New Prayers for a New Year

As we prepare to begin a new year, it is a perfect time to thank God for being a God of new starts, second chances, and redemption. How incredibly blessed we are to be loved and protected by Him!

For the New Year, I would like to share three passages and a prayer that goes with each one of them. I’m including a printable for you as well: Click here

Happy New Year, Friends! May you strive toward a deeper faith and a wider witness!

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Dear Lord, I thank You for making me a new creation. In Your strength, I can choose to let go of old behaviors, thoughts, and mindsets that do not glorify You. With Your help, I can embrace the new heart You have given me –  a heart that longs to put You first in my life, to proclaim Your power to a hurting world, and to make known Your love through my words and actions. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;  his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24

Dear Lord, I cannot fully express my gratitude to You for loving me with a steadfast love. Your love is perfect, and though I am not worthy to receive it, You declare that I am worth it. I am thankful for Your mercies being new every morning and that I can depend upon Your grace and Your second chances. Your faithfulness is beyond compare, and I ask You to help me to trust You more fully. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

Dear Lord, when I am weary and cannot clearly see how You are working in my life, help me to trust Your love and Your desire to refresh and revitalize my life. I thank You for being a God who pursues my heart. You are not a passive God – You play an active role in our lives and desire to make a way for all of us. Open my eyes and heart to Your Presence and Your guidance. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

Let’s Live Loved

You are loved. So very loved. He loves the you that you are now…He’s not waiting for you to become a better version of you so that He can love you more.

When we grasp that He loves us, really loves us, we long to discover who He created us to be. To nurture the gifts He gave us and to use them for His glory. To allow His light to shine through the unique personality He entrusted to us.

When we grasp that God lavishes us with true love, (not the cheap, watered-down version of love that this world has embraced, but the authentic, sacrificial, genuine love that God Himself created) we are compelled to take hold of the identity He has given us. Old desires fade and desires He placed within us increase. Our tightly held grip on who we think we should be loosens until we surrender and therefore ask Him to shape us into who He created us to be. He won’t love us more. It’s simply not possible for Him to love us more than He already does. But we will be in His will, and there is no better place to be.

Let’s celebrate that we are perfectly loved by our perfect God. Let’s live loved.

What Are We Seeking?

When incomprehensible things happen in our lives, and they will, we can choose to be okay with not always knowing the whys.

God’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and He is working all things out for our good. (Isaiah 55:9, Romans 8:28)

Instead of seeking the reasons behind the hard situations we face, let’s seek His face.(Psalm 105:4) In other words, take time to get to know Him better, and consequently trust more deeply in His plan.

It comes down to believing that God, who knows all, knows best.

Read more about seeking His face here.

Have a great day, and may you strive toward a deeper faith and a wider witness today!

He is Already There (Deuteronomy 31:8 – Jesus Is Beside Us)

Ever since I was little, I have pictured Jesus beside me when encountering a situation that caused doubt or dread in my mind. The image of Him walking alongside me has provided a boost of bravery and boldness. And lately, a thought that has produced even more confidence is that while the Lord is undoubtedly right beside me, He is ahead of me making a way as well.

Even though we may be facing uncharted territory, the Lord knows it like the back of His hand. Unknown to us are the results, ramifications, and potential rewards of obediently following Him into unfamiliar terrain, but He is ahead of us and knows all about them. 

The Lord leads us but does not leave us. It is not consistent with His character to forsake us or to leave us high and dry. When He beckons us into waters that are deeper, difficult, or demanding, He has already navigated through all those waves and will lovingly lead us.

Continue reading “He is Already There (Deuteronomy 31:8 – Jesus Is Beside Us)”

Monday Morning Prayer

Dear Lord, it’s a new day and a new week, and I look to You to be Lord over all of it. I thank You for being not only able, but also willing to supply the strength, courage, and wisdom I need for new challenges. You promise to be beside me, and You are also before me, making a way. Help Your indescribable love to overflow out of my life. Help it to touch the people You have placed in my path. Direct my words and my actions so that they are a reflection of that same love. Continue reading “Monday Morning Prayer”

Guest Post – The Love Letter You Don’t Want to Miss

I’m delighted to share with you a post I wrote that was published today on http://www.wieldtheword.me. Jana Carlson’s series, “Women Wielding the Word,” is comprised of guest writers sharing how the Bible can impact our lives.

Here is Jana’s intro: I haven’t received a lot of love letters. I’m the “word person” in our marriage. (My husband declares his love for me in many other ways!) But if I did get a love letter, you can be sure I’d drop everything to read it immediately, if possible. If I had to wait to read it, my thoughts would still be fixed on the precious message inside.

Have you ever thought of the Bible as God’s love letter to you?  Continue reading “Guest Post – The Love Letter You Don’t Want to Miss”

Perfect Peace

Raise your hand if you would like to experience God’s perfect peace.

Isaiah 26:3 tells us that God gives perfect peace to those who “keep their purpose firm,” and “put their trust in Him.” In addition to perfect, the Bible also describes His peace as transcending all understanding in Philippians 4:7.

God’s peace sounds like something worth pursuing, doesn’t it? Continue reading “Perfect Peace”

Luke 8:47 – The Hem of His Garment

I greatly admire her fortitude, fearlessness and faith. Fortitude helped her withstand twelve long years without healing. Fearlessness compelled her to go to a place where she was not supposed to be. Faith thoroughly convinced her that touching Him would bring healing.

*This post originally appeared on Devotableapp.com on May 9th, 2019

She came up behind him and touched the hem of his clothes, and at once her bleeding stopped. Luke 8:47 CEB

The Bleeding Woman

I love reading about miracles Jesus performed during His ministry on Earth. In the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in between the accounts of Him freeing a demon-possessed man and raising a twelve-year-old girl back to life, we can find the story of Him healing a woman with an “issue of blood.”  And wow, what an issue it was! She endured twelve years of physical pain, being ostracized, and unsuccessfully seeking healing from countless doctors.

Hopeless, helpless and hurting.

I have tried to imagine what my mindset and emotional state would be after a dozen straight years of suffering physically, being rejected socially, and receiving no relief from numerous doctors as they bled my bank account dry. I do not think I would have the strength that she showed when she sought healing from Jesus by pressing into a crowd of people who had likely been unkind and uncaring toward her.

I greatly admire her fortitude, fearlessness and faith. Fortitude helped her withstand twelve long years without healing. Fearlessness compelled her to go to a place where she was not supposed to be. Faith thoroughly convinced her that touching Him would bring healing.

All three of the Gospel accounts record the facts that she touched the hem of His garment, she was instantly healed, and that Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. 

Why Did Jesus Ask, “Who Touched Me?”

Two of the three Gospels include another intriguing detail: When Jesus felt power leave His body, He asked, “Who touched me?”  Of course, He knew who touched Him; He knew everything! Why did He ask that question aloud and await a verbal response? 

Jesus could have continued on His journey, and He and the woman could have kept a special secret between them. He had places to go and people to heal. However, He took the time to ask the question. 

When she responded, the crowd witnessed the fact that Jesus desired to bring wholeness to a desperate woman. They saw that she mattered to Him. Her importance to Jesus superseded His schedule and social norms. 

You Matter to Jesus

You matter to Jesus too. Has anyone told you that lately? 

Regardless of what you are going through, you matter to Jesus. Regardless of which road to restoration you are currently traveling, you matter to Jesus. Regardless of how friends and society treat you, you matter to Jesus. 

You have a Healer who loves you. 

A Great Physician who wants you to be whole. 

You matter.

Muster up your fortitude, fearlessness, and faith. Reach out and touch Him today. 

Prayer – Thank You, Jesus, for who You are. Thank You for loving us and for Your desire to bring healing and make us whole. Help us have the faith it takes to reach out to You. Amen.

 

 

Masterpiece in the Making

When I rest my head on my pillow at night, it is fairly common for me to categorize the previous twenty-four hours as successful or unsuccessful. 

When I consider the day to be unsuccessful,  often it is because I reacted poorly to someone or I left a loving deed undone.

For years, a judgmental voice beat me up over my failures after a rough day. Thankfully, it has recently become more common for that voice to be silenced by a gentle whisper, which soothingly says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

Friends, you are a work in progress and so am I. It is reassuring to remember that God is not finished with me yet, especially when I have been a below-average follower of the Golden Rule.

In Ephesians 2:10, (NLT) we are called God’s masterpiece. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

We can leave the weight of our sins in the past when we choose to move forward with God as we allow Him to do His work in us. We can be confident that He considers each of us to be masterpieces even while we are in the “work-in-progress” process.

The work-in-progress message of Philippians 1:6 is one for us to embrace as we strive to live faith-filled, Christlike lives. But let us be cautious not to allow the fact that God is not finished with us yet to be an excuse to knowingly fall short of striving to be who Jesus has called us to be. 

In between beating ourselves up for our sins and sweeping every offense under a blanket of “Nobody is perfect” grace, there is a line. It is an important line where Christ shows us how to display His character in every situation. A line where we endeavor to stand against the excuses that the world gives us and lean on the promise that God gives us instead: We are a work in progress…a masterpiece in the making!

At the end of those rough days that are undoubtedly going to happen, listen to the whisper that says, “He who began a good work in you…considers you to be His masterpiece!”

Intricately Woven Together; Immeasurably Loved

It doesn’t matter what people say about you. Why? Because you are intricately woven together and immeasurably loved by Your Heavenly Father. You are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, set free, and a friend of Jesus. All are words straight from our God-inspired Bible, and therefore straight from the heart of God!

Fighting against hurtful words can wear us down. Possibly it is easier to accept or even believe the insults than to expend energy trying to convince others that they are wrong about us. Sometimes the cutting remarks end up being adopted as part of our own inner dialogue.

Click here to hear a song I wrote, Daughter of the King… It is about this very issue…believing what others say about us rather than what God says about us.

Again, it does not matter what others say about us –  we are His masterpiece! (Ephesians 2:10)

Friends, let’s remember these truths as we make comments about others. Should what people say matter to others? No, because of the same reasons as stated above. But, let’s not allow our words to be a reason that someone questions their worth. Let’s not be a reason that seeds of doubt about their value as a person get planted in someone’s mind that we have carelessly made a remark about. The person that is getting dragged down by our critical words is loved the same as us! We are all loved by Jesus with a love beyond our comprehension.

Let’s think, or better yet, pray, before we allow others’ words to impact us or drown out what God says about us. AND let’s think, or better yet, pray, before we say anything (or post anything) that could cause someone to question their true identity in Christ. Let our prayer be for God to help us to see ourselves AND others the way He does!