Understanding the Mystery of Prayer and God’s Promises

May 24, 2019
Mystery of Prayer

We know God answers prayer.

Hannah prayed so tearfully in the tabernacle that the high priest thought she was drunk. But she longed for a child because she couldn’t conceive. When she gave birth to Samuel, she dedicated him to God.

That happened before all the commands and prayer promises, yet because the patriarchs had sought out God with their concerns, she went to God.

I’ve seen answers to prayer too.

Mother mentioned she’d love to have carpet when I was young. So I prayed God would give us carpet. I didn’t expect to get carpet.

Later, my parents won a contest and received wall to wall carpet in their living room and dining room. Mom and Dad dubbed me their little prayer warrior.

Now I believe God was encouraging me to pray.

However, sometimes we pray  and long for an answer. A lot. And we pray for years. Nothing happens. At least, we can’t see anything. Discouragement can take over.

I’ve met people who say, “Prayer doesn’t change things, it changes you.”

Or “God answers. But it might be no.”

Let’s consider prayer promises in the New Testament:

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

 Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

 Matthew 7:9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?

 Matthew 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

Matthew 7: 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

My husband, Ray Simmons, a teaching elder at our church, offers answers.

The photo: Olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemene

Check out this episode!

Adult Children

Developing Friendship with Your Adult Children

May 17, 2019
Adult Children

After spending a life time teaching them and guarding them from harm, moms must step aside and allow our adult children to make choices.

Moms of all ages should consider the future and plan for it. God gives incredible authority to parents, but only for a short time because kids can’t be held responsible.

We have to release them.

If I eat that extra cookie, I can forgive myself, but if my adult child does that, oh dear. Moms think of all the consequences.

He or she shouldn’t eat chocolate. Vegetables are better for you. Processed food!

But, with adult children, moms can’t say that anymore.

That’s so hard because we care, deeply. We gave up our life for that child, and we can’t forget that.

Once a mom, always a mom. We love our babies. (except they aren’t!)

Terri Gillespie, mother, author, and speaker, shares how she built a friendship with her former prodigal.

Check out this episode!


Tips on Being a Great Mother

May 10, 2019

All of us want to be a great mother.

I can remember watching John Boy and his family on TV. How I loved it when everyone said goodnight as the program ended.

And I wanted to be a wonderful mother, like John Boy’s.

However, when my first child was really small, she climbed into my lap and bit me. My first reaction was to slap her fact.

Then I felt terrible. I should have pushed her away and said something amazing like the TV program. I failed and felt terrible.

We need good advice and direction from others who had experience.

Peggy Sue Wells  is my guest today. She offers tips from experience and research.

Check out this episode!


Help For Caregivers

May 3, 2019


Women tend toward nurturing, so we usually end up with the job,

However, when it comes to caring for family members, the job can be tough.

When my mother had her hysterectomy, I was an RN and worked at a local hospital. Mother scheduled her surgery so I could stay with her that first night so she wouldn’t be alone. I got off from work at eleven and went to stay with mother.

I tend to sleep soundly, and she had a hard time waking me up in the middle of the night so she could go to the bathroom.

I had already worked an eight-hour shift, yet I was embarrassed when my body didn’t want to get up at 2 a.m. I felt I had failed her.

If you are caring for a family member, there’s a lot involved, especially if you’re doing long-term care.

We all have hot spots, and emotional baggage from a lifetime of being in the same family. Add to that the fact that we save the worst of ourselves for the family, and you have a tough combination.

Years ago, all the nursing was done at home and that’s a good idea today since our culture no longer values life.

The whole discussion about quality of life can be an attempt to decide whose life is worthy to be lived.

For instance when my grandmother lived in a nursing home, the staff told the nurses a heart attack or stroke is not a medical emergency.

Since they knew acting quickly saved lives, they downgraded these catastrophic events to normal.

Because we want our loved to get the proper care, many of us become the caregiver.

But it’s hard, particularly if you have someone with dementia who asks the same question every twenty seconds.

In my father’s final illness, he became angry with family members, and no one likes to be yelled at.

Veteran caregiver, Deborah Keys shares tips for those considering the job and guidance for those already doing the work. Plus, learn how you can support and encourage someone in the trenches.

Check out this episode!


Welcoming Shades of Green

April 30, 2019

Regardless your journey, how many are joyful because the clouds have washed away, the leaves are different shades of green, and the weather is comforting? Here at Heart of the Matter Ministries, we are glad indeed!
For this month, let’s work on discerning the Holy Spirit, more… which means, seeking Him for everything.

Let’s kick off May with prayer. Ready?

Dear Father,

By the grave-robbing, kingdom-advancing, Christ-exalting power of the Holy Spirit, restore us with the joy of Your incomparable salvation; renew our love for the beauty and freedom of holiness; and intensity our awareness and excitement about the occupied throne of heaven. In the name of Jesus, the exalted name, Amen.

The Art of Living is #OthersCentered Calendar-May 2019-Cynthia L. Simmons

To download the May 2019 Calendar Challenge, click here.


Deception and the History of the Great Awakening

April 27, 2019

No one wants to be caught in web of deception.

When my children were little, we had met a couple in our church who targeted us to help them. They wanted to start a new church In our area, and they thought we’d make good partners.

Over a period of several months we considered working with them because we liked them. We shared the same faith, and God had gifted them in several areas.

However, we knew potential problems. We prayed about the situation and even talked to my husband’s mentor to get his opinion of the couple. God showed us some very glaring problems with the way this couple interacted with each other and with other believers.

We finally chose not to partner with them.

Here’s the key to avoiding deception.

I John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

This verse lets us know we can’t trust everybody just because they come to our church.

False prophets can be very charming and sneak in false doctrine after they have managed to get your trust. Not only do they teach things that aren’t true, they often abuse the flock.

Someone coined the statement, “The shepherd shouldn’t eat the sheep.” And I totally agree. So that means we must discern truth from falsehood.

Part of this discernment comes with maturing.

Hebrews 5:14 says “Sold food is for the mature, for those who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good from evil.”

Children can’t drink only milk. They need solid food to be healthy. The same is true of believers. When we rely on Scripture, we know God’s truth. We have to learn the word, so we have to tools to discern good from evil. Because  false teachers are very subtle and nice.

Today Rebecca Price Janney is my guest. She has written, Morning Glory, a story about the Great Awakening that came in colonial days.

Many people, however, didn’t like the preaching of the revivalists. And we are going to learn more about the time and find out how someone might avoid deception whenever they heard a new preacher.


Finding Jesus and His Resurrection in the Passover Seder

April 19, 2019

The Resurrection plays no part in Easter today. We decorate eggs and dress up rabbits, but chickens lay eggs.

During Easter, believers celebrate the resurrection, which is the most important holiday in Christendom.  

People asked Jesus for a sign that he came from God, and he gave them the sign of the resurrection.

That is, Jonah spend three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, and Christ promised he’d spend three days in the tomb but then rise again.

He proved who he claimed to be when he rose from the dead. Lots of people have claimed to be a prophet or even a messiah, however, if you back up your claim with a miracle, it sticks.

On the first day of the week, the disciples found Jesus’s tomb empty. Later over 500 people saw him alive.

I Corinthians 15 explains the necessity of the resurrection.

14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 

15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 

16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 

17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 

19 If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Because of the importance of the resurrection, my husband and I chose to do a Passover Seder every Easter.

Early Jewish Christians left lots of clues about Jesus in the Seder.

This week, my husband, Ray Simmons is my guest. He is a teaching-elder at Grace Community Church and will explain the resurrection symbolism in the Seder.


How to Manage Regret with Forgiveness

April 12, 2019

We’ve all done things we regret, and we must live with less-than-perfect.

Lately I’ve been having those odd dreams where I get out in public without being fully dressed.

In one dream, I was supposed to dress up as a character for a party. The only outfit I liked had a sparkly lace bodice and a full fluffy skirt. However, the lace had a very wide grid so you could see everything underneath. But I bought it. Regret!

That’s a problem. I’m a very private person, and I was miserable. I knew people could see my upper body and my underwear.

Finally, I found strips of paper towel and put it behind the bodice. At that point, I had to hold it in place, which wasn’t easy. The whole thing was a nightmare. Regret.

And as a child, I regretted my actions too. How often I wanted to go back in time and reverse my choice, especially if I hurt someone.

However, many of our choices can’t be changed, and we have to put up with the decisions our friends make. There’s a verse in the OT written by the prophet Joel to Israel:

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust, Joel 2:25

That means God can take the awful and turn it around.

The Old Testament says, “Give the repentant nation larger harvests than they would naturally yield.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great preacher from the Victorian era, explained that verse: First the person must throw himself on the mercy of God and ask for forgiveness, or in this case, the nation.

As we approach Easter, we remember Christ’s sacrifice for our sins:

Isaiah 53 says:

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
    he was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement of our peace was upon him,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

My guest today is Linda Rondeau. Linda wrote Hosea’s Heart, and the main character must deal with regret.


Embracing the Gift of Hospitality

April 5, 2019

I thought hospitality would come easily for me. Mom entertained often, and I watch what she did. Often I helped.

However, Mom made the job appear easy. When I got married and moved two hundred miles away from home, I found myself making mistakes.

When we first married, hospitality meant having couples for dinner.

For instance, once when I had guests, which happened to be family, I intended to make iced tea and Kool-aide. However, I talked while I worked because I thought talking was entertaining, I poured the two drinks together. That make me feel like a crazy person.

My husband loved having people over, but I had to do all the work.

First, I had to plan the meal, worrying about whether it was good enough. In fact, in those early years out budget was so tight I couldn’t afford to do it often because I spent more on the meal.

Second, I’d scour the apartment, worrying about what our guests would think about my decorating and my organization.

Last, I would have to wash all the dishes afterwards, which was a bigger mess since I had done more work than usual. Because I wanted everything to be perfect, I stopped having people for dinner.

Hospitality was huge in the early church because they met in homes. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer.” Acts 2:42

Hospitality is also included in the qualifications for elders, so God wants us to open our homes.

Today my guest is Michelle Lazurek who wrote, An Invitation to the Table, Embracing the Gift of Hospitality. She shares how it changed her life.


Welcome April

April 1, 2019

Whether you’re a mom of a preschooler, a homeschool mom, a mystery reader at heart, or a very tired mamma or empty nester, let’s choose to welcome April with open arms. It’s the month we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s the month where we happily cheer at the sight of blooming flowers, but growl at its yellow dust, it’s another month for new beginnings and resolutions. What will you resolve this month?

To kick-off April, let’s pray together: 

Dear Father, This month we celebrate Your death for our sins and your resurrection. As we ponder the sacrifice You made for us, we pray for a deeper understanding of Your love. You conquered death so that we have nothing to fear. Let gratitude fill our hearts. Enable us to praise You more and more. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.

The Art of Living is #OthersCentered Calendar-April 2019-Cynthia L. Simmons

To download the April 2019 Calendar Challenge, click here.

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