Prayer Journaling in March!!

So I’m going to do something new this month, and would love any of you to join me! For the next four weeks of March(starting next Wednesday), I will be choosing one verse from each of the sections below and using those verses to help me in my prayers. Then I’ll write here which verses I chose, and if I had any thoughts or prayer requests or answered prayers! SO….why don’t you join me? Let’s do this together. Choose verses from the list below or ones you can find on your own, and then post your thoughts as comments! (and if you want to start posting now, let me know that you’re going to do this, and if there are prayer requests!) Yay! I’m excited to pray with you!

ADORATION: Hebrews 13:15, Psalm 22:27, 1 Chronicles 16:25, Psalm 30:11-12, Psalm 75:5-6,14, Ephesians 1:3

CONFESSION: Romans 3:23, James 5:16, Psalm 51:1, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 62:8, Psalm 32:5

THANKSGIVING: 1 Chronicles 16:34-36, Daniel 2:23, 1 Timothy 1:12, 1 Timothy 4:4, Psalm 75:1, Psalm 106:1, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

SUPPLICATION: Jeremiah 17:14, Luke 11:5-13, Matthew 17:14-20, Matthew 26:39, Matthew 7:7-11, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 15:22-28

Aged Cheese

A week ago, my dad brought home some sharp cheddar cheese, one of his favorites…this particular cheese though was a bit more special than normal because it was 12 year-old aged cheddar….that’s pretty old cheese I thought.  And cool too, just because I think stuff like that is cool, for no reason.

Okay, now I’m 26 years old, and that cheese is 12 years old, that means that when I was 14, someone decided to put this cheese away & wait 12 years to serve it.  For 12 years that cheese sat there, wherever that may be, waiting for just the right moment to come out & be served.  Had it only sat for a few years, it probably still would have been good, but have you ever eaten 12 year-old aged cheddar? It’s amazing…it’s good, it has a unique taste, etc. etc. Ha. I’m not really THAT crazy about cheese, but you gotta think about this in this other way…think about us as cheese.  Laughing yet? Just hold on….

Psalm 139:13 & 16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb….Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  This is amazing if you think about it, because God knew us, knew our every step & all about us before we even existed.  Wow. That tells me that over 26 years ago, God knew that I would be typing this blog, where I’d be & that there must be a purpose to my life…to each of our lives!

Like a fine wine or a fine cheese, as we enter into the family of God, even before we entered the family of God, we were set aside for a purpose, we have been given a story, we have reason to live.  Isn’t that interesting though? To think of ourselves as in this waiting position, waiting to be taken off the shelf for God to use us?  I don’t think He is completely passive though, at some point this analogy breaks down because I think we’re used here & there throughout our lives, but as it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  I wonder if that means that we won’t die until God has fulfilled in us the purpose He has created us for.  It is not until that point that we will finally see the Glory of God fulfilled & complete.

Just thoughts.  It makes me appreciate the cheese a lot more though…:) Hope you can see it differently too.  You are special, you’re made with a purpose, you are loved, you are meant for something and no one can take away that meaning from you. You are God’s child, designed intentionally to be who God purposed, to bring Glory to Him & reconcile you to Him in due time. Amen!!

A little something

I just found the following, hidden away in my documents folder….not sure when I wrote it, but I wanted to share it with you today.

Like little seeds planted in the ground, the seed must die for a new plant to grow! It’s like us….when we were ignorant to the grace of God, we lived for ourselves & though we may have done “good” in the eyes of the world, ultimately there was no purpose, no end goal that we could strive for, except for pleasure in ourselves & our works. Now, through the ultimate sacrifice of God’s death & divine miracle of His resurrection, we have a hope of something else. We have something to live for, someone who died for us, and now we can live a new life, dedicated to honoring Him for the gift he’s given us….freedom, forgiveness, faithfulness, fullness of life, a fearless way to live.
I want my earthly inheritance to be spent before it’s stockpiled…I hope to give it away, and to bless those who may never be encouraged to take a step of faith into a life they never dreamed of.  In Psalms 68, it talks about putting the lonely in families. Well, I’ve been given a family, but others have not. They are the lonely, and they can be part of our family…my family…God’s family. The love, care & provision that I have been blessed with all my life, can be someone else’s if you or I care enough to share it with them. Sharing not only the practical things like food, shelter, & water, but God’s blessings of love, acceptance, forgiveness & encouragement.

Wherever I go, whoever I become, this is the person I want to be: I want to be someone who serves others, who cares about the people who are rejected from society, who is involved with missions, who goes wherever I’m needed so I can meet a need, someone who seeks God first, who is unashamedly Christian, who gives all that I am to love on people, & listening at all times.

Training Camp of Character

This past week I photographed, watched and learned about the MN Vikings from a whole new perspective.  A friend met me there mid-week, and admitted that this was never something she would have chosen to attend herself.  I was glad to have her around though.  During the practices, she sat on the bleachers & I ran around taking photos.  One day as we walked away from the field, she mentioned something that has stuck with me the last few days.  She told me about sitting in the bleachers, watching the team practice, and listening to the crowds cheer & root for them.  They would praise the players who made a great catch, comment on the muscles someone had, cheer for a nice kick, etc…all encouraging the performance, abilities & physicality of a player.  My friend noted that it’s our society that praises these things, and that it’s pretty common to do, but wondered what it would be like to live in a society that praised not the accomplishments necessarily but the character of the person before us.

Wow. Praise someone’s character? That thought goes beyond winning or losing, but to the internal soul of what makes that person who they are, and the fruit that they are expressing.  “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)  …encourage one another, there’s no group here, it seems pretty broad, it’s to be for everyone…and what are the things we should encourage each other about?  “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….” (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the things that we should be praising….”Way to be gentle in that hard place”, “You have such joy about this”, “Your patience astounds me”, etc.  I’m getting excited just in writing this, to encourage someone today.

So what would it look like if we became a society that praised someone based on their character and not on their physical strength, skill or speed?  How would that change people, and how would it effect each of us?  Wouldn’t you be strengthened inside to continue doing good & making decisions that would please our Heavenly Father?  Let’s be encouraged now, and freely give encouragement to those in whom we see Christ working through their character. Let’s build each other up not only on our accomplishments but on who we are becoming through every situation & circumstance despite those accomplishments or failures. Let’s let this life we live be a training camp of character, with the goal of heaven to drive us, so when we break camp, we can stand before the Father in bold confidence that he who began a good work in us continued through the end.

Total Restoration in Progress

This is my new life statement. Total restoration in progress. Think about this with me.  As I walked down the old & classic looking streets of downtown St. Paul, there’s a place called the Coney Island Cafe. It says it opened in 1923, and now there is plastic sheets over the windows & dirt in the doorway. But a tiny little sign tells you that there is a “total restoration in progress”.  When you peek into the windows, you can see the old bar stools, the juke box in the middle of the dining room, old booths made from dark wood…signs of a past that has been lived and worn down.  Signs that at one time this little shop was something…it was made to be something, but has gotten dirty, old, been shut off from the outside & has lost life inside the walls.

As I walked away from the cloudy window, I pictured my own life like that little cafe.  Parts of my life have been dusty, abandoned, been shut off from the outside & lost life.  I thought about how many of us when going through difficult things will grow tired of visiting those places inside of us, and pretty soon they’re closed for business, not something we easily remember, and not something any one would want to go back to.

But Christ, in his ever visioning perspective & will, sees that old place and sees the potential that is still held within.  He comes inside of that place, and puts up a sign “total restoration in progress”.  Total….not one spot untouched, taking everything into the process.  Restoration…..taking all those parts, every single spec & restoring it to the original design, the original intent & vibrant life.  In Progress……an ongoing process, active & not sedentary, forward moving towards a goal, a developing of sorts.

Isn’t our life in Christ a “total restoration in progress”?  Will we ever reach a finished state until Christ says come home?  And how would we be totally restored if we do not allow him into every little nook & cranny of our being?

When you see a place that has been totally restored to it’s original state, is it not a beautiful sight? Something you want to behold, take in, soak up, relish, applaud, appreciate & marvel at?  Are we not usually wanting to give recognition to the hard work that the restorer has accomplished? Do we not look at all the tiny details that the crafter took time to meticulously finish?  Why then would we not recognize the work that Christ would like to do in us, a more than fully capable master who knows the ins & outs of us better than we know ourselves.  Should we not then give him the keys to every part of us and especially the dark & dusty parts so that we can be fully restored to the life that Christ meant for us to live out?