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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Surrender

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? -Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV)

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about “Word of the Year”.  I recall hearing a bit about it last year, but it seems to be a hot trend.  I’ve read about it in magazines and blogs, even heard others chatting about it at church.  The idea is that this word carries meaning to you and provides inspiration and focus.  I had zero interest in tagging some word to my life for a year just because it seemed to be a popular thing.  It just sounded like one more thing to ponder, pray about, and decide on.  Honestly, I have plenty of material that require all of these things already!

But (you knew that was coming didn’t you?) this word continue to show up everywhere.  If the actual word didn’t appear, the idea or the action did.

Surrender

Jesus, I surrender my life to you.  I pray I deny myself, take up my cross and follow you, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Blogging, Faith

 

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The Hungry

Upon examination of those called to be disciples in the Bible we do not find they were the religious leaders, the political leaders, most were not even considered good people.  They were all looked down upon for one reason or another according to the cultural norms of the day.  Jesus called them because he saw their hunger.  He knew they were worth investing in because they responded to his calling.

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He *said to them, “[Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. -Matthew 4:18-20 (NASB)

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.-Matthew 9:9 (NASB)

They responded to the calling.  They were hungry for Jesus.  Hungry for relationship with him and what he offered to them.  Everyone Jesus chose to be in relationship with, he called to respond in some way to his offering.  When he sent out the disciples he didn’t send them out to just anywhere, he sent them to the hungry.

These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heavenis at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.  Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.  And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.  As you enter the house, give it your greeting. If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.  Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. -Matthew 10:5-15

I understand we are called to the Great Commission and to spread the Good News, but then if we follow the example of Jesus, are we not then called to invest in the hungry?  Those that respond to what we’re offering and not those that reject it?

Father God, the middle school ministry at Heartland feels called to incorporate discipleship more fully. I pray our response pleases you.  I ask for you to open my eyes to the hungry in my life, in this ministry and elsewhere.  Your blessing on it all.  Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Faith

 

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Fasting

 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

   “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

  “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. -Isaiah 58:1-9 (NIV)

I attend a group called Mother’s Together at my church on Wednesdays.  Last week a wonderfully wise woman spoke to us about fasting.  I found it highly educational and quite intriguing!  Let me clarify – we are not referring to any type of diet, weight loss, or physical cleansing program.  We mean fasting as voluntarily going without something (food, soda, coffee, facebook, internet, tv, videogames, etc.) in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God.  My intentions are not to regurgitate the teaching I received.  If this piques your interest, as it did mine, you can find many examples of fasting in the Bible.

Typically fasting refers to going with out food.  All of the examples I read in the Bible were fasting from food and sometimes food and drink.  The fasting is to be done privately, meaning not to be something you brag or whine about.  The pangs of hunger felt constantly remind you to be seeking time with God and praying.  Fasting says to God – You are more important than anything else and recognizes all He has done.  In modern times fasting doesn’t have to be going with out food.  We’ve become very dependent on many things being a consistent part of our life that fasting from them and replacing it with prayer can also be very powerful.  I have done these types of fasts before with my church and it has lead to remarkable things.  I’ve been wondering though what I may be called to fast from food for personally.

We were asked to consider anything our heart is broken over as a possible focus for fasting.  Many things could fall under this category for me, but the two that have continued to bounce around in my head since this teaching are about my sons.  My oldest seems to struggle with his confidence.  As much as this is part of the age/stage he falls in, it breaks my heart to see it because I remember all to well struggling with it myself at his age.  My youngest struggles with his health.  Even though I can count us so blessed that he doesn’t have more to struggle with as so many others with spina bifida do, he still deals with a lot and watching/helping him go through all he does everyday both breaks my heart and inspires me.

Please note:  each individual is different and if you have any concerns about health risks from fasting from food, etc. consult your physician first.

Father I am so blessed to have witnessed this teaching on fasting.  I feel simply understanding this practice better draws me nearer to you.  I ask for the wisdom to know if this is something you are calling me to do for the circumstances that break my heart.  I pray for all those who are intrigued by this practice and may feel called to fast for the first time, may it be a blessed experience.  In Your Son’s Sweet Name, Amen.

 

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Faith, Family, Food

 

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Wish I’d Known

I was at loss for words to post here tonight.  I read my devotional, scripture, even started writing a few times, but it was all forced.  Then I prayed.  (Please note, I prayed for inspiration only after I thought I exhausted anything that might bring it.  Why is that still the case?)  I’ve been getting out of the habit of doing this BEFORE I even sit down to write my posts.  Why?  Oh, maybe because I allowed all of my sweet family’s and friends’ flowering comments to inflate my ego to the point of thinking this was all me.  Thank you Lord for the reality check!

After praying, I still felt uninspired and proceeded to scan facebook.  Maybe I could find something inspiring there.  Surprise!  That is where I found the video and I felt compelled to share.  Let me say, my own marriage reflected many of the don’ts and we’re still working on incorporating the do’s.

Jesus, thank you for entering my marriage when it was on the brink.  I pray your will for all the broken marriages out there.  I ask for wisdom, perspective, and compassion for all the husbands and wives.  I lift up those marriages that I know to qualify as broken right now.  Your healing on them Lord!  Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Faith, Family

 

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Roaring Like a Lion

Lord, let your kingdom come!  I am praying for many of my family and friends tonight who either don’t know you Jesus or don’t choose to follow you.  My God is surely alive and thank you for living inside me!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Faith

 

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Strongholds

“O Lord, like David, help me rejoice in Your strength and say of You, ‘How great is my joy in the victories You give!’  Father, please grant me the desire of my heart to be free from the strongholds in my life.  Do not withhold the request of my lips (Psalm 21:1-2).” -Beth Moore

I thought I would quote an example of how Beth uses actual scripture as prayer.  If you look up the verse you will see how she tweaks the words just a bit to personalize it.

I mentioned the other day that I started a new Tuesday night Bible study.  We watch a movie together, do 5 homework assignments throughout the week, and return the following Tuesday to discuss and watch the next movie.  This study is different from others I have done, because we truly examine our “issues”.  If you ask God to make you aware, then be ready!

A little over a year ago I lost my job.  I loved my job, my company, and my co-workers. Though I strongly disagree with the reasoning behind my dismissal, as time passes I see more and more how this was part of God’s plan for me.

A few months back, it dawned on me that before losing my job I thought I was in that position because of all I had done, of how great I was.  I felt entitled to my role and anxious for the next bigger and better position to showcase my abilities.  I resented any delay or struggle along the way.  I was good at my job, but I had gotten greedy and in a hurry to have everything exactly as I planned.  

Immediately after I lost my job, my thinking hadn’t changed much…  I had to fix this.  What was I going to do?  Slowly, the Holy Spirit helped me understand that I didn’t do any of it.  He put me in that position and He allowed me to be removed from it.  I had become a believer, but I had yet to place my trust in God.  I had to trust God to provide for me, to make His will known to me, to open the next door.  So I began working towards that and thought good progress was being made.

Then while doing my homework today I realized I still feel “less than” I was before.  I feel unsuccessful and have labelled myself a “non-contributor” to our family because my financial contributions are slim in comparison to before.

Though I still have moments when I beat myself up with negative self-talk about issues ranging from financial struggles to career indecision, my experiences in studying God’s Word over the past year have, and continue to, allow me to find new riches in my relationship with Jesus, my family, and friends.

O Lord, like David help me rejoice in Your strength and say of You. “How great is my joy in the victories you give!”  Father, please grant me the desire of my heart to be free from the strongholds in my life.  Do not withhold the request of my lips.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Faith, Family

 

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Holding Hands

Tonight on the way home from Bible study my husband reached over to hold my hand.  Even though he frequently does this, the moment struck me and I was grateful.

 

Father,I am so glad I am not alone.  When my husband reached out to hold my hand, I saw you reaching out to hold my hand.  I praise the work you do in our lives and for bringing this moment to my attention.  In Your Sons’ Sweet Name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Faith, Family

 

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