Monthly Archives: July 2011

Have You Been Thoughtful Today?

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“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Psalm 139: 17-18

When I first read this verse I thought about Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” I was thinking about how great His thoughts are, how “godly ” they are, how they are so much better than mine, so much wiser than mine. I was thinking in terms of His thoughts and ways solving my problems. Not quite what God was thinking…

My devotion this morning said, “Love thinks.” God thinks about me. And His thoughts are full of kindness, gentleness, love. He never thinks ugly thoughts about me. He never thinks unkind things about me. He never thinks hateful things about me. He has good thoughts about me. He thinks about how much He loves me and He makes plans for me and delights in every detail of those plans.

Now, I compare that to my thoughts about other people…ewww! My thoughts about others are so dirty compared to God’s thoughts. They can be mean, hateful, malicious, and catty towards the people I love! Not to mention the people who get on my nerves.

I am doing The Love Dare by Stephen & Alex Kendrick. It goes along with the movie Fireproof. This study is for improving marriages, but I am finding that it is making me see ungodly ways I treat a lot of people. How often do I jump on the band wagon of gossip or slander? How often do I look at my “record of wrongs” against someone instead of making a list of what they do right? How often do I think about people the way God thinks of me? I truly have to answer, not very often.

What would happen if for one day, or one week, I decided to be more careful with my thoughts and when an ugly thought pops up quickly “take it captive and make it obedient to Christ?” (2 Cor10:5) Will I be surprised at the number of times I really do have ugly thoughts about others? What if, when I hear others gossiping or slandering someone, I try to think of something nice to say about the person? Wouldn’t I want others to treat me that way? Wouldn’t I want them to stand up for me and say something nice?

What I learned today is this. My ugly thoughts can turn into ugly words and actions and hurt others deeply. No one is perfect. We are have our little quirks that get on each other’s nerves. If I don’t practice thinking about what is true, noble, right, lovely, pure, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy about others (Phil. 4:8), our relationship will grow apart and trust will be lost. Trust is easy to lose and hard to regain. This also includes thoughts about myself. I can be pretty mean to myself thinking I’m not good enough,or smart enough, or talented enough or enough of anything. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:140).

Thank You for loving me and only having good thoughts about me, Father. Help me to be more thoughtful  towards others.

Read: Psalm 139

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My Daddy

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“You received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” Romans 8:15

One of the fondest memories I have of my Daddy was him telling me “Ol’ Bill” stories at bedtime when I was a little girl. These stories were of the bird dog, named Bill, his family had when he was a child. Ol’ Bill got into all kinds of trouble with the town dog catcher. He would sneak a ride on the running board of my grandparents car when my daddy would go to visit his grandparents. This dog was so smart he could even fill up water balloons and add color to the water! Daddy could repeat the same story every night and I wouldn’t care. He had a wonderful imagination. All his stories were fiction with just a smidgin of truth. Of course, back then I thought every word of it was true. I never questioned when he added a detail or left one out. Daddy would work his mistake into the story and make it even better. My only regret is that I wish I had recorded the stories so I could hear them over and over even now and share them with my children.

There are other stories written over thousands of years by my heavenly Daddy that I love to read everyday. This stories are about other people and how He has helped them. My heavenly Daddy helped people survive a world-wide flood, cross over deserts and fight wars with only 300 soldiers using horns and pots! He helped a teenage boy kill a giant with a single rock and sling. He saved a nation through the courage of  a queen and her uncle. There are so many good stories in there I can’t list them all.

But, the bestest story of all… my heavenly Daddy sent His only Son to save me. It goes something like this. He was born of a virgin one holy night in the  little town of Bethlehem. Angles gathered ’round Him underneath the stars singing praises to the great I AM. He walked on the water, healed the lame and made the blind to see again. And, for the first time here on earth we learned that God could be a friend. And, though He never, ever did a single thing wrong the angry crowd choose Him. Then He walked down the road and died on the cross. Three days later… HE ROSE! My Jesus is alive!!! All true… every… single… word! Nothing fake about this story at all.

Listen to this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut0_tcsZVZU

And, He did this for you, too! My heavenly Daddy wants to be your Daddy, too. All you gotta do is tell Him you are sorry for being a sinner and ask Him to forgive you and come live in your heart. That’s it. You can’t do any (or enough) work to be able to have a relationship with Him. (Which is really good for me ’cause I’m pretty lazy.) You can’t be “good” enough. (Which is really good for me ’cause…well never mind all that.) And you can’t just “believe in God” ’cause even the devil believes in Him and shutters. You have to want a relationship with Him. To get to know Him better and spend time with Him like you want to spend time with earthly daddy telling you Ol’ Bill stories. So, if you don’t know Him like that, stop now and ask Him to be that kind of Father to you. He gladly will do it. And welcome to the family!!!!!

Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for sending Jesus, Your Son, to die for me ’cause I’m so bad that I can’t save myself. Thank You, Big Brother for saving me. Thank You for all the stories in Your word that are true and help me to get to know You better. Thank You that I can call You Daddy. Love ya!!!

Read: Romans 8:12-17

Added new today under Home & Garden: “Yard Sale Finds”; in Simple Pleasures “Golden Cloud”

Unexpected Yet Ordinary

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“See, I am about to do a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

My son posted this on Facebook a while back. “Know what’s weird? Day by day. nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything’s different.” Sometimes his wisdom amazes me.

He is right. Things do take time to change. Sometimes it seems like years before God answers our prayers. Sometimes it is years before He answers our prayers. But have ya ever noticed that it really is one day one way and the next something happens. For example, one day you have a job…the next you don’t. One day one don’t have a job…the next you do.

I have noticed, too, that God doesn’t always answer my prayers the way I have in mind. Usually, what I have in mind is something grand like the parting of the  Red Sea. What He has in mind is more like jumping over the small stream. Sometimes it’s more like wading through the rough river. And He never answer the same request the same way.

And, speaking of what I have in mind for answers to prayers. I can only think of 2 or 3 ways to answer them. God have an infinite number of ways to answer and He chooses the best way for me and that particular situation. Wow!!

I heard this illustration once. There was a family hiking in the woods. The woods caught on fire. Soon, the family was surrounded my smoke and couldn’t see which was the way out. A helicopter was flying overhead. The pilot saw the family and the way they needed to go. Since he had no way to land he hovered over them leading them the way they needed to go to get out of the fire.

God is like that pilot. He can see the way we need to go and leads us. He is always up to something new and amazing, but usually the answers are just ordinary. Unexpected, but ordinary. Yet, no less amazing and miraculous and always full of His grace.

He is about to do something new in your life. Can’t you see it? Maybe from a distance and can’t quite tell what it is yet, but He is about to do something. Praise Him for it.

Thank You for always being up to something in our lives. You are full of surprises.

Read: Psalm 121

 

The Power of Prayer

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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6: 9

Last week we talked praying prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and confession. Today we will talk about prayers of intercession.

I have to say that the Lord has taught me more about myself and how He wants to work on me through praying for others than any other type of prayer. I have learned that these prayers can be extremely selfish on my part. I see characteristics in others I want changed because I don’t like them, never mind what God thinks of them. I pray pointing out their faults all the while lifting myself up and justifying the same behavior in me. On many, many occasions I have heard the Lord say to me, “ok Jayne, I hear that request you just made for so-n-so, and I will answer that, but…I have some work to do on you as well. What you just asked for them…you need to work on, too.” OUCH!!

He has taught me that the motives behind many of my intercessory prayers can be selfish. Oh, they may sound good and all, but my intent for them is purely for my benefit. They are for my self-satisfaction or self-esteem. The Lord has shown me that I need to put the needs of the other person before the needs of myself. Only then will He truly hear and answer my prayer. So, before you begin to pray for someone else, make sure your reasons for praying for them are pure and godly and for the person.

Now, having said all that praying scripture for others is such a wonderful experience. It is freeing because they are God’s words and they do not return to Him empty.(Isaiah 55:11) Here is one I pray often. “O Lord, please give _____ the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know you better. I pray the eyes of their heart will be enlightened in order the they may know the hope to which you have called them.” (Ephesians 1: 17-18)

Here’s one I have to be real careful when I pray it. “Father, help them to stop flattering themselves so much that they can’t hate or detect the sin that is in them.” (Psalm 36:2) I follow it up with “Make them into someone like David, after Your own heart.” (I Samuel 13:14)

There are many prayers in the Bible you can use as examples. Oftentimes, as I am reading the Bible, someone will come to mind and I pray the scripture I just read for them. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

Stormie Omartain has written many books whose titles start with The Power of a Praying _____________. She has done the wife, husband, woman, parent. I love to read her prayers. They are so much better than mine. I highly suggest any of these books to help you with learning to use scripture to pray. You may also want to check out this link for help.  http://www.reviveourhearts.com/downloads/index.php?id=9473

Praying for others is a wonderful privilege and blessing. Not only do I get to see them change and grow as God works in their lives, but I get that same blessing. Begin today to use scripture in your prayers and trust that the Lord heard your prayers and His words and they did not return to Him empty.

If you have prayer requests for yourself or a loved one, you are welcome to leave it in the prayer section of this blog. I would consider it an honor to pray for you. We need to lift each other up in prayer.

Father in heaven, I lift up each person that reads this blog today. I pray You will give each one the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know You more personally and better. We all have loved ones we like, want and need to pray for. Although You already know what we are going to ask for, You still want us to come to You and ask so that You can show us how much You really do care about us. Thank You for the privilege and power of prayer. In Your name, Jesus. Amen

Read: Isaiah 55: 10-13

Confession

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“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

I think my favorite Psalm is Psalm 51. In this Psalm King David comes face to face with his sin and repents from it. If you are not familiar with the story King David has committed adultery with Bathsheba, gotten her pregnant and has killed her husband, Uriah, to cover it up. (II Samuel 12: 1-13) We find in II Samuel 12: 13-19 that while God had forgiven David for his sins, he still had to pay the consequences.

After the consequences were over David went and worshiped the Lord. What a beautiful thing to do. He took responsiblity for his actions and repented. When it was all done, David worshiped because he knew the God he worshiped had every right to punish him the way he did. We may think it cruel that God would take the baby, but that baby went to heaven that day. I like that.

David is right to say in his confession that “I have sinned against You and You alone, O Lord.” When we sin it is the Lord that we have sinned against. Others just get caught in the cross fire. Sometimes they get hurt. We must seek their forgiveness, too. This helps with our relationship with God.

When you confess your sins to God be very specific. Let’s say you gossiped about someone. Don’t just say, “God, forgive me for my gossiping,” and that be that. Try to get to the root of why you gossiped. Be honest with yourself. God already knows why you gossip, but you need to face it so that God can help you change you attitude and become more godly. That is our goal as Christians, right? To become more godly?

I started His Heart and Home with the idea of cleaning. God cleaning our hearts while we clean our homes. Confession is one cleaner God uses on you to make you shine. He sometimes has to so some really hard scrubbing, like us in the south trying to clean red, clay, country mud. (When someone invents a cleaner that will remove it I will invest in that company! They will make a killin’!)

Spend some time alone with God today and take a close look at you sins. We sin everyday. Ask God where he might specifically want to clean your heart. But be warned: you might not like what you find out about yourself. There in lies the grace. God will help you become someone you like much better.

Father, “Create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Read: Psalm 51

Thank You!

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“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him.” Romans 1:21

We teach our kids to say “thank you” at very early age. Even as they get older we still remind them to say it. Like our kids, we, too, are often reminded in the Bible to give thanks.

Giving thanks to God is more the being polite. It is acknowledging that it is He we depend on. After you praise the Lord for who He is you should spend some time thanking Him for how He is working in your life. Thank Him for being your provider, redeemer, savior, helper, deliverer…be specific. That is why I like to keep a prayer journal. I can go back and read it and remember the things I have asked Him and He has answered. My prayer might be something like this.

“Father, thank You for hearing my request about my promotion. Even though I didn’t get it, I know You have better plans for me. Thank you for providing me with a job. So many are out of work right now.”

Let’s stop here for a moment. At this point in the prayer you may be tempted to lift up a request for someone you may know that needs a job. Don’t. You will have an opportunity to do that later. Let this part of your prayer be dedicated to giving thanks.

Your prayer might go, “Thank You, God, for helping me to find a way to get my son the letter-man jacket he wanted. He is so excited. You do provide in the smallest of details in our lives.”

No matter how God is answering your prayer you need to thank Him for answering it. Remember, sometimes He says ok, but let’s wait a little while.

Let me ask you something. Before you go to sleep at night, so you tell the Lord thank you for all He did for you that day? Ok…what if He only allowed you to keep the next day what you thanked Him for the night before. What would you get to keep? This little exercise helps me to put even my thanks in the right priority. Try it sometime.

Giving thanks to the Lord is a privilege. It is also a blessing. It reminds us once again who is in control of everything.  When we give thanks to Him we pass on the glory to God. You can sing your praise to Him in song. Here is a song that will help you to do just that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sajkDwCOS3Y

Enjoy!!!

Praise God

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“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.” Psalm 103:1

If you are like me you probably don’t think about praising the Lord in your prayers. Too often I get started with “HELP ME, Jesus!” I am so focused on my problem that I forget to acknowledge who He is and how powerful He is. I need help in focusing on Him.

I look to the Psalms for help with this. Just look at them! Most of them start with praising God. They are full of His characteristics. Let’s take a look at a few and see how we can use them in prayer.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” Psalm 104:13 You could pray something like this: “O Lord, I praise You for Your compassion on me. I see this compassion each and every time that I sin against You and I seek Your forgiveness. You are gracious to forgive me and set me on the right path.”

Or, “Father, You have once again shown Your compassion by hearing my request and answering it. You have met this need in a way I did not expect.” Your details will of course be more specific than this, but you get the picture.

What about Psalm 102:25? I really did just look down as saw this one. It says, “In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Ok…You are the great creator, O Lord. There is nothing made that You didn’t make. I praise You for Your wonderful creation which includes me. You choose me before the creation of the world to have a relationship with You. Thank You.

One more. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10. Wow!!!! That one is pretty self-explanatory! “Thank You, Lord Jesus for taking the penalty for my sins upon You and taking the punishment I deserve. In Your great compassion You showed me mercy and grace. To simply say “Thank You” doesn’t quite cover it all, but I do thank You.”

There are literally hundreds of ways to  praise Him and hundred of verses to help you do so. Do like I do and just open up your Bible to the middle (Psalm) and choose a verse that the Lord shows you. All of His scripture is “God-breathed” so He will be pleased with any of it.

I challenge you to spend some time in prayer today just focusing on praising God. Nothing else! Sing songs of praise. He loves to hear those, too! Simply praise Him!

Read: Psalm…you choose one!