Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trust Over Worry

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Matthew 6:27 NLT

One worried thought led to another in an endless cycle of fear and anxiety, which kept me tossing and turning for hours.

All that worry added nothing to my life, but it did take away. Because I lost sleep, I woke up tired and irritable. No amount of coffee made a difference. I needed the rest my worried thoughts had stolen.

Jesus taught His disciples that God would provide for them. By trusting Him, they didn’t need to worry about how their daily needs would be met. Although it’s not always easy, the same lesson applies to us. 

I'm happy to be sharing a devotion at Christian Devotions today! I hope you'll join me there to continue reading...Trust Over Worry.

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]


Friday, February 17, 2017

Called to Hope

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through Jesus, we are called to Hope…

…not because of who we are, but Whose we are.

…not because of what we can do, but what God can do.

…not because of what we can see, but because of all that He sees.

…not because of how we try to love, but because of God’s ultimate love.

…not because of what we think we know, but because of God’s unlimited knowledge.

…not because of trust in ourselves, but because of our trust in Him.

We are called to find our Hope in Him…not to look for it in the world and in those around us. {Tweet this}

What would our days look like if we truly overflowed with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit?

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Designed to Pray {Book Review and Giveaway}


You might already know this about me… I'm a journal person.

I have several journals I use for notes when I'm doing a book study and I have one where I keep an ongoing list of blessings and things for which I'm thankful. I even wrote a short series on Scripture journaling last fall.

But my personal journal is where I write everythingScripture verses, prayers, conversations with God (what I would say if speaking out loud, and what I feel He wants me to know), and anything else I’m feeling while spending time with God.

I have a system, a way I like to use my journals, but still, there are times I need a little creative inspiration. (Like when I open my personal journal and realize it’s been awhile since I last wrote anything!)

That's why I was intrigued when given the opportunity to review Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage with God by Kelly O'Dell Stanley.

Designed to Pray isn't a how-to book on prayer, but rather a book of creative inspiration for your prayer life. Whether you consider yourself a prayer warrior or you're just starting to discover what prayer is all about, this eight-week interactive workbook is designed to spark creativity.

Each chapter is broken into seven days, with a short reading and activity for each day. But don't think of it as daily assignments. This book is not rigid with each day building on the previous day. It's made to be flexible. 
In fact, the author writes, 
“First rule: There are no rules. This book follows a consistent structure, but you don’t have to. It’s okay if you miss a day or two. Or if it takes you a month to finish Week 1. Feel free to cross out my directions and write your own. Or repeat the same exercise multiple times before moving on.” – Kelly O’Dell Stanley, Designed to Pray
I found some suggestions and activities more to my liking than others. You will too. Take the ones you like and use them over and over again (in the book or in your own journal.)

The goal is to spend time with God, and a brief activity may have you talking to Him throughout the rest of the day. You may feel more in touch with Him while writing out a Scripture verse than drawing, or vice versa. But either way, you’re connecting with Him and that's what matters.

Ready to give it a try?



You can also leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a free copy of the book! (Thank you to Tyndale Momentum for their generosity in offering this giveaway!)

How would you describe your prayer life? 

Answer this question in your comment and please remember to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!

I will randomly choose and contact one winner at the end of the week. (Sorry, only U.S. residents are eligible.)

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credits: Kelly O’Dell Stanley]
(Note: I received a free copy of Designed to Pray by Tyndale Momentum in return for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

While We Wait {3 Things We Can Do}

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about waiting on God and finding my hope in Him. I said my choice is to wait on Him, but I didn’t say it was easy.

Waiting sounds passive, but it’s not. Waiting does not mean doing nothing. {Tweet this}

Waiting on God is controlling my urge to take over. It’s letting go of my desire to know the details sooner, rather than later. It’s refraining from taking immediate action just because I think I know what’s best.

Waiting on God doesn’t mean we sit around letting life go by while we watch. We can still be active while we’re waiting.

*Three things we can do while we wait on God…

Spend time with Him.

This means we spend time in prayer, not only talking to God, but also listening for Him. That might be either a planned prayer time or a running conversation with Him throughout the day. Or perhaps it’s both scheduled time and an all-day discussion.

Tell Him everything on your mind—worries, concerns, fears, what’s keeping you up at night, and how you feel. He already knows what you’re struggling with, but taking it to Him helps us deal with it and starts the conversation. Ask for wisdom and guidance.

Don’t forget about silent time with God—time to listen and just focus on Him. Many times, I’m unable to see what He’s showing me until I stop talking and trying to think through my own solutions. Fortunately, God is patient and He’ll wait until I’ve worn myself out.

Acknowledge where you see God at work.

When we’re waiting for the big answers, it can be easy to overlook God’s work in other areas. Look for the small things that remind you He is with you. One time, when I was upset about several situations, I was reminded of His presence in new purple flowers on my African Violet plant that sits in my kitchen window. It doesn’t bloom often and He used it to get my attention.

When we look for Him, we will see Him at work. It might not be in the ways we’re hoping for at that moment, but seeing His hand in other ways shifts our focus from our problems to Him. Sometimes, I just need the reminder that He’s with me, and then I can breathe again.

Keep moving forward.

If we’re not moving forward, we grow stagnant. That’s not what we want, nor what God wants. We can still be active while we trust God and wait on Him.

What does that mean?

We do the next thing. We keep taking care of our families. Even when we can’t see what’s ahead, or what the future looks like, we don’t abandon what God has blessed us with. Love your family and friends. Spend time with those who encourage you and with those whom you can encourage. Be an example of what it looks like to walk in faith, trusting God with both what you can and cannot see.

Keep pursuing your interests. Maybe now isn’t the time to start that business or go back to school, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be time for it in the future. In the meantime, do what you can. Keep yourself active with hobbies and learning new things. Not only will it keep your mind active, it helps to distract from what you might be waiting for.

Keep dreaming. Despite what your days look like right now, life moves fast and seasons change. Don’t get stuck in the way things are right now. Although it may seem like a long time before circumstances will change, don’t lose hope. God is at work, and when the time is right, He will give you a glimpse of what He’s working on. {Tweet this}

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]