Friday, July 24, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
I've been reading Pray Like a Gourmet (see my review here) and meditating on the topic of Praise. Author David Brazzeal shares some great reminders about praise. My favorite is "praise radically changes our perspective.")
I enjoyed several of the suggested exercises. I looked at the verbs in Psalm 147 (you should do this and praise God for His actions!). I blended two ideas (making a praise list in which each line begins "God, you are..." and making up a simple song). I made a list of lines of praise choruses that say "Lord, you are..." and then I used those phrases in a prayer.
I think that too often I save praise for happy times. We often sing "10,000 Reasons for My Heart to Sing" at church, and I have been pondering the phrase, "Sing like never before, O my soul." I used to think that was a call to burst out in joyful exuberant praise on a great day when my skinny jeans fit and my kids are calm and my heart is overflowing with happiness. (Did you hear that perspective...my...my...my...?)
But we sang that song quite often at church during a season of loss. And we sang it at the Retreat I attended this spring when I was still very stressed about our unexpected move. And I thought about the prayers I pray through gritted teeth, or the days I stare at the sky and search for words to pray.
Those are the days when I can "sing like never before." It might not be a happy song. But praise can radically change my perspective. Praise is talking to God about who He is.
Who He Is.
There is a time to talk to God about how confused I am about His plan or His strange answers to my prayers. Perhaps that time is right before or right after I praise Him!
But when I say, "Lord, I praise You because You are faithful. You have been faithful in the past and I trust that today will be no different. Your word is full of stories of Your faithfulness! I praise Your faithfulness!"
And then I say something similar about His love or His mercy or His grace.
That kind of prayer brings peace.
And radically changes my perspective.
Read more about Pray Like a Gourmet at PrayLikeaGourmet.com.
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who live according to the law of the Lord! (Psalm 119:1 HCSB)
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Monday, July 13, 2015
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Thursday, July 9, 2015
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Blogging in the summer, when I have no commitments and activities, is proving to be more difficult than blogging during the rest of the year when I really have to think about a schedule and a routine.
Today I rearranged some books and shelves, hoping to create a writing area--with a view of the neighbor's pink oleander. In the process I discovered some missing jewelry, a lot of Georgette Heyer books and a rebate form for my contacts (two weeks too late to send it in). I also found that my bookshelves are far too convenient. Pottery mugs, nail polish remover and homemade lotion are blocking my access to my books!
I stopped cleaning to look at the cluttered bookshelves. And I realized this is starting to look and feel like home.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
I am revisiting the themes of several of my books as I seek to “just be with Jesus." Today's post is adapted from my book Sacred Signposts. I am putting aside lengthy readings for a season, and instead looking for one word or phrase from a scripture portion to carry through the day. Today’s word, for me, is "encouragement."
photo credit: Trim Castle Is A Large Norman Castle On The South Bank Of The River Boyne In Trim, County Meath, Ireland. via photopin (license)
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. (Psalm 63:7)
Now may the God of peace Himself
sanctify you completely.
And may your spirit, soul, and body
be kept sound and blameless
for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful,
who also will do it.
Brothers, pray for us also.
(I Thessalonians 5:23-24 HCSB Read it in context here)
I use a prayer of St. Patrick to remind me of the Apostle Paul's prayers for himself and his friends. Today I'm looking at prayers for protection. In these verses from I Thessalonians, Paul prayed that his converts would be separated from evil (sanctified), and kept safe and holy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Patrick prayed "Christ as a shield, overshadow me." Let's think about being in Christ's shadow for a few moments.: to be in the shadow of someone or something, I must be relatively close to it. If a child is walking close enough to a parent to be in their shadow, they are close enough to be cared for and protected.
In human terms, the word "overshadow" carries negative connotations of being less than the person whose shadow I am under. But as I think of being "overshadowed" by Jesus, this becomes a comforting truth, because I want to put my trust in something greater than I.
A shadow can also be a place of shade, a respite from the burning sun, and a place to be comfortable and refreshed. What a perfect description of being near to Jesus!
...We have run to God for safety. Now His promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls...
(Hebrews 6:19-19 CEV)
O Lord my Shield,
You overshadow me with your peace,
covering me with your love and grace.
You are my refuge and my fortress;
I trust in your faithfulness.
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Sunday, June 28, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
St. Patrick prayed, “Christ, as a light, illumine and guide me.” This reminds me of Paul’s prayer for enlightenment:
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be may be enlightened…(Ephesians 1:17-18)
Read Ephesians 1 here.
The Greek word Paul used for revelation in Ephesians 1:18 means “uncovering” or “revealing God;” knowledge is “exact or full knowledge, discernment, recognition.” Think for a moment about carrying a flashlight on a dark night: it allows you to discern dangers on your path as well as to recognize the familiar faces of friends. It uncovers truth and increases your knowledge about your surroundings. Jesus is your Light on dark or uncertain days.
Here are three more prayers from Paul, asking for guidance and knowledge:
And I pray this, that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ.
(Philippians 1:10 HCSB)
…We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (Colossians 1:9 HCSB)
…That they may have all the riches of assured understanding, and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.
(Colossians 2:2-3 HCSB)
These are really beautiful requests to make for friends, for children or for people in ministry. If you read this blog regularly, you might remember that I blogged about Jesus, the Light recently. This is one of my favorite prayer words and topics. Talk to the Light, and ask for light. Tell him you trust him to be your light today.