The season is rich with traditions we enjoy. If you do not have traditions, now is the time to plan for next Christmas. Have a happy holiday season. See you next year! 🎄🎁
It has been said that most people would like to write a book or own a business. In November, many would-be authors endeavor to fulfill this writing dream. Linking with others around the globe, they commit to write a novel in 30 days. But what if you’re not ready to write that full-length manuscript? Here are some beginner tips that have worked for me.
Anything divided grows weaker. If a couple doesn’t agree on things, they become argumentative and aren’t a team anymore. A church which has division among its members is a weak church. A Christian trying to serve God while holding onto the world is like a one-legged man without crutches. He can hop along for a while, but tumbling time is ahead.
If Satan, the instigator of division, diminishes as the result of loss of focus, why do people think they can straddle the fence and still be the Christian God wants them to be? Something as simple as doing math problems or writing the alphabet becomes a chore when other things are vying for attention. How do we suppose we can withstand the enemy’s plan to destroy us when we fail to follow the Scripture’s advice to give diligence to our faith walk and to be vigilant because the adversary seeks to devour us? Lack of focus is a lack of diligence and it handcuffs the strength of our spirit. If we as Christians have hearts that crave the world, our strong man is held captive. Under Satan’s influence, our spirit man doesn’t grow; he is robbed. Potential is thwarted. Purpose is diverted. Advantage is taken. Destruction is guaranteed.
We get a lack of focus when we compromise and are spiritually spineless. We are influenced by our own lusts. Rejecting all such weights and sins, we must place our full attention on the Kingdom if we are going to have relationships that are strong, churches that are unified, and a personal walk with God that is unerring. Without looking to the left or right, if we take a stand, our undivided house will remain standing as well.
Matthew 12:24-26; Mark 3: 20-30
Hebrews 2:1; Prov. 4:23
1 Peter 5:8
Luke 6: 47-49
Matthew 12:24-26; Mark 3: 20-30
Hebrews 2:1; Prov. 4:23
1 Peter 5:8
Luke 6: 47-49
**October is filled with haunted houses, and there's nothing more crooked or spooky than a house that's twisted in different directions. That's a divided house!!
Our family reads a short passage of Scripture each day, and then we share our thoughts about it when we are together. What I had written in my journal about verses within Galatians 3 prompted the following poem.
Galatians 3 in Rhyme
God gave Abraham a promise.
Abraham believed what God said.
The agreement, blessing through the Seed,
Required Jesus’ blood to be shed.
Thorough His outpouring at Calvary,
As He became cursed on a cross,
Redemption was given to mankind.
No soul would have to stay lost.
All could inherit God’s Spirit.
The sacred in man would reside.
This blessing God promised to Abraham;
Abraham believed that it would arrive.
The law with its conditions
Cold not impose a command
To hinder the giving of this Gift,
This promise God had planned.
The Law was powerless to keep man
From experiencing what God had said.
Whetting hunger for a Savior,
It created soul-emptiness instead.
Man, realizing how imperfect
His best efforts always would be,
Could look to the Perfect Sacrifice
For hope for eternity.
Just as Abraham was counted righteous
Because he simply believed,
Man’s faith would be the connector
For the Promise he could receive.
Abraham believed what God would do.
Now man believes what God has done
That God provided an inheritance
Through the death of his dear Son.
The blessing for all nations
Funneled through Abraham’s Seed
Is the indwelling Holy Spirit
All men can receive.
Adorned in a robe of righteousness
That the law could not obtain,
Man wears Christ’s identity,
The Seed’s precious, holy name.
Authority and honor is given
Man shares benefits with the Beloved
Not because of giving, but by receiving,
The Promise God sent from above.
Why does prayer sometimes feel daunting when it is, in fact, the most awesome privilege? Perhaps, we've made it so heavenly that it has become out of reach. While it is true that we are often comfortable with asking God for help, there can be excitement, variety, depth, and dimension added to our prayer time.
Although prayer should be our way of life as we converse with God throughout our day, sometimes we simply need to spend some set-apart time with Jesus. Our souls just want to enter that secret place with Him. That’s where intimidation often creeps in. Not because we don’t want to become more intimate with God, but because we doubt our ability to do so. “I can’t focus for an extended period of time.” “I don’t know what to say.” The self-doubt floods our minds as we look at the slowly ticking second hand on the clock. In addition, we sometimes have misconceptions. “Prayer is boring. Who wants to spend time doing nothing but praying?” At other times, we're completely in a rut as we talk to God about the same issues over and over again. These limitations to our communication with God can be attacked much like eating a steak—one bite at a time. We’re already used to applying this principle. Using letters to make words that become sentences and paragraphs. Using order of operations to dissect an algebraic equation. Organizing the pots and pans then the junk drawer as we head toward a functional kitchen space. Why don’t we use that same technique in prayer? That’s where a prayer wheel comes in handy.
The prayer wheel was introduced to me as a teenager when I was challenged to spend an hour in prayer. Praying one hour felt impossible, but spending 10-minute increments of time praying different things felt quite doable. Sometime later, I became acquainted with the prayer journey. This takes the same concept and invites people to walk to a different location with each phase of prayer. Some ideas to incorporate in the prayer wheel or the prayer journey are the following:
Praise and Worship
Petitions, which can be broken into innumerable sub groups (family, nation, military, those bereaved, FB posts, schools, world events.....)
Praying the Word
Praying in the Spirit
Reading the Word
Taking action (like writing a card or driving through a hurting neighborhood while praying for those people's pain)
Singing (What comes to mind right now is the hymn "Just A Little Talk With Jesus" because it talks about getting the prayer wheel turning!)
These can be sectioned into uniform increments of time. Or time spent on each part can be varied. Every idea on the list can be included, other elements added, or only a few of them sprinkled into a prayer session. These can flavor personal prayer time, or they can be part of a group prayer activity. They can be structured with one portion accomplished after another, or they can be a conglomeration with different sections repeated throughout the prayer.
I find the concept of the prayer wheel beneficial even when I don't adhere to its structure. For example, I like to spend my mornings with God before other things clutter my day, but right in the middle of talking with Him, I can have the random-est thoughts pop into my head. Things like, "I wonder who invented mayonnaise. Why would anyone think to put grease on their sandwich?" My brain works that way. Quite possibly, I prayed for someone hungry, thought about being hungry, imagined a great sandwich, then had the mayonnaise thought, but just as easily, I could have thought about mayonnaise without any previous provocation. However, I can discard that thought and re-establish focus by applying one of the prayer options. Yes, it's intentional and purposeful, but the discipline helps me move into a place that's much freer where my conversation with God flows more naturally and where His replies are more easily heard.
So let's pencil in a God appointment on our calendars, grab a prayer wheel and a Bible, and enjoy some quiet time with Jesus. Who knows where prayer will take us!
See the "Freebies and Fun" section of this website for prayer wheel specifics.
My life has been a blessed one, rich with the presence of God and the joy of family---these blessings are my passion.