June 13, 2018

One day last week, during my morning run (something I like to pretend happens on most days – lol), I was lost in thought.  Suddenly, I heard a helicopter overhead and glanced up at it.  When I looked up, I saw the most amazing cloud formations.  Those clouds were so beautiful that I just had to stop and take a picture!  If the noise of the helicopter hadn’t captured my attention, I would have continued on, probably not even noticing the clouds, or at least not until much later.

clouds 1

Having my attention drawn to those clouds caused me to realize that too often I’m going along, minding my own business, caught up in the stress of my day, and I don’t see things that God wants me to notice.  Sometimes he has to grab my attention, like the sound of that helicopter did.

I’m not saying that God was necessarily using the helicopter to draw my attention to the clouds, although that may have been the case.  There’s just something about noticing and being thankful for the beauty in creation that makes my day!  (And I’m sure it makes God happy, too.)

We’re naturally selfish people who focus on ourselves, our problems, our goals, our to-do lists…..but God wants our attention because there are people who need our help, or things he’s done that he wants to remind us about, or he wants to simply call us to slow down and take a few minutes to thank him for everything he’s done and enjoy the moment.

One day, Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and Moses decided to lead them across the desert to Sinai, the holy mountain. There an angel of the Lord appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. “This is strange!” he said to himself. “I’ll go over and see why the bush isn’t burning up.”

When the Lord saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am.”

 (Exodus 3:1-4, Contemporary English Version)

God used a burning bush to get Moses’ attention, and then proceeded to explain to him how he would be instrumental in freeing the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt.  Just think: God might grab your attention to give you an important job to do for him!

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, seemingly for no reason.  I used to get angry and wonder why I was awake when I should be resting for the busy day ahead.  A few years ago I realized that God was waking me up intentionally. Now when this happens, I start praying.

Rise in the night and cry to your God.  Pour out your heart like water to the Lord.  (Lamentations 2:19, The Living Bible)

clouds 2 (1)

In today’s busy world, we don’t pay enough attention. God wants to spend time with us, to point things out to us, to listen to us as we pray to him.  Make it a point to take a little time each day this week to just be still and know that he is God.

Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.  (Psalm 46:10, The Passion Translation)

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

 


 

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to slow down and pay attention to the things you want me to focus on.  Show me today what I can do to help someone, what I can be thankful for, who I can pray for.  I want to focus on what is important to you – your Kingdom work -rather than the stresses and trappings of this world.  Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me this week, and all you continue to do for me.  I couldn’t live one moment of my life without you and your amazing love for me!   

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May 8, 2018 – A New Thing

I haven’t posted in a LONG time, although I’ve wanted to.  Well, let me back up.  Truthfully, I didn’t want to for months, but I have been feeling the push to post again for a couple of months and I’ve been wrestling with so many ideas…

This past year and a quarter has been a true learning time for me.  Just after I posted last February, I went to a doctor’s appointment and found out that I have food sensitivities, for which the treatment was to stop eating gluten, dairy, eggs and soy.  Well, that did NOT go over well with me!  I LOVE food, and I love to cook and bake, so this news was definitely NOT well-received.  I struggled daily for five or six months, trying to figure out what I could still eat, how to cook without gluten, dairy and eggs, and how to eat at restaurants, where I had no idea what they were putting in my food!   And baking was another story entirely.  It’s difficult enough to adjust to gluten-free baking, but when you take eggs out of baked goods, you encounter MAJOR problems that can seem un-fixable!

love in flour

To make a long story short, I’ve adjusted to my new eating habits and I feel much better!  (and as a side note, my cholesterol levels have gone down, so…..yay!)  I have also discovered that eggs and soy don’t really seem to bother me, which is good news.

Over the past year of learning to bake with my food sensitivities, I’ve done a lot of research and discovered that there are many people who have a difficult time finding baked goods they can eat, due to dietary restrictions.  I’ve known for awhile that I want to provide delicious sweet treats for people who can’t eat gluten, dairy, eggs and soy, but it took quite awhile for everything to come together.  But, in God’s perfect timing……

I’ve started a baking business out of my home and I bake cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and brownies that are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and vegan!  My bakery is called One Smart Cookie and I have recently begun to sell my baked treats at a local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.  I’m hoping that things take off from there and I plan to take custom orders through my Facebook business page.  And I’m so thankful for the encouragement provided by the small prayer group I belong to.  Every time I was ready to give up and decide that it simply was NOT my calling to bake for people with dietary restrictions, they set me straight and I kept pressing on.

At the same time that I was struggling with food issues, I was also dealing with feeling far away from God.  At times, I felt like He had completely abandoned me.  I KNEW in my heart that was not true, but my brain – and the Devil – were trying to convince me otherwise.  I kept studying the Word and praying, as much as I could, but I mostly stopped going to church.  Over the past few months, I’ve been getting to know some wonderful girls from my church at a small Bible study fellowship group, and I’ve started going to church again.  I know that even when I felt far away from God, He was never far away from me!

For the past three weeks God has been constantly telling me that He’s doing a new thing.  That phrase keeps popping up in prayer, over and over.

“Watch! I’m about to carry out something new! And now it’s springing up— don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the wilderness and paths in the desert.”  (Isaiah 43:19  ISV)

And it has been during this last few weeks that my baking business has become a reality! It seems like it happened very quickly, but I know God has been working behind the scenes, getting everything prepared, for months!

There’s a popular worship song on the radio right now called “Reckless Love” and every time I hear it, the chorus speaks to me so distinctly:

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”

(Reckless Love – Corey Asbury)

No matter how far I feel from Him, God’s love is right there with me.  His love chases me down, fights until I’m found.  He even leaves the 99 to look for me when I’m straying, lost in my own confusion and sadness.  Nothing I do can ever make me worthy of his love; I can never earn it. But the beautiful thing is, when God looks at me, he sees only the righteousness of Christ!  That is simply amazing!!!

God promises that I am never alone and that I never go anywhere that He has not already stood.  Jesus experienced unimaginable trials on earth – from being rejected by his own family to being ridiculed, beaten, tortured and ultimately, crucified.  This gives me hope that I can make it through anything I have to go through, no matter how difficult and painful it is at the time.  Jesus understands my pain because He has felt similar distresses and experienced similar struggles.

I hope that these words have encouraged you today.  If there’s anything I can pray for you, please leave a comment and let me know!  Let’s encourage each other in our faith!

 


 

Lord, thank you for your love – a perfect, unending love that never leaves me!  Thank you that you are always close to me, even when I forget to look for you.  Thank you for the promise of new things and for all of the blessings you give me!   My prayer is that I will continually hear Your voice behind me saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”   (Isaiah 30:21)  And I pray that my words will encourage others in their faith!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 17, 2017

Singing.  What are the connotations of that word for you?  Does it remind you of happiness?  Joy?  Or maybe comfort?   I hope it has positive associations for you.  Singing has always been a source of joy for me.  I sing when I’m happy, and when I sing, it makes me happy!

Did you know that God sings, too?  Not only does he sing, but he rejoices over us with singing!

zeph-tattoo

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke (scold, criticize or reprimand) you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV- parentheses mine)

I was first struck by this verse last fall, when I was in the process of reading through the Bible.  I underlined the verse, wrote it in my prayer journal, and memorized it.  I have referred to it many times since then, and it continues to be a source of joy and comfort for me.

I did some studying and found out that I like the wording of the Common English version even better:

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory.  He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing.    (Zephaniah 3:17,  CEB)

What an amazing thought!  God is in our midst.  In other words, He’s right here with me, always.  In the middle of everything that’s going on with me.  Whether I’m floundering around, or having an awesome day (or something in between, which is much more likely).  I’m so thankful for that!

I love the picture Zephaniah evokes of the Father creating calm with his love.  And just imagining the Lord rejoicing over me with singing!   I can hardly describe it with the words available in the English language.  I see my Heavenly Father bending over me, singing a sweet lullaby with a look of pure love on His face, and it brings tears to my eyes.  (Yes, I have been known to get overcome with emotion sometimes!)

A few months ago, I discovered Armed with Truth – a Christian company that sells temporary tattoos of Scripture verses.  The idea is that the verse stays on your arm (or wherever you decide to apply it) for 5-7 days, and by the time the tattoo washes off, you’ll have committed the verse to memory.  (See my photo above – in that picture, the tattoo had been on my arm for 3 days.)  In addition, you’ll probably find that having a temporary tattoo of a Bible verse gives you plenty of opportunities to talk with others you meet, since people will often notice and ask questions about the tattoo.

(If you’re interested in buying some temporary tattoos from Armed with Truth, please see the special code below – under the prayer at the bottom of this post!)

I grabbed one of my tattoos a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised to have Zephaniah 3:17 brought to mind again.  I love reading it throughout the day.  It reminds me that not only is my God is powerful and mighty, but He also cares so deeply for me that He rejoices over me with singing!

The Lord takes great delight in me, because I am His creation, and He created me exactly as He wanted me to be.  And as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, He does not scold me for my sins and mistakes, but He calms me down and sings to me instead.  What an amazing, loving Father!

 


 

Daddy God, you are a Mighty Warrior!  Thank you that you don’t reprimand me, but you calm me down with your love and sing songs of delight over me!  Thank you for loving me so much that you were willing to give up your only Son to suffer and die so that I can live forever in heaven with you.  You are an amazing Father!  I can’t even begin to grasp how wide and long and deep and high your love is!  Please help me to better understand your love, and teach me to love others with your kind of love.  Thank you, Lord!

 

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February 7, 2017

I’ve been procrastinating writing this post, but God keeps nudging me.  To be honest, the reason I haven’t wanted to post is because I’m struggling.  I didn’t want to share that because of the way it would reflect on me, however, God reminded me that what I’m going through may help others, and that’s the real reason for this blog!

flower-in-the-desert

I’ve been feeling like a failure in multiple areas of my life, for several months now.  Do you ever go through those dry times?  You know, the times when it’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning, and halfway through the day you just want to just crawl back under the covers and stay there?  Or when you’d rather sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix with a carton of ice cream than face the world?  (I hope you can relate, otherwise it sounds like I’m just a lazy bum!  Lol)

Even when I’m feeling unenthusiastic and purposeless, God still loves me and  He’s still working in my life.  How do I know this?  Because when I read His word, there are verses that jump off the page and speak into my situation, and while I am praying (sometimes through tears), my Heavenly Father whispers to me that His great joy still exists, even in the midst of my sadness.

For example, here’s a verse that I’ve been returning to again and again:

Seek your happiness in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.  Psalm 37:4 (Good News Translation)

or another translation:

Take great joy in the Eternal!  His gifts are coming and they are all your heart desires! Psalm 37:4 (The Voice)

When we seek happiness by the world’s standards, or in the things of the world, we will never truly be happy.  If we take delight (or find joy) in the Lord, He will give us our heart’s desires and we will receive a full measure of joy!

I have realized through memorizing Psalm 37:4 and reflecting on it, how much I need God in every moment.  I need to seek His face every day, and as I do that, He shows me all of the ways He is blessing me, and that makes me happy!

And I’ve had to remind myself that even when I don’t feel happy, or if I feel like I’m not accomplishing what I want to…or I haven’t reached the goals I should have attained, God still loves me.  He has a perfect plan and perfect timing for my life, and for yours, too!

This message is from the Lord.  “I have good plans for you.  I don’t plan to hurt you.  I plan to give you hope and a good future.”    Jeremiah 29:11  (Easy-to-Read Version)

I hope that reading this has encouraged you, if you’ve been feeling down lately.  And if you would be willing to share what you’ve been struggling with, or how you’ve come through a difficult time, I’d love to read about it and pray for you.  Please leave a comment!

 


 

Jesus, thank you for loving me completely, even though you know me completely, with all of my faults and weaknesses.  Please change my perspective and help me to delight in you so I may receive joy in full measure, rather than dwelling too much on the problems in my life.   Please remind me to ask you for help with my problems, because nothing is too difficult for you!  Thank you that your love brings me through each day, and gives me peace when I lay down to sleep at night.  Thank you, Jesus, for blessing me beyond measure with your unending, never-failing love!

January 1, 2017

As 2016 came to a close, I took a little time to look back on the year, as well as looking forward to new beginnings in 2017.

happy-new-year-2017

I know what I’m doing (says the Lord);  I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.         Jeremiah 29:11   (The Message)

As I flipped through my prayer journals for the past year, I was amazed at the answers to prayer that I found – from family members being healed from sicknesses, to financial provision that allowed us to buy a second car, to friendships that blessed me and helped me get through some tough times….

I also felt a sense of accomplishment for reading through the entire Bible – that took some discipline and dedication, but it was well worth my time!  I encourage you to try it, especially if you have never read the entire Bible.  God may just speak to you through His Word in ways that are new and surprising!

Finally, I started writing down some goals for the coming year.  I just have a messy, disorganized list at this point, but I’ve asked for direction and guidance from God to help me fashion my list into a set of goals that will make my heavenly Father proud!

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.     Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

As we flip the calendar to January 2017, I encourage you to reflect a bit.  What have been your biggest accomplishments?  Which answers to prayer have you received?  What would you like to improve on in the coming months?

I would love to read your comments!  And if there’s anything I can do to encourage you or pray for you as we enter the coming year, please let me know.  It is my prayer to encourage you and to be encouraged by you!!!

Some final words of encouragement as you start the new year, this blank slate, filled with possibilities.  The Lord says to you:

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  

Be alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand-new.  It’s bursting out!  Don’t you see it?

There it is!  I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.    

(Isaiah 43:19, The Message)

 


 

Daddy God, thank you so much for this new year.  I pray that it will be a time of new beginnings for me and my family.  I pray that You will give me your eyes and ears, so that I will see and hear your will;  where you want me to go and what you want me to do.  I pray that new things will burst forth this year, and I look forward to seeing the brand new things that You do in my life and in the lives of those I love.  Thank you for your constant care and perfect protection this past year, and thank you for Your promise that You will continue to provide for and protect me in the new year.  Thank you that You have it all planned out and that You guide my steps.  Praise you, Father, because You are beautiful, awesome and matchless.  Amen!

 

 

 

Fruit or Poison?

I’ve been extremely busy during the past month, and I have been feeling guilty about neglecting my posts.  I keep feeling like I don’t have anything worthwhile to say, but this morning during my quiet time, God impressed upon me the importance of words, and I felt it was worth sharing.

Words, and the manner in which they are spoken, have been an issue in our household recently.  Words have been tossed about carelessly, without thought to the effect on the hearer.  This makes me sad because I know it’s not the way God wants us to interact.

You’ve probably seen those posts on Facebook about squeezing the toothpaste out of a tube and then trying to put it back in (and similar illustrations of how difficult it is to “take back” your words).  Even after we’ve forgiven the one who wounded us with their words, it can still affect our relationship with that person in the future, sneaking in and coloring the way we view our interactions.

Proverbs 16:24 tells us, “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

honey-dipper

Also in Proverbs, we learn that “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.”  (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)

I love the illustration of words being honey, but that second verse really drives the point home to me.  Not only are our kind words like honey or fruit (and who doesn’t like the delicious sweetness of berries or honey!), but our unkind, thoughtless words are like poison.  And poison doesn’t always affect its victim immediately.  Sometimes (especially in tiny amounts) it lurks beneath the surface, damaging organs until the body eventually stops functioning properly and shuts down.

In the same way, when we choose words that are not loving or sweet, words that do not build others up, they do their dirty work slowly, in secret, damaging another’s heart. When we speak words that blame others, words that criticize or tease, words that point out the failures of others or that imply disappointment in another’s decisions or character, those words cut deep.  And simply apologizing may smooth things over on the surface, but it doesn’t erase the impact of those words on a human heart.

And notice Solomon’s choice of words in that verse above – “you choose.”  That puts the responsibility of our word choices squarely on our shoulders, where it belongs!  You choose whether you will speak life or poison.  The choice is yours.

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”  (Proverbs 12:18 NLT)

Do you want your words to cut and poison others, or heal them?

The question is, how do we become wise so we can choose words which produce healing rather than poison?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”  (James 1:19 NLT, emphasis mine)

I find that reading and remembering this verse on a daily basis is a tremendous help to me. Sometimes my words are careless and thoughtless, or snapped impatiently, simply because I’m in a hurry.  But if I make a conscious effort to listen first and think before I answer, I tend to say fewer things I regret later.

“Lord, cleanse me from hidden faults, keep me from deliberate sins.  May my words and thoughts be pleasing to you, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  (Psalm 19:12 & 14, emphasis mine)

If we begin with our thought life and clean it up, make it pleasing to God, then our words will follow naturally.  It’s difficult to say unkind, thoughtless and disrespectful words when our thoughts are fixed on what the Lord wants; when our hearts are focused on the amazing truth that our Father saved us, although we didn’t deserve it – we have just as many flaws and make equally as many mistakes as the next guy (probably more!).

I challenge you to make a conscious effort this week to be quick to listen and slow to speak, to choose your words carefully before you speak.  Choose to speak life!

 


 

Loving Father, you are so holy and so good!  You love me, even though I don’t deserve it.  Please forgive me for speaking unkind and thoughtless words, and for speaking in a disrespectful manner.  I want my words to be honey.  I want them to be sweet, like fruit, and to build others up.  Please remind me today to listen first and to choose my words carefully.  Show me how to make my thoughts and my words pleasing to you, my Rock and my Redeemer.  I want to speak life to everyone I have occasion to converse with today.  Thank you for your constant care and perfect provision, and for the amazing gift of salvation!

 

 

August 28, 2016

Suddenly, although the weather is still hot, summer seems to be over.  School is back in session, sports and music practices are in full swing, life is becoming hectic.  I find myself stressed out multiple times a day, wondering how to get everyone where they need to go, how to get everything done.

And through the chaos, God says, “Come and rest at my feet.”

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest.  She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42, CEB, emphasis mine)

profile pic for vinted

God put this verse in front of me this week, in the midst of my stress and frustration:

Whenever I feel my foot slipping,
    your faithful love steadies me, Lord.
When my anxieties multiply,
    your comforting calms me down.    (Psalm 94:18-19, CEB)

While I was trying to juggle four different schedules, numerous appointments, figuring out what to cook for dinner, and how to get the car repaired, I needed to hear that.  I need to know and remember that when my anxieties multiply, God’s comforting is there to calm me down.

There’s a song by Jonny Diaz that speaks perfectly into stressful situations such as these.  The song is called Breathe, and I highly recommend looking it up on YouTube and listening to it.

The chorus invites us to:         Breathe, just breathe,

Come and rest at my feet,

And be, just be,

Chaos calls, but all you really need

Is to just breathe.

(Jonny Diaz, Breathe, 2015, Centricity Music)

My favorite part of the song says:   “Let your weary spirit rest, lay down what’s good and find what’s best…”

Just like Jesus explained to Martha, that Mary had chosen the better part.  Getting our kids to school and lessons and practices is good, keeping work appointments and other commitments is good, keeping the house clean and cooking meals is good, serving in our churches and communities is good.  All of these are good, but resting at God’s feet is best.

Take time out of your busy schedule this week and just breathe.  Put your phone down, turn off the TV, stop running around for a minute, and just be.  Chaos may call from the next room, but it can wait.  Sit and rest at His feet.  Listen for His voice.  My guess is that you will be blessed by what you find!

 


 

Thank you, Father God, for calling me to come and rest at your feet.  Chaos seems to reign in this season, but I want to lay down what’s good and find what’s best.  Help me to sit and rest at Your feet, and to just be.  Please speak to me in these quiet moments.  Reassure me of Your love and faithfulness, and show me how to serve you best.  I know that when I do this, everything else will fall into place.  Thank you for Your comforting that calms me down when my anxieties multiply.  Help me to remember to just breathe.  Thank you, Lord!

August 13, 2016

Is it just my imagination, or has this summer been extra hot?  It seems like there have been more days over 95 degrees than usual this summer, and there’s nothing better on a sweltering day than sinking your teeth into a chunk of cold, juicy watermelon!  I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy some ripe red watermelon this summer!

What’s extra-specially refreshing about watermelon?  I think it’s the way the juice runs down my arms when I eat it.  Eating watermelon with a fork just doesn’t produce the same result.  Part of the joy of eating watermelon and being refreshed by it involves getting messy!

 

taste and see watermelon with verse

In the same way, Paul reminds us in his letter to the Colossians that we should allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”  (Colossians 3:16, ASV)  

It’s kind of like that watermelon juice running down your arms.  We should bathe ourselves in the Word of God, and just like the watermelon leaves a sticky residue on our hands and arms, the Word should leave its mark on us.

Even if you only read a few verses a day, really read them.  Look for the goodness and love of your Savior.  Listen to what He’s saying to you, and let those words marinate and stay with you for the day.  Let God’s Word dwell in you richly!

And enjoy some juicy, delicious watermelon this weekend – taste and see that the Lord is good!

 


 

Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word!  Thank you that you speak to me through it, and that I can see your love and goodness to me in it.  Thank you for watermelon that refreshes on a hot summer day, and for your Word, which refreshes my soul.  Help me to really read and understand your Word.   Thank you that you are so good!  You’re a good, good Father and you love me!  Marinate me in your love today, Father God!  

 

July 24, 2016

I woke up very sad this morning. In fact, I’ve been feeling discouraged lately, for no specific reason that I can pinpoint.  My New Testament reading for today was from Romans 8……all I can say is “Wow!”  God spoke to me very clearly through that passage this morning!

When I started reading, I was crying from sadness, and by the time I finished, I was crying from happiness.  (Obviously much more preferable!  LOL)   God is so amazing and magnificent!

God hugs us through his word

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  (Romans 8:26-28, NLT – emphasis mine)

This morning I didn’t know where to begin praying, but it was immensely comforting to be reminded that the Holy Spirit prays for me in a way that reaches infinitely deeper than verbal language, and that God the Father understands perfectly what the Spirit is saying.

And to recall that God works everything for good for those who love Him!  What a reassurance –  I could never read or hear it too many times!

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.  (Romans 8:31-34, NLT – emphasis mine)

If God is for us, who can be against us?  Just let that sink in for a minute.  If God is for us, who can be against us?  I know that God is for me, therefore I can never be overcome by any powers or people who come against me!

No matter how hopeless I feel, God is for me and He’s working everything out for my benefit and well-being.  That’s something to be truly thankful for!  I hope it puts a smile on your face, too.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  (Romans 8:35-37, NLT)

 

What a comfort to be reminded that NOTHING can ever separate me from Christ’s love!  On top of that, I am promised overwhelming victory through Christ, because He loves me!  No matter how helpless or hopeless I feel, God never changes and He never stops loving me or working things for my good.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NLT – emphasis mine)

Paul certainly didn’t have a cake-walk of a life.  He was mocked and persecuted and thrown in jail because of his beliefs, and still he dedicated his life to teaching people about Jesus and His great love.  Through all of those trials, Paul was still convinced that nothing could pull him apart from the love of Christ!

It doesn’t matter what hardships or set-backs I go through, how much I worry about the future, or who may have evil intentions toward me – there is nothing that can disconnect me from the perfect love of God that was revealed in Christ’s death and resurrection!  What a breathtaking (and perfectly timed) promise!

 


 

Thank you, Lord, for sending your Holy Spirit to be my Intercessor and Comforter.  Thank you that although I don’t know how to pray with clarity, the Spirit prays for me, and you understand it all.  Thank you for working all things for my good and well-being.  I believe that you have a special plan and purpose for me.  Thank you for designing my perfectly, and for planning every moment of my life, even before I was born.  Thank you for loving me and seeing me, not through my failures, but through the atoning blood of Christ Jesus!  Because you are for me, nothing can stand against me!  Thank you for giving up your only Son so I might be worthy of your love and grace, and have eternal life with you, instead of being a slave to sin forever.  I worship and praise you because you don’t accuse me, but instead you choose me!  Thank you for seeing me as holy and righteous through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice.  Daddy, I know that nothing can disconnect me from your love.  Even though I have trouble, problems, and struggles, you are always with me and you’ll never stop loving me.  Thank you that overwhelming victory is mine through the power of Christ!  No matter where I am and no matter what happens, I know that nothing can separate me from your perfect, unending love! 

July 15, 2016

As part of my quest to become a more powerful and effective prayer warrior, I have started keeping a Bible and prayer journal.

 

prayer journal 5 cropped

 

I write down verses that I want to memorize and apply to my life, and inspirations and truths God shows me through His Word and prayer, as well as lists of prayer requests.   Sometimes I even write down my prayers as I pray.  I find that it’s helpful to go back and re-read those prayers; to pray them again when I am overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, or when I want to be reminded to give thanks for requests that have been answered.

Since I’ve been keeping a prayer journal and looking back at my previous prayers, I see many more answers to prayer than I used to, simply because I remember what I prayed for and recognize that those prayers have been answered!

Partial inspiration for my prayer journal came from the movie War Room.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it!  It’s the story of a family that is falling apart from the pressures of the world, until the wife changes the path they’re headed down by turning her walk-in closet into a “war room,” where she prays every day.

 

war room dvd pkg

 

I don’t have a closet that I can use as my war room, but my screened-in back porch serves as my “quiet place,” where I read the Bible and pray in the mornings, surrounded by nature.   I encourage you to create your own place at home where you can pray; a place to post lists of prayer requests and answers, or keep a prayer journal.

 

war room 5

 

I have also recently joined a small prayer group at my church.  We get together once a week to pray for about an hour.  We pray for everything God puts on our hearts – our families, our church, our city, the kids and teens in our church and our community, our nation – the list goes on and on.  I’m getting more comfortable praying while other people are around, but, thankfully, there’s no pressure for me to pray aloud in front of the group.

I have noticed that each person who prays aloud has their own unique prayer style, and they’re all good – Jesus loves every way that we pray, because it’s all conversation with Him!  🙂   I’ve been very blessed to have these prayer warriors pray for me.  A few weeks ago, they were praying for me in my role as a mom of teens, and one of the ladies mentioned my words being strong, yet dripping with sweetness.  This woman had never met me before and would have had no way of knowing anything about me – it was God speaking through her!  It’s such a blessing to feel God’s love and His presence through prayer, both alone and with others.

Today I encourage you to deepen your prayer life by creating a prayer place, keeping a prayer journal, and possibly finding (or creating) a small prayer group.  And please share your victories and struggles with me – I’d love to be part of your journey!

 


 

Lord, thank you for loving me so much that you want to speak to me through your Word.  Thank you for guiding me to become a more powerful and effective prayer warrior.  I pray that my ideas and insights will be helpful to others and will enable them to draw closer to you.  Please allow me to be an encourager of others and give me the words to speak into their lives. Thank you so much for answered prayers!