Women of the Word

22 Oct

I have a book by that title. The author and illustrator is Mary Lou Sleevi. Every now and then I go through old books and decide which ones I want to donate or give away as a RE-GIFT. This publication dates back to 1985.

I have kept it.

In the book, Sleevi uses some beautiful artwork and poetry to tell the stories of some Biblical women. In the Foreword of the book she has a 13 stanza poem about God’s artisitic creation of each of us–God’s children. I share just a portion below:

“God is the Artist

God paints all day, everyday, every moment.

God has imagination and time.

God loves the palette because color is light and God is light in time.

The original [artist] who does only originals, never paints by numbers.

Ever since Eden, no two beings nor moments are ever the same.”

I love God the creator. God makes things just right, while nuancing each being. Each animal, plant and person is “an original” of God’s making. Even in our human view when we think something is too different, or odd or ill seeming, God deems it perfect. The giraffe is supposed to have that long neck and the Basset Hound is supposed to have those long ears, mosquitoes are meant to bite and Poison Ivy is supposed to make us itch. These are God’s designs, not ours.

Our individuality is by God’s plan. We are who we are as part of God’s magnificent plan.

Even our frailties, human failings and our “Oops” ways of living life are part of divine design and precious to God. God’s mighty forgiveness can cover and mend any version of Oops, if we only trust, if we only ask, if we only believe.

For the women reading this—WE ARE WOMEN OF THE WORD! PERFECT!

For the men reading—YOU ARE MEN OF THE WORD AND ARE COMPLETE IN GOD’S PLAN.

AMEN.

Doubts

20 Oct

Here we are going through life, fighting our own personal battles, witnessing world injustice, crime, pockets of evil, illness and just overall feelings of malcontent. It’s hard to feel joyful and optimistic in this pandemic world that many of us thought would have ended by now. SIGH….

Don’t we want to cry out, “Why?”

Then enters the word of the Lord:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 (New Living Translation)

The words help me realize a few things.

God’s hand is on the spin of the earth.

God’s love is in every corner of the world.

God’s watchful eye is powerfully upon us.

God winces when I cry out, “Why?”

It would be God’s preference for me to express my love, patience, faithfulness and trust. And then I wince.

But thankfully, God is a patient being. God knows all of the comings and goings of my world, of my mind and of my heart. God is a listener and my advocate. I want to give back to God just as he gives to me.

In response to God’s gracious love and care, I will each day try to return the favor in some small way.

Image result for A Flower. Size: 119 x 102. Source: flower-tops.blogspot.com

God’s Good Grace

18 Oct

GRACE–what a beautiful word! It speaks of love, care, sincerity, forgiveness and more.

In my teaching at a Christian college, students who need a little more time to work on some assignment ask for grace on the deadline. When I need a little more time connecting with God, I ask for grace.

Many authors have spoken about amazing and sometimes mysterious grace:

“Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” – Benjamin B. Warfield

“Grace can neither be bought, earned, or won by the creature. If it could be, it would cease to be grace.” – Arthur W. Pink

“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.” – Dwight Lyman Moody

“Because of the favor of God, we can have peace in the midst of chaos.” – Crystal McDowell

There are word derivatives of grace that include these: gracious, graceful.

Old and Middle English taught that the original meaning of the word was this:

“God’s favor or help.”

The Bible tells us this:

  • Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Thank you, oh amazing God, for your gift of unfailing grace.

God the Accountant

15 Oct

Accountants are interesting people. They are counters! They count funds, keep track of numbers and pay attention to numerical details of all types. Every number matters!

God is an accountant–he counts EVERYTHING!

He pays attention to our comings and goings, he numbers the hairs on our head, he cares for our prayers and counts the stars and measures the waters on earth. How do I know this? These points are recorded in the Bible.

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” Psalm 147:4

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?” Isaiah 40-12

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ” Luke 12:7

Because God counts everything, I believe I count to God. It is not a numerical thing, it is a value thing.

God values my very existence.

I MATTER to God.

I praise God for that!

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Blessings by Laura Story

13 Oct

On Sunday in church our soloist sang this piece self-accompanied on keyboard. It is such a startling yet tender message! I am unable to listen to the actual piece without sobbing. It speaks of God’s mystery, goodness, care and strength when we need him the most. Laura Story wrote the piece as a young wife whose husband had been diagnosed with a serious brain tumor. They were newlyweds facing their first huge trial together.

The piece runs the gamut of emotions we often feel when despair hits us before hope kicks in. I share her beautiful lyrics below and perhaps by GOOGLING the title of this post, you will come across the actual song and you can listen to its glorious message. Be well, my friends!

BLESSINGS (lyrics)

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not
This is not our home

It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life-
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

THIS WAS REPRINTED AS FOUND ONLINE WITH PUNCTUATION AS IS ON BING.COM.

Being Prayerful

11 Oct

Prayerful? Am I prayerful? Do I know prayerful people? What does it mean to be prayerful?

A few years ago I purchased a book called A YEAR OF LIVING PRAYERFULLY by Jared Brock. This was the story of a Canadian (millenial) husband and wife couple who decided to explore prayer deeply and internationally and intentionally and ecumenically for one year with a goal to enrich their prayer lives. They used savings and frugal travel styles to make this happen. The couple runs a not for profit agency called Hope for the Sold, which works against the worldwide evil trend of human trafficking. Their travels taught them about many ways and reasons to pray.

A quote from the book sums up the couple’s initial plight and their “soul goal” to make prayer matter more to them.

“What do you do when prayer becomes routine? What do you do when your prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling and going nowhere? How do you keep your prayers from getting boring? What if God is silent? What if God does the exact opposite of what you’ve just prayed?”

Those are powerful questions to consider in the midst of our distracted lives when a prayer utterance is sometimes the last thing we do before falling asleep at night. (I speak for myself.)

The point of the book was for this young couple to get in touch with God, but more than that, to be in tune with the creator and the world given us.

A quote also included in the book, was from Armin Gesswein, a Lutheran Pastor who has studied multiple aspects of prayer. He states this:

If God wants us to pray without ceasing, it is because He wants to answer without ceasing.”

Now THAT is powerful and prayerful!

The essence of all of this is captured in the first two verses of the James Montgomery hymn written in 1818.

1 Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
uttered or unexpressed;
the motion of a hidden fire
that trembles in the breast.

2 Prayer is the simplest form of speech
that infant lips can try,
prayer the sublimest strains that reach
the Majesty on high. AMEN!

How is it with Your Soul?

8 Oct

I have a dear friend I have not seen in a while. She is a retired United Methodist Pastor. We live 4 hours from one another and we sometimes meet halfway between our two homes for a VERY long lunch. Covid has prevented this.

Whenever we do chance to meet, one of the special inquisitive questions she offers is this: “How is it with your soul?”

HOW IS IT WITH YOUR SOUL?

That is a question that goes far beyond the basic “How are you? “How have you been?” “What’s new?”

My soul? It is impossible to answer that question by saying “Fine.” That sort of question begs for deeper thought and a response that is not simply a single word.

How is it with my soul?

I don’t always know how my soul is. I think about my body and mind first. If I am feeling physically well and my mind in a good place, then all seems well. My soul? I don’t know.

The online dictionary I consulted describes SOUL as the spiritual part of a human being regarded to be immortal; another definition includes emotional and intellectual energy and intensity expressed.

Our soul is far beyond the body that may register ails or ills that define bodily health. And it is beyond the mind when if not confused, dazed or muddled, it seems to be well.

Yet, I ask, how do we measure the health of the soul?

While we often tend to the mind and body, what do we do to enrich our souls?

I would cherish your thoughts and ideas if you are so inclined to comment.

How is it with YOUR soul?

Children of God

6 Oct

I do not often spend time with children. I sometimes chat with the neighborhood kids because their school bus stops near our driveway. I like to flirt and joke with little ones at church sometimes to make them feel noticed, but the special little kids in my life are my 4 grandchildren. The oldest is 4 years old and the youngest is 4 weeks old. Two of the little ones live 3-4 hours away and the other two are 4-5 hours away. I see them as often as I can.

Recently I spent a whole weekend with a 4 and a 2 year old. They were devilish at times and so tender in other instances. The four year old told me I was wearing a beautiful shirt and that my grilled cheese sandwiches were SO good. I got sentimental one morning reminiscing with them and a few tears fell. The two year old stopped working on her art project and began picking up toys to put in the bag I was holding. Both sets of eyes on me were penetrating and watchful and sincere–just like the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

God’s eyes and ears are everywhere–much like the toddler who watches and learns from my every move I hope my example is a good one in their eyes.

As for God, I hope my example of living is pleasing to him and his world.

It’s a lot of work looking after little ones. It matters not if you are 30 or 60.

It’s a lot of work looking after myself. It matters not if I am 30 or 60.

I want to learn from the genuine spirit of the little ones so that I may be a pleasing child to my Father-God.

Stephen Levine Quote: “Always try to see yourself through God's eyes.”

A World of 3G

4 Oct

3G?

Is 3G considered old school since 5G is what lots of folks talk about today? Are some of you thinking, “What is a G anyway?” That would be me!

However, I want to share the value of 3G and this is not the 3G you may be thinking! It has nothing to do with your wireless mobile network, but it does reflect a manner of living.

I sometimes listen to the radio broadcasts of a financial guru named Jill Schlesinger. She is out of New York City on a network program called “Jill on Money” and she helps people sort out their financial side of life with her own brand of wit and wisdom. She has a no nonsense delivery style as she counsels callers to her show in how to gain or manage wealth.

She speaks of 3 Gs– GRIT, GROWTH AND GRACE.

Her view of grit is working hard, earning well and doing due diligence to be smart about your earnings. She speaks of growth as a career goal and just what you want your bank account to do. She mentions grace as something to grant yourself if you mess up on the other two Gs. This reminds me of our journeys of faith.

GRIT, GROWTH AND GRACE.

Grit suggests the willingness to do the work on one’s faith. It may take discipline and challenge to pray more, devote oneself to Jesus’ teachings and keep a focus on what your faith means to you.

Growth suggests being willing to change. Adding newness to one’s faith is enriching and strengthening. In what ways might you add to your faith?

Grace is two-fold on a faith journey. Firstly, being open to God’s good grace is a blessed and momentous place to be. God waits for our openness concerning gifts and graces.

Secondly, personal grace is key. The willingness to forgive yourself in times of doubt or weakness is an important piece to support your grit and growth.

God would have us face our faith journey bravely with the 3 Gs ever present.

So for today, the key will be 3G.

Leaving Something Behind

1 Oct

Aren’t we a busy bunch? We are such busy people, we barely pay attention to the mark we are making on the world. Many of us live day to day either ignorant of the impression we may be leaving on the world or we may be too humble to think what we do each day even matters. Of course first responders, teachers, health care workers and care givers are so caught up in their daily demands that stopping to consider their earthly imprint may not even come to mind. It is not boastful nor prideful to want to make a world of difference and to feel good about that, but rather it is one of those elusive qualities of living that is simply hard to grasp.

An American writer, Janette Oke stated it this way:

“HOW WE LEAVE THE WORLD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW WE ENTER IT. “

The Book of Acts tells us this:

“NOT WHAT YOU GET BUT WHAT YOU GIVE DETERMINES THE WORTH OF THE LIFE YOU LIVE.”

Now I am not asking you to revel in your accomplishments, nor am I suggesting that you plot your activities to “look good.” But God would have us consider priorities, missions, goals and methods of living. As Christians we would be asked to consider the examples we set…not for boastful living but for careful living–a life of wise choices, helpful gestures and strong images of Jesus’ love.

When a boat motors down a lake or river it leaves behind a “wake.” The wake is the ripple effect left behind as the boat moves ahead stirring up the waters.

What are you going to stir up today?

What will you leave behind today?

Our Beautiful Earth

29 Sep

1 For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies.

Refrain:
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.

2 For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light.

Poetry written by F.S. Pierpoint, 1863

HOW MANY OF YOU ARE SINGING THIS LOVELY TUNE IN YOUR MIND?

The Top Ten

27 Sep

The Top Ten

There are many top ten lists. We hear about the top ten most livable cities, the top ten best restaurants, the top ten places to travel… the BIG TEN.

Cindy, my sister-in law, had her own top ten. She recently passed unexpectedly after some post surgery complications and our family already misses her so very much. Cindy was an adult with “special needs.” Her cognitive function never really caught up with her numerical age. She was 69 at her passing and everyday with Cindy was a lesson on life –the way she lived and the way she loved are lessons for us all.

She taught me 10 key things about living. Not in any particular order, here they are:

  1. If you are greeting someone for the first time or for the first time in a long time, share your biggest grin. Be welcoming.
  2. If you are having a conversation with someone, give them undivided attention. Look them in the eye, touch their hand or their arm or shoulder and make that person feel like they matter!
  3. If you are going to color, it’s okay to go outside the lines.
  4. If you have a good meal in front of you clean your plate.
  5. If you see someone with a snack, ask if you could have one too, so they don’t have to eat alone.
  6. If you see someone with a present, ask if you could have one too so they don’t have to unwrap alone.
  7. Be generous with your hugs—everyone needs one now and then.
  8. If you need a sport for fun and recreation—it’s bowling! If not bowling, then shopping.
  9. If you are going to sing, raise your voice up loud and clear, after all it’s important for everyone to hear your musical message.

10. Finally, never ever judge anyone or anything…just love.

Cindy was taken too soon, but her rich life leaves behind a love legacy for all who knew her. Kudos and blessings to my in-laws who raised up such a special girl/lady.

Cindy–thanks for being a teacher unaware.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

There is only one way to look at things, until someone shows us how to look  at them with different ey… | Wisdom quotes, Words of encouragement,  Inspirational words


Peace

24 Sep

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Peace Prayer of St. Francis CCLI Song Number 649264

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Gifts

22 Sep

What is my Weakness?

20 Sep

As one who teaches college students I often refer to strengths as the things that go well and limitations for the things that do not go so well. I try not to use the word weakness. I do admit, thought, that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

What are mine?

Last weekend it was a bag of warm donuts we bought from a food truck. Hot fudge sundaes are another. Dogs are a weakness as is the underdog–you know, the one who struggles sometimes just to keep up. All these things tug at my heart strings and my appetite!

My weaknesses are the things I fall for almost every time. They are hard to resist.

Of course I have other weaknesses. I am not good at math, I am below average as an athlete, I sometimes fall short of a clean house…need I go on?

When God made me, though, I was perfect–perfect in God’s eyes. God ordained my gifts and talents and my strengths and limitations. It became my job to understand all this for effective living in the world I navigate. Sometimes my weaknesses are funny and sometimes they disappoint me. I believe God would have me be an accepting soul–accepting of all I have been given with no time to mourn what I do not have, even in the sphere of talents and abilities.

I love God. I want to please God. I want to use my strengths to prosper the beloved kingdom. And should I fall short, it will be fine as I am aware another opportunity will soon be at hand .

Thanks be to God.

Serving God Quotes Scriptures. QuotesGram

Technical Difficulties

17 Sep

Dear Faithful Friends and Followers–

I hope today’s message finds you well.

My computer is experiencing a slow meltdown. Something has begun to go wrong with the LCD screen and I must send the laptop off for repairs. (Do not be fooled…I have no idea what I am saying other than what Dell customer service shared with me a few minutes ago by phone–ha ha!) The good news is that the laptop is still under warranty. The bad news is that I may be without it for 10 days. Trying to compose and post and manage my devotional pieces from my phone has little to no appeal for me at this time. I have devised a plan.

I have a a couple original posts to share and then I will simply post a “borrowed” message for several days, already pre-planned, in hopes you glean some wisdom from the brief pieces shared and if you feel inspired, you can comment, to give readers other things to read and I thank you in advance for your understanding and continued participation.

This is a lesson on trust and patience. I trust that I did nothing to cause this computer calamity and will be patient as I await the repair.

And I thank you for your patience as well!

23 Powerful Bible Verses About Patience — Calming Scripture on Patience

Control

15 Sep

The only way God can show us that He is in control is to put us in situations we can’t control 💖 ~Psalm 37~

This interpretation of Psalm 37 I saw, believe it or not, on a fashion website by a young woman named Sarah Kathleen. She is a tender soul and talks mostly about fancy fashion, but she always offers a scriptural meditation as part of her blog.

CONTROL!! Don’t we love it? Don’t we need it sometimes? It makes us feel better about things. Control makes us feel like we know what we are doing and that we are in charge. But are we really in charge?

God’s plan is for us rather to lean on him and not on our own wits and wisdom. God would have us not micro-manage our days, but instead we should trust. Simply trust.

That is the hard part. Who really wants to lay back and have someone else take over our lives and our choices? It feels empowering to be the one in charge.

God does wish for us to have one form of control–self control–making us slower to anger, guarded in our behavior, wiser in our choices and careful in our living. That is often the type of control we lose first. Pressure and stress make self control a challenge and we often fly off the handle, stop rational thought and give in to the temptation to “flip out.”

Stop! Be still and offer yourself to God’s continual care, trusting in God’s wisdom and love.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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.

Elusive Faith

13 Sep

Wow! I am not sure those two words belong together. Something that is elusive is hard to find or hard to grasp. And while sometimes we feel VERY faithful, perhaps at times our faith wanes. We become more human and forget the divine.

Images of elusive faith might be summed up this way:

“Why Me?”

“How could this happen?”

“God, are you there?”

How will I handle this?”

“What am I supposed to do?”

I have been there. I have felt those feelings and have probably said similar words. I wonder if that is a disappointment to God when I utter such thoughts. Of course God recognizes my humanness, bit still I wonder if God wishes I were relying on him more instead of crying out, “Oh, woe is me.”

God’s promises are true. God is a faithful presence even when we slip up in our own faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness

Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
.

If those words are familiar to you, it is because that remarkable hymn penned by Thomas O. Chisolm in the early 1900s shows up in many hymnals regardless of the denomination because it speaks of a strong unwavering shoulder to lean on for care, wisdom and strength. Perhaps for some of you, just reading the words puts the tune in your mind and some peace in your heart.

May it be so!

A spiritandsoul Extra

11 Sep

A prayer for my Country–I wish we were a more caring people. I wish division were not so deep. I wish for peace to reign and for God’s power to be the ultimate power in our existence.

I pray for our leaders, that their wisdom would not be the ultimate wisdom and that recognizing human frailty they would seek wisdom from above.

I pray for the safety of the nation, that little children might only fear a thunderstorm and not violence and human threat or danger,

I pray that I will have a mind to truly listen to those who are different. Difference in beliefs, looks, philosophies and ideals make for opportunities to learn from rather than cancel or shut out.

I pray to see the distinct value of all humans from the tiniest to the mightiest.

I pray for not only the United States of America, but also for our world, in its humanity and broken spirit.

I pray for God’s wisdom to be the wisdom above all. Only in that holy place will fear, danger, hatred and unrest cease.

AMEN

American Flag Wooden Cross

New Life

10 Sep

Our family expanded recently with the addition of a precious granddaughter. New.Life. Feeling blessed!

Whenever we get something new, it is such a joyful change–think of the sights and scents of a new car; consider a fresh coat of paint in well loved room; think about wearing a new outfit or experiencing a new restaurant and the fresh feeling all those experiences bring. And a new baby? Over the top!

How do you experience new life? What do you do day in and day out to keep life buoyant for yourself? Nothing, you say? You are in a rut and a routine and it suits you, thank you very much! Uh Oh! Oh Dear!

God has a different plan for you, my friend!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Ephesians 4:22-24

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Isaiah 43:18-19

“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.

If you sometimes celebrate the joy of “new things” in your life, do not discount the beauty and the newness God has for your life.

I shall work to be open to this!

Perhaps I shall even rejoice in it!

Isaiah 43:19 (JPG) | Isaiah 43:19 | Free Church Resources from Life.Church

Are You a Prayer?

10 Sep

The online dictionary I consulted said prayer is an earnest and solemn request for help or an expression of thanks offered to God. Let’s dive more deeply.

The Five Types of Prayer

(pulled from the website strategicladies.com)

  • Type 1 – Worship and Praise
  • Type 2 – Petition and Intercession
  • Type 3 – Supplication
  • Type 4 – Thanksgiving
  • Type 5 – Spiritual Warfare

According to the website, the first one is the message we offer to God in honor and love and reverence for whom God is. The second type is a plea for help either for one’s own worrisome situation or on behalf of someone else. Type three is the most dramatic style and the one where we give an all or nothing stance during the prayer–on bended knee, physically prostrate, arms lifted high–a bodily expression is engaged to support the words we utter. The prayer of thanksgiving is an expression of appreciation for all God does and the last type of prayer is when a battle is present, emotionally or physically, and the words we cry out are an effort to gain focus and perspective and strength.

What type of prayer is your style? How do you pray and communicate with God? All of the above? None of the above? A mix of the bunch? Something different and new? Feel free to comment below.

Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing, which suggests that day in and day out we may engage in any number of the above styles including variations thereof.

I also believe there is another definition of the word. A PRAY-ER is one who prays. A person who does all of the above on his/her own terms and in the individual’s own manner, time and place.

I am a PRAY-ER. I believe God hears my thoughts and words. Being a pray-er helps me feel connected to a power much greater than that which I might muster on my own. I find prayer to be joyful at times and sometimes it is agitated and energetic and on other occasions the act of prayer brings peace.

Whether you will soon become a first time pray-er, or are a continued pray-er or even a more devoted pray-er, may your words be simple, pure, sincere and may the experience reward you richly.

40 Prayer Quotes - Powerful Encouragement & Inspiration!

Change

8 Sep

Change is something we often resist. “Never did it that way.” “This is who I am.” “It’s a tradition.” We can muster up all kinds of reasons to stay the same and not evolve.

What are we missing when we stay the same?

There is actually a scientific description for this feeling of change resistance. It is called Gleicher’s Formula which has many interpretive levels, but basically can be interpreted this way:

The pain of loss is greater than the power of gain.

(or so it would seem…)

Letting go of something often is more of a struggle when compared to the feeling of doing and getting something new. The new thing’s joy does not offset the pain of letting go of the old thing. Sometimes we may call it a “cost/benefit analysis.” What will the pending benefits be if I change and what will the sacrifices be if I change? Will the gain be better?

It causes a feeling of upset because the brain actually sees change as a modest form of a threat and we all want to resist threats to our thinking and well being.

Enter the Lord!

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

How blessed are those words!

Let’s be faithful to the changes life puts before us knowing God’s presence is ever there.

100 Quotes About Change And Growth In Life (2021)

Start with Why

6 Sep

That title is actually a book title by a business inspired writer named Simon Sinek. He believes true leadership and the people who inspire others to take action begin with the act of asking WHY. Sinek believes that people need to find their spark by asking the WHYs in life.

–Why am I happy or not?

–Why do I do the things I do?

–Why do certain things bother me?

–Why do certain things inspire me?

–Why am I here?

Sinek goes on in his book to describe that when WHY is at the center of your thinking and doing then WHAT and HOW will follow and will make sense. For instance, in business, “WHY does that customer keep coming back to my business? Ah…now I can see WHAT they want/ need and HOW to serve the customer best.”

Let’s jump to our manner of living. WHY am I here? WHAT am I supposed to do? HOW am I supposed to do this?

Scripture offers direction:

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Jeremiah 29:11 11 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.

All of the scriptural messages are so hopeful. They reflect words that inspire and ideas to fulfill a future. They secure for us the feeling of reason and purpose. There is a reason for me to be here. God has me here for a purpose.

WHY? We may cry that out when disappointments occur, but we may cry that out at the acceptance of God’s grace and glory. Why would God choose me for such a life? For good or for ill, it is part of a plan much bigger than what our minds might conceive.

God is so big, so vast, so powerful. When we cry out WHY, perhaps we should already be in pursuit of the answer to such a question. And, more than that, we should be open to the answers that God will someday reveal.

Value

3 Sep

Value: the definition from my paperback dictionary is this–the importance , worth of something; one’s judgment of what is important in life.

What kinds of things do you value?

–life

–love

–family

–freedom

–money

–meaningful moments

This list could go on and on and while we may rank order our valued things in our own hearts and minds and feel strongly about some things over others, there is no doubt that everyone has values. Yours may not match mine and vice-versa, but we can admit that we all value something.

God values us. After all, we were made in his image, created in love and built to be of his world not just our own little worlds.

What does it mean to be valued by God? It means we are treasured and thought of as important and worthy.

We are worthy of God’s love and the life given to us and God will honor our faithful lives, cherish our worship and await our prayers. God longs to know us and be there for us and God shows us our value every day, if we only tune in to that blessed message.

Psalm 139:13-14

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Thanks be to God.

Hospitality

1 Sep

Sometimes we need a change of scenery to help us see differently. After all, perspective is a point of view–the way we see things. Last weekend I had a deep desire to attend another church. Let me state loudly and clearly, I was not church shopping, nor was I sneaking around to see what other churches were doing in these Covid times. I simply wanted to worship in a corporate fashion, but in an anonymous way.

I chose a country church and I was welcomed from the parking lot, into the door, up to the sanctuary and after worship as well. I guess I felt anonymous, but the members of this little church spotted a visitor right away and helped me feel welcome on a morning when I had several things on my mind. They shook my hand, they reached out to sit near me and after church they invited me to visit again. The church had a small sanctuary and nearly every pew had someone sitting in it–families, friends and others all sitting near. Social distancing was not on their agenda. We sang familiar hymns collectively and masks were rather few and far between. I think I surprised one lady at the passing of the peace when I waved to her instead of reaching toward what may have been a hug coming my way. We joked about it later and she seemed gracious about the whole thing.

I learned from my colleagues in worship that day how to be outreaching in a good way. Sometimes visitors to a church feel swarmed or ambushed by too many welcoming moments from a room full of strangers and sometimes in a room full of strangers if no one speaks, it is easy to feel alone. The folks in this country church seemed to understand the science of hospitality. They were so kind to me.

I will be back at my own church this weekend. I will, however, open up my senses in case there are new folks around. I would like to treat visitors to my beloved church in the way I was treated last weekend–just enough of a HELLO and a balanced feeling of being WELCOME without being overwhelmed.

1 Peter 4:8-9 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Quotes On Hospitality HD Stock Images | Shutterstock