Tag Archives: foundation stones

Nuggets of Hope 19 – At All Times

Do you praise the Lord at all times?

That’s what David vowed to do after God rescued him from the crafty Abimilech.

I will bless [praise] the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord ;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Psalm 34:1-2

Twenty-eight years ago today my daughter Bethany was born. It was a day of great rejoicing. Marion and I had not planned on a fourth child but God saw fit to intervene. We had also not expected to have a daughter. I remember the Holy Spirit speaking to me and telling me that He was giving me what I had desired but had not asked for. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and praised the Lord.

Five years ago today my daughter-in-law Carmen lost almost all of her small bowel. I will never forget the phone call from my son Joe telling me that she was about to have surgery and might not survive. I left my desk, went for a long walk and prayed as I have seldom prayed before. I knew that Carmen’s life was ultimately in the hands of the Lord.  That was a hard day, but God has shown himself faithful. I don’t say this only because she survived – although I am very thankful that she not only survived but is now thriving. Even if she had been taken from us, God would have shown himself faithful. He is always faithful to His good, eternal purposes. That is who He is.

We don’t praise the Lord only or primarily to get things from Him, although praise does release God’s blessings into our lives in a powerful way. We praise Him because He is worthy of our attention, worthy of being the primary focus of our lives. There is no-one else more worthy of our loving, appreciative, thankful attention. But we also praise and worship God because we need to.  It’s good for us. Praising and worshipping God has a wonderful way of putting things into perspective for us. As we lay down our concerns and forget ourselves in praising and worshipping Him, everything else takes its place.

Not many months after surrendering my life to the Lord and going through my first series of severe tests after coming to faith, I remember being at a Christian family camp where Harold Harding was ministering in teaching and personal prophecy. I do remember some of what he said – in fact his personal prophetic word to me had a profound impact on me – but what had the greatest impact was his habit of pacing up and down the platform, praying over and over again “Thank you Lord” as he waited for prophetic words to come. I saw in him qualities of perseverance, constancy and steadiness that had developed over a lifetime of both blessings and trials. He looked for the hand of God in both, and so his life remained stable and fruitful until the day he passed into the presence of Jesus.

There’s something very stabilizing about praise. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is shaking the nations, and we can all feel its impact in multiple ways, one of the best things we can do is to turn our attention to God and praise Him. When we turn our attention away from ourselves and our concerns, and away from the opinions, judgments, mistakes, achievements and social media pronouncements of others, and fix our attention on the Maker of the Universe, we soon begin to realize how very small people are and how very big God is.

Paul wrote to the young church in Corinth during a time when they needed a dose of encouragement due to a crisis in their life together. He reminded them of their foundations.

Now it is God who makes both us and you
stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
set his seal of ownership on us,
and put his Spirit in our hearts
as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

When we turn our attention to Him and surrender to His good work in our lives, God puts a firm foundation under our feet, and He anoints us and seals us with His Spirit – the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and empowered Him for his ministry. None of this is from us. It’s all from God. He redeems us from the pit and gives us stability and hope, He gives us the power to live a new life, and He gives us the promise that His good work in us will be completed and that we will get to share in His eternal inheritance if we remain faithful.

It’s good for us, sometimes, to be reminded of the losses that others have suffered. It was good for me today to be reminded of the pain that Carmen has been through and the grief, sorrow and travail that so many of us experienced as we were waiting anxiously for news about her first and second surgeries during that horrible period of testing five years ago. It’s also good to remember our joys, as Marion and I take delight in remembering Bethany’s birth twenty-eight years ago today. But it’s even better, having revisited both past joys and past sorrows, and having taken stock of present challenges like the current pandemic, to turn our faces and our hearts to the God of the universe who alone is worthy to be worshipped and praised.


House of Prayer : Foundation Stones

Good morning praying friends,

On this weekend when Christians remember the death of our Lord, celebrate His resurrection and look forward to His coming again in glory, my thoughts are turning once again to laying foundations for the Vanier House of Prayer.

Since our premature launch attempt a couple of months ago, I have “gone silent” in regard to the House of Prayer, but when anyone has asked, I have said we were “building underground” — cultivating relationships that will be crucial to the health of the HoP down the road.

Although this process is far from complete, I am sensing that the time is not far off when we will need to begin building above ground, putting some simple foundation stones in place that will be crucial for what follows.

Sometimes I “see” things in my spirit that are from God, but don’t have complete clarity as to timing and how to get there. Over the past couple of weeks I have caught glimpses of a couple of simple foundation stones for the House of Prayer. I would appreciate prayer for clarity in terms of the timing and other details of setting these foundation stones in place.

One of these foundation stones is a weekly gathering for worship, prayer and simple teaching. The focus of the gathering would be intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and its main purpose would be to provide an atmosphere that makes it easy to enter into the presence of God. This would not be primarily an intercessory gathering. Although we will probably do some intercession at this gathering as it develops, its initial purpose would be primarily devotional. The teaching would focus on drawing near to God, intimacy with Him, and hearing and responding to His voice.

I believe this is something that we are to offer. I’m less clear as to time and place. At the moment, Marion and I sensing that we are to begin these gatherings in the fall of this year. That seems a long way off, but it would allow a bit more time for the consolidation of our new relationships at The Village. Please pray for confirmation as to timing.

In terms of a location, we are considering offering our home as an initial meeting place. We have had prophetic words about the Lord using our living room as a birthing place for the House of Prayer — in particular as a place to pray with individuals who come to us. We are very much open to this and have already seen it beginning to happen, but our living room is quite small and won’t hold a lot of people. So, please pray that the Lord would give us His wisdom in terms of an initial meeting place.

I expect to be the initial worship leader at these meetings, but as this weekly gathering develops, I will be looking to the Lord to raise up worship leaders of His choosing. In keeping with our vision for a small, simple, local House of Prayer, we are not looking for superstars, but for willing vessels who have a heart for the presence of the Lord and are willing to learn.

Finally, I am very much aware that I am not a promoter – this is probably one of the areas in which I am least gifted – so I would appreciate your prayers that the Holy Spirit would draw people, as well as your participation in inviting people to come along with you when the time comes for us to begin these meetings.

A second foundation stone is prayer walking. As I was waking up the other day — one of the times when the Lord frequently drops prophetic possibilities into my spirit — I “saw” a picture of a group of people prayer walking through Vanier, and realized that a regular (weekly or bi-weekly) prayer walk could be a very simple and effective foundation stone for the House of Prayer, especially during the spring, summer and fall months. Again, I’d appreciate your prayers as to timing (when to initiate this), and that the Holy Spirit would draw people.

Thank you for praying. Please feel free to contribute your insights in the form of comments. Blessings to you as you celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.