Devorah’s Prayer by Paula Rose Michelson

When I meet Jessie Lemus at the MJAA Conference, I heard about the Battalion of Deborah and remembered the piece I had written about Deborah in 2008 while meditating on scripture. Since I had her email, I contacted her and asked if the Battalion which consists of women committed to Israel’s biblical boundaries, would like to use it. She received it with joy. Although I do not know how they will use this prayer, God seemed to ask me to share it with you. Enjoy…

Scripture: “Barak said to her, “if you go with me, I will go; but if you do not go with me, I will not go.” Very well,” Devorah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Siser over to a woman.” (Judges 4:8-9) In reply, Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,” (John 3:3)

What were you thinking my sister, my kinswoman? How did you come to feel comfortable with the task laid before you? I know that you were a woman of prayer, one that was called by God Most High. If I could have been there would I have heard your petition which is, I think, founded on the same questions all of us women pray when we are asked by God to step out of our normal roles and assume a mantel that is unique? If so I believe that your prayer might have sounded something like this:

“Oh God why have you chosen me for this work,
I am as a seed of wheat,
Not yet ripe for the harvest,
Yet you call!

Oh God why have you asked me to lead men,
I am as one unprepared for war,
Not schooled in weapons and fighting,
Yet you call!

Oh God why have you asked me to bear the burdens of the nation Yisrael,
I am as one of the least of your people,
Not wise in my own understanding,
Yet you call!”

“Daughter, it is because you see yourself as nothing,”
Saying, 'I am as a seed of wheat,
Not yet ripe for the harvest,'
That I call!

Daughter, it is because you see yourself as one unprepared for war,
That I ask you to equip my people with righteousness and send them out with prayer,
For there is no weapon fashioned against my righteous ones that will stand,
That I call!

Daughter, it is because you see yourself as a seeker of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Because you have an undivided heart that yearns for and reaches up to me,
Saying “What is God’s will in this matter,
That I call.

Many are ready for leadership in the world’s sight,
Many are prepared to do things in their own way,
Many believe they have a burden to serve but will leave when the battle turns against them,
But few truly know how to seek after me with all their mind, all their heart and all their soul.

That is why I have chosen you,
For you have chosen to abide in me,
I have chosen you to be a standard to my people,
an example of selfless devotion to their God.

That in seeing your selfless devotion to me,
They may also come to know Adoni-Jireh,
The Lord that will provide today,
Then, they will learn to search for my provision tomorrow.

For just as I had my servant Moses lift up the serpent in the desert,
That all who looked upon it in faith would not die,
Even though they had been bitten by a deadly snake,
My people must learn to look at those I have lifted up and not judge them,
But see me!”

“This I understand Lord Most High,
This, I Devorah, pledge to do and this will I sing about,
And give glory to your name for you chose a servant not a warrior,
That your name would and will be forever proclaimed!”

“Yes, and in the future that is yet to be another comes that is greater that he,
Greater than Moses who I led through the red sea,
Greater then any who have walked the earth,
for this is the Messiah who will herald in the rebirth."

“My Lord, I do not understand for I am not wise,
However, if you will it,
I will pray for those who will hear it,
that you open up their eyes.”

Oh Devorah did you know, as I think all the righteous do, that life is fleeting and there is more to us than the here and now? If so, may I, and all that follow after be as wise as you were. Wise enough to know our wisdom is as nothing before the throne of God Most High. Yet, wise enough to know that what we say and do matters both here and now and ripples throughout eternity. May God grant us all a modicum of understanding and a heart that is melded to His, least we fall into Satan snare and become ineffectual for all who care to hear and heed the message of the Lord and His Messiah!
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Early in the Morning, I Will Seek Your Face - by Paula Rose Michelson

Romans 12: 1 “Therefore, I urge light of God’s mercy, to offer your body’s as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”

O God my rock and my redeemer there is no one like you. No one who understands me as you do. You know that my desire is to please you and yet I am unable to do so without the guidance of the Ruach Ha Kodesh... your Holy Spirit. Remind me, therefore, O Lord to walk close to you. For I am as a young child who at times wanders from away you—the only one who knows what is best for me. But where can I go and what can I do without your guidance? What can I accomplish that has merit in your sight or value for eternity unless I stay close to you?

When I was a young child, I ventureed out to explore my world so that I could eventually become a separate and distinct person. However, my relationship with you is the antithesis of this. In order to present myself to you a sacrifice that is worthy and pleasing, I have learned to seek you first and keep you close to me throughout my day. My hunger to become a worthy disciple of yours has allowed me to break though my own desire to be an island unto myself. I admit that I need your presence in my life moment by moment in a way I never needed anyone else.

Although I am aware that I have the freedom to choose to spend time with you early in the quite hours of the morning, or not, each day I have to chose whether I want to be a living sacrifice for you or to sacrifice my life upon the altar of some other god who is not God at all. Thank you, Ha Shem for calling me to spend time with you this morning. I know that by putting you first in all that I do I will not waste this day storing up treasure that does not last and creating a life that has no significance but is full of wasted potential.
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Making Things Work Out Right For Me (and that is not being selfish) by Diana Kilgore

Paula’s Note…

Several weeks ago my friend Diana sent me this write up about a book that made a difference. Since she had sent me, two write ups I posted her “Little Engine that Could” piece and save this one for later. Little did I realize then the wisdom of doing that, in fact it wasn’t until I opened this short response that I realized how gracious God is for He prepares us for the unexpected with missives which in their due season He uses to minister His love through others. After you read what Diana wrote, I will explain what I mean. For now, be blessed…

From Diana…

I had little guidance in my life as far as life skills. I was pretty miserable feeling like I was taking one step forward and two steps backward. I had been married about 10 years when a career councilor recommend I read "Feeling Good" by Dr.'s Mernith & Meier. It’s a book about changing yourself though cognitive therapy. More easily put. You determine what is not working for you, where it came from, what you do with it and replace it with some thing that does work for you. This challenging book put a method to things I did that drug me down and made difficulties. I didn't change instantly, unfortunately, but I realized so many things I wanted to change that as I worked on them one at a time I began to free myself. It felt really good. Others noticed a change right away. Some thought it was good, others reacted negatively. This is a process. From time to time I read it just to discover more and encourage myself about how far I've come. I had to buy a new copy because I "loved" it so much.

Paula’s Note…

I love that Diana amended the title to read “And that is not being selfish.” If you are wondering why--and who wouldn’t, it’s because we believers are continually asking ourselves the “Am I being selfish,” question. We seem to want to beat ourselves up as if walking in the truth of Messiah means that we deny what we need. For example, today was a red-letter day for me because I had been waiting to get my editors comments and suggestions. Since I had sent Casa de Naomi – Yearning in the end of October, I was eager to begin working on the text! However, imagine my surprise when I discovered, upon reading her email that after all her work she would not be able to bring the novel to fruition because she was moving closer to her family. At first, I felt disappointed since I was certain this was the editor I was to work with. Then I was worried for her since no one leaves a job their good at and moves close to family unless there is a need. Finally I had to admit that underneath all these concerns I could hear the “Why me,” whine which as a believer I have come to loath. I tried to force that idea away but it would not leave so taking it in as I knew I must I realized that I wasn’t being selfish…I was being human. And being human no matter how much we wish to be like Christ, informs us of the human state from which we, if aware, can minister to others.

I’d like to say that I overcame the lethargy that descended upon me. Yet it was not I that overcame…The Spirit did!

So if you, like me or my friend Diana think your being selfish, think again and remember that if the Lord reinstated John so He could be used how much more will He do through those of us who admit our shortcomings and allow Him it use us…
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The Lord Hears the Prayers of the Righteous

Let us remember Proverbs 15:29 and stand firm with our believing brothers and sisters in Christ, united in prayer each day for one minute. Our God is listening.

Someone has said that if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer we might be speechless. Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, 8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, and are concerned about giving out their email address please ask them to visit this site and join so that we can support each other through the email available here. Remember, our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Please forward this to your praying friends.
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Why I Read What I Read and Why I Chose to Pass it On - by Paula Rose Michelson

A friend asked me to submit an answer to the question “Why do I read what I read,” and base it upon a children’s book published in 1911. What follows is the short story I wrote. When my friend received my submission, she told me she had not expected a story but a few lines. However, she loved this piece and suggested I have it published. It seemed to me that with a blog titled “Year of 5,000 Books, I should post it for you to read. Enjoy…

It is cold and rainy like all the other cold rainy nights that seem to eradicate all light from Londonderry town and tonight is sadly no different from that Friday night a fortnight ago. I remember it and believe I always shall for mama and I were hurrying to prepare for the Shabbat when papa stormed in.

“Stien’s twins are ill again,” he said. He grabbed his medical bag and rushed out.

I saw mama grab her stomach, groan, and crumple to the floor. By the time I had moistened a compress and knelt at her side she was gone…gone from me as surely as if she had never been.

Papa found me there cradling her head as I cried, “Mama told me she was not ill but merely with child. She made me promise that I would keep her secret for she wanted to surprise you in the spring!”

A sigh escaped papa’s lips. He picked me up and drew me into the soothing comfort of his warm embrace. “Oh my dear one,” he said, he voice ragged with loss, “Mama knew she was ill and did not wish to burden you unduly.”

I shook my head and pushed away from him. “Sir,” I insisted as if I were role-playing rather than mourning, “due you take me for a simpleton!”

“No, I take you for what you are dear daughter--a child who has lost her mama. Nothing more…nor less!”

I glared at him. this man…this father who had been gone when mama needed him the most! My father the doctor who had given up the comfort most doctors had to work with the poor was able to save their lives but not the one he was sworn to love. No retort came to mind so I allowed him to take me to my bed where he fluffed my pillow, lay me down, and covered me up. He was about to leave when it seemed, though I am not certain since, it was quite dark in the long narrow drafty closet that served as my room-but it seemed that he hesitated, nodded and sighed. “I will return momentarily.”

“I would not notice if you did,” I snipped hating myself for becoming less than my mama had taught me to be, yet angry with him for not taking care of her.

“Your mama feared you would act this way,” he muttered. He closed the door behind him.

Once I heard it close, I began to wail and sob. At some point, I must have fallen asleep. When I awoke, I could see faint shards of light between the floor and door. It must be morning, I thought. My stomach grumbled in reply. I listened for footfalls but there was no sound. A sense of foreboding prompted me to leap from my bed for many children--I had heard when bereft of hearth and home, were wont to roam the streets. “Oh,” I silently prayed, “dear papa please, be understanding, kind and forgiving…please!”

I put on as best a face as I could, opened the door a crack and looked around. The kitchen, which had been in disarray the night before, was set to rights. And mama--as much as I had wished the situation to be different from the one I remembered—when I scanned the room, there was no mama. Then I heard voices from their bedroom, peeked in and saw auntie and papa in conversation as they prepared mama for burial.

They looked up. For some reason, which I cannot yet fathom, when they did, I shied away.

“Alice, come back here,” my aunt insisted.

I aquesied and stood waiting.

Aunt walked around me as if taking me in for the very first time. I saw her open her mouth as if to say something.

However, before she could papa sat down, patted his knee as he always had when he wished to invite me to join him. Aware that he had forgiven my behavior of the night before I jumped onto his lap and kissed his face as tears, both his, and mine mingled. When we had finally dispensed with our apologies, he insisted, “Now then, I have something for you.” When he pulled a cloth wrapped package from behind mama’s pillow I wondered at what he had said for it was apparent that mama had purposefully wrapped it in what remained of her wedding gown.

Papa saw tears course down my face, took out his kerchief and said, “Now we will have none of that,” as he alsway had when Mama was alive. I wanted to reprimand him. Instead, I sniffled them back to please my papa. When I saw him force a smile it seemed to me that, he was relieved that I would not make a scene but be a sensible girl. “Mama knew that she was dying and made me promise that when she did I would give you this book as a gift from me to you, but one wrapped in her love, which,” he insisted while he pulled out his kerchief and dabbed at his eyes, “which she promised would last you your whole life through.”

I wanted to yell at him and tell him he was a bloody fool to think that a book--no matter how grand, could replace my mother. Instead, I unwrapped the precious fabric, which was all that remained of my parents’ pledge of their troth to each other and read, "Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie, illustrated by F. D. Bedford." It being 1911, I knew this book cost more than my papa and mama should have ever thought to spend. For gifts were usually made at home and done from scraps and bits or on rare occasions yarn for mama to knit a much needed scarf, mittens or sweater could be purchased or bartered for if need be. However, a book--not the Holy Book, a children’s book from the looks of it, was a singularly odd gift indeed.

“Your mama fancied it for you since it is about children some of whom do not have a mother. She hoped that it would give you solace if instead of thinking only about yourself, you did as she did and strove to use your situation to help others.”

I wanted to yell at papa for making me feel far worse than I already did. Yet I could not for mama was right and I knew it. I nodded my head, took the slim volume, turned, and entered the kitchen. I put the kettle on to boil and sat down by the window where the light was best. An hour passed--maybe two before I noticed that the pain in my heart had somewhat been ameliorated by my concern for Wendy, her brothers, Peter Pan and the lost boys.

I began to write down all that I have shared with you. However, that was a very longtime ago. Tonight I am giving this book to you Johnny as it was given to me for you see this book is for children like you. Ah, I see you are looking at me as if to say, grandmamma no one I have cared for has died. You are right and glad I am of that! Yet since this novel helped me become me, I believe with Gods help the very same thing will happen to you so let us read it together tonight.
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