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I used to look forward to the weekend because it meant time to catch up on sleep and be lazy. Now I look forward to the weekend because I get to hang out with my church family Sunday morning. I find myself making excuses to be there for both services. I do enjoy sleeping in, but if I only go to the second service, I’ll miss seeing half of my church family. I don’t want to miss seeing anyone! I love my church family!
I’m thankful for my church family because….
- they love me for who I am
- they comfort me when I’m feeling down
- they inspire me when I’m feeling defeated
- they pray for me, even when I don’t ask
- they praise God along side me
- they worship God with me, even though I sing off key
- they thank God for the gifts He has given me
- they encourage & support me & my family during our trials
- they help me be accountable to God
- they point me to God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit
- they allow me to pray for them
- they offer guidance through God’s Word
Sunday mornings are the best! First I have the privilege of talking to a few to find out how their week went and maybe share what’s going on in my corner of the world. Then when the service starts, I get to praise and worship God together with everyone as one body, which is my favorite part of the morning. Especially when they sing one of my many favorite worship songs. What’s one of your favorite songs to sing in church?
During the sermon I feel like a little kid having a story read to me. It’s awesome! The best part about the sermon lately is we have a different person preaching each week. I know some people don’t like that, they need consistency, but I love hearing different peoples perspectives. Each person has different stories to share about how God is speaking to them through His Word. To me, a great sermon is hearing God’s Word as well as something from the heart of the speaker. What do you enjoy about the sermon?
I’m thankful God uses the church, to bring different people together. People who, outside of the church, would never cross paths. He brings people of all ages, talents, stages in life and areas of the world together to be unified in Him, with one purpose, to love & worship Him.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for creating a place where we can come together to worship & praise You. I pray we would hear You during the sermon, regardless of who is speaking, Amen.
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head that you could not shake? Well, for the past 2-3 weeks I have had ‘There is Power’, by Lincoln Brewster, stuck in my head. Usually, I wouldn’t think much about it, especially since this is an amazing song. It started getting a little weird, when almost every time I got in the car or turned on the radio, that song would be on. I don’t mean somewhere in the middle of the song, no. I mean as soon as I would turn the car or radio on it would be right at ‘There is power in the name of Jesus”. The first few times I thought “oh, that’s that song I have stuck in my head, funny.” Then after it happened about the 4th time I thought, “oh, I better pay attention and figure out what God’s trying to say to me.”
I think God wants to make sure I truly understand the power available to me through His Son, Jesus. I think God is telling me He is waiting patiently for me to take action and call upon this power. I think God would like me to take action NOW, because there are things He desires to put into action and His timing for these things is NOW.
As a believer in Jesus, someone who accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, I have the power of the Holy Spirit, which dwells within me. The Holy Spirit intercedes in prayer for me when I can’t express what’s in my heart. The Holy Spirit can also encourage or convict me when necessary. But as the song says, ‘there is power in the name of Jesus’ too.
The Holy Spirit can’t intercede for us in prayer if we don’t pray. The power of Jesus is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it’s up to each of us to call upon the power. God wants us to utilize the power, that’s why He makes it available. This power is what makes the impossible become possible. Most believers call upon the power of Jesus when praying, but their prayer time is scarce.
…those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17
In Romans 8 we are told that those who are led by the Spirit are children of God. As children of God we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, Jesus. When we pick up our cross daily, seek God in everything, regardless of our circumstances, we will share in the glory of God. How exciting is that?!
So how can we seek God daily? One way is by reading the Bible, the Word of God. We are just like the people in the Bible, always looking to ourselves or other things and not God. So we can learn from their mistakes. We can learn from Jesus and how He taught his disciples and the people. I encourage you to pick up the Bible, ask God to speak to you through it, open it up and read a chapter. Then sit in silence and listen for God. I know He will reveal himself to you because God loves you and has so much to say to you.
Another way we can seek God is through prayer. When I say prayer, I don’t mean shooting up wishes or demands to God whenever we find ourselves in a tight spot. I mean participating in a relationship with God. The definition of prayer is a spiritual fellowship with God; sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication. In order to experience these things with God you must pray regularly and passionately. Tell God your inner most thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams or whatever comes to mind. Yes, God already knows all of this, but He is waiting for you to invite Him into them. God will not push himself on you. He patiently waits to be invited in so He can help you and pour out His blessings upon you.
Another way we can seek God is through worship. When I say worship, I don’t mean singing necessarily. Yes, we do worship God through singing, but that’s not the only way to worship. Praising and thanking God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a way to worship. Giving God the glory for our accomplishments and all we have is a way to praise and thank Him.
A few weeks ago I saw the movie ‘War Room’ with my husband. I enjoyed it so much I went back a few days later with friends to see it again. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend it. It lit a fire in me! I haven’t started a prayer room, but I have started a prayer journal. I have pages for every part of my life and every one in my life. I spend more time lifting up all the areas in my life to God. I don’t just babble a list of wants and demands. I thank God for what I have and ask for Him to use me for His glory. I pause often while praying so the Holy Spirit can intercede and prompt me. Before moving onto a different area in my life or person, I thank God for His good and perfect plan and His answers to my prayer. I pray with an expectant heart, believing God will answer in a mighty, amazing and bold way.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the power offered to all believers across the world. I pray we would take the time to fellowship with you daily to deepen our relationship with You, Amen.
Earlier this year I wrote about exercise and my lack of it. I talked about the days I use to walk almost everyday for an hour and a half per day. While I walked I either worshiped God while listening to music or talked to Him through prayer. Soon after this post I realized I missed this time with God. Even though I spent most mornings alone with God I missed being out walking with Him. That’s when I started praying for time in my day to get back to walking like I used to.
Several months ago my oldest daughter, Ashley, started walking with a friend. They like to walk up to ‘the tower’, which is an area with many wonderful walking trails close to home. One morning Ashley’s friend was unable to go walking, so I was asked to take her place. I thought it would be nice to go walking with her since we don’t get a lot of alone time these days. I was also looking forward to the pleasant trails. I had walked up to the tower before and enjoyed the scenery.
As we were getting ready, my daughter announced she would drive. Of course I had to ask why. She said she didn’t like being the passenger. After trying to convince her that I should drive, and failing, I finally gave in and said she could. I have to say it’s a little weird having my daughter drive. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a wonderful driver. I had been driving her around for so many years its just kind of weird having her drive me around now.
We arrived at the park with all the trails, but on the opposite side from where I had walked before. Ashley said she had been walking up to the tower from there and told me to follow. So follow I did. The first part was nice. The trail was clear and the scenery was beautiful. Then, not to long after starting, the path started going up. I don’t mean slightly up either. Each stretch of the path was steeper than the previous. I was having a hard time keeping the conversation going because I was busy huffing and puffing. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. My heart was pounding and my legs felt like noodles. What in the world had I gotten myself into? Getting back down was even harder. I’m sure I looked odd sidestepping my way down the paths.
As we were headed home, my daughter said we should walk that path every week and asked what day worked for me. She wanted me to do this again?! On purpose?! I asked her if we could walk a different path and she said “no, I like that path”. So reluctantly I agreed to walk the path again. I was looking forward to spending time with my daughter, but not to walking up the steep path again.
For a couple of weeks we walked once a week. Then before I knew it we were walking several times a week. On the mornings I wasn’t available to walk my daughter would ask me to walk later that night after dinner. I have to tell you, she doesn’t take no for an answer either. I have no idea where she gets that from. 😉
The last time we were heading back from walking, I was thanking God for the special time He had carved out for us to spend together. At that moment, God reminded me that it’s what I had prayed for. I had prayed for time in my day to get back to walking. I laughed. You see, when I prayed for the time to get out and walk again, I pictured myself walking around our neighborhood on the flat sidewalks. Not going up steep terrain having to catch my breath every few minutes.
Back then, when I walked alone with God, I needed it. It was hard for me to focus on God with the distractions of life all around me. So walking helped me listen to what God had for me. Now things are different. I now know God is with me always and I can call upon Him and/or chat with Him at any moment. I’ve found that the more I do this the easier it is to hear His voice and feel His prompting. I’m more aware of the Holy Spirit working in my life.
So yes, I did pray to go walking again and God did answer my prayer. He answered it so beautifully. I would never have imagined I would be walking with Ashley, not only spending quality time with her, but also working out. Both things I desperately wanted and needed.
“the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” ~Romans 8:26
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf when we don’t realized what we need to pray for. Lord, I pray for the courage to act when prompted by the Holy Spirit, Amen
This past weekend was the mountain top experience I mentioned in an earlier post, Up On The Mountain Top. It was absolutely amazing. There were 3100 BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) leaders from Hawaii, California and Nevada. It was truly a special gift to have this time of fellowship with the leaders in my BSF group. It was also wonderfully exciting to meet and chat with leaders from other areas. The time we had to worship together as the body of Christ was incredible! I can’t put into words what I felt when we all stood and sang Hymns. I was brought to tears almost every time we sang together. The Hymn ‘Ancient Words’ was my all time favorite. It danced in my head during the trip home and throughout Monday. Then we sang it together as a group during our BSF leaders meeting. I had to fight back the tears it was so moving. (Yes, I’m a sap!)
As I also mentioned before, God had something to teach me during this mountain top experience. I was excited to see what God wanted to teach me through this experience. I was excited to use what He taught me and put it into action where I was already working. I must admit, I did tell God not to dare call me to do something new. I didn’t want to give up anything I was already doing and I definitely didn’t have time to add something new to my list of responsibilities.
About a week before I headed up the mountain I found a Spiritual Gifts test I took about 3 years ago. As I read through the results and how those gifts could be used I thought ‘Wow, that’s a big responsibility and would take a lot of time and energy. I think I’m good doing what I’m doing’.
During the morning on the last day of the retreat we had alone time to be with God. We were given Scripture to look up and pray about, meditate on. I felt how much God desired for us to read His word when I read Isaiah 55:10-12. As it says in the passage, we will be filled with joy and peace. The mountains will burst into song and the trees will clap. What a beautiful picture! A smile came to my face and tears filled my eyes.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do it not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:10-12
A little later I looked up 2 Timothy 3:15-17. I felt as if God was telling me he had already given me the tools I needed to do His works. The Holy Spirit and His Word, the Bible. With these tools He would equip me for all He calls me to do. At that moment I thanked God for these tools. I told God that if He did have another call or a new call, for my life, I would answer. God knows my fullest potential, so I will trust in His equipping me for whatever He asks of me. Will I take on any and every job that comes my way? Absolutely not! I will take each thing to God. I will pray for God’s will and guidance to help me know what He wishes me to do. I’ve been outside of God’s will before (more times than I would like to admit), and it wasn’t pretty.
and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:15-17
When I returned home from the retreat my husband told me the Sunday Sermon was on fruits and gifts of the Spirit. Our Pastor even recommended a spiritual gifts test to take, which I did after listening to the sermon. The results were pretty much the same as 3 years ago. Huh, I wonder what that means? I think, I hope, I’m making good use of my gifts. If I’m not, I believe God will let me know. I think it might be time for me to step things up a bit though. How about you? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? What are they? How do you use your God given gifts in your daily life? Please share, I would love to hear how God has equipped you to use your gifts.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit and your Word which equips us for all You call us to do. I pray we take time daily to read your word so we may use it to teach, rebuke, correct, train and equip others for Your good works, Amen