In this journey called Life, it gets a bit muddy - But Jesus sees beyond the mud and sees the person He created, the person He loves, and the person He is still working on. I am one of those persons - and so are you. I am a sold-out follower of Jesus, husband way out of my league, father to a great son, part of the family of God, and pastor of a great church family - Evergreen Baptist in Appomattox.
This is a great article that … well maybe … dates me. I don’t remember the catalogue too much, but I do remember it. Enjoy this article from Daniel Darling. And his Characters of Christmas and Characters of Easter are some wonderful books.
An Ode To the Sears Wishbook
If you are of a certain age, you remember that before there was Amazon there was the Sears Wish Book and it was glorious.
It arrived every November, wrapped in cellophane, its pages filled with new possibilities. On the cover, a dreamy holiday image, pulling your heart into the season and beckoning you to indulge in hours of wish making.
It’s hard to overestimate the sheer joy the Sears Wish Book brought to my young heart. Before Amazon and Apple. Before Walmart and Black Friday. Before Facebook and Google. Every year, I waited with anticipation and longing for the day this catalog would come. (Some enterprising person collected them here on this website for hours of viewing pleasure)
A savvy wisher would ignore the advice on the front page, which warned shoppers against skipping to other sections and “missing out” on possible gems like Garfield piggy banks, board games, and Chicago Bears pajamas nestled among the cheesy sweaters, cheap jewelry, and knife sets. The gems, every child knew, were found in only one place—the toy section.
Full immersion in the Wish Book took days, not hours. A young boy had to read every caption and organize his desires. There was the practical, low-hanging fruit, ripe for the Christmas stocking: Matchbox cars, classic books, a mini Etch A Sketch. Carefully dog-earing other pages would alert parents and prepare them to consider more valuable gifts like the new Lego gas station, a baseball card collector set, a Talking Computron.
I would never have admitted this at the time, of course, but looking back on those days, it’s obvious: The anticipation surpassed even the pleasure of seeing Christmas gifts under the tree. What I realize now is, hidden in that longing there’s an innate yearning for something better—some lasting pleasure or sense of completion. Something that can’t be found in plastic and cellophane, but in the perfectly satisfying companionship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We long for better things because we instinctively know we were created to enjoy our life—to experience beauty, truth, and goodness as gifts of a loving Father. Yet every chase that ends in something tangible during this lifetime ultimately arrives at a less-than-satisfying conclusion. As Christians, we know that this longing—echoed in the soundtracks of our age, in the sentimental yarns we tell every Christmas, and in the constant grasping for the elusive next thing—is really a longing for God Himself.
The Bible, with its call to Spirit-filled endurance and constant warnings of suffering, is not a Wish Book. And yet in many ways, it sort of is—in how it rebukes our dreams and desires. The problem is not that we dream; it’s that we dream poorly. It’s not that we have wishes, but that our wishes are too small. Nor is it that we long for “what’s next” or “what’s better”; it’s that we can’t fathom the fullness of what’s truly next or better for those who love God and, as Romans 8:28 says, “are called according to His purpose.”
So go ahead and wish. Just remember, when God answers your desires, He may have something different in mind—something that may include hardship. But what He offers is a gift of greater beauty or wonder than you could ever ask or think.
This article was originally published by In Touch Magazine.
Todays Devo from Christine Caine really hit home. So here it is …
You Can Defeat Fear
… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control
(2 Timothy 1:7, ESV).
I firmly believe fear is one of the greatest deterrents to fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. Fear keeps us locked, trapped, and hiding, limiting our thinking and restricting our ability to believe. And it takes many forms …
The fear of not being enough
The fear that God will fail
The fear of what people think
The fear of failure
The fear of danger
The fear of the unknown
The fear of discomfort
I’ve had to face fears, including all the ones I listed above. I’ve learned how to overcome. And I want you to know that through the Spirit of God — the Holy Spirit of power, love, and self-control — so can you.
Don’t stay focused on what’s causing you to fear. Focus instead on your God who is with you, is strengthening you, and has already given you victory!
And a picture of my grandkid – overcoming fear of a bath, and no fear of his own reflection …
Charles Spurgeon commented: “Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but mightier is he who is for us than all they who be against us. The machinations of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but he who hath begun the good work in us will carry it on and perfect it to the end.
Me – sometimes we just need a reminder! Have a blessed day.
It’s Thanksgiving Week! Gobble Gobble. But we use the concept of gobble more about food than the sound of the fowl. However we use it – we should take this week and every week to tell God how thankful we are. Even when life isn’t so … wonderful. We can always find things for which to be thankful. And if you needed a reason to be thankful, then Courtney Ackerman wrote an article that expressed 28 benefits to gratitude.
It’s almost as if being thankful is a bit selfish. No, maybe not. But it is good for you. SO read the whole article here, are just enjoy the summery below …
Benefits of Gratitude: 28+ Surprising Research Findings
Practicing gratitude is known to impact our emotions and emotional health. Evidence has shown that a regular “attitude of gratitude” can…
1. Make us happier
those who pay attention to what is good in their life instead of what is bad are more likely to feel positively about their life.
2. Increase psychological wellbeing
Researcher Chih-Che Lin (2017) found that even when controlling for personality, a high level of gratitude has a strong positive impact on psychological wellbeing, self-esteem, and depression. – Makes you a better feeling you!
3. Enhance our positive emotions
Research has shown that gratitude reduces envy, facilitates positive emotions, and makes us more resilient. After all, if we are grateful for what we have, what room is there for envy to sneak in?
4. Increase our self-esteem
Gratitude can help you feel better about your circumstances, which can lead to feeling better about yourself.
5. Keep suicidal thoughts and attempts at bay
A study on the effects of gratitude on depression, coping, and suicide showed that gratitude is a protective factor when it comes to suicidal ideation in stressed and depressed individuals (Krysinska, Lester, Lyke, & Corveleyn, 2015). Enhancing our own practice of gratitude can help protect us when we are weakest.
Gratitude and Social Benefits
So we know that gratitude makes us more emotionally balanced, happier, and more positive. It makes sense, then, that all of these positive effects result in social benefits as well. After all, happy and healthy people are fun to be around!
6. Make people like us
Those who are more grateful have access to a wider social network, more friends, and better relationships on average (Amin, 2014). People like happier more positive peeps!
7. Improve our romantic relationships
Showing our gratitude to loved ones is a great way to make them feel good, make us feel good, and make the relationship better in general! Yowza!!!
8. Improve our friendships
Those who communicate their gratitude to their friends are more likely to work through problems and concerns with their friends.
9. Increases social support
Those who are more grateful have access to more social support … and it lessens the need for social support in the first place by making you feel better about yourself!
10. Strengthen family relationships in times of stress
Gratitude has been found to protect children of ill parents from anxiety and depression, acting as a buffer against the internalization of symptoms (Stoeckel, Weissbrod, & Ahrens, 2015). Teenage and young adult children who are able to find the positives in their lives can more easily deal with difficult situations like serious illness in the family.
11. Make us more optimistic
Showing our gratitude not only helps others feel more positively, it also makes us think more positively … the more we think about what we are grateful for, the more we find to be grateful for!
12. Increase our spiritualism
If you are feeling a little too “worldly” or feeling lost spiritually, practicing gratitude can help you get out of your spiritual funk.
13. Make us more giving
Another benefit to both ourselves and others, gratitude can decrease our self-centeredness … gratitude makes us more likely to share with others, even at the expense of ourselves.
14. Indicate reduced materialism
Unsurprisingly, those who are the most grateful also tend to be less materialistic … appreciating what we already have.
15. Enhance optimism
Gratitude can impact our Career …
16. Make us more effective managers
Gratitude research has shown that practicing gratitude enhances your managerial skills, enhancing your praise-giving and motivating abilities as a mentor and guide to the employees you manage (Stone & Stone, 1983).
17. Reduce impatience and improve decision-making
Those that are more grateful than others are also less likely to be impatient during economic decision-making, leading to better decisions and less pressure from the desire for short-term gratification (DeSteno, Li, Dickens, & Lerner, 2014). As anyone who has ever worked a stressful job already knows, decisions made to satisfy short-term urges rarely provide positive work results or a boost to your career!
18. Help us find meaning in our work
Those who find meaning and purpose in their work are often more effective and more fulfilled throughout their career. Gratitude is one factor that can help people find meaning in their job, along with applying their strengths, positive emotions and flow, hope, and finding a “calling” (Dik, Duffy, Allan, O’Donnell, Shim, & Steger, 2015).
19. Contribute to reduced turnover
Research has found that gratitude and respect in the workplace can help employees feel embedded in their organization, or welcomed and valued (Ng, 2016).
20. Improve work-related mental health and reduce stress
Employing gratitude at work can have a significant impact on staff mental health, stress, and turnover. In a rigorous examination of the effects of gratitude on stress and depressive symptoms in hospital staff, researchers learned that the participants randomly assigned to the gratitude group reported fewer depressive symptoms and stress (Cheng, Tsui, & Lam, 2015). Finding things to be grateful for at work, even in stressful jobs, can help protect staff from the negative side effects of their job.
Gratitude obviously impacts Physical Health …
21. Reduce depressive symptoms
A study on gratitude visits showed that participants experienced a 35% reduction in depressive symptoms for several weeks, while those practising gratitude journaling reported a similar reduction in depressive symptoms for as long as the journaling continued (Seligman et al., 2005). This is an amazing finding and suggests that gratitude journaling can be an effective supplement to treatment for depression. Get those journals out!
22. Reduce your blood pressure
Patients with hypertension who “count their blessings” at least once a week experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure, resulting in better overall health (Shipon, 1977). Want a healthy heart? Count your blessings!
((Todd – My new Apple Watch says I have a fast heart beat – not extreme but maybe I need more gratitude in my life!))
23. Improve your sleep
A two-week gratitude intervention increased sleep quality and reduced blood pressure in participants, leading to enhanced wellbeing.
24. Increase your frequency of exercise
It’s true: being grateful can help you get fit! It may not be a very effective “fast weight loss” plan, but it has been shown that study participants who practiced gratitude regularly for 11 weeks were more likely to exercise than those in the control group (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
25. Improve your overall physical health
Evidence shows that the more grateful a person is the more likely he or she is to enjoy better physical health, as well as psychological health (Hill, Allemand, & Roberts, 2013). Apparently, grateful people are healthy people!
Gratitude’s Role in Recovery
Beyond merely improving physical health, gratitude has also been applied to aid recovery from several conditions and diagnoses. Whether the issue is substance abuse or a physical ailment, gratitude might be able to help those who are suffering to take control of their lives and get well again.
26. Help people recover from substance misuse
Researchers and addiction programs alike have noticed that gratitude can play a key role in recovery from substance misuse or abuse. It seems to help by enabling the development of strengths and other personal resources that individuals can call on in their journey towards a healthier life (Chen, 2017).
27. Enhance recovery from coronary health events
A study out of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital found that acute coronary syndrome patients experienced greater improvements in health-related quality of life and greater reductions in depression and anxiety when they approached recovery with gratitude and optimism (Millstein, Celano, Beale, Beach, Suarez, Belcher, … & Huffman, 2016).
28. Facilitate the recovery of people with depression
A case study of a woman with depression revealed that the adoption of Buddhist teachings and practices, with a strong emphasis on utilizing gratitude as a recovery tool, helped her to heal (Cheng, 2015). This should be taken with a grain of salt as a case study, but there is also plenty of evidence that techniques and exercises drawn from Buddhist teachings can have profound benefits for those who practice them.
So, the old “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” may actually have to do with gratitude. This week, every week, be grateful for all He has done!
Warning. This is very much a current affairs issue, very much a sensitive issue, and very much an issue of which every Christian should be aware. I’ve read much, listened to posts, watched a variety of resources … and to be frank … where this is leading could be very confrontational and very much an open door of opposition to orthodox Christian belief and practice. I could write so much, but would like to share Dr. Denison’s great article that just approaches the topic. I also recommend Mohler’s briefing and other solid writers.
DOMA to now the RFMA. ……………..
Does the so-called “Respect For Marriage Act” threaten our religious liberty?
Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
The Senate voted this week to advance the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” (RFMA). The legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which definedmarriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman. DOMA was adopted overwhelmingly by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.
The RFMA does just the opposite, requiring the federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages in the United States. In essence, it makes the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges into federal law.
In this sense, the RFMA changes nothing about the status of same-sex marriage in America. However, the legislation is raising enormous questions about First Amendment protections for those who support traditional marriage on religious grounds.
“Explicitly declaring the Bible is wrong”
On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators announced that they had crafted “commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality.” According to CBS News, the amendment “ensures nonprofit religious organizations will not be required to provide services, facilities, or goods for the celebration of a same-sex marriage, and protects religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution and federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
In addition, it makes clear that the bill does not authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriage.
However, US Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) opposed the legislation and warned that it threatens religious liberty: “This legislation would enable activists to sue faith-based groups that provide vital services for our communities in an attempt to force them to abandon their deeply held beliefs about marriage, or close their doors.” He added, “The Respect for Marriage Act does not provide any meaningful benefit to same-sex marriages that does not already exist. It does significantly threaten religious liberty.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, likewise warned, “The bill will be a new arrow in the quiver of those who wish to deny religious organizations’ liberty to freely exercise their religious duties, strip them of their tax exemptions, or exclude them from full participation in the public arena.”
Matt Sharp, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, also warned that the legislation could open Christians up to lawsuits at the federal level, noting that believers running businesses and charitable organizations could be at risk. He also questioned whether some Christian nonprofits could find their tax-exempt status in peril.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the founder of Project Genesis and the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said in a Tuesday interview that the RFMA is the federal government “explicitly declaring the Bible is wrong.” He noted that it allows “any private actor to initiate a lawsuit if a religious school wishes to recognize only traditional marriages.” In his view, the act “means exposing our community to a host of bad actors willing to engage in litigation.”
In a day when six in ten Americans say the legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society, we should not be surprised that Congress would follow suit. And we should not be surprised when those who defend traditional marriage must pay a price for our biblical convictions.
“In the world you will have tribulation”
I’ll respond by focusing on a biblical fact that may seem surprising or even unwelcome: suffering for our faith is an indispensable part of the genuine Christian life.
Paul stated his aspiration “that I may know [Jesus] and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). The apostle spent time on his first missionary journey “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
If we are truly following Jesus, we must be going in the opposite direction from those who oppose Jesus. This is why our Lord warned his disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). And it is why, as Paul observed, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
I do not mean to suggest that we need to seek persecution. If we are faithful to our Lord, persecution will find us. Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If he considers you a threat, he will attack. If he does not consider you a threat, he will leave you alone.
Which should be true for true disciples of Jesus?
“When I am weak, then I am strong”
The time to prepare for persecution is before it arises. So, decide now that you will be faithful to your Lord today. Ask his Spirit to control and empower your life (Ephesians 5:18). Pray for the strength to refuse temptation when it strikes (1 Corinthians 10:13). When you “submit yourselves therefore to God,” you can then “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
When your life and mind are surrendered to the Holy Spirit, you can claim Jesus’ promise: “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:19–20).
If you choose to pay a price to follow Jesus, you are in excellent company, for you can say with Paul, “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Do you need … of course you need … do you desire a deeper prayer life? I came across this great article on 25 Prayer Journaling Prompts. Enjoy …
When you come across the words “prayer journal,” what do you think of? You may be thinking it’s just another task that I have to complete. That is not the case, it is something that you can use in a personal way, something that you will want to do after a while.
What is a prayer journal? A prayer journal is something meant for you to write your prayers down on paper. It can help create a way to reflect your thoughts on paper. A prayer journal can be a journal that goes deep and is personal to each individual.
I hope that these will help you deepen your prayer life.
25 Prayer Journaling Prompts
There are various different prayers that you can pray, and journaling is a great way to process these prayers with the Lord. Use these prompts as a guide and made them your own. Here are 25 prayer journaling prompts:
God wants a personal relationship with you and a prayer journal can be part of that personal relationship.
1. What Am I Thankful For?
Though giving thanks is a beautiful thing, it doesn’t come naturally. There will be days where you do not want to choose being thankful. But we are called to have hearts of thanksgiving.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)
Someone once challenged me to write something that I was thankful for every day for a year. As I started that journaling journey, I realized how many things that I had to be truly thankful about. I urge you to do this as well; give thanks to God, every day.
Just start by writing one thing that you are thankful for, each day. You can either write it in list form or in paragraph form.
List form would make it short and sweet. Paragraph form is long and detailed.
2. God What Is Your Will For My Life?
Well, I was reading one day, and came across something that said, “Don’t pray for God’s will in your life; pray for God’s will.” That is it, just simply pray for God’s will.
God reveals His will to us in scripture, saying,
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV)
Pray about His will. Write down God’s will in your prayer journal. Then pray that it would come to fruition. You can even pray that God will use you as an instrument.
3. A Prayer For My Future Spouse
Do you ever think about praying for your future spouse?
This is something that most people naturally do, but it needs to be done with intention. Praying for someone who may not be in your life may feel a little odd, but you’re not praying to receive your spouse right now. You’re praying that their life may be centered around Christ and that they are being prepared to love you well vice versa. Write down a prayer that God will work in their hearts and prepare them to be a husband or wife. Something else you can pray for is their walk with the Lord.
In the past, I was worried to get into a relationship. I didn’t want to be hurt or to have to face doubts about myself; I was scared. So I started praying about my future spouse. Praying that God would shape and grow them in the ways that only He can.
4. The Current Sins I’m Struggling With Are
Do you struggle with sin? Hopefully, you said yes, because we all do. When you are journaling you can write down a sin that you have been struggling with. Bringing light to the darkness in your life, though hard, is a freeing feeling.
Writing it down will help you to be able to go back and read it later, to see how God delivered you from that sin. God is greater than your sins. You just have to lay it at His feet.
5. Abba I Need Wisdom With
The Bible specifically says that we should ask for wisdom. Take a look,
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1:5 (NIV)
Asking for wisdom is something that we, as Christians, should do a lot more of. We should want to be wise, to make wise decisions. You can start by just writing down the prayer for wisdom.
You can also journal about the ways you feel like God has given you wisdom. God helps give wisdom when we ask for it. I encourage you to ask from a humble heart. Be careful in your intentions of using for wisdom; do not ask just because you want to brag about being wise.
6. Help My Mom To
Do you have a good relationship with your mom? Whatever you answered, she still needs prayer. There are many things you pray for her, three examples would be to:
give her strength
let her know that she is loved
guide her in her motherhood
Something that you may think about doing is, giving her one of the prayers you wrote down for her, or you can just write it down and keep it private.
7. Help My Dad To
Have you ever thought about checking up on your dad? Now, you may not have a good relationship with him. Just like your mom, he needs prayer regardless of your feelings towards him. You can pray for his job, for stress, for time to relax, or for him to come to the Lord. Pray for him in whatever way God prompts you too.
8. Where Do You Need To Feel God At Work? What Co-workers Should You Be Praying For?
Does your job cause you to have stress? What about your co-workers, do they get on your nerves? This prompt is to make you more aware of what your work life is like. Take some time to evaluate all the aspects of your job.
Pray for your manager, the co-worker that annoys you, for you to glorify the Lord in your work, for perseverance throughout your day, and for the days of your co-workers. After a hard day at work, it might be a good idea to sit down and write prayers down for whatever made your day hard. Write down what God says. Pray for your work-life, God works through that too.
9. What Friends Are You Thankful For? How Have they Led You To God?
Are you thankful for your friends? If so, reflect that in your prayers. You can start by thinking of one friend, then write down a prayer of thanks and reflection for them. Continue to do this as you feel led with each friend.
You might have few friends or many friends. Whichever boat you are in, give thanks for them anyways. Both are something to be thankful for. God put those people in your life, give thanks for them to Him.
10. How Has God’s Love Been Revealed To You?
Isn’t God’s love amazing? God loves us, the creator of this world loves us. He loves us so much. Give Him praise for that. In the Bible it says,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 (ESV)
There are many ways you can praise God for His love. Some being:
The love God extends you
The love God gives to His children
The unconditional love He has for us
The sacrifice of love He made to send His Son (Jesus)
God loves us a lot, more than we could ever warrant. He loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us on the cross. Now that is a lot of love.
11. Where Am I At Right Now?
Where are you at right now? No, I’m not talking about a physical location. I’m talking about your heart and mind.
In your journal, confess to God where you are, what season of life you think that you’re in. Communicate with Him. He already knows, but He wants to hear from you. He wants to comfort you, wherever you are.
When prayer journaling about this, you do not have to be in a bad spot. You could be in a season of joy, or a season of growth. It is also ok to not be in a good spot; you may be in a season of loss or be struggling with sin. Just be honest, write down a prayer for the area of life that you’re in.
12. Help My Children With
Do you have children? If you do, you can write down a prayer for them. Pray for their hearts, pray for their growth, pray that they will desire to one day know God, pray that they will make wise decisions.
You can pray for your children no matter how old they are. Pray for them to follow God’s will. Pray that they will yearn to be stretched and that they will love others. You can pray for their friendships or for their school life. Just sit down and journal your prayers for them, whatever the Lord puts on your heart.
13. Do You Want Children? What Would Be A Prayer You Would Pray For Them?
Are you a parent-to-be? Whatever form that may be for your life; you can pray for the children that will be placed under your care and love. This prompt is similar to the prayers for your children. You are just praying in a more expectant way.
When I was young, I wanted a younger sibling so badly, that I prayed every day for one. About a year later, my mom was pregnant. I was so excited!! I’m sure that my parents were praying for my younger sibling as well. God answered my prayer, and now we are very close.
In some cases, families want to have children but are unable to. Earnestly pray for comfort and peace. Maybe even pray for other families who cannot have children as well. We can never understand how much someone may long for a child.
So, to the parents that are longing for a child. Pray for them, fervently, every day. Pray for perseverance to keep on trying. Lastly, pray that the Lord will answer your prayer. If you would like to read more about how God answers your prayers just click here.
14. I Need Discernment In
Do you feel like you lack discernment? If you do, then that is something else that you can prayer journal about. You can ask God for discernment.
Discernment is having good judgment. If you think that you don’t have good judgment or are about to be in a situation that you need to have discernment for; pray about it. In your journal you can write down some areas in your life that you feel you need discernment.
15. Help Me In My Pursuit Of Gaining An Education
Are you pursuing an education? I know from experience that when you are pursuing an education, it can get hard sometimes. You could eventually feel burnt out, overly stressed, or just discouraged.
Let me remind you that it is not easy, but asking God for help with your education is a smart move. Pray over your education, the teachers, or the professors that teach you. Write down a prayer for help in your pursuit of education.
16. What Unreached People Groups Stand Out To You?
Do you know what an unreached people group is? An unreached people group is a people group that has yet to be reached by the gospel. They haven’t had the chance to hear the Word, to be able to understand it, it may not even be in their language.
Pray that they get reached, that they will respond well when they are reached, and that they will want to know more about God. When approaching this prayer prompt you can look up an unreached people group. Then write down some prayers for them. Learn about this people group to be able to pray specifically for them. You continue to do this for however many people groups you feel led to pray for.
17. I Need Strength In
Are you worn? Do you feel weak? You can pray for strength, you can ask God to give you the strength to keep living for Him.
Life sometimes gets heavy, sometimes we get weighed down. God will take those heavy burdens away from you or give you the strength to keep pushing. With this prayer prompt you can write down some things going on in your life that you will need strength to make it through.
18. What has God done in your life? How has He worked through you?
Whatever your answers are, you can reflect them in your prayer journal. Give God praise for everything He has done so far. You can also give God praise for what He has yet to do. Practicing praise for everything God has done in and through your life is such a glorifying thing to God. Give God the glory for what He has done. You can start by writing down ways that God has worked in your life. Give praise for each one.
19. Are You Thankful For What Jesus Did For You?
Why should I be thankful for Jesus? You can write down some prayers that show how thankful you are for Him. Write prayers about how thankful you are for the sacrifice He made for you. This prompt may work better if written in paragraph form. There is quite a bit of detail you might want to write down.
20. What Verse Or Passage In The Bible Stands Out To You?
Do you know any verses or passages in the Bible? You can write down a verse or passage and just pray over it. Journaling about passages that the Lord brings to your mind is a good way to keep track of every one that He brought to your mind.
Continue to write down different passages and verses. You could try to write the whole Bible eventually. With that you would want to pray over each section.
21. What Are My Current Struggles?
Are you struggling with something? You can write down what you are struggling with, in your prayer journal. He wants to meet you where you are at, amidst the struggles.
Just start by writing out all of your current struggles. With each one, you can pray over them. Surrender you struggles to the Lord. He does not want you to have to carry those burdens. Invite God into your struggles; He wants you, all of you, not just your good times.
22. Why Are You Thankful That God Created You?
Are you living? Hopefully, you said yes. Praise God for giving you breath, for giving you life. Praise Him for letting you live, praise Him for creating you.
Those are just a few ways you can praise God for creating you.
23. Thank You For Creating
Do you find beauty in creation?
I find beauty in creation quite often. Think of that sunset, those trees rustling in the wind, the rain that waters the earth.
Write down a prayer of praise for everything that God created. Whether it be the simplest or most complex things. God deserves the glory for it all.
24. I Need Peace In
Are you overwhelmed? If you are, write down a prayer asking God for peace. It is not selfish to do that. Ask for some peace in your life, ask for Him to show you how to find peace. Ask Him to let your heart be calm.
Start by identifying the areas in your life that have little to no peace. Pray for those and journal what you feel God brings to your mind.
25. Where Do You Need To Be More Humble?
Do you think that you’re humble? Regardless of your answer, you should pray for humility.
Pray that you will show humility in your life, your interactions, and the way you think. Journal a prayer for humility in you heart. Continue to be humble before others.
These are meant to be prompts to help you in your prayer journaling journey. You do not have to use all of these. They are here to help and inspire you. Now go get journaling!
I’ve got some boots that ran pretty high – not too high – but relatively speaking. I mean good hiking boots are not cheap – just to keep feet dry, warm, and cozy. I’ve had some Tony Lama western boots that were considered exotic skin. And I’ve seen some really expensive shoes.
But for a dirty, worn out, 40 year old pair of Birkenstocks? I mean, these weren’t worn by George Washington, didn’t don the feet of Cleopatra, weren’t found in a 100,000 year old cave with Neanderthal remains, weren’t worn by Paul on his missionary journeys. These are from the later part of the last century, you can still get new ones at a retail store or online.
So what makes these sandals of any value? It is because of to whom they belonged.
These shoes were property of the late Steve Jobs of Apple creation fame. He wore them in the garage as he created the first Macintosh. They actually had been thrown away by the original owner (Jobs) but collected by his house manager, Mark Sheff, from the trash bin.
These shoes had traveled the world – after they were thrown away – museum in Germany, Birkenstock’s stores in Italy, New York and more.
Okay. I am an Apple fan – I’ve invested in many an Apple product – I type this on my MacBook Air M1 – I see at least 4 Apple products within arms’ length. But $200,000 for a pair of shoes. Oops – $218,750. all done through prestigious Julien’s Auction house in LA.
Even if I had money to burn – that’s a lot of cash.
But you know, I started to think about me and you and every person. We are worn out, messed up, muddy at times, and probably thought of as disposable by ourselves and others – but we are of immense value to God. So much value that He paid an even bigger price for us. he paid His only Son – Jesus. For those who believe – we now are priceless and we now belong to Him.
And my value – and your value – is not because of who I am but because of whose I am. It is not because of what I’ve done – but because of what He has done. We are like masterpieces that have been bought and paid for.
MySpace. Peach. Periscope. There are a lot of social medias of which I am officially still a part of but no longer access. I don’t even have the apps – are there apps for these still out there? I use FaceBook for people around me use it. Done Snapchat, TikTok, and more. Still use Twitter and Instagram, and now I use the Metaverse with my Oculus Quest.
Yesterday, I joined another platform – Mastadon. While joining was simple, there is still much to learn.
Interestingly, I was prompted to join Mastadon from someone’s Tweet. Twitter lead me to Mastadon. Maybe it was a disenfranchised ex-employee of Twitter. Maybe it was a techno geek. Don’t know.
Now, joining had an unusual twist – you had to join a platform, a social group that was hosted by someone who wants like minded people connecting. It might be geographical – quite a few European groups. It might be by interest – politics, tech, and so on. But, there was no religious group – no group of association by faith – either Christian, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, anything. Weird.
There were some Christians. I found a few as I skimmed the individual descriptions. So I followed them, saw their followers, connected there … then vowed I wold return later for more surfing. I learned quickly, one of the best ways to identify like minded people and toots (their verbiage for Tweets or posts), and concepts is hashtags. So I searched # possibilities, and it was where I found some like minded Mastadonians (?).
Hashtags. Identifiers. Tag markers.
First – This is a powerful tool, but one that the one posting has to be aware. Without hashtags, messages might be missed. Without identifiers, posts could be overlooked, ignored, and never seen.
Second – We all have identifiers, whether we use hashtags or not.
Third – This is misleading tool, one that could be deceptive. A hashtag might be connected that has nothing to do with the actual post. It could be a misleading bait that might open one to harmful and even dangerous.
Soooo, I look at this in relation to my life. What hashtags am I putting out there on my life? What are the identifiers that I want people to connect with me? Are the identifiers true? If I say I am a caring person, but people that know me disagree, what good are the hashtags?
How do people know you? What are the identifiers with which they associate with you?
In the next week, I will become more acquainted with Mastadon. And in the next weeks, I will pay more attention to my life’s hashtags.
The leaves haven’t all changed colors. The days still hit the 70s. It’s still autumn. The sun is expected to be shining. Yet …
The first frost
At least it’s the first I remember for this season. So, I walk out into the cold morning air, I hear the crunch under my feet, and I make the long trek to my office – about 87 yards. But I do text my lovely bride so she can be ready. She does drive to the university for her vocation. She will get to use the heater in the new Subaru – try out the seat warmers to keep her cute cheeks toasty – and see the snowflake light on the dashboard (indicating conditions are suitable for possible ice on the road.) Now I don’t think the snowflake is right – it’s cold but it’ll be okay.
I am not ready for the weather to turn. I want some more sunny, cool days to hit the trails, to enjoy outside without weather impeding. Someone said their weather app indicated icy mix this coming weekend.
I get it – some of you are thinking I am whining for you face cold a lot. Others just laugh for you are enjoying sunny Florida and all her beauty. But I don’t care – it’s cold.
However – we all face seasons of change. We all have to go through good days and bad days. Election Day last week, it may have made you feel sunny and warm … or … cold and dreary. But, the election is over (albeit we still await some counts) and life goes on. Seasons come and seasons go.
This winter may be a tough one. I showed my father-in-law pics of last winter here and he is thinking Texas may have been a better place for these coming winter months.
So, First Frost. Signs the season is changing. I’m going to be okay. Winter will get here. Life will get cold and hard at times. But the spring and summer are that much closer too.
For now, I will wear sweaters and use my Carhartt beanie – and do my best to keep my lovely wife’s tooshy toasty. That’s my job!
Spring is coming. Have a blessed day – no matter the weather.