A Self-Ish Prayer

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Lord,

I pray for my self today.  That my self, which is a bit unruly at times, would be a better self with your help.

I pray that my self would not react in its human nature to the actions or words from my spouse, children or co-workers that push my buttons. Even the angry driver on the road. Help my self to see the truth and heart in the situation, which is most always good-intentioned–even the angry driver just wants to stay alive.

I pray for my self today.  That it would be hard working at thankless jobs.  That my self would put in its best effort even when it goes unnoticed.  That it would not seek recognition for deeds, but serve and work for the glory of you, God.

I pray for my self.  That it would be grateful among all circumstances…even those that seem impossible to be thankful for.  May my self reflect a spirit of gratitude from the second its tired feet touch the soft rug in the morning to the last waking moment of the day.  For gratitude is the secret to peace and joy.

Lord, please forgive my self, which I am responsible for.  Forgive its self-ish ways, its seeking of personal Glory, its careless acknowledgement of abundance, its lack of compassion for those in need, its desire to take control away from you all the time and keep it balled up in its fist.  Open the fist.

I pray for patience for my self.  Not for others, which is important, but today, for this self alone.  Let me have grace for its mistakes, understand the incredible breadth of your forgiveness, and in turn, forgive my-self.  I pray that it can grasp the truth and power of second chances.  You are the God of second-chances.

I pray for my-self today.  Self, I am talking to you. Hear this prayer, store it inside, live it out,

for you are me.

Amen

Are You A Planner?

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I thought  this was a great tag on to my “To Do List” post…

“Are you a planner? A planner likes to have life planned out.  She makes lists of what she hopes to accomplish in a day, week or month.  A planner looks ahead and knows where he expects his career to be in five years’ time.  She has expectation for her marriage and for her children.  A well-thought-out plan gives him peace.

However, life seldom follows well-laid plans.  Life takes detours that throw your plans off course.  How well do you handle these spontaneous changes? What happens to your peace-o-meter when your plans go out the window?

Change is difficult but it is possible to maintain peace in your life through the maze of life’s changes.  That peace is possible when you trust in God.  Trust in the fact that He’s in control of your life.  Trust in the fact that He wants good things for you and is guiding and directing you to serve him and others in a way that reflects His love to the world.

Look at the detours as opportunities not problems and rejoice in what they bring.”

p.83 Daily Inspirations of Peace by Carolyn Larsen

By the way, for those of us who ARE planners, here is a website with some cute ones—just be willing to ditch your plan if God has another one!

 

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www.sweetpeasandstilettos.com

The Order of Things

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I was visiting with a friend who shared a nugget of wisdom I don’t want to forget.  We were discussing teaching our kids about God, and how, instead of focusing on obedience (rules, what pleases God, how we show him love), we should first focus on the character of God and his outpouring of love toward us.

He loves us, he cares for us. and he initiates a relationship with us. And it is from this understanding of God’s kindness toward us that we want to obey him with our decisions.  When those two get reversed, it becomes legalism. I’m afraid I’ve been guilty of teaching scripture to my children that points to what they can do for Him–serve, love, share, tell the truth, which are all great acts, but can’t be forced upon a growing heart for God (well they can, but the act will be not be a true expression of love back to God).  Sincere acts of obedience come from a heart that truly wants to give back to God because the heart understands how loved it is.

The nugget in this for me is how I will shift the order in teaching my children about God from obedience and character to character and obedience.  This way of thinking also applies to myself and my obedience to God, and to everyone I share God with.

Here is an excerpt from a lesson I found today that expresses God’s character towards us.  It is from a Focus On The Family email publication of “Thriving Family” (link below)

By Kurt Bruner

God is love: It is true that God does loving things. But the more important truth is that God is love (1 John 4:8). God can’t help loving because it is an essential part of His character.

God cares: We can cast our anxiety on God because He cares (1 Peter 5:7). Like a spouse’s hug when we’re stressed or a parent’s hug when we’re worried, God’s love comforts and reassures us because we know that He cares about each troubling detail of our lives. God gives himself: Jesus said that the greatest love is when someone lays down his life for another (John 15:13). That is precisely what God did when He became man to rescue us from death.

God initiates: Our Father God takes the initiative in loving us rather than waiting for us to show love to Him. The Bible describes this love: “Not that we loved God, but that he loved us” (1 John 4:10), and “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

What wonderful things for our hearts to grasp, and for us to pass on to others.  (Especially around Valentine’s Day)

Go to www.thrivingfamily.com for great resources on marriage, parenting, finances, and much more.

Blessings,

Amy

Pillow Pet Spirituality

Written By Amy

This weekend I took my daughter, Hannah, to her soccer tournament in Vail.   We arrived late on Friday night to my friend’s house who lives right outside of Vail and Hannah and I, sleepy from our drive up, with stomachs full of Beau Jo’s pizza (yeah!), crashed in a bed in the loft.  As I lay my head on the firm but comfortable pillow I thought, ahh, this feels good.  A few minutes into this peaceful state I rolled to the right and my head shifted onto a pillow pet that Hannah brought with her.  For those of you who are not familiar with “pillow pets” they are pillows, in the form of animals, that are covered with soft fur.  I remember drowsily thinking this was the most comfortable pillow experience I have ever had! Snuggling deeper into the pillow, my cheek resting on the downy fur, I pondered what I had been missing all these years of sleeping on a square, semi-firm adult pillow.

Then my sleepy brain went here (must have been the pizza): What else have I been missing in life?  What else, in settling for mediocrity, have I lacked?  It’s not even settling, it’s just not knowing!  Jen would say I have been missing out on the best cleaning cloth, the Norwex, and my gourmet foodie friends would say I am missing out on amazing foods that I refuse to try.  Sometimes when I step out of my city life and hike in the fresh mountain air, I realize I have been missing out on the power of nature to awaken my senses.

Is there a pillow pet of spirituality I am missing?  I am sure there is.  I often define my walk with God as what it always has been.  The bible studies, the familiar prayers, the community I walk with.  I love all of this.  But what if God has more in store for me?  Once in a while, I grasp this…sometimes in church when the worship is so powerful it brings tears to my eyes, sometimes when God allows me to see a glimpse of his active work in my life and others around me.  There are doors in our spiritual life that open to us on occasion, and if we are connected with God, we see what’s on the other side–glimpses of heaven, God working, hope.

What if I shifted and my head rested on a new experience with God…a capacity to forgive like never before, deeper relationships, greater hope, peace that surpasses understanding, compassion where there was dismissiveness, joy in long-suffering, and an ability to handle better whatever curve balls life throws at us.

When I discovered the lady-bug pillow pet of ultimate sleep, it was a bit accidental.  But in our walk with God we can actually seek this experience out.  Even for those of us who have been walking with God most of our life, we would be anything but humble to proclaim that we’ve seen it all.

How do you find your God-shaped pillow pet?  Seek God with your our heart, mind and soul.  Pick up the bible and read a new book.  Ask someone how you can pray for them–ask someone to pray for you.  Go through your daily life, but with the understanding that God is present and wants to be intimately involved in the details. Step outside of your familiar spiritual life.  Find what gifts God has given you and use them for His glory.  Point someone in His direction.

God has better for us. He has the best for us!

Let’s go find the “amazing” that is there for our taking, and toss the “just fine” off the bed.

Bitter Words

Written By Amy

Do your words ever get you in trouble?  I mean, do you ever say things that you wish you could take back because they hurt someone?  I know I have.

I have been learning a lot about “words” lately in the bible study I am doing.   Priscilla Shrier’s study, Can We Talk?, takes us straight to God’s word to see what He has to say about what we say:

Let no foul or polluted language, no evil word or unwholesome or worthless talk come out of your mouth, but only such speech that is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others…that it may be a blessing and give grace to those who hear it.  Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath and resentment and quarreling and slander be banished from you, with all malice.  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.     Ephesians 4:29-32

Just for fun, go back to this verse and notice all the absolutes….all bitterness, wrath, etc.,  no evil word or worthless talk, only  speech that is good.  At first glance of this verse, I think that I live my life in a way that follows these commands….I’m not a bitter, gossipy, resentful, quarreling woman, and I don’t speak evil words or swear, yet…if I’m really honest with myself and don’t brush over the “All’s and No’s,” I have work to do.   I tend to make exceptions to my words when, for example, my kids have REALLY disobeyed or I REALLY think I’m right and need to make a point in an argument with my husband.  I feel justified in unleashing my tongue. My words can lack gentleness, be absent of grace, and often not tender-hearted in emotional situations . I wish that I could say as a Christian woman who has been walking with God this many years that I have this area of my life worked out perfectly, but I don’t.  I am still a work in progress.  But God, who is the model of good and tender and forgiving, gently ushers me toward the person he wants me to be.

God sets the bar very high, doesn’t he?  I think in his wisdom he knows the power of our tongue, for good and for bad, and gives us a loving warning, knowing our capacity to hurt ourselves and others.

So, let us ask God to help us in this area, just as David did in Psalm 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips.

 

 

 

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