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Daily Prayer

How should I shine?

No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  Luke 8:16

Dear Lord,

You gave us your eternal light for a purpose. Help us to remove the covering of fear or doubt or passivity that hinders your truth from shining out of us. Instead fill us with strong courage and active faith. May your light within us shine out on whomever we encounter today.  Amen.

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Blogs

Latest Blog

What is Prayer?

By Chris Baxter
March 2, 2024
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A Double Debacle

Debacle: a sudden and ignominious failure; a fiasco

Double: times 2

On December 23rd, I decided to do something very spontaneous. Fast thinking and fast action are not my norm, but it was 2 days before Christmas, and I was feeling festive. I was with my new daughter-in-law Acacia for the afternoon because our men were out duck hunting.

It was currently 2:15pm, and we were already traveling toward Nashville from a family visit in Clarksville. My heart rate increased slightly when I cautiously asked,  "Feel like going to the Amy Grant/Vince Gill Christmas concert at the Ryman?"

Conveniently, the concert started at 3pm. Perfect timing!

Acacia, who lives life in the fun lane, said, "Sure! I'm definitely down for that! I love Amy Grant, but I'm not sure who Vince Giller is." I smiled. (Sorry Vince Giller; I'll introduce your legendary voice to her soon enough.)

It was decided; we were in! While Acacia drove down the interstate, I booked our tickets on-line, quickly put in my credit card information, looked it over, and then hit "purchase"--$135 cha-ching, $135 cha-ching. Whew, spontaneity can be costly! Meanwhile, I waited for the confirmation email that provided the two tickets.

Debacle #1: I waited and waited for the tickets to be sent to me, but they never came. After a little research into my on-line order, I realized that I mistyped my own email when booking the concert. NOOOO!!! This meant that our combined $270 tickets were floating around somewhere in cyberspace.

Not to be defeated, we decided to park and get in line for the concert anyway. After all, I could show them my proof of purchase in spite of not having the tickets, right?

Debacle #2: It turns out the tickets I purchased on-line were from a 3rd party that the Ryman was not accepting for this particular concert. NOOOO double way!! Yes, the concert was a no-go.

My heart rate was now near flat.

Of course it was drizzling outside, so we went back to our $50 parking spot, and sat together in the car to discuss what we should do about this "sudden and ignominious failure; this fiasco." We made a phone call or two to cancel the tickets, but to no avail. But because we were in downtown Nashville, and because we had this gold-lined-parking spot for several hours, and because it was the most wonderful time of the year, we decided that the show must go on in some way.

That's how we ended up at the Frist Art Museum. A little down and a little dazed, we walked around and observed the art, we appreciated the art, and then we ourselves did some hand's on art. Now I'm not an artist like my daughter-in-law, but I am a fighter, and I was absolutely going to have a jolly good time, sitting there, sketching the life size mannequin soldier that stood before me, all the while resisting the thought of Amy Grant and Vince Giller singing "Winter Wonderland" in perfect harmony down the street.

Lost in my black and white sketch marks, the clock struck 5pm. The Frist was closing. It was time to put our pencils down and exit.

 

As Acacia and I walked out of the art museum and onto the downtown lit-up city streets of Nashville, we chuckled about the unexpected unfolding of our afternoon: the paid-for concert that almost happened; the memory-in-the-making that did.

Then, right there on the street corner, spontaneity hit... I took my soldier sketch that I was holding in my hand and waved it eagerly above me, saying,

"Anybody want to buy some art for $270?"

----------------

PS To finish this story on a positive note, my husband Mac, who has become quite used to my debacle-lifestyle, was extremely gracious to me when Acacia and I came in the door that night, asking how the concert went. Bless him (again). And not only that, later in the week, he was able to dispute the charge and cancel the credit card transaction altogether. So he saved the day! Maybe I should thank him by taking him to a concert at the Ryman! What do you think?

By Chris Baxter
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
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My Son, "Dream On"

I'm not a "glitter girl," but I was wearing a gown that shimmered.

I'm not a "look at me" personality, but it was my turn to be center-stage.

I'm not a "dancing queen," but my number was called.

The mother-son dance was here. My daughter Maggie whispered in my ear just before the dance,

"Mom, you can do this."

Then, Davis walked over, took my hand and led me to the spacious dance floor. With Ben Rector's lyrics in the background, the lights twinkling overhead, and the gentle breeze blowing around us, I looked up into my 6' 2" son's eyes, and savored my "little boy."

For 3 more minutes, he was all mine. I remembered my friend telling me earlier to pretend no one was watching, so at that moment, just he and I existed.

We slowly swayed to the lyrics:

"...Dream on,

Dream on,

Even when you're afraid all your dreams may be gone,

Just dream on,

Dream on..."

I took a moment to affirm Davis. I told him how he was like his daddy: tall, dark, handsome, a leader, and a "fisher of men."

I then told him how he was like me: a deep well, desiring others to go deep with him, kindhearted, and gospel driven.

The song kept playing; we kept swaying.

Words from the past: "Dream on."

Words for the future: "Dream on."

I told him I was so proud of him and that I loved him,

And, and...

Then--my cue; the song was nearing its end. The words came so quickly--

"Dream on,

Dream on,

To infinity and far beyond;

Maybe they'll take you fabulous places,

Maybe you'll wake up right where you belong."

With these words, I had one last twirl before I handed him over to Acacia his bride.

I wanted the last stanza of the song to be theirs.  

I stepped back to the edge of the dance floor, now empty-handed, but heart full of certainty.

He was right where he belonged.

She is now his number one.

Can a heart rejoice and weep at the same time?

My dress sparkled, my eyes glistened, and my hands folded in a prayer.

I watched the newlyweds gracefully move together, swaying to the first stanza of their life:

"Dream on,

Dream on,

When the world says you're crazy just tell them they're wrong;

When the wold says you're crazy just tell them they're wrong,

and dream on."

Yes, my son, with your beautiful bride in your arms...dream on.

By Chris Baxter
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
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My Full-Circle God

After almost three years of waiting, wondering if I would be able to have more children, my son Davis was born. The experience of having two miscarriages had actually birthed within me a more grateful heart. God's goodness showed up as I held this tangible bundle of love. In fact, my "lullaby song" to him as an infant and toddler became "God is so Good." Each nap time and also when I put him down at night, I would hold Davis in my arms, and sing softly in his ear:

God is so good,

God is so good,

God is so good,

He's so good to me.

Whenever I hear this song now, I can't help but think of God's faithfulness through this trial and the sweetness of his gift, in his choice time.

...Fast forward almost 28 years. Davis is "all grown up" now. Joys and trials are all mixed in his life journey, and of course, as his momma, I have experienced the emotion of it all. His story continues, as it does in each of our lives.

I'm thrilled to say he has found himself a Jesus-lovin' woman whom he will marry next month! Do you know how many years I've prayed for Acacia, not knowing her name?

Only a couple of weeks ago, I went to a bridal shower for her in Orlando, Florida. The weekend was jammed packed full of wedding planning, meeting her friends, seeing the venue, talking through the ceremony, and more! On Sunday morning of this fast-paced weekend, we paused for a bit and went to the church where she and Davis met.

There, after God's word was taught, it was time to worship. And as I stood by my future-daughter-in-law, with the music playing, her heart and hands in lifted high to our faithful God, a song began to play, none other than:

God is so good,

God is so good,

God is so good,

He's so good to me.

Right there in the church row, I had a personal moment with my full-circle God. He took me back and he brought me forward. 28 years in one stanza.

God loves to do that, you know--to bring us back to a place of remembrance so that we can worship him in the present all the more.

This happens all through Scripture. We see it with Moses. The very mountain that he saw the burning bush is the very place where he brought the Israelites to worship after they crossed the Red Sea. Full Circle God.

And of course, we see it with Jesus. He left his rightful throne; he came to earth; he fulfilled his purpose; he gave us his Spirit; and he went back to his throne in heaven. Full Circle God.

So as I stood there by Acacia, I worshiped in the moment, while also seeing the little baby I once held, thanking the Lord for the small gift that grew, and then, my lullaby whisper became a shout of praise:

God is so good,

God is so good,

God is so good,

He's so good to me.

I love my Full Circle God.

By Chris Baxter
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
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Books

40 Day Journey of Prayer

Forty Day Journey of Prayer is a devotional that helps guide the reader into a daily conversation with God. Each day begins with a focused-Bible verse or passage and then is followed by insights pertaining to it. Journal lines are provided to write out prayer requests and personal thoughts. As one commits to reading God's word and praying in this way for forty days, his/her relationship with the Lord will then be marked with both sweetness and strength.

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40 Day Journey of Peace

Forty Day Journey of Peace is a devotional that takes the reader on a quest to find out what brings God's peace. It is divided into three sections: peace with God, peace within, and peace with others. Each day focuses on a selected Bible passage so the reader can discover and apply new insights. Further Scripture references and journal lines are provided to enhance and deepen the participant's journey of peace.

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The Heartbeat of God: 365 Daily Devotions

He is so eager to hear the voice of His people. He waits. O God, You are... , is the choice way that each of these daily prayers begin. Then, a unique name or attribute of God is selected and built upon. The individual prayers are full of Scripture references that contain words of praise and petition, confession and comfort, struggle and strength, drawing the reader into an intimate dialogue with the One who hears and answers. Day after day, week after week, the reader will begin to discover that the heartbeat of God is... good, kind, pure, just, faithful... and that His name is...Comforter, Redeemer, Savior, Friend. Indeed, His heartbeat is ongoing and everlasting.

Learn More