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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Have you ever woken up feeling that you just want to go back to bed. You don’t want to think about the future. You don’t want to pick up the house. You don’t care if the dishes are left in the sink. And you don’t care about even opening the curtains to let a little light in.

You just want to remain in the dark. You want to stay in a place where no one can see you. You want to be closed in where you can be alone with your own thoughts and even give yourself the freedom to have a pity party if you desire. And heaven help us if the doorbell rings. We don’t want any intrusions, so we pretend we aren’t home and pretend no one is behind the door. Sometimes these feelings stem from just being lazy. Other times it is because you have been too involved in the outside world that you need a break.

It is okay. It happens to all of us at one time or another.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s verb definition of cocoon is “to spend time at home instead of going out for other activities.” I am one of those people who likes to cocoon!

Usually when I am at home, I like my curtains closed most of the time. It isn’t because I don’t like the light; it is because when I am at home, I like to be truly at home – closed in; away from noise; away from outside pressures. I just like the secure-closed in feeling of being safe – of being allowed to think my own thoughts without distractions.
Jesus needed those times too. He needed to get away to pray by himself. He needed that quiet time to dwell on his life and his God-given mission. We need that too. But, with too much time to reflect, we can become so introverted that we are no use to others. Yes, closing in to relax and have time alone with God is necessary, but if when we find ourselves closing in without the spiritual tug to open ourselves up to be used by the Lord, we need to re-evaluate our motives.

Years ago, I had surgery. I had to stay in the house by myself for 2-3 weeks. Yes, I enjoyed the solitude needed for healing. I enjoyed the days getting up going to the fridge to get a drink, and then going back to bed surrounded by my blankets and my favorite books and reading materials. But, there does come a time when we need to get out. We need to experience life and be around other people.
If we find ourselves in a position where we feel we just can’t get out and face people, we need to muster up enough courage (with God’s help) and fortitude to be able to get going with life. It isn’t that we have to give up our quiet solitary life completely. But, we do need to ‘escape’ our cocoon and see what God has for us.

To do this, we must take time in our solitude to ask God for courage; to trust the Lord to show us how to be brave; how to minister to others; and when to cocoon back into the solitary we enjoy and many times need.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal (ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study (ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)

Photo: ©GreeneFamily

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Moving Away, Moving On, Moving Forward

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines moving as “changing [a] place or position as relating to the activity or process of moving to a different place to live or work.”
Have you ever had to move in one way or another? Most of us will answer an astounding “YES” to that question.  Maybe you have moved to a new house, a new job, a new spiritual journey, or a new stage of life.
Just recently, I encountered moving home to the U.S. after living in Nigeria. I am in the process of adjusting. Many days I find myself pondering or exploring how to pick up the pieces left behind; how to console myself when my friends have moved on in my absence; how to not miss the past; and how to basically get back into the swing of Western culture.

It is tough readjusting. While I feel I “deserve” an adjustment phase, it probably doesn’t help that I am holding on to the past as tightly as children hold on to their security blankets. I am still thinking of my Lagos church, my Lagos Bible study, my Lagos apartment, my newly found Lagos friends, The Punch (the best Nigerian newspaper), and even the little Lagos fabric store at the mall. I miss my Lagos driver and my Lagos housekeeper. And, I don’t miss them so much for their service as I do for their camaraderie. And, all this deep stirring in my heart is creating an emotional response that I am not too proud of.
Maybe you are experiencing a loss of some kind: a job loss, a painful divorce, or a death in the family.  I have been sitting on my couch, way more than I should be lately, cradling a pity-party in my heart and mourning my loss. So, I decided to research how two Bible characters dealt with moving on – one who did so the wrong way and one who did it the right way. And, incidentally, both are named SAUL!
In the Old Testament, King Saul was chosen by the prophet Samuel to be Israel’s first king. King Saul started out as a righteous man, but he allowed his jealousy to get the best of him. When David returned from killing Goliath, 1 Samuel 18:7-9 states, “And the women responded as they laughed and frolicked, saying, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very angry, for the saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed only thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?’ And Saul [jealously] eyed David from that day forward.” Saul’s problem was he foresaw a “JOB LOSS” and he couldn’t accept that he would have to move on. Read 1 Samuel 18-31.
The process King Saul embraced in order NOT TO HAVE TO MOVE ON involved:

-          He harbored ill-feelings and jealousy;

-          He tried to kill [David];

-          He encountered evil spirits;

-          He became angry;

-          He actively sought evil;

-          He lived an inconsistent life towards God;

-          He sought a medium instead of God;

-          He committed suicide.

Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier for King Saul to deal with his ill-feelings and jealousy? He could then have moved on and accepted God’s will and proceeded to the next phase of his life gracefully and with God by his side?
Now, let’s look at someone who had to move on – someone who did it the right way.
In the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus (who later became known as Paul), a die-hard Jew, moved from being a relentless persecutor of believers to a saved follower of Jesus Christ. Saul ravaged the church with threats and actually murdered Christ’s disciples along the way. But one day, on the way to Damascus, a light shone from heaven and Saul came face to face with Jesus’ voice. He became a new man in Christ. After his conversion, Paul was without sight, food, and drink for three days. But as only the Lord can do, He brought Ananias into his life to encourage him in the Lord. He was baptized, ate, and then was strengthened. Paul stayed with Jesus’ disciples being trained in the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ. After his training (and adjustment period), Paul, moved into proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues and beyond. Read Acts 9.
The process Paul used to get him to the place of MOVING ON involved:

-          He embraced his change;

-          He allowed for time of solitude;

-          He accepted encouragement;

-          He strengthened himself by spending time in counseling and training;

-          He actively involved himself in God’s work.

Now, which approach seems best to you – King Saul’s or Saul of Tarsus’ approach?
We all go through transitions in life. Don’t be afraid of the changes in your life. We get hung up on our changes because we are emotional beings. Sometimes we don’t like change, while other times, we do. For you, your transition may involve laughing, smiling, tears, and/or sorrow. We will always have events and circumstances that will confront us. Moving away, moving on, or moving forward brings their own unique challenges, hardships, and/or excitement. Let’s try to use the experiences we face today as a springboard to focus on what is yet to come in God’s eyes. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I think that what God is telling me from this study personally is, “Patti, don’t be afraid of the changes in your life. I sent you to Nigeria; and, I just sent you back. I know what I am doing. Follow your own advice, and DON’T REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MOVES.”
And likewise, “Don’t remove God from your moves.” He knows exactly what He is doing.
Moving Away Verse:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
Moving On Verse:
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV
Moving Forward Verse:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal (ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)
God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study (ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)
Photo: ©GreeneFamily

Thursday, April 16, 2015

State of Emergency


I read a lot of news articles. I have them sent directly to my iPhone. I use Google Alerts so I will be notified immediately on certain topics. I read many online newspapers. And I subscribe to “real” magazines.
One day one of the articles that came through one of my sources and printed in the Star Tribune was entitled More than 40 people killed by 2 female suicide bombers in northeastern Nigeria. The article was about two teenage girls that entered the busy marketplace in Maiduguri, a provincial capital in NE Nigerian state of Borno. In their vests were explosives hidden beneath their full hijabs. The first girl detonated her bomb killing 3 women. As rescuers rushed in, the second girl screamed and set off her explosives, killing many more.

While bombings and killings like this occur frequently in Nigeria, I wondered if we are getting desensitized hearing about it. The answer is probably YES. But, with this article, I wondered if the two girls were being used by the Islamic Extremist group Boko Haram who were immediately suspected to be the insurgents responsible for the attack. Were the girls forced to carry the bombs? And were these girls from the group of the 200+ girls kidnapped from Chibok (78 miles southwest of Maiduguri) in April, 2014 that are still missing? Then, my mind wondered if people are really “suicide bombers” if they are forced to carry out a task such as this. I also placed my heart into the minds of those 200 girls’ parents still missing – wondering if they were all now concerned that these two girls might have been their daughters. There must be nothing like losing a child, double that with your child being kidnapped, double that with thinking that your child might be used by an Islamic militant group to carry bombs, and double that with not knowing if your child is dead or alive.
Maiduguri is the largest city in Borno state. The city had already been placed under a state of emergency because of the extreme violence there.

But what happens when a city has been declared in “a state of emergency?” The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English states a state of emergency is, “when a government gives itself special powers in order to try to control an unusually difficult or dangerous situation, especially when this involves limiting people’s freedom.”

Do you ever feel yourself in a state of emergency? We all do at some point in our lives. Maybe you are mourning the loss of a loved one; coping with a divorce; dealing with a financial crisis; crying out to God for a child or a spouse. No matter what your ‘State of Emergency’ might be, God is the only one that can come to your rescue, answer your questions, and get you to a place of safety. He can do that, but you must first place your trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. With your relationship secure in Him, He has provided you with His Holy Spirit who can guide you in prayer and help you to understand the Bible in new and exciting ways. Look to Him, read His Word, and believe He will touch you and guide you.
While cities and countries depend on the government to help them during these states of emergencies, we must depend on God through our Lord Jesus Christ to get us through our own personal emergencies.

Ephesians 4:19 - And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ESV

Patti Londa Greene, Author
Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal
(ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study
(ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)

[Copyright Free Images]

April 14, 2015 was the ONE YEAR anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok girls (ages 11-18). Please take some time today to pray for their families and their release and/or escape during their "State of Emergency."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Prayer, Hope, and Answers!


At certain times in our lives, we encounter situations that require us to lift up deep cries, wails, and prayers to our heavenly Father. These prayers may involve our health, our family, our loneliness, or a multitude of other circumstances. Let’s take a look at Hannah’s prayer and discover how Hannah felt and how the Lord chose to answer her prayer. Keep in mind that God always sees the big picture for YOUR life, and God’s answers are always designed especially for you or whomever you are praying for.
In 1 Samuel 1-2, we read that Hannah was married to Elkanah. Elkanah was a Godly man who loved Hannah very much; but the Lord had not blessed their union with any children. Peninnah, also Elkanah’s wife had children. Peninnah continually provoked Hannah because of her childlessness to the point she wept and would not eat.  Hannah was embarrassed and grieved with this harsh treatment. Have you ever been at the point, like Hannah, where you have experienced embarrassment, grief, and/or distress? If so, let’s look at the process that Hannah experienced and see if you find any similarities in your life.

1.       God loved Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:5

2.       Hannah had no children. 1 Samuel 1:5

3.       Hannah was embarrassed and grieved. 1 Samuel 1:6
4.       Hannah was provoked, so she wept and did not eat. 1 Samuel 1:6
5.       Her husband loved her. 1 Samuel 1:8
6.       Hannah was distressed. 1 Samuel 1:10
7.       Hannah prayed to the Lord as she wept bitterly. 1 Samuel 1:10
8.       Hannah vowed her unborn child to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:11
9.       Hannah poured out her soul to Eli the priest. 1 Samuel 1:15
10.   Eli gave Hannah hope. 1 Samuel 1:17
11.   Hannah left with a good countenance and wasn’t sad anymore. 1 Samuel 1:18
12.   Hannah conceived and bore a son – Samuel. 1 Samuel 1:20
13.   Hannah gave her child to Eli as she vowed. 1 Samuel 1:24-28.
14.   Hannah rejoiced and glorified the Lord for his answer. 1 Samuel 2:1-2
How often do we find ourselves in one or more of the steps that Hannah found herself? When I read 1 Samuel 1, I became so impressed that Eli gave Hannah hope. And, it took that hope to get Hannah out of her funk. Proverbs 13:12a says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick. . .” It was hope that made Hannah’s countenance shine. She went away with hope. Through hope, her strength returned. She ate and left with a smile on her face (while still in the midst of her situation)!
When you are facing situations beyond your control, remember HOPE. Even Zophar, in Job 11:18, states, “And you shall be secure and feel confident because there is hope; yes, you shall search about you, and you shall take your rest in safety.”
If a friend or family member is in a distressful situation, give them hope. Tell them they can be secure in the Lord Jesus Christ by confessing their sins and trusting in Him. Pray for their perseverance to ease the sorrow they are facing during their difficult time.
In Luke 13, Jesus healed a woman who had been sick for 18 years. “She was bent over completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to look upward.” But she encountered Jesus and was “released from her infirmity . . . all the people rejoiced over all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
The complete verse in Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Amen!!! Keep praying and your longing will be fulfilled in His way in due time.
“For this child I prayed; and the LORD, hath given me my petition which I asked of Him.”
1 Samuel 1:27

Patti Londa Greene, Author
Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal
(ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study
(ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rescue Me

I became aware of a new tool today titled Rescue Me. It is a computer tool that gives “an accurate picture of how you spend your time to help you become more productive every day.”  The program (which you pay for) works “by noting how long you spend on your computer.” It monitors how much time you spend browsing certain websites,” i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Fox News, Pinterest.
I am sure it is a very productive tool and can help us see areas where we need to lessen our online time. This would allow us to get busy and going on things that are more beneficial to our goals – if we have some goals.

The Bible is like that too. When we read the Bible and allow God to search our hearts, He will show us what to do and what not to do. And for all those gray areas in-between, the Holy Spirit will enlighten us to his guidance and direction. Then, we won’t need to spend the valuable time He has given us trying to figure out what path to take. He will have already shown us or given us the peace not to fret over the worries and cares of life.

When our life is too busy, too cluttered, and/or we need rescuing, turn to God. He can “rescue us” and get us on the path He has strewn out for us.
That is absolutely amazing when you think about it.

Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.
Psalm 44:26 NIV

Patti Londa Greene, Author

Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal
(ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study
(ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)