Praising God for 72 hours.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Psalm 146:1-2 (ESV)

In my circle of friends I have one that is going through some changes and she asked for prayer. Prayers were offered but then a suggestion was made that worked for one friend. She suggested not praying or complaining (I added the complaining part-our complaints are really needs disguised) for anything for 24, 48 or 72 hours. Instead she was challenged to turn her thoughts to simply praising God. Challenge was accepted and several us have joined, shoulder to shoulder, with her in praising God for 72 hours.

It sounded like a great idea as I walked out, in the brisk 38 degree temps, to feed and water our chicken. I praised and thanked God for protecting them from the cold temps and nightly predators.

I praised and thanked him for hot coffee and a warm home.

Then I sat down to the pile of prayer requests that I promised to pray over every day. What to do-I committed to no prayers but committed to pray-that was my dilemma.

Then I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11-13(ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He knows our story yesterday, today and tomorrow. He knows when we will fly right and when we will stumble. He knows what we need before we even utter the request.

So what is the answer to my dilemma? To go through each pray request and praise and thank God for answering each request before the person sees the physical manifestation of their answer to their pray need.

Praise God for each person I pray for daily.

Praise God for meeting their need.

Praise God in their long wait for an unanswered prayer.

Praise God when it seems their answer is impossible.

Praise God when the answer will be different then what they wanted.

So that solved the prayer issue-I went through each one and praised God for that person and meeting their needs,

I’m also turning my complaining to Praise. My house is a mess, medical issues have made cleaning a challenge but today I choose to praise God for the mess and thank him for it.

It was super cold when I went out to feed the chickens-I praised God for the brisk morning air.

I’m having surgery on the day before Thanksgiving and being released on Thanksgiving and I am praising God there was a cancelation and I don’t need to wait until late December.

I am praising God that we had already decided to move Thanksgiving to the Sunday before-funny how God knows our need before we do.

When we turn our lives to one of praise a wondrous thing happens. We forget our needs and are filled with Joy. It’s only the first day and I am feeling the blessing of joy in my heart and a lightness in my step.

In Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) we are told:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Trusting God with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding means we trust him to answers our prayers in the best way for us, even when the answers don’t make sense to us. I can’t acknowledge God without praising Him. I am thankful he makes my path straight.

I praise you Lord today for this challenge, for opening my eyes to my need to turn my neediness to praising and put my trust in you as I join my sisters in this challenge.

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Count it all joy…..

Every December I spend time seeking God for what my focus should be for the coming year. One year it was trust, another believe, then my focus shifted from a single word to several scripture verses. Proverbs 3:5-6 were the verses for 2017 and believe me there were times I needed to lean into those words or I would have been crushed by circumstances.

This past December I once again spent time in prayer and these were the verses I was given:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.                                        James 1:2-4 ESV

This definitely has been a year of continually saying…..I am counting it all joy……as many things have come my way, and continue to come my way and also to my husband.

Continual oral pain that has radiated to my jaw, ear and eye.

Complete knee replacement surgery to replace the partial knee replacement I had 10 months prior.

Very painful and slow healing of my knee

Bill’s several cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Bronchitis for me and Pneumonia for Bill

A virus for Bill and I this past week

The medicine for the jaw pain (Trigeminal Neuralgia)that is $7/month this year, will be $100/month next year

to name a few….

Lots to deal with and now, yesterday, in a freak accident, I fell twisting my back, landing on my new knee, both hips, the other knee, somehow cutting my left foot UNDER my shoe and jamming my right hand. Seriously some days I want to say enough is enough.

and then I remember….

I count it all joy, my brothers, when I meet trials of various kinds. I do so because it’s during these trials that I draw ever closer to my Jesus.

I have made the mistake of saying the enemy is attacking us but the truth is we live in a fallen world. In this fallen world we will face many trials. My peace comes from Jesus.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

It is what we do in those trials that makes the difference. Do we say “why me?” or do we keep our eyes on Jesus and walk through those trials knowing we are not alone. I would love to say that I do the latter all the time but, sadly, I fall short. I allow temporary pain to keep me from eternal gain. I’m pretty sure that is why James 1:2-4 are my verses this year. I am improving. I stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge that there is purpose in this journey.

God may reveal the purpose to me here or in eternity but one thing I know for sure God will be glorified in this journey if….I count it all joy as I meet these trials.

Do I enjoy these trials every minute of every day? No, to enjoy is a temporary feeling, to live with joy is a daily choice and today, despite the pain, I CHOOSE joy

Heavenly Father, Help us to keep our eyes on you and not our circumstances. Grant us peace and joy knowing you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, you know the plans you have for us and they are for our good. You are our good, good God. Forgive us, Lord, when we shift our eyes from eternity to the temporary. In Jesus name, Amen

God is in the details

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This is a blog I posted two years ago but I felt was worth repeating.

When Suzie Eller gave us our prompt for this weeks #livefree Thursday “The Adventure Begins” I had to smile because I thought I was on the slow track to one adventure but realized last week that God’s adventure for me is so different, so out of my comfort zone, and yes, so awesome. This is not how I would have reacted 2-3 years ago-adventures into the unknown carried denial, fear, and yes, I have to admit, some disobedience to what God was calling me to do. God has done a work in me to prepare me for this moment in time.

I am still in a period of preparation but these preparations suddenly have purpose. I’m not sure what the end  of the journey entails but I know God is there. I am facing this journey and time of preparation with a faith I didn’t think I would ever have. To be honest, I’ve always been a “that’s ok I’ll stay right here and watch” kind of girl while you went on your adventures. But slowly and with much love and grace God has brought me to where I am today.

How am I SO sure of this? Just a quick look at the last 3+ years that I have been participating, and later serving with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies- God has been all the details, just for me!

In Dec 2012 I was full of anger and resentment-what was the P31 OBS study that popped into my inbox?

Karen Ehman’s book “Let.It.Go.”!!

Once I Let.It.Go I realized I still had stress-what was the next P31 OBS?

Tracie Mile’s  book “Stressed Less Living”!!

Life was less stressful so now what?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”!!

OH NO I said Yes to God-now I’m a Small Group Leader-I can’t do that!! What am I going to do?

What was the next P31 OBS study?

Rene Swope’s book “A Confident Heart”!!

I had more Godfidence but honestly I craved sweets and TV more than God.

What was the next 2 P31 OBS studies?

Lysa TerKeust’s  books “Made to Crave” and “Made to Crave Action Plan”!!

I started to Crave God more but questioned how to live God’s Word.

What was the next P31 OBS study?

Wendy Blight’s book  “Living So That”!!

So I started Living so that my life reflected more of Jesus but gosh I had a lot of baggage and labels holding me back.

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Derwin Gray’s book “Limitless Life”!!

The labels fell away, I was ready to serve God, with all my heart-so many good Godly things to be involved with but getting SO worn out and yes, a bit overwhelmed and resentful.

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “The Best Yes”!!

Now I was ready to make Best Yes choices but which ones? I needed to pray more effectively but how do that?

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen”!!

I learned the power of prayer but still struggled with my mouth. How do I know what to say and what to just commit to this new prayer life?

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Karen Ehman’s book “Keep It Shut”!!

So now I’m keeping it shut, wanting to serve more but still some what fearful about the unknown.

What was the next  OBS Study?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith”!!

I wanted to walk in faith, really I did but there was something I couldn’t  put a finger on. Some things were holding me back.

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Suzie Eller’s book “A Mended Heart”!!

I had hidden hurts that I wasn’t even aware of and Jesus did an amazing work healing my heart. Now I was ready to serve but where do I start-I had so many distractions…oh I’ll just start cleaning my desk and then I’ll start!

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Glynnis Whitwer’s book “Taming The To Do List”!!

Ok, Ok I hadn’t  quiet tamed that to do but I was getting better but gosh Thanksgiving was coming, then Christmas, people pulling every which way….what’s a girl to do??

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Unglued”!!

So I did all these studies, grew in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Sometimes feeling a bit in adequate as I did lots of studies, served God in several ministries but feeling like there was something more.

What was the next P31 OBS study?

Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Becoming More Thank A Good Bible Study Girl”!!

I’m ready, want to use my past to the Glory of God but am I really hearing from God, I don’t want to hear Him wrong and I don’t want to start yet another thing I won’t finish. More importantly, does God even know who I am?  Well right now we are in a break from P31 OBS and I am participating in the first ever P31 Bible Study Class. What is it?

Wendy Blight’s book “I know His Name”!!

In just the first two chapters we have covered Elohim, my God who created me and El Roi, my God who knows me. He created me for a purpose, He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He will guide me but what if I want to quit?

What is the next P31 OBS Study?

Nicki Koziarz’ book “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t  Quit”!!

My God loves me SO much that he orchestrated all these studies to gently lead me to this moment in time when I am ready to take an adventure into the unknown. He created me, He loves me, He guides me, He is already where He is leading me.

God has been with me every step of the way, I have no doubts he will continue so I am looking to this adventure with faith and not fear. Oh I know the enemy isn’t happy, he’s already tried to attack my health but guess what Abba daddy has taken care of me. It’s not my battle, it’s His. That frees me up and so….The Adventure Begins…and I’m so excited!!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Honoring God-Part 4

Honoring God in our walk.

This is Part 4 of my series Honoring God in our life.

We can honor God in our bodies, His temple within us, our prayer life and our testimonies but the most challenging, at times, is honoring God in our walk.

I can know scripture, share scripture, write scripture on little cards or post it notes, and put them all over the house but if I don’t write those words on my heart they mean nothing. If I don’t humble myself and ask God to reveal their today meaning for me they mean nothing. God’s word needs to live and breath in us so that we can walk in love and honor God.

1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV says

“If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal”

Matthew 25 tells us of the final judgement of how when the Son of Glory comes before him will gathered all peoples, of all nations, and they will be separated like a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. The sheep he places on his right and the goats on the left. The sheep are welcomed into the kingdom of heaven because of what verses 35-36 say:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

Then the righteous answer him saying in verses 37-39:

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

and the King answers in verse 40:

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

There in a nutshell is how we honor God in our walk-we bless each person we come across as if we are blessing Jesus. What we do for others, in the love we have been so freely given, we honor God.

These verses don’t say “When you felt like……..” and this, my friends, is the challenge. We live as flesh and blood and there are times when you may want to do good for others but your flesh gets in the way. I am so grateful that it doesn’t say “every time you did….” it says “whenever you did….” God knows us, he knows our heart and he asks that we love as we are loved, by him. He also knows, at times, we will fall short. He loves us during our good, bad and ugly days so the next time someone, who you don’t feel like interacting with, has a need, we need to remember that he first loved us, gave us example upon example how to love and gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us and then love that person as God loves us, in their good, bad and ugly times.

My prayer today is that I live a life that is less of me and more of him. Step by step, day by day, as I walk in His spirit, I will move towards honoring God more and more in my walk. Will you too?

Honoring God-Part 3

Honoring God with our Testimony

Today’s blog is Part 3 of a 4 part series on Honoring God in our lives.

There are parts of my life I would just love to close the door on and never revisit, never let anyone know about, but that is my plan, not God’s plan. God’s plan is better than my plan. I am glad I am not alone in the “Sinful past I would love to forget club.” Here are just a few God has used despite their sinful choices.

Moses committed murder and fled. (Exodus 2)

David lusted, committed adultery and then murder ( 2 Samuel 11)

Paul, before he met Jesus, committed many murders against Christians (Acts 9)

The Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4)

The word of God tells us:

2 Timothy 3: 16-17 ESV “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

It is written by men but the words written have been inspired by God. God could have chosen to leave out the sinful pasts of these people but he chose not to do that. Why, you ask? I believe if we didn’t know the sinful parts of the lives of those that went on to do great things in the name of God, and for God, we may feel like we can never be useful to God because of the sinful parts of our past.

If I don’t share my past, the good, bad and the ugly, I can’t help guide those struggling with the same sins to move away from those sins and towards Jesus Christ. Yes, as I revealed in my testimony on,  Faithfully Following Ministries Truth over Lies mini-study blog, I have done some very sinful things in my past BUT through the grace of God and my relationship with Jesus none of those things I did in the past define me now. Today I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am a blood bought daughter of the King of kings that serves Him in many ways. I look back at the woman I once was and sit in awe of the woman God has grown me to be today.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Gen 50:20 ESV

We honor God, in our lives,  when we live lives that trust that when we reveal the secrets of our past, and share how God has transformed our lives, others who see and hear us, will know that they too can be saved, transformed, and used by God for good.

We honor God in our testimonies when we share our lives before and after we saw the need to call on Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. When others hear of all that God has done for us, it gives them hope and that, my friend, honors God in our testimonies.

Honoring God-Part 2

Honoring God in our Prayer Life

This weeks blog is the second of a 4 part series on Honoring God our lives.

First and foremost I need to make it very clear I do not have a perfect prayer life and while I do pray daily I fall short daily too. I am slowly but surely moving towards a prayer life that honors God.

Yesterday on the Faithfully Following Ministries blog In God’s Presence I was honored to share about a time I did not have the courage to pray in a way that honored God. My prayers we not really prayers at all-they were pleas for God to resolve my problems with my solutions.

“Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.” 1 Timothy 6:21 NLT

God’s grace was with me despite my manipulative ways that did not honor God and it was sheer foolishness to think I could manipulate God to fulfill my prayer with my answer. I had no clue that the plans God had for me were so much better than what I could ever have imagined.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8 NLT

It wasn’t until I let go of control and courageously trusted God, with our needs, that my prayers honored God.

Honoring God in our prayer life begins with praising Him for who he is-the great I AM

Luke 11:2

Honoring God in our prayer life acknowledges who provides our needs daily.

Luke 11:3

Honoring God in our prayer life begins with humbling ourselves before Him confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness and gives us the courage to forgive the wrongs of others against us, in the same way  he has forgiven us.

Luke 11:4

Honoring God in our prayer life gives us the strength to fight temptation.

1 Corinthians  10:13

Honoring God in our prayer life trusts He knows his plans for us, that those plans are for good and not evil and a hope for the future…our plans usually fall way short of God’s plans for our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

In the blog yesterday I shared how I finally let go of my expectations and solutions and simply prayed scripture over the situation. Once I learned the lesson that there is a God and it wasn’t me God answered my prayer in a way I could not have possibly imagined.

Honoring God in our prayer life trusts God with all our hearts, acknowledges his ways are much better than ours and that he will always lead us towards good and not evil.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Honoring God in our prayer life means confess our sins to each others and we hold each other up in prayer.

James 5:16

Honoring God in our prayer life means less of us and more of Him!!

John 3:30

In what ways do you honor God in your prayer life?

 

 

 

 

Honoring God-Part 1

Honoring God in our bodies-His temple

This weeks blog is the first of a 4 part series on Honoring God in our lives.

I have been through some physical challenges in the last two years, three major surgeries and a low immune system, that have caused me to gain 15-20 lbs. In all honesty, I have struggled with my weight since the late 80’s, when I was in an abusive relationship and gained about 50 lbs. I think I was using food to hide behind and camouflage my feelings. These last 20 lbs, though, are totally from inactivity and poor eating habits. I don’t binge eat anything, just don’t make the best choices in what I put into my mouth. My weight is affecting everything. I get out of breath easily, have trouble reaching my feet to put on my socks and shoes, and makes simple hygiene habits an aerobic activity.

A couple of weeks ago I was spending my quiet time outside and I felt over whelming conviction about my weight. I picked up one of the devotionals I read “The Word for Today” and since I missed reading the day before I turned to that page. The title jumped off the page. How could the writer have known? The words I read were:

Glorify God in your body” I Corinthians 6:20

followed by

“CHANGE YOUR DIET”

How in the world did this writer know my need. He didn’t but God knew and so, long before I needed it, He laid it upon this writers heart to write this devotion for this particular day.

In the devotion the writer shares that he had a health crisis and was confused why he, a Pastor, who believes in the mighty healing power of Jesus, could come to this crisis. Then he remembered all the warnings the Dr had given him that he ignored. He went on to share that we know tobacco and alcohol can kill but so can food and the church is silent about it. In fact, if I might add, we encourage over eating with our doughnuts at coffee hour and over flowing counters of tasty goodness at our monthly potlucks. He sighted Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:19-20(NKJV) where Paul states:

“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”

We have a choice what we put into our bodies but are our choices honoring God who dwells in us? Mine sure have not!! So what to do about this? I am a recovering over thinker. I tend to think so much I am paralyzed into no action. I have several friends on the KETO Diet and it’s working well for them but I just didn’t feel good about eliminating entire food groups from my diet. I have another friend that is doing a MLM plan and is getting great results. I spoke to her about it and she gave me samples to try but the more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure this was for me. I prayed for God to give me wisdom and clarity and ,clearly, I got this answer:

“This is a great product but it’s not for you. Do you trust me to guide you in this journey? Together, we have this.”

So I am not going to try this product and instead, consciously and with Holy Spirit guidance, make better choices in reference to what goes in my mouth, as well as, what comes out of my mouth. We have a choice. God loves us that much and it’s up to us to honor God with our choices.

1 Corinthians 6:12 states:

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

I seek to live a life that is not enslaved by anything, specially food, and will seek God, so that, I honor the temple that is within me through the Holy Spirit. Will this be a bit harder than popping a pill, drinking a shake and putting a patch on, you bet it will, but it will also be so worth it as I draw closer to my Savior with every “no thank you” I utter and every morsel that passes my lips.