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

3 Spiritual Resolutions I’m Working On

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I had mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was going to blog about three possible resolutions to pursue for 2014–here is the first!

Sadly, the word “resolutions” already seems like a word from the past, since it’s already February. In the past, I would have trailed off into my old habits by the end of January if I hadn’t made radical changes by this point.  Not this year!  We still have almost the whole year ahead of us to grow and thrive!  God gives us a new beginning EACH DAY to put the past behind us and take control of positive growth in our lives.

Today I want to share about spiritual resolutions and three ways I am trying to accomplish growth in my own life:

1.  Resolve to Put In Effort –yep, just do it!

In my relationships with friends and family, if I don’t move toward them and give at least an equal amount of effort the relationship struggles.  I often have to be intentional about those relationships–date nights with my husband, quality time with my kids, or coffee with my friends whose lives don’t so easily intersect with mine anymore.

It is the same with God–we need to be intentional in setting aside all the distractions of life and giving time to Him.

I don’t know about you, but it is extremely easy for me to get distracted as soon as I walk downstairs each morning in my fuzzy robe and slippers.  I have the full intention of sitting quietly by the fireplace with my bible and a steaming mug of coffee in my hands (just kidding, I don’t drink coffee, or tea for that matter) and all of a sudden I find myself with honey stuck to my fingers from the sandwich I hurriedly made, children shoving permission slips to be signed in front of me, frozen chicken to be thawed for dinner, a load of “emergency” laundry to be thrown in for the kids theme day at school, etc.

Not to mention the bright shiny distraction of the EMAIL INBOX.

The truth is, I must be intentional (and disciplined)  in how I want to grow–and use discipline to seek God first and my inbox later.  I need to plan into my busy schedule how to make time with God (quiet times, church, bible study)  a reality amongst the distractions.

In other words, I will not feel any closer to God through osmosis.

2. Discover God on His Terms, Not Ours.

The pastor at our church has challenged us on this way of thinking, which has been so enlightening!  Ask yourself this question:  “Is the bible about humans or God?”  Think about it.  Humans, you say?  After all, the bible is about the human experience with God, shared in heartbreaking and exhilarating stories.   But, Pastor Cuss explains that actually, the bible is about God.  It is about His character, His plan, and His will for humans.  It is about His desire for relationship with them and the sacrifices He made to make that possible.  God created humans to be in relationship with Him–not for Him to be in relationship with us….subtle difference, think about it.

As Christians we need to discover God on His terms (we are a part of His greater plan) not ours (He exists to help us with our plan). We need to remember that we are set apart for the purpose of glorifying God and to fulfill His will for the earth.

How does that become a resolution?  In my daily attitude, and my heart in seeking God.  Is it self-serving? Or do I  humbly surrender to God, asking Him to fulfill his plan in my life? I’m working on the latter.

3. Rinse, Wash Repeat.

Developing my spiritual habits come from repetition.  To have a time and a place each day for my quiet time (6:30 AM on the bean bags by my fireplace), gives me consistency and structure.  During this time I read my passages out of the Daily Bible, do part of my bible study for the week, and spend a few minutes in prayer.

I am the first to admit this does not always happen the way I would like.   As I mentioned earlier, there are many distractions that happen in the morning, and many days my younger two get up earlier than I’m expecting (during my quiet time)  to work on homework or go to school early for an extra-curricular activity.  So, I just try to get back on the horse the next day (when they actually stay asleep until 7:00).   The point is the pattern is established so I can get right back into it when the opportunity is there.

Whether it’s bible study, church, prayer, or listening to worship music, repetition is the key.  I know it is good for my soul and my closeness to God to walk with Him consistently.  As I “practice the presence of God” in my life, my attraction grows toward Him.

These three spiritual resolutions; putting in effort, discovering God on His terms, and rinsing, washing and repeating, help us to thrive in our spiritual lives each day! Let’s do it!

The next post will be on physical (health) resolutions and some tools I’ve found to help us keep those.

Blessings,

Amy

My To Do List Controls Me

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In the bible, God tells us not to have idols.  An idol is anything that we are consumed with, anything that draws most of our attention to it.  Common idols can be money, vanity, self-pleasure, even a person that you know or don’t know (a famous person).  Yesterday, I learned I have an idol, one that I wouldn’t have guessed fit into that category but by definition it completely does.

It’s my “To Do List”.  I can be consumed with it, and it definitely draws my attention to it, day after day.  How can a “To Do List” be bad, you may ask?  Well, for me it tends to crowd out God, bully him to the back.  It can even replace God on certain days, since it tells me what to do, and in what order.  It controls me.

It is the opposite of how God wants us to be in relationship with Him.  He wants to be the guiding voice in our lives.  God wants to take us through our day, as our partner and friend.  When I am focused on my “To Do List”,  which does not have a line for “deviation,” I miss out on God’s plan for my day–playing a game with my children, bringing something to a neighbor in need, spending some time in prayer, or taking that phone call just to listen.  I miss out on Him.

I don’t think that God is telling me not to have a To Do List.  I think he is asking me to keep it in check, to keep it flexible so He can speak into it.

This devotional is from Jesus Calling, and it helped me be aware of my To Do List issue.

I am calling you to a life of constant communication with Me.  Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life.  You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. 

But I challenge you relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world.  Accept each day as it comes, and find me in the midst of it all.

Talk to Me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings.  Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me.  A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day.  Do not let your to do list (written or mental) become an idol for directing your life.  Instead ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment.  He will keep you close to Me.

1 Thessalonians 5:17, Proverbs 3:6

~Jesus Calling, p. 96

Maddie’s Prayer

Written By Amy

Ashley And Maddie

 

I wanted to share a prayer that my daughter, Maddie (10), wrote this past Sunday morning during a family devotional time.  When I first read it, I was touched by the simplicity of the prayer, reminding me that my prayers to God don’t need to be complicated and full of words, just an honest outpouring of my heart.

It is with her permission that I share it (and if you know her you will believe she was very excited when I asked if I could share this on my blog…no shyness with this one!)

Dear God,

God you’re a magnificent God.  You made the heaven and the trees.  You created  heaven so that people can have a good place to look forward to when they die.  I praise you God because you are an amazing God.

Please forgive me for when I lie.  I have gotten way better because you have helped me.

Thank you for an amazing dog and family.   They have blessed me with so many things.  And thank you for amazing friends like Ashley.  She is so sweet.

Please put your holy spirit inside of people so they can become Christians and follow you, God.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Maddie

Becoming a Confident Prayer

Shared By Amy/Devotional from Joyce Meyer

Blessed be God—  he heard me praying.  He proved he’s on my side;  I’ve thrown my lot in with him. Psalm 28:6

We should never feel insecure when we approach God in prayer.  He knows all of our weaknesses and loves us anyway.  God wants to give us more than enough, not barely enough, and we need to ask boldly.

Approaching God boldly can be likened to going to a bank to make a withdrawal.  If I know I have fifty dollars in the bank because I deposited it there last week, I will not hesitate to pull up to the drive-through window and cash a fifty-dollar check.  I know I have he money; it’s mine, and I can get it out of the bank if I want to.  When I present my check, I fully expect to get my fifty dollars.

We need to approach God with that same kind of boldness, not because of our own righteousness, but because of the privilege of being joint heirs with Jesus.  We need to understand what is available to us because of Jesus (Easter!) and we need to pray confidently, with full expectation that we will receive what belongs to us.  God has made incredible provision available to us in Chris and we simply need to ask in Jesus’ name for the blessings he has already purchased for us.

When we struggle with feelings of unworthiness we should go to God’s word and let it remind us of our privileges as children of God.

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Romans 8: 16-17

He will speak to us and remind us that we belong to God!

~ Joyce Meyer, Hearing from God, p. 203

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