As we get toward the end of Matthew in the #NTin2018 reading, this question hits home? Who are we surrounding ourselves with? Do they care about the condition of our soul?
Salvation is an individual decision, but friends are so influential and important in our little daily decisions. Do your friends lift you up and point you to the things of God, or are they a distraction that become a stumbling block to you?#yourtribematters
Soul Scripts reminded me of this quote today, and I’ve been saying YES & AMEN ever since I saw it!
This speaks so loudly to me. So often I am sure God is telling me to do something. I’m on fire about it, full of excitement and energy around it...even if it scares me. I feed off the nearness of God in it...
...until some time passes. I get in my head. Satan gets in my head. I start to doubt...that God really wanted me to do it, that I even can do it, that I have time to do it. My fire around it is gone when I place it all on myself and lose that connection to God over it. I want to dig up those freshly planted seeds and toss them. Ugh!
God, if something is from You, help me to cling to it; to water it and watch it grow, no matter how slow and scary it feels.
I love social media. I love connecting with old friends. I love keeping up with family all over the country. I love keeping up with my favorite writers.
But at the same time, I hate social media. It has given such freedom to be terrible to each other behind a screen. We are tearing each other apart. We can’t even engage in civil discussion.
Unity and love for one another matters to God.
I’m praying tonight that we can find a way to unify in Him, despite valid differences of opinion, culture, politics, preferences. It seems too far gone and impossible these days, but I know that is when God shows up even bigger.
My daughter is in the middle of her 10th grade year and it has really started to hit me that she will be launching out on her own soon. As we start looking up requirements for some of her dream schools, sign up for entrance tests, and plan some campus visits, it has been on my heart that she never lose sight of what is most important…her relationship with Jesus. I’ve always prayed for my kids, but I want to be more intentional, and at the same time create something I can give them when they do leave home for that first time for college.
My plan is to start marking up a Bible for my daughter with verses I want her to remember and personal notes & prayers from me throughout. I am going to start this Lent and then continue it through the years so I can gift it to her when she leaves for college in two years. I pray it is something she will look at often to seek wisdom from God and encouragement. Perhaps it will be just the thing she needs to refer to on a particularly hard or heartbreaking day, which we all know will come.
You don’t have to have an older child to start. You don’t even have to have a child. Maybe you want to start a Bible marking up the prayers for your future spouse and you can give it to them on your wedding day. Or maybe you want to mark on up for an unbelieving family member or friend you have been praying opens their hearts to Jesus.
I’ve included a separate tab on my website (Loved Bible) with everything you need to get started…links to journaling Bibles, a list of verses by theme to pray over and incorporate in your Bible, and a calendar if you want to follow along during Lent to kick it off.
I plan to reflect on the passages each day during Lent, mark them in the Bible (highlight or underline), and include a prayer in the margin of the Bible or on a sticky note that I place in the Bible.
If you decide to start marking up a Bible too, leave a comment with your recipient’s first name and I will join you in praying for them.
Shout out to all the parents out there. Those that go to work, those that stay home. Those that cook organic dinners from scratch, those that grab take-out. Those that drop off at school, those who homeschool. Those who are up at night praying during a 2am feed, those up at night praying for their adult child.
As a working homeschool mom, I’m often overwhelmed and exhausted by these jobs that I love so much. But I’m so very grateful. It is holy kingdom work. I’m saying a special prayer for parents tonight. I’m also praying for those who aren’t parents...your love and mentoring is huge!
Gossip is a weakness for many...an easy / fake way to feel like we are in the know and connecting / bonding. But it is poison. What you are saying about someone to a friend is what they imagine you saying about them to someone else. Let it be words that build up, not tear down. We need each other and we need good, solid, trustworthy friendships. Be the friend you want to have!
This week in #NTin2018 we studied Matthew 15 and the Canaanite woman who wouldn’t give up when it came to seeking healing from Jesus. It was a beautiful story of perseverance in faith. Sticking with it through all odds against her, rejection, and disappointment.
But sometimes things need to die.
Sometimes we aren’t supposed to keep persevering toward a desire. Sometimes God is waiting for us to release our grip so the bigger thing He has in store can grow.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
How do we know when to keep fighting and when to let something die?
The only thing I know to do is to abide in Him. To actively seek God’s discernment and wisdom and guidance. There is no formula or stock answer. God knows if there were a formula, we would follow the formula instead of seeking Him. The only constant is God…going to Him.
If you are exhausted in the perseverance, maybe you need to ask for faith and courage and strength to press on…but, maybe it is time to let it die. Pray pray pray for God to show you the way. He is good and He has a good plan. He is with you and for you.
I’m praying for God to show you the way, and then to give you everything you need...whether it is increased perseverance, or peace to let it go and eagerly await God’s better plan.
So, I messed up.
I’m doing the 21-day Daniel fast and I ate chicken and really good salad dressing.
And it’s not like I slipped and accidentally ate it because it was the only food available. No, I ordered it and had a conversation in my head about it beforehand. It went something like this…
Me: “I’m going to order the chicken salad.”
Me: “No…don’t do it. It isn’t part of the Daniel plan.”
Me: “It is only 21 days. You can do it.”
Me: “Look at your beautiful Rewritten ‘discipline’ cuff…your word for the year.”
Me: “So you’re going there. My word for the year. Good one.”
Me: “What if Jesus said, ‘you know, I don’t really feel like dying today.’”
Me: “Ouch. I’m so grateful for Jesus and what He did for me.”
Me: (to waiter) “I’ll have the chicken salad.”
Really? What is wrong with me?
I’m such an all or nothing person. If I mess up once, I give up on it all.
But not this time. I’m not giving up on the things that matter to me. I messed up. And I’ll mess up again and again and again…maybe not with the Daniel fast, but surely with many other things.
I think about Paul and his desire for the recipients of his letters to understand the incredible freedom in Christ. God knows we will mess up. He knows we can’t live a perfect life. He sent Jesus to die to wipe the slate clean, so we can get back up and keep pressing on. Paul personally knew the exhaustion of trying to follow every law and command perfectly to earn salvation. The struggle of waiting for the Day of Atonement to sacrifice for that year’s sins, only to start the process over again. Then Jesus came and made the “once for all” sacrifice, offering up His perfect and holy self (Hebrews 7:27).
When we mess up in big or small ways, we have a Savior who says, “It’s okay, Joani. I accept your apology. You are forgiven. Go and sin no more….but if you do -- and you will -- I will be here always. I love you and I am rooting for you.”
That is worth sticking with it. That is worth not giving in or giving up. My setbacks can become new starting points.
I'm reading through the New Testament in 2018...one chapter each weekday (click here to follow along). Today's reading was Matthew 15. I love the story of the Canaanite woman who refused to give up. She teaches us is that is isn’t our social status, financial status, friend status, cultural status, religious status, experience status, popularity status, education status...it is NONE of these things the world values.
We are ENOUGH solely based on our faith in Jesus being enough.
It is unbelievable how enough you are!
I got my gorgeous Daily Grace prayer journal and mugs today.
Here’s my problem...it’s so pretty I don’t want to write in it. I feel like I need to save it for the perfect thing I might decide to use it for at some unknown time. I’m the same with gift cards. I will throw away my kids’ homework if it is left on the counter too long, but I am such a hoarder of gift cards, waiting for the perfect time/thing to use them for (I might run out of money and those Target & Starbucks gift cards will save the day).
Anyone else a journal or gift card hoarder? Use them! Enjoy them! (Preaching to myself)
I’m determined to transfer my prayer list to my new journal. I want to pray for you too. Message me your prayer requests. I love to pray for my friends.
This is from the end of Lose My Soul by @officialtobymac @kirkfranklin and @mandisaofficial. It has been a regular prayer of mine. As your day comes to a close, may God’s kingdom be what wakes you up and lays you down.
In today's #NTin2018 post from Matthew 11, we talked about John's example of overcoming doubts. He went straight to the source -- Jesus. Jesus responded with Scripture, knowing this would solidify John's faith in who He was.
It is so important that we know God's Word and God's Truth so when the trials come or expectations aren't met or disappointment surrounds us or the untruths of culture scream at us, we can be discerning. We can know for certainty who God is.
The button below takes you to a printable document with some of the Characteristics of God. It is formatted to print landscape and folded in half to keep in your bag, your Bible, your journal...wherever you need it.
I used to think of worship songs as the warm-up for “real church” or background music while we wait for the latecomers. Something changed at some point and I saw it rightfully as the way to prepare to meet our God; to show my gratitude and love for Him; to prepare my heart. I started to pray that I would be emptied of me — my pride, my to-do lists, my self-righteousness— and be filled with the Holy Spirit; open to all He has for me and all in to worship Him. I pay close attention to every lyric, carefully chosen to match the message.
Here’s the problem...I am a wreck at church! Please tell me I’m not alone. I literally sit in church and pray that God keeps me from crying as I am so moved by His presence. I grip my hands together and sometimes press my fingernails into my hands to keep from crying...all the while thinking, “I’m squashing the spirit I just prayed to show up. What is wrong with me?”
I hope you all get some sweet alone time with Jesus this weekend!
I’m convinced we all have dreams related to some passion God has planted deep within us. Some of us are acutely aware of them. Others may be buried from years of pushing them aside.
What do you dream about doing...no matter how impossible it seems right now?
What is keeping you from taking steps toward it?
Fear can be paralyzing. And a busy life gives us plenty of excuses. But you know if you have that fire, it doesn’t stay away long.
What small steps can you do right now? What goals can you set for the next 3 months?
Maybe doing research or signing up for a class. Maybe starting pieces of it on a small scale. Maybe reaching out to a potential mentor. Maybe volunteering in a related area. Maybe it is even just speaking it, sharing it with a friend, and committing to take 5 minutes to pray daily for revelation about it.
There is nothing more motivating than working toward a goal you are passionate about.
Saying a prayer right now for all the dreamers!
God, let us mourn for the things that mourn you. Help us to be assured and rooted in Your truth...THE truth.
And then let us speak it.
Help us to fear not speaking more than we fear speaking.
Help us speak the truth, even if our voice shakes.
Be amazed and changed by a PERFECT GOD!