Tag Archive | intentional

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 

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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

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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

Servant Heart

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This quote has been on my refrigerator for many years. I would love to give credit, but I do not remember when or where I first heard it. I do know that I heard it at a time when I needed such a reminder, because I was begrudging my duties. When one is in a position of service and the recipient makes demands  or takes the service for granted, the servant can easily lose joy in serving.

There have been numerous times throughout the years, when I needed to check my reaction as I served my family and others. Sometimes I would make a special dinner, but my hubby and children didn’t seem to even notice the extra effort and care I had put in for them. When we had company, my dysfunctional kitchen didn’t allow for much help from others. As I was working, I would be able to hear laughter coming from the living room. The laughter should have put me in a good mood, but  occasionally I allowed the opposite. I would allow myself to feel left out, missing the fun, while I did all the work.

Did you notice how many times I referred to “I” in the above paragraph? That was intentional, because when we are serving with a servant heart our thoughts and motives should not and will not be on ourselves. The Bible has much to say about serving God and others, and we are never told to serve for our own praise, recognition or advancement. Instead, we are told to serve each other humbly and with love.

All of you, serve each other in humility, for God opposes the proud but favors the humble. 1 Peter 5:5

…use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13

This little quote will remain on my frig door until I have it mastered. If you wonder if you  have a servant heart, think of your reaction when someone treats you as a servant.

Deep Cleaning

For the past month you may have noticed I have been AWOL from blogging. What has kept me away? Oh, you know; just life in general such as work, a new grandbaby (and “BOY” is he grand!),

CAM00180and completing a remodel project that took twice as long as anticipated when I began tearing out all the pepto-bismol pink.

photoThis week, I have been DEEP cleaning trying to rid my house of the multiple layers of dirt and grime that came from the remodel and the lack of cleaning. From top to bottom and in nooks and crannies, the dust bunnies are doomed! They are being sucked into the sweeper and washed away.

This is also a great time to do some deep cleaning within oneself. Galatians 5 has the To-Do list already made for us.

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”

Cleaning supplies needed are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • Use LOVE to overcome hostility and envy
  • Use JOY to get rid of quarreling
  • PEACE will clean out jealousy and division
  • PATIENCE will sweep up outbursts of anger
  • Get rid of selfish ambition and replace with KINDNESS and GOODNESS
  • Wash out idolatry and sorcery with FAITHFULNESS
  • A good dusting of GENTLENESS will take care of dissensions
  • A firm scrub of SELF-CONTROL will get all the grimy stuff from sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, drunkenness, and wild parties

To really deep clean, we must not overlook the corners of our heart and the nooks and crannies of our attitude. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started! Clean; clean; clean!