Tag Archive | intentional

Secret Ingredient

The floating “I Love You” heart for our family tradition of 14 days of intentional acts of love has been tucked back in the drawer for another year. We don’t generally celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses, chocolates, wine and an elaborate night out, but we do enjoy being more intentional in the little ways we show our love to each other. Some days the paper heart shows up several times. Other days, it may only get passed once. Some expressions are easy to capture a photo others are not. These designated two weeks are a good reminder to not take love for granted, and to be mindful of ways we can show love every single day. If you want to know more about this tradition, you can read about it here.

The secret ingredient for any lasting relationship is love!

img_3032

 

Love others as Jesus has loved you!

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Today

Today was a day of devotion, reflection, education, and introspection.

Doesn’t that sound impressive?! If you want to know the details, continue reading.

My days are generally quite scheduled, but today was a rare exception with not one thing penciled on the calendar. I hardly know what to do on such days! I could have cleaned the house, done some laundry, or baked, but I decided to focus on reconnecting with myself, my husband, and friends.

My husband and I like to begin our day with a short Bible reading together. We have just begun a devotional book that focuses on marriage, and each day has discussion questions. Today’s questions had us think back to our dating years, and reflect on how God brought us together. Thirty-eight years ago was fun to revisit!

I was in Arkansas the 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a pleasure  helping my daughter with childcare (AKA playing with grandsons all day). Oh what fun that was!! However, since then I’ve felt a disconnect with the ladies from church. It just so happens there is a ladies Bible study on Thursday mornings. This was a perfect opportunity to reconnect plus study God’s Word together. Following the study, I had lunch with a close friend at our favorite local coffee shop. Such sweet fellowship was shared!

When I arrived home, the sunshine beckoned me to come out and play. My road is much to muddy for a brisk walk, so to the lake I went.

IMG_3035

The peaceful environment and lack of interruptions and distractions allowed my thoughts to bounce from one topic to another. This hour of walking and contemplating was quite energizing.

My day may sound boring, lazy, or mundane to you, but it was rejuvenating to me. It all boils down to perspective. That is why I saw my day filled with devotion, reflection, education, and introspection.

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV

 

Pray without Ceasing

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

This verse could easily be devoted to 3 blogs, but today let’s focus on verse 17, “Pray without ceasing.” There are many times throughout my day that I, myself, need God’s wisdom or intervention. In 1 Peter 5, we are encouraged to cast all our cares on God because He cares for us.  Isn’t it wonderful that God cares for each one of us?!  Galatians 5 instructs us to  share in each other’s problems and troubles, carrying each other’s burdens. There are people hurting all around us, and one way to carry their burden is praying for them.

If we pray without ceasing/stopping, how can we get anything else done? Just think of your typical day; work, school, family needs, meal prepping and cleanup, household duties, laundry, bill paying, church and community volunteer responsibilities, after school activities, and …

Pray all day?!

How can we continually pray?

Obviously, we cannot physically be on our knees, head-bowed, and eyes-shut in prayer all day. Prayer is an attitude as well as an activity. Did you catch that?

Prayer is an attitude as well as an activity.

Here are three steps to get us started in our quest:

  • Diligently seek and depend on God throughout the day.
  • Intentionally turn thoughts of others into prayers. For instance, a friend pops into my thoughts while I’m working. I can use that opportunity to pray, “Thank you God for (friend’s name). She is hurting today; comfort her.”
  • When thoughts turn to worry, fear, discouragement, or anger, turn those thoughts into prayer. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (ESV)

As we practice and are more intentional to “pray without ceasing”, our focus will change. Constant, never-ending, persistent prayer, longing for God and his help, being humbly dependent on God, is an essential part of christian living.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 

2016-01-22 11.44.28

The Word is “Kind” Part 2

2015 has been quite the year! Throughout these past 12 months I have been on a personal study of the word “KIND”. You can read about that decision HERE. My eyes have been open to the kindness around and in me. However, at first it seemed I was mainly aware of UNkindness.

Have you noticed how negative our society can be?  The daily news bombards us with doom and gloom reporting. TV and social media is full of backstabbing, criticism, lying, and cheating. Workplaces become a battle ground of gossip, jealousy, and sometimes a celebration of someone’s failure. It was disheartening to recognize the magnitude of this ugliness.  In the midst of these observations I was reminded that my word is “Kind” not “unkind”, and Ephesians 4:32 became my verse for the year.

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I soon changed my focus to:

  • Intentionally looking for kindness in others
  • Expressing my appreciation when I witness kindness
  • Working on my attitude and behavior to be kind

Kind is a willingness to do good or give pleasure, a sympathetic attitude towards others, having a good or benevolent nature or disposition, considerate, helpful.

One day as I was subbing, I had a student that was being a pest to anyone that came near him. In fact, he had a girl in tears from his unkind words before the morning bell rang! Our day was not off to a great start, and I dreaded what might take place at morning recess. I breathed a quick, “Thank you, Jesus.” prayer when the boy left the basketball game to play with another student. As the class was lining up to return to class, I quietly told the boy I noticed and appreciated how kind he was on recess. The rest of the day was near perfect, and I have not seen the negative behavior on days I’ve been back in his classroom.

Opportunities to be kind present themselves every hour of the day. Growing up, my mom often said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I oftentimes know very little of the trials others are dealing with. They may be having the very worst day of their life, and I have a choice. I can encourage or discourage.

Love is patient and kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4a.

This word study has been a great and challenging exercise, but more than that it is an ongoing life changer. It takes time and practice to overcome and rise above negativity. My goal was not to merely recognize kindness, but for my life and love to be overflowing with kindness. I have not yet accomplished that goal; I am a work in progress.

Did you choose a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Will you be choosing a word for 2016? What will it be?

kind

What and How

photo

In my morning reading this verse jumped out at me. Today, I am making intentional effort to think about what and how I am saying things. Do you remember my theme word for the year, “Kind”? A lot of times it is not so much what we say rather how we say something that comes across hurtful and unkind. Today and every day, I want my words to be kind to others and pleasing to God.

2015 Resolution

Happy New Year ~ 2015!!

Today marks day one of a new chapter of life. The calendar is marked with 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months for 2015. Do you have hopes and dreams for this year? Are you living with purpose, or just living to get through the day? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

I often don’t make resolutions for the new year, but I am goal oriented and always have goals I’m working towards. Several weeks ago as I was reading “Believing God Day By Day” by Beth Moore I was given a challenge I decided should be my 2015 New Year Resolution. The reader was reminded that God is still at work in and around us each and every day. However, how aware am I; do I really take notice; do I heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit?

To meet this challenge I need “keener spiritual vision”; strength and sensitivity, the ability to think clearly and understand what is not obvious or simple. This is by far the most stringent resolution, I have ever made. I do not take this commitment lightly. I continually desire to live intentionally and obediently to God’s leading. What is this resolution you ask?

  • If God said it, I want to believe it.
  • If God gives it, I want to receive it.
  • If God shows it, I want to perceive it.
  • If Satan stole it, I want to retrieve it.

Father God, in this new year, 2015, I want to know you better.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all y our mind, and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30

Joy to the World

Are you full of joy this Christmas, or are you struggling to be joyful about anything? For some this coming week will bring family and friends together in great celebration. For others, it may seem terribly long and lonely. Let’s be honest; some days are extremely difficult to be joyful. Those are the days I must intentionally find my joy in Jesus. He gives strength to get through the darkest times, and for that, as the psalmist writes, my heart is filled with joy,

The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7 NLT

Christmas is less than a week away, no matter what your circumstances, look for the joy of Jesus. In Luke 2, the angel brought the good news of great joy.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:8-12 NLT

joy to the world