the doctor.

-      Like the calf counts on her mama.

-      Like the book counts on the reader.

-      Like the hungry counts on the farmer.

-      Like the tired counts on the rest.

-      Like the bird counts on the sky.

-      Like the student counts on the teacher.

-      Like the rocket counts on the fuel.

-      Like the tree counts on its roots.



Humm—I think I’m talking about Jesus. Pastor, you’re a lot like Jesus. 


Thank you.



©Copyright 2019 Connie Wohlford


Thursday, October 10, 2019

What About Your Pastor?


What About Your Pastor?        

You’ve probably heard someone say, “Well, what about me?”  It may be said for a variety of reasons but since October is Pastor Appreciation Month, let’s consider this: “What about my pastor?” 

To show love and appreciation, some churches and individuals make a big deal out of Pastor Appreciation Month. They may have a church supper in honor of their pastor/s—complete with gifts. Some congregations even send their pastor and spouse on a cruise or nice vacation. Then of course there are other congregations which don’t even know the occasion exists, or perhaps pretend they don’t know.  

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It seems that many people are clueless about just how tough it is to be a pastor. Some believe their pastor simply reads the Bible, prays, and visits sick people. The reality is that the job of pastor is much more demanding and complex than that and for many it carries 24/7 responsibilities. 


I didn’t grow up in a pastor’s home and I’m not a pastor’s wife, so I’ve not had that personal experience. But I’ve known many pastors and have been friends with several pastor’s wives and children. I’ve observed some of the many trials and challenges they go through on a regular basis. 


In an article written by Philip Wagner*, himself a pastor, he says that Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (not necessarily in order, he added) are: the President of the United States, a university president, a CEO of a hospital, and a pastor. 



e goes on to list some of the unique problems pastors face.

Here’s a brief synopsis:



1. Pastors face a lot of criticism from many directions and for many reasons. 

2. Pastors experience a lot of rejection due to the nature of their position and the nature of congregants coming and going.  

3. Pastors often face betrayal, as they work with their staff and minister to people. It’s not unusual for a pastor’s staff or church member to turn on them due to personal conflict or simply not getting their way. 

4. Pastors often suffer loneliness due to the fact that they often find it hard to have a close friend. 

5. Pastors grow weary due to the numerous hours they spend attending to their many responsibilities.  

6. Pastors often have many disappointments and frustrations. Pastors’ salaries are typically average or below the norm and many pastors must have another job in order to meet the financial needs of their families. And they often have no good way to measure their successes and accomplishments. This can be very frustrating. * 


Tough skin and a soft heart seem to be a requirement for pastors. 

When was the last time you thought about the difficulties faced by pastors, their wives, and their children?



Most pastors have such a passion to serve God, lead people to Christ, and equip the body, they push on through many hardships and trials—with God’s help. But if you could interview a large group of pastors, almost all of them would say they’ve experienced many, if not all, of the above challenges at one time or another.  



In Mr. Wagner’s article, he went on to tell a few things Christians and church members can do to help pastors:



1. Pray for your pastor, that he/she will hear clearly from God. 

2. Protect your pastor. Don't get involved with gossip and complaining of other church members.  

3. Encourage your pastor. Find ways to help lighten the load and let him/her know you care and want to help in any way you can. 



These three things appear to be very simple and I believe the Holy Spirit can show us other things we can do for our pastors that are specific to their individual needs. When we, as church members, do the above three things with diligence and sincerity, it can make a huge difference in the lives of our pastors and their families. And just think of the benefits for the church as well.




Remember to smile at your pastor and be friendly to his/her spouse and children. If you want to see your pastor smile back, tell him/her that you appreciate and are praying for him/her.



AND since this is Pastor Appreciation Month, perhaps a gift card or some such gesture of appreciation is in order. Ask God to help you come up with the best way to bless your pastor/s. 



As with most things, the Internet can give you numerous suggestions of ways to honor and show love to pastors. Here is one site you might like to check out that gives ten ways to show appreciation to your pastor:




We all like to be appreciated. Imagine yourself in your pastor’s shoes and ask God to show you ways to bless him/her during Pastor Appreciation Month and ways to be a blessing throughout the year.



In the comment section, please share ways you have shown appreciation for your pastor or share suggestions that come to mind. If you are a pastor, how have people shown you appreciation and how would you enjoy having your congregants show their appreciation.  


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* The above italicized sections are paraphrased from Philip Wagner’s article, “The Secret Pain of Pastors and Church Leaders.”  To read his entire article, go to:


©Connie Wohlford 2019


Sunday, September 22, 2019

"See You at The Pole"


"See You at The Pole"


Are you familiar with the “See You at The Pole” events throughout the United States and some other countries? 


Join in on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. 


It takes place on the fourth Wednesday of September each year. Though student initiated, anyone in the community can take place. As a grandparent and a citizen, I join others gathered at flagpoles on this special morning before school begins. Since I live in a small city and the times for prayer are staggered, I can participate in each of the three gatherings. We have a primary school, an elementary school, and our intermediate and high school share the same flagpole. 
Photo by Connie Wohlford



“See You at The Pole” is well organized and they even have an app (of course!). You can find information at the web site: https://syatp.com/


Their Facebook page is very helpful. People can even post pictures there and many communities have their own page and or “Event” posted. 


Check out the page: https://www.facebook.com/myseeyouatthepole/


This year’s theme is “IF …” referencing 2 Chronicles 7:15.


Check out this video:

https://www.facebook.com/myseeyouatthepole/videos/267701590529107/


Here is some general information from their FB page: 


About


See You at The Pole is always the 4th Wednesday of September. This year, SYATP DAY is 9.25.19. Global Week of Student Prayer is September 22-28, 2019.

Pray to God with your friends in middle school, high school, college - as you pray for one another and your friends, school, community, country, and world.
Get free resources on the website to plan and promote your prayer time.
Please Share this page on yours and follow it on Twitter: @SeeYouAtThePole.
Page administrators reserve the right to remove comments or links we feel disrupt the purpose and goal of this ministry. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns regarding this matter.

General Information

See You at the Pole is about student-initiated, student-led prayer. Our dream is that a day committed to global prayer, especially at schools, would be a springboard to praying year-round, leading to a moral and spiritual awakening as students seek to love and serve their schools.


Founding Date  1990


ProductsYou don't need to buy anything to do See You at the Pole. But tee shirts, promotional DVDs, posters and other products are available if you want them. Check out the website: www.syatp.com.

See what students say about "See You At The Pole:"
 https://www.facebook.com/connie.wohlford/posts/2397704643600031?__xts__[0]=68.ARCe_w2nyW4Y9y-pIdkRC1dK50_i0a6NxfwF2J8DOp1yg_8LCdnDD3hfLw3Wy-2n6xIFWRuzAbrcQOH23TVcX73tFh9s2T4wuT3XfOyo8Lta8QEbvpdm1Y03My0NhajgzHROJtWDHD4MyeKqF2vzsI4FbTD7UcQELpV3H9MbhfMkTpwe6t-deQEPCNrhX66_P7Lzt1iU2LJ27H0nY2L1wzaza5TQ95ZW4KUOQ0pvcMmX19NJZmo8NPQVGiJVnxMUcUs-Z-1FCYlErWKb3VYxcG6UHULW76tGSkA6JeTUbk1br6te6HhtW7jbSgBM9O3qG81_BAtY8hMYWERDrkO5py268l2LDpqpYA&__tn__=-R



Please share your experiences from “See You at the Pole.”

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Children Need Our Prayers


Children Need Our Prayers                 



     Every day—every single day—my parents prayed for me. Do you have any idea how comforting that is? If you have or had parents like that, then you know.



     I actually didn’t realize this until I was grown, but when I did, I was flooded with gratitude. That awareness triggered great feelings of love—love for them and the receiving of love from them. Only God knows of the bad things I escaped because of their prayer covering.



     During the last couple years of their lives, when dementia invaded their minds, it occurred to me that their daily petitions had probably ceased. Though saddened by that thought, I was confident their prayers still echoed in the heavens and were easily recalled by our Heavenly Father. 



Have you prayed for your children (and grandchildren) today?



Here are six reasons we should pray daily for the children in our lives:



1. It’s our responsibility. Most likely no one else on the planet will be praying for your child every day. If you’re a grandparent or concerned adult, although you may not have the responsibilities of parenting, you can still pray for the children you love. 



2. Jesus set the example in praying for children (Matt. 19:13). We have no greater example in all matters than the Lord, Himself.



3. We need to set an example for children. Our children need to know that prayer is important to us and that we pray for them daily. Our own example is our chief teaching tool as we instruct children in spiritual matters.


4. We want our children to understand their need for salvation and that Jesus is the only way.  Even young children can comprehend this at a level that makes sense to them. The Holy Spirit knows how to work in each young spirit and can guide us as we speak.

Growing up in an evangelical church, I knew at a young age, I needed salvation found only in Jesus. At age nine, I’d been pondering this for months. I remember mentally listing my sins. Then one Sunday I decided it was time. I walked forward and extended my hand to Pastor Rushing and gave my heart to Jesus.



5. There’s a war going on and the lives and souls of our children are the spoils. In the spiritual realm, warfare is taking place between God’s angels and Satan’s demons. Rest assured, Satan is real and wants our children. Jesus warned that he desires to “steal, kill, and destroy” anyone he can (John 10:10a). That includes you, me, and the children we love.

We can pray with confidence, knowing our Heavenly Father wants our children too. Jesus continued, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b NKJV). Our children need to know these things.



6. Pray for wisdom in parenting. The role as parent is our most important job. Doing it well pays great dividends. We’d be hard-pressed to be great parents without divine wisdom and intervention. Consistency is key and that takes effort. Help from above is necessary. 



Regarding His statutes, God spoke through Moses: You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.” (Deut. 11:19-21 NKJV)





Parenting is a daily responsibility that requires daily invoking the help and power from our Creator. God loves our kids and wants the best for them. Only with God’s help can we do our very best to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV). 


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Here are seven important things to pray for our children:


1.  Pray that, at a young age, they will realize their need to have a relationship with Jesus and will believe in and receive Him as Savior and Lord. If your children are already older it’s not too late. Still pray they will accept this Great Salvation (Hebrews 2:3-4).


2.  Pray they will develop a keen sense of right and wrong, based on biblical principles and a Christian worldview. 


3.  Pray they will love God’s Word and yearn for its daily encouragement and instruction. 


4.  Pray they will hunger and thirst for righteousness which will be reflected in their behavior and their thought life. 


5.  Pray they will develop a strong prayer life that leads them into intimate fellowship with their Creator. 


6.  Pray they will be tuned in to the Holy Spirit’s voice leading them day by day. This will help them avoid such things as being unequally yoked in relationships, especially marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14).


7.  Pray God’s Word over your children. As you read and study your Bible, when you come across a passage you would desire for your kids, pray those words over them. Even speak it out loud, calling out their names to God. When I do this, I sometimes write the name of a certain child or grandchild next to the verse. 

SO—we need to pray! We need to pray big time—every day—for our children and for ourselves as parents—grandparents—mentors.  


I’ve seen the results of allowing children to figure out spiritual matters for themselves and it’s often not a pretty sight. When we sow to the wind, we may reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7a). It’s true that sometimes they find their way to God without parental involvement. Nonetheless, from what I’ve observed, the results of sewing to the wind regarding a child’s spiritual upbringing has reaped the whirlwind indeed.

Examples I’ve witnessed have reaped addiction, sexual promiscuity and confusion, prison, mental and emotional insecurities, animosity toward God and parents, spiritual confusion, and all manner of chaos.


So, let’s pray. Let’s pray every day for our children and grandchildren. Their eternal destiny may depend on it.  

What is your greatest prayer for the children in your life? Tell God, right now. Release it to Him and take heart in knowing He hears. Thank Him and worship Him because He loves, He knows, He cares, and He can work in ways that astound us. 


On my Facebook page, I post a scripture-based prayer for children every day. Each one is a good springboard for our appeal to God on behalf of the children in our lives. I’d be honored for you to check it out. See the prayers on Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ConnieWohlfordAuthor/.


©Connie Wohlford 2019


Sunday, August 25, 2019

So, what’s holiness got to do with it?


So, what’s holiness got to do with it?            



God takes holiness seriously.

Preparations had gone on for weeks and weeks and the time had come.

It was the very first of the priestly ministry of Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu. God had given specific instructions. The young priests and their garments were precisely prepared and consecrated with anointing oil. The tabernacle was complete, consecrated, and anointed. The congregation had gathered.


It was time. But something went terribly wrong.


According to Leviticus 10:1-2 NKJV, “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censor and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” WOW!


God is serious about holiness. 
Notice that key word, profane. God does not take kindly to anyone profaning what He calls holy. Let’s repeat that: God does not take kindly to anyone profaning what He calls holy. The word profane literally means strange or unauthorized. It is calling common or using in a common way something which God calls holy.


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Here are some examples: His name (Isaiah 57:15). “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies You” (Leviticus 22:32 NKJV). When someone misuses the name of God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit they are profaning the name of Jehovah God—i.e., profanity. The tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33). When someone uses the tithe for anything other than God’s Kingdom, they’re calling common something God declares holy.  


God is serious about holiness. The occurrence with Nadab and Abihu has always troubled me, but God is God and He is sovereign. He knew what was best at that moment in time. 


In His mercy, we currently live in what many call “the age of grace.” Thankfully, God does not consume us with fire when we profane a thing He has declared to be holy. I would have certainly been zapped a long time ago.  But we should be on notice that God sees our infractions yet stands ready to forgive when we repent. With the shedding of His innocent blood, Jesus took the punishment we deserve for all our sins. Thank You, Jesus!


I appreciate the grace period offered at our public library. If I don’t return a book by the due date, I have a few days of grace which allow me to get it there without penalty. If I don’t get the book there before the end of the grace period, then I must pay up. No one knows the day nor the hour when this cosmic grace period we’re living in will end (Matthew 25:13). When it does end, people will need to pay up. It is urgent to be ready for that day (John 12:47).


After establishing the church in Thessalonica, Paul had been away for a while. He was pleased when Timothy brought back a good report of the growing faith and love of the young ministry, despite affliction and persecution.  Paul sent a letter of encouragement back to the Thessalonians, encouraging them to “stand fast in the Lord” and exhorting them to remain moral and pure, especially regarding sexual behavior (1 Thessalonians 3:8; 4:1-8).


Paul wrote, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NKJV). “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but to holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).


Paul encourages us to be blameless in holiness. In rejecting this call of God, we are rejecting God. I think we’d all agree that without God’s Spirit is us, we cannot be holy, as Paul reminds us at the end of verse 8. Holiness is a minute by minute relationship with our Creator. It is what separates us from the world and worldliness. Holiness is putting on the robe of Christ’s righteousness and standing firm in faith. 


Being holy is choosing to be set apart from cares, distractions, ways of our flesh, and the world’s systems. Instead, we need to walk out and be dedicated to the sacred purpose* of God’s divine call on the life of each of us. I like that term, sacred purpose. The purpose God created each of us for is a sacred thing. We can be confident that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9) and the outcome will be a life of fullness in joy, hope, peace, and love—a life that leaves a powerful legacy of eternal value for those following behind.


Yes, the call to holiness is a tall order for any human being but the power of holiness brings cosmic results in terms of Eternity. Can you think of someone who influenced you because they lived out the sacred purpose God called them to? Now, think of someone who is coming behind you—who is being influenced by you as you walk out the sacred purpose—the holiness—to which God has called you.


I often remind myself of James’ words, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b NKJV). If I want my prayers to avail much, then I need to be mindful of the call to holiness and live righteously. I did not say perfectly. I fall short more than I want to admit but God knows my heart and sees my efforts. And I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit helping me.  


Will you pray with me? Holy Father, You know me well, even my every thought and each beat of my heart. Please help me to live holy before You. Sometimes it’s hard and I falter, doing things I don’t want to do and know I shouldn’t do. But Lord, you always stand ready to forgive me when I come to the place of repentance. Thank You. And thank You for Your Holy Spirit in me, putting a check in my spirit, correcting me, encouraging me, and helping me. You’re so full of love and grace. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.


©Copyright 2019 Connie Wohlford


*sacred purpose – I really like this term.  Spirit-Filled Life Bible; Thomas Nelson Publishing; 1991; Word Wealth for Leviticus 19:2; page 171