May 26, 2015

There’s Power in Praying God’s Word w/ Giveaway

****UPDATE: WINNERS OF THIS GIVEAWAY FOUND AT THE END OF THE COMMENTS****

Praying God’s Word has completely transformed my prayer life. Over the years, I have witnessed specific and powerful answers to prayer. Why? Because when we pray God’s Word back to Him, He must honor it. True to His character, He cannot go back on His Word.

(Be sure to read through to the end to sign up to receive my FREE 5 Day Devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life” and to leave a comment for a chance to enter our giveaway!)

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Think about these two questions:

Mom, can I have a piece of candy?

Mom, remember yesterday you promised me a piece of candy? May I have it now, please?

Which statement resonates more strongly in your heart (especially as a parent) … the one in which your child simply asks for a piece of candy, or the one in which your child reminds you of your promise? The latter, of course. When we pray God’s Word back to Him, we’re reminding Him of His promises.

It’s important to realize that God honoring His Word doesn’t always result in a “yes” to our prayers, but we can be assured that His answer will be in line with His Word and true to His character.

When teaching His disciples about abiding and prayer, Jesus spoke these words from John 15:7,

“If you remain in me and my Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

The key to powerful and effective prayer is knowing and praying God’s Word.

Today I want to share with you how I started praying God’s Word.

First, I thought of something that was weighing heavily on my heart. I then opened my Bible and prayed this prayer: “Father, open the eyes of my heart so I can see what You have to speak into my life about this topic.”

Second, I turned to the concordance at the back of my Bible. A concordance sorts Scripture by topics (fear, worry, peace, forgiveness, anger, peace, joy). If your Bible does not have one, you can do a Google search asking “Scriptures on _________.” I then searched for my topic, chose a few verses and wrote them down. I asked God for ears to hear and a heart to receive what He wanted to speak to me.

Finally, I wrote each verse on a piece of paper and personalized them. I’ll share an example of this below.

At that time, I desperately wanted to pray for my 2 children, Lauren and Bo. But I struggled with exactly how to pray. I thought about what was on my heart for them and found Scriptures addressing those issues.

I started with baby steps and selected a few verses …

Lord, please hide Your Word in Lauren’s heart so her desire is to please You and obey You in all she says and does.(Psalm 119:11)

Help Bo trust in You with all His heart and lean not on his own understanding and to acknowledge You in all his ways.(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Remind Lauren when she feels discouraged and like she cannot accomplish what is set before her that she can do all things through You who strengthens her.(Philippians 4:13)

Clothe Bo in humility and teach him to put others first. (Ephesians 4:2, Luke 18:14)

Grow Lauren and Bo in wisdom, stature, and favor with You and with man.(Luke 2:52, Daniel 1)

Another example. If you struggle with worry, look up the words anxious, worry or peace in the concordance  and read through the verses you find. I found Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (NLT). Then write your prayer.

Your prayer could read like this:

Father, I have so much on my mind right now. I cannot even sleep at night. I feel so anxious. Your Word asks me to pray about everything. So right now, Father, I am coming to You with my worries, especially___________. Father, I thank You that You are in control of all things. I want to experience Your peace. So right now I am giving all of my worries to You claiming Your promise that in doing this, Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding, will guard my heart and mind. I thank You that I will be filled with Your peace from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I trust You for this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

I trust the Lord brought you here to answer the cry of your heart to pray more effectively. And I would LOVE to hear what verses God speaks to you and/or the prayers He leads you to pray as you seek to pray God’s Word back to Him. Leave a comment today and share the verses or prayers. I will choose two names to win!

One winner will recive a signed copy  Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life, and

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the other a copy of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story. I will announce the winner this weekend!

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Click here to sign up for my FREE 5 Day Devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life.”

Blessings,

April 21, 2015

Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Peace

PEACE

 “state of tranquility or serenity, cessation or freedom from strife and dissension”

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

But are we ever truly at peace?

Oh, how I want to be. But it’s so easy for circumstances and people to steal my peace.  Some days their actions, or lack thereof, make me grumble and complain. Other days their words cause me to scowl and roll my eyes. And sometimes I completely lose it.

Notice my word choice: “they make me.” I blame my husband, my sassy teenager, the irritating people on the highway, the rude clerk at the store, the demanding boss for stealing my peace. It feels better that way. Justified.

Yet after the looks flash across my face or the words spew forth from my lips, I hate it! I wished I hadn’t. I want to stop, to be kind, to be patient. But I can’t. I just can’t. Something in me just can’t stop myself! My heart cries, What is wrong with me??

Can you identify?

My comfort comes; my hope for peace returns when I read Paul’s words in Romans 7:15,

Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why: I am not able to do the things I want; and at the same time, I do the things I despise. (NIV)

Wow! Even Paul felt this way. The greatest evangelist that ever lived struggled with walking fully in God’s peace. He got angry. He lost his temper. People irritated him.

It’s called sin!

It’s our natural bent. Without Jesus we would live this way every day, every hour, every minute.

To overcome that natural bent, we must feed our spirit.

We forget that as saved children of God, we have two natures. Physical AND spiritual.

Without Jesus, we walk in the physical. We respond in the physical. We allow our sin nature to lead us.

When I lose my patience easily; when my tongue lets loose quickly, when I feel devoid of peace, it’s because I am allowing my physical self to control my thoughts, emotions and speech. And looking back, it’s those times that I’m not sitting at the feet of my Father … really spending time reading and absorbing His Word. Consequently, my peace dissipates, and I end up  angry. Restless. Impatient. Intolerant.

Jesus, our Great Shepherd, did not live a divided life. His physical and spirit united as one. And His Spirit controlled His physical. He allowed it to lead in all He said and did. He offered His total life to His Father. Scripture tells us

I have come down from heaven not to pursue My own agenda but to do what He desires. I am here on behalf of the Father who sent Me. John 6:38 (The Voice)

Jesus did His Father’s will … always.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whatever you do—whether you eat or drink or not—do it all to the glory of God! (The Voice)

Jesus desired to glorify God in everything He said and did. And so should we. Really, every act of our lives should reflect His peace, His love, and His character.

Friend, let’s pray together with one heart to unite our natural self  with our spiritual self so that God’s peace and His presence will permeate our every word and deed.

Not perfectly. But consistently.

So when we lose it, and we will, our hearts are more prepared and open to repenting and asking forgiveness, thereby modeling again our Father’s character.

We must PRACTICE living a life of peace.

We must invite God into our every day. It’s when we include Him in our daily activities that peace will permeate our hearts and homes.

Isaiah26.3.PerfectPeace

IN CHRIST WE CAN DO THIS!! Not in our own strength, but in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Do you have days like mine? Times where you can’t explain the lack of peace? Share them with us today and share how you find your peace again. It helps to know we are not alone!!

Sweet Blessings to you today!

April 2, 2015

An Easter Gift from My Heart to Yours

Easter Quiet Time

Guided Abiding Time with Jesus 

 

Easter is such a precious time in our faith. One of my favorite ways to celebrate is to simply sit and soak in God’s Word. Below please find a guided quite time that I pray tenderly leads you to a sacred meeting place with Jesus in the Holy of Holies tucked inside your heart. There are no rules…you can do it in one sitting or over several days.

Hear the Word of the Lord

Psalm 33:1-11

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Praise our Abba Father…

a. Psalm 27:4

 

b. Psalm 84

 

c. Psalm 90:1-2

 

d. Psalm 145, especially 14, 17-20

 

e. Isaiah 43:1-7

 

Do you know He has called you by name, created you for His glory? Do you know He and He alone is your dwelling place? Journal your thoughts.

 

See how great is the love of God…

a. Isaiah 1:18 and Isaiah 53:1-12

 

b. Psalm 51

 

c. Psalm 139

 

d. John 8:36

 

e. Romans 8:1

 

f. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

g. 1 John 1:8-9

 

 Spend a few moments praising God and receive the unfailing love of our awesome God.  Journal your thoughts.

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Our Savior’s sacrifice…

Jesus Christ… the Son of God…the Author of Life…the Anointed, Chosen One, stepped out of heaven and into our earthly realm, choosing to leave His honored place in heaven.  He was born into poverty.  He learned obedience.  He was hated by His own people, ridiculed and persecuted.  His own creation arrested Him, stripped Him naked, and forced a crown of thorns into His head.  They beat Him and knelt before Him, mocking: “Hail, King of the Jews.”

When He was so weak He could barely stand, they forced Him to the ground and onto the cross.  They stretched out His arms and drove nails into His hands and feet.  His blood poured forth onto the ground.  Upon crucifying Him, they divided His clothes and kept watch over Him through the night. As He hang dying, many stood at the base of the cross hurling insults at Him, mocking Him.

After hours of agony, darkness fell over the land.  Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me!”  At that moment, the curtain of the Temple ripped in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook, rocks split.  Tombs broke open.  Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands, I commit my Spirit.”  Upon speaking these words, our Lord and Savior breathed His last breath.

God could have stopped this scene. Jesus could have lifted Himself off the cross, but He chose not to because He saw my name.  He saw your name.  He saw my sin.  He saw your sin.  He knew the only price to pay for that sin was death.

Jeremiah 31:3

 

Romans 8:38-39

 

Pray this prayer:  Lord, Your Word says the sacrifices You desire are a broken and contrite spirit, and a contrite heart You will not despise. Today, I confess my sin, especially _______________. Thank You that Your Word promises that when I confess my sin, You are faithful and just and will forgive my sin and purify me from all unrighteousness. Thank You that Your blood, the blood You shed on the cross sets me free and Your Word promises that when You set me free, I am free indeed! Thank You that according to Your Word there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You that You see me through the blood of Your Son Jesus. Thank You that all things old are gone and the new has come. Thank You that You have washed me white as snow and that my sins are as far away as the east is from the west! Today I receive Your forgiveness and cannot wait to live in the fullness of all You have to offer. AMEN.

Do you understand the depth of this love God has for you, the depth of the sacrifice He made for you and for me?  Tell Him so now.

 

The gift of new life…

As if forgiveness of sins was not enough, God gave us another gift.

The Resurrection

Three days later, an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, His appearance like lightning, His clothes white as snow.  He rolled back the stone at the tomb.  The tomb was empty!  The angel said, “Jesus of Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.”  After Jesus appeared to His friends, He was taken up to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, His father.

Because of this gift, you and I receive the opportunity for new life and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit.

Read these powerful words from the Lord:

a. Ezekiel 36:26-27

 

b. John 14:16-21

 

c. John 16:13-15

 

d. Galatians 5:22-23

 

e. 2 Timothy 1:7

 

Do you know the joy of having the power and presence of the living God residing within you?  Speak to the Spirit and ask Him to fill you with the fullness of God at this moment, to receive all God has for you.

 

Spend time with the Lord and draw near to His heart…

DrawNeartoGod

a. Proverbs 2:1-15

 

b. Proverbs 4:20-27

 

c. Isaiah 55:1-3, 6

 

d. Hebrews 10:19-25

 

e. Phil 3:7-10

 

What do you need to consider loss, what do you cling to that keeps you from fully surrendering to Christ?  Ask Him to take it from you now.

 

Sit and soak in God’s presence…just you and His Word…

Scripture teaches that one day at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

a. Joshua 1:8-9

 

b. Psalm 1:1-6

 

c. Psalm 63:1-8

 

d. Isaiah 30:15-18

 

e. Isaiah 40:28-31

 

f. Exodus 33:14

 

Close in prayer…

 Thank you, Father, for this precious time to be still and know that You are God.  Father, take this time, bless it, take what I have offered to You, and continually remind me of what You have taught me and spoken to my heart.  To You alone I give all glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forevermore.  Amen

 

My heart fills with gratitude as I thank God for you! You are the most amazing community of women. Thank you for your prayers and your sweet words of encouragement through the years. I pray that each one of you will experience God in very deep, rich and personal ways as you sit at His feet during this Holy week.

If you feel led to share how the Lord speaks to you through your time alone with Him, I would love to hear from you!

Blessings,