Monday, February 23, 2015

Pray without Ceasing

My friend Shellie gave me a Red Journal. Its a prayer journal, but different from my "regular" prayer journal. In this journal, I am to write all my prayers in the simplest form possible ("God, remind me that I am created exactly as you intended" or "Lord, please let Mr. Ken's surgery be successful") and I am to write them in only blue or black ink. THEN, when God ANSWERS these prayers, I am to write the date (and I sometimes write a little note about the answer) in RED. It didn't take long at all for me to have in my hand a visual of all the "little" prayers that God has answered since I got my Red Journal. It's a really cool concept. It is a red journal in that the outside of it is red, but also because I journal God's answers to my prayers in red.
My Red Journal has reminded me that God is very near to me and that He is trustworthy. I have grown to put all those fleeting prayers down in my journal and I have friends that will ask me to "put this in your red book".  Seeing answered prayer after answered prayer jump off the page in red makes me want to ask more of God. It makes me want to be bold in my asking. I am more deliberate in my prayers all together. I am more careful to make sure that I take things to Him in prayer and am more careful to cover all those I love in prayer. I trust Him more and more and realize that nothing is too small (or too large) to take to my Father. One simple little exercise has encouraged me to have a deeper and richer prayer life and for that I am sooo thankful!
I wonder, does God always answer our hastily whispered prayers and I am just realizing how often He does because I have them written down or does God honor our effort when we take time to pray more deliberately? Maybe some combination of the two?
All I know is this...I have a whole new understanding of the concept of praying without ceasing. If your prayer life needs a little pick me up (or maybe a complete overhaul), I encourage you to go get a red journal and start recording your prayers and God's answers. You'll be amazed!

Saturday, February 14, 2015



It's Valentine's Day.  I read something today that said "Don't make Valentine's day a test to see how much your husband loves you". My husband hates Valentines day and I think it is because of all the pressure society puts on men to "prove" their undying love... with flowers, dinner, wine, and diamonds. I've realized something over time...Dinner wont satisfy the longing in my heart, neither will chocolate, flowers, or even diamonds.  There is a longing in my heart for....something else, something bigger. I will go out on a limb and say that most females feel this longing, unless they are in the first few months of a relationship. Perhaps you can relate...
We want to be valued.  We want to be "worthy" of his time. We want to be desirable. We want to occupy his thoughts. We want to matter. We want to be important enough to him that he wants to surprise us with thoughtful gifts. We want to be cherished and cared for and taken care of. We want to feel secure and safe and protected. We want to turn his world upside down. We want him to be consumed with us (on our terms...don't smother us...haha). We want him to look at us with stars in his eyes because he truly believes we are the most wonderful, beautiful, mesmerizing woman he has ever known. You may not agree with all of these things and you may have others to add, but you get the idea.
I am confident that most all females feel this way because it is the underlying theme in every romance movie and romance novel that has any sort of success. Guy meets girl, girl turns guys world completely upside down, guy cant live without girl, guy pursues girl even to his own peril. His attraction to her is something he cannot fight against (even though in all the good stories, he does try to deny his feelings). 
Here's the catch...these movies and books would not be so appealing to us if they reflected reality.
There is a reason that they call these "chick flicks" and there is a reason you don't see your fella curled up on the couch with a box of tissues reading Nicholas Sparks. These things we long for...the things that Romance novels are full of...are not things that Guys typically "get".  We are longing for something that most men are simply unable to fulfill.
I read somewhere ( I THINK it is in Desire by John Eldridge, but don't quote me on that) that the curse in Genesis is our problem. God tells Eve in Genesis 3, starting with verse 16...
Then God said to the woman, “I will cause you to have much trouble when you are pregnant, and when you give birth to children, you will have great pain.
You will greatly desire your husband, but he will rule over you.”
Now, if the curse is literally only about childbirth and husbands, then the single, childless women are not under the curse. We know that's not true. The curse is for all women. So then, it makes sense that the curse is something that affects ALL women and the author (and I do think it was Eldridge) says that the curse is this longing I've been speaking of...This longing that is so strong within us that Hollywood and book publishers make billions off of our need to satisfy it.
This longing is the curse we live under and will never be fulfilled this side of heaven.
So then, do your heart and your man a favor and stop wishing that he would love you like  Edward loved Bella  or Johnny loved Baby or  Four loved Tris or Danny loved Sandy. Its not fair to either of you.
Instead, look to what God says love TRULY is...
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.
Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

This Valentines Day, celebrate and strive to cultivate genuine God-Breathed LOVE in your relationship. There is SOOO much more to it than Dinner and a Movie.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Under Attack

Have you ever had those days where everything falls into place and you cant help but stand in amazement at what God has done? I had one of those days not too long ago. God opened doors and absolutely blessed me beyond anything I could have expected. He is so good to me!
Have you noticed that Satan likes to jerk the rug out from under you when you have those really great days? It amazes me that Satan gets me EVERY time! It doesn't matter if I am expecting it or not. If I'm not expecting it, he blindsides me. If I am expecting it, he always finds the one place that I am weak. I VERY much understand the imagery in 1 Peter 5:8 of a lion prowling around looking to devour me. Really. I do.
I believe in prayer and I believe in worship and I believe in being prepared for Satan's attack. Because this particular day was SO great, I thought I best be prepared for Satan to knock me on my tail.  His attack is often in the mind, so I wanted to fill my mind with Jesus. I listened to the Praise and Worship station on Pandora while I prepared supper, folded laundry, and did the floors. By the time I  had my prayer time and got ready for bed, my heart was worshipping my Lord. I was filled with joy and peace. It was WONDERFUL!!! I fell asleep listening to Praise and Worship and thought "He's not gonna get me this time".
I won't go into detail, but the next morning started with a rude awakening at 4:30. Things really only got worse from there. It was a terrible morning. By 6:00 I was pretty sure that I had never done anything right in my entire life. By 7, I was equally sure that everything wrong in everyone else's was my fault as well.  By the time I was headed to work, I was devastated. I was wrecked.  I  acknowledged that Satan got me, and knew that God would help,  but I felt totally defeated. The more I listened to Satan's lies, the worse I felt.
Once I got to work and was able to focus on other things, I realized that just because Satan got me good does not mean that I am completely defeated. By mid-morning, I realized that Satan didn't really defeat me at all. He wrecked my morning, but God restored me before noon. Besides that, he really had to catch me off guard and wake me up at 4:30am to get to me!!!! 
While I was looking for a pic with 1 Peter 5:8 for this post, I found the image below.
It makes me smile.