October 31, 2017

How to Pray God’s Word w/ Giveaway!

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin with prayer. We want to pray specifically for our friends and family, but we can’t quite figure out where to start.

I felt that way until I spent a few years around some amazing prayer warriors a few years ago. They taught me to pray God’s Word for the people I love. Praying God’s living and active Word is what makes our prayers powerful and effective!

So, over the next weeks and months, I dove into God’s Word and found topics that led to Scriptures that equipped me to pray for my people.

Today, I thought I would share some of those Scriptures with you. But, instead of just sharing the verses, I’m going to personalize them to help you see what I mean when I say “pray God’s Word.”

Many of you already do this, so I would be grateful if you would share any tips you have or verses you’ve personalized for your friends and family in the comments below.

It’s always a gift to share what God has taught us with friends. It’s what I LOVE about this community God has gathered here at wendyblight.com.

I’ll use my my family prayers as an example so you can get the feel for how to personalize your prayers.

Heavenly Father, I lay my family before You today asking:

Our love for each other will grow deeper and stronger the longer we walk with you and that it will abound more and more and reflect Your character. Help us be patient and kind, not boastful or proud. Help us always think the best of, and seek the best for, each other. (1 Cor. 13:4-7; Phil. 1:9-11)

You help us live in unity, putting each other’s needs before our own. Give us oneness of heart through the beautiful thread of Your Holy Spirit that binds us together in Jesus. (John 17:11, 21; Phil. 2:1-5)

We would have the mind of Christ and acknowledge You daily, no matter where we are, together or apart. Help us take every thought captive to Your Word, replacing lies with truth. Despair with joy. Grieving with hope. Anxiety with peace. Hate with love. Rudeness with kindness. Disrespect with honor. (Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 2:11-16; 2 Cor. 10:3-5)

We will live each and every day in the fullness of Your Spirit and in the abundant life You promise. (Eph. 5:18; John 10:10)

We will be confident in who and Whose we are, never looking to others for affirmation of our value and worth. Knowing down to the marrow of our bones it is found solely in You. (Psalm 139:13-16; Eph. 1:3-4, 7-8)

We would hunger for more of You and more of Your Word. That nothing else would satisfy us more than spending quiet time alone with You. (Psalm 63:1; Matthew 4:4; John 4:13-14, 7:37)

We would daily take up the Armor of God to protect us from the evil one. Keep us alert to Satan’s temptations, schemes, and lies. By the power of Your Spirit enable our hearts to fully submit to You so we can confidently resist the devil by speaking one Word alone … One name… Jesus. (John 8:44; Eph. 6:10-18; James 4:7)

We would be strong, courageous and bold in a culture hostile to You. That we would never be afraid to share our story and the hope we have in You. (Joshua 1:9; 2 Cor. 5:17-20)

You give us servant hearts. Hearts that seek to serve the least and the lost. Give us eyes to see the ones who need an encouraging word. Give us ears to hear the stories of those who need a listening ear. Give us patience to love those who drive us crazy. Give us a generous heart to share our blessings with those who have needs much greater than ours. (Mark 10:44-45; John 15:12, 30; Gal. 6:2; Hebrews 13:16)

You give us hearts of gratitude. Awaken us each morning with Your joy filling our hearts, no matter what the day may hold. May we anticipate divine encounters with You throughout our day … to see where You are at work and join You. (Psalm 118:24; Romans 15:13; Col. 2:7; 1 Thess. 5:18)

You develop in us prayerful hearts, ones that seek You in all things and for all things. Hearts that are tender to Your voice and leading, ready to pray wherever and for whoever You ask. (Phil. 4:6-7; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:16-18)

I pray these verses bless and help equip you as you pray for your friends and family.

Now it’s YOUR TURN.

If this is new to you, in the comments, please share the verse(s) that spoke most to your heart. If this is how you pray, share your favorite verses to pray and give examples of how you personalize them. I will choose one name from the comments to win a copy of my book “Living So That:Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.” It has an entire chapter devoted to (you see a picture from that chapter above, “Pray So That”)!

I’m so grateful for each one of you. Thank you for meeting together with me here. I only wish we could be in the same room together sharing our thoughts and our hearts.

April 21, 2017

Spiritual Heartburn (Living So That Giveaway)

 Will you join me for a few minutes to take a trip back in time?

Today we will join two friends, Cleopas and his companion, walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus after Christ’s death. Friends whose hearts ached with sorrow as they spoke of how the Roman authorities persecuted, tortured, and executed their teacher and friend. In the midst of their conversation, Jesus joined them, but Scripture says they didn’t recognize Him.

Let’s imagine ourselves on that same road … believers who had put all our hope in Jesus. With His death, we now feel abandoned and hopeless. Yet, unbeknownst to us, standing next to us is the risen Jesus Himself!

Jesus asked the two men what they were talking about.

Expressing deep sadness, Cleopas shared how Jesus, the mighty prophet who did amazing miracles and preached powerful messages, had been crucified. He ended with these words: “We had been hoping He was the One – you know, the One who would liberate all Israel and bring God’s promises.” Luke 24:21

Basically, they told Jesus that He had let them down. Most distressing to Jesus was their lack of faith. They spoke these words in spite of the fact that trusted friends had gone to the tomb, discovered no body, and received a message from angels that Jesus was alive.

Jesus rebuked them: “Come on men, why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along?” Luke 24:25

Jesus knew the problem lay not in their heads but in their hearts. So He then took them on another journey. This one through the Old Testament, beginning with Moses and continuing prophet by prophet, explaining the meaning of the prophets’ words and how each predicted the very things they had witnessed.

Jesus spoke God’s Word in a fresh way.

Can you imagine how wonderful it must have been to hear the words of Scripture delivered by Jesus Himself?

Upon reaching their destination, they invited Jesus to join them for dinner. He accepted. When they sat down, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and handed it to them. Scripture says that in that instant, their eyes were suddenly opened so that they recognized Him. And a moment later, Jesus vanished! (Luke 24:31)

What changed in that moment? Before, these two men believed only part of what they had been taught growing up. They never got the big picture of Who Jesus was and was to be. They saw the King, not the servant … the crown, not the cross … the glory, not the suffering.

Listen to the words they spoke to each other after Jesus left:

Amazing! Weren’t our hearts on fire within us while He was talking to us on the road? Didn’t you feel it all coming clear as He explained the meaning of the Hebrew Scripture?” Luke 24:32 (emphasis added)

The NIV says “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us … and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Friend, they experienced spiritual heartburn! The word “burn” is from the Greek verb kaio, meaning “to set on fire.” Metaphorically, it means Jesus’ words created a hunger and passion within them they had never before experienced. His words captivated their hearts.

Jesus, the master story teller, brought what seemed simple Bible stories alive for Cleopas and his friend. As He opened the Scriptures, the puzzle pieces came together in such a powerful way that they not only listened, but something within them changed … something so profound that they immediately went to Jerusalem to share with others what they had seen and heard.
Jesus used His Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train Cleopas and his friend. Jesus’ spoken word enlightened their minds and deepened their faith. His visit empowered and equipped them for the task He called them to … sharing the good news they had just heard.

God will do the same for us. How He longs for us to open His Word so He can teach us! God is waiting to speak into our lives just as Jesus spoke into theirs. Sometimes He will teach and train, and we’ll savor it. Sometimes he will rebuke and correct, and we’ll fight it. But through it all, we’ll gain a confidence in His Word. A confidence like we’ve never had, one that will strengthen our convictions.  And as our convictions strengthen, God will use those convictions to equip us for His Kingdom work

**This devotion is taken, in part, from Chapter Two of my book,Living So That. Click here to learn more about the book or order a copy.**

GIVEAWAY

I’m thankful you spent time with me here today. I would love to hear from you. Please share a time when you have felt spiritual heartburn. I will choose one comment to receive a signed copy of my book Living So That. Stop by next week, and I’ll announce the winner.
 

April 3, 2017

Jesus’ Last Words Through Our Eyes

With Easter drawing near, my heart turns to the cross. Will you join me for a journey?Let’s imagine for the next few minutes we have followed the crowds outside of Jerusalem, to the place of Jesus’ execution. We find ourselves at Golgotha (the Place of a Skull, also known as Calvary), watching and listening, as the soldiers nail Jesus to the cross.

It’s early in the day.

What do we see?

Jesus hanging on a cross before us, suffering excruciating pain.

What do we hear?

A noisy, unruly crowd all around us. The pounding of nails. The mocking of skeptics. The weeping of loved ones.

But let’s lean in a bit closer.

Let’s listen for Jesus’ words.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

We don’t hear angry, hate-filled words. No appeal for a rescue. Jesus’ first words from the cross is a prayer. Words of forgiveness. We aren’t sure for whom He is praying. The Roman soldiers, Pilate and Herod? The vindictive mob crying, “crucify Him?” Those who betrayed Him? Yes, for all of these. But His Words are also for you and me. He spoke of this moment as He walked among us.

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

Looking to the left and to the right of Jesus, we see Him hanging between two thieves. Both hurl insults at Jesus (Matthew 27:44), but, soon thereafter, one of them rebukes the other. Something shifts deep within Him right before our very eyes. He sees his sin. He repents. Jesus extends grace. What does this mean? With Jesus, it’s never too late.

“‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold. your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:26-27

From the cross, we see Jesus’ eyes search to and fro for his mother. When he finds her, he calls to her and tenderly provides for her. He entrusts her to His beloved friend John. We stand amazed. Even in His suffering, Jesus cares about her needs!

The early part of the day has passed. It’s now noon. The earth goes dark. Blackness consumes the day.

“‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” Matthew 27:46

Jesus suffers His deepest, darkest hours. Our sin, mine and yours, overcomes His body, crushing Him (Isaiah 53:10, 2 Cor. 5:21). But, Jesus doesn’t climb down off the cross. He doesn’t beg for mercy. He remains. We look at each other, tears in our eyes. Where is God? Why has God allowed this? How could He watch this from His throne in Heaven. Jesus cries out to His Father. He feels it too. Yet He still remains. Though He cannot see His Father’s face, Jesus must know He is there. Jesus must trust He is listening.

“I am thirsty.” John 19:28

We look at each other? We heard him say many times He is both human and divine. We know God doesn’t get thirsty, yet Jesus is thirsty. More proof. He is indeed who He said He is. And haven’t we heard these words somewhere before? Yes! Remember Psalm 69:3, “My soul is parched” and  Psalm 29:21, “They gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Jesus knew these Scriptures. He now fulfills them before our eyes.

“It is finished.” John 19:30

We look at each other. Jesus moan or mumble these words. He speaks them clearly, precisely, intentionally. What is finished? He declares them like it’s a declaration of triumph and victory. We both realize something. All the prophecies we heard Him speak over these past years are being fulfilled, in this moment, before our very eyes. The hard fought battle begun in the Garden of Eden now won by the Son of God (Gen. 3:15). Hallelujah!

“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46

We stand in awe. The weight of what we have witnessed falls hard and full. Jesus has done it. Fulfilled every word of Scripture. Kept His every promise. He willingly allowed Himself to fall into the hands of His own created ones … to be mocked, tortured, persecuted, and ultimately executed like the worst of criminals … for us! Every step of the way trusting in the love of His Father. Knowing and trusting nothing and no one could snatch Him away.

I hope you have enjoyed our time together at the foot of the cross. Thank you for joining me. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please take a moment and share what God spoke to your heart.

May each of you have a blessed and joyous Easter.