July 10th ~ Prayer Challenge for America


pray for America

Titus 3:1

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Father God,

We are Your hands and feet here on earth. Help us to act justly and honorably, and be prepared to perform the good works You have prepared for us. Sweeten our speech so that we only speak words that are kind, compassionate, and forgiving. Help us to not quarrel with anyone, rather help us be kind and gentle, and look for our common interests and goals. We lift up our leaders and all those in authority over us and pray You give them wisdom in all matters. Help us to be obedient citizens and show submission and humility to our leaders and neighbors in all we do.

Amen.

 

Image: Google Images

Scripture: English Standard Version

GRIEF


Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

        Haydee

We all experience losses; some are more devastating than others. The loss of a parent, or close friend can shatter our world. The loss of a child is probably the most devastating loss to deal with. There are other losses that are burdensome such as job loss, or surviving cancer but dealing with the lifelong issues that result from the lifesaving surgeries. Even moving to a new state brings the sorrow of leaving friends and everything we are comfortable with. When you experience loss of any kind, there will be grief and sorrow. We must all deal with these emotions as a part of life.

As I write this, my mother-in-law has just been laid to rest. She had a series of strokes followed by other declines in health, and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. Since that first stroke she wasn’t the vibrant woman who raised my husband. In many ways Gerry has been mourning the loss of his mom for years.

There is such finality to death. This truth can shake our faith. Even when death is expected it’s always catches us unprepared because it is final. There are no second chances. No more holidays or conversations. No more photographs. Even when a loved one is ravaged by an illness that leaves them bedridden and unaware, we mourn the loss.

On April 15, 2000, my husband rushed me to the emergency room where I lost a baby girl. We were devastated. We loved Hailey from the moment we started planning for her. I blamed myself and I felt the loss was unfair. Other women were experiencing the joy of growing their families while I had empty arms. People would say the oddest things to me to attempt to comfort me. Their words usually added to the pain. The grieving process shows us that life isn’t fair.

Psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross explains there are five stages to the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As you deal with your grief you will move back and forth between these stages in a unique way. You won’t necessarily move from one stage to the next, to the next, and suddenly be in the acceptance stage because the grieving process is not usually predictable. In fact, grief can take us on a whirlwind ride of emotions. Our journey through the grieving process may change us in other, more subtle ways.

When dealing with grief, remember that it is a process. Your passage through grief and healing will not look like someone else’s journey. It takes time to accept the loss so spend some time remembering. Be grateful for the time you did have. Spend some time with cherished memories and old photographs. Eventually, you will try to balance the pain of loss, while coping with the struggles of everyday life. Allow yourself time to heal and experience the emotions you have. Seek out family and friends as you go through the process. Know that when dealing with grief you may experience physical symptoms such sleeplessness, changes in appetite, not wanting to participate in favorite activities, and changes in mood. This takes time, but If you have been grieving longer than a few months, seek professional help from a godly counselor.

It’s easy to blame God when there is a loss, especially the loss of your child, but we must remember that the Lord is mourning your loss too, and offering you peace and comfort. We live in a broken world. Death is a part of the circle of life; eventually it claims us all. But knowing this truth doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear. When confronted with grief, let the Lord wrap His loving arms around you. Accept Our Heavenly Father’s peace and comfort. In His Word, there are many passages and verses we can turn to help us cope and deal with our loss, and feel God’s healing presence.

The Psalms

 Ecclesiastes 3

 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

There is a song that became popular as I was struggling with my grief and helped me thorough my healing process. Some of the lyrics to “Blessings” by Laura Story (Capitol Music Group) are below:

“What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise.”

 Let the Lord comfort you and give you peace in your time of loss.

“I Think, Therefore I Am” – René Descartes


i think....

I ran across this profound quote by René Descartes a few days ago. It made me stop and wonder about the various subjects I think about.  I began to reflect on the times I’ve been reactionary, or not thought good things. There we also times I remembered thinking about positive outcomes. We are all products of our thought life. So it stands to reason that what we think will become who we are. Frank Outlaw put it this way,

frank oulaw

I love how the King James Version puts it, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7a.

I made mental notes about what I have been thinking about and compared those notes with what I want to be thinking about. I know who I want to become, so I must watch my thoughts. They will eventually become my destiny.

Philippians 4:8 helps us understand the right way think,Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  There is so much beauty in this world; there is no reason to dwell on negative things.

Romans 12:2 also guides us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I’m making up my mind to change my thought life and get it more in tune with what God wants me to think about. Those thoughts will guide my future.

What are you thinking about today?

 

Scripture: openbible.info

Images: Google images

The Idols of Me, Myself, and I


pride

Romans 12:3

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Recently, God has been talking to me about the idols in my life (see previous posts). A few days ago I was convicted again. A Christian radio program[i] discussed how we often put too much emphasis on ourselves – with ourselves becoming an idol in our own life. (I don’t remember the exact words, I was driving.) I felt an immediate conviction.  My life has often been about my three best friends: me, myself, and I.

Exodus 20:3

“You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me.”

It seems like a simple, straight forward command. Why then is it so difficult to put God first and love God purely? I think the answer comes down to pride. Pride is the first sin – Lucifer fell due to his pride (Isaiah 14:13).

Pride is subtle and it permeates so many areas of our lives. Pride means we are focused on ourselves. This can take on many forms. Pride can be arrogance, and thinking too highly of yourself or that you are better than others. It’s easy to recognize that attitude as pride. There are many other areas in which we a prideful but we may not be aware of those prideful thoughts. Self-pity for example; we are still focused on ourselves and not God. How about not being thankful, or forgiving? What about always needing to be the center of attention? What about being unwilling to learn (because you think you know it all)? Refusing to admit when you are wrong? Being disrespectful, or even sarcastic? Being impatient? What about jealousy? Seems to me that I am prideful in many areas of my life.

Proverbs 16:5

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

So how do we get past pride?

The first step many view God as God. We are not God. We know that intellectually, but we must not know it in our heart because we act in prideful ways. Remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is the creator (Job 38:4). He’s done so much that we cannot do.

The second step may be to remember that God is the provider of everything we have. We would not have what we have if God did not create us with our unique talents and personality (Psalm 139:13).

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Being thankful, truly thankful for everything you have (1 Thessalonians 5:18) might be the third step. Next, admit to God how prideful we are. In prayer, ask The Lord to humble our spirit. God cannot use us if we are prideful, but a God can use a humble person.

Matthew 23:11

The greatest among you will be your servant.

I am praying also for a servant’s heart, and to accept the correction and discipline of God. I’m praying for God to lead me to humility.

Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

I’m praying for God to help me conquer the pride in my life.

 

Blessings on your day.

 

Scripture: Biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

[i] Charles Stanley, InTouch

Second Chances


 

lam 3 22 23

I’ve been absent from this blog for a long time, and I’ve really missed it. But I had the opportunity to go back to school and finally finish earning my degree. That kept me quite busy, so I put blogging on hold. Now I have graduated and look forward to new doors opening.

God allows for the opportunity to begin again. There are many people in the Bible who had second chances, Peter, Jonah, and David for example. Receiving a second chance to do something is a testament to God’s grace. Lamentations 3:21-23 explains, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

While God provides for new opportunities, I think we tend to resist change because of a fear of the unknown. There’s a saying that goes, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.” Remember that God is gracious and merciful towards us, and he is faithful. Everyday is a new day and a chance to begin fresh, because his love never ceases. Remember Ecclesiastes 3:1, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

So if you have something you’ve been putting off, consider doing it now. Go back to school. Have that conversation with an estranged loved one. Start the diet and working out. Begin the project. Change jobs. The results will take time, but they are worth it and in the end, God will bless you in a special way.

May the Lord richly bless your day.

Julie

 

 

So Much To Be Thankful For


Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

During this season of thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to make a list of some of the things to be thankful for. This list is really quite short – there are countless blessings to thank God for. I challenge to you add to this list. May you be richly blessed today and everyday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. A Bed
  2. A Home Cooked Meal
  3. Ability to Choose
  4. Animals
  5. Aquariums
  6. Art
  7. Babies
  8. Baseball Games
  9. Beaches
  10. Bicycles
  11. Books and Libraries
  12. Braces and a pretty smile
  13. Bubble Baths
  14. Candles
  15. Candy
  16. Cards and Letters
  17. Chocolate
  18. Christmas Lights
  19. Christmas Stockings
  20. Christmas Trees
  21. Church
  22. Clothing
  23. Coffee and Tea
  24. Color
  25. Creativity
  26. Curiosity
  27. Cute Shoes
  28. Desserts
  29. Dishwashers
  30. Doctors and Dentists
  31. Education
  32. Family and Friends
  33. Family Traditions
  34. Fireplaces
  35. Fireworks
  36. Five Senses
  37. Good
  38. Fountains
  39. Four Seasons
  40. Forests
  41. Freedom
  42. Fresh Bread
  43. Fresh Water
  44. Gardens
  45. Gentle Rains
  46. Glitter
  47. God
  48. Good Manners
  49. Google
  50. GPS
  51. Hairstylists
  52. Holidays and Vacation
  53. Hot Showers
  54. Hugs
  55. Imagination
  56. Jesus
  57. Jewelry
  58. Language/Communication
  59. Lipstick
  60. Medicine
  61. Mementos
  62. Memories
  63. Military and First Responders
  64. Movie Theaters
  65. Music
  66. My Home
  67. My Job
  68. Naps
  69. Pajamas
  70. Parks
  71. Pastors
  72. Paved Roads
  73. Pedicures
  74. Pets
  75. Photographs
  76. Prayer
  77. Puzzles
  78. Rainbows
  79. Right to Vote
  80. Salvation
  81. Saturday Mornings
  82. Second Chances
  83. Snow
  84. Spell Check
  85. Spices
  86. Stained Glass Windows
  87. Stop Lights
  88. Sun, Moon and Stars
  89. Sunshine
  90. Teachers
  91. Technology
  92. The Beach
  93. The Bible
  94. The Ocean
  95. The Radio
  96. Theme Parks
  97. Today
  98. Travel
  99. Trees
  100. Wildflowers
  101. Wine

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Images: Google Images

Scripture: Biblegateway.com

Thankfulness Day 21


2Thessalonians2v15

Thank you Lord for the gift of traditions so that we may come together as family and friends, and remember to celebrate your goodness. Thank you also for the traditions of our faith that provide structure to our worship experience.

 2 Thessalonians 2:15

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.

 day 21

From Leviticus 23

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.

The Sabbath

The Passover

The Feast of First fruits

The Feast of Weeks

The Feast of Trumpets

The Day of Atonement

The Feast of Booths

 

May you experience abundance and blessings as you celebrate the traditions of this season.

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images