WELCOME TO MY PASSION FOR GOD.
Image courtesy of: Lawrence OP
Did you recently become a Christian or have you been following the Lord for a while? Regardless you will find helpful truths in An Open Letter to the New Christian
The first one is never grow tired of the cross.
Salvation is a free gift…But you will struggle to believe it. In the years ahead, you may find yourself tempted to believe that even though you were saved by grace, you need to maintain God’s love by your performance.
Another is commit to the church.
But God, in his kindness, does not want you to walk this road alone. The gospel may have given you a personal relationship with God, but it is not a private one. Jesus Christ created local churches of men and women who profess the same faith and follow him as Lord to encourage you to persevere in love for Christ
To find more about these truths and others, read the full article here:
Image courtesy of: Emil9497 Photography & Art
We've all seen the ashes marking the cross on someone's forehead. But what do they really mean and signify? The ashes are meant to symbolize both death and repentance in order to begin Lent in a solemn, humble way. This is said to allow people to reflect on their sins throughout Lent before Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
The basic purpose of Lent: to create space in the middle of life’s responsibilities to appreciate what’s always been there: God’s presence.
The author of the article goes on to give 4 different practices you can do during Lent. Here are the first two:
1. Memorize the Verse of the Day
Our outlook on life changes when we get God’s Word inside of us. If you’ve always wanted to memorize Scripture but were never sure where to start, commit to memorizing the Verse of the Day for 40 days!
If you start today, you’ll know 40 passages by Resurrection Sunday, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a lifelong habit.
2. Create a Prayer List
Prayer is simply an honest conversation between you and God. And, it’s a great discipline to begin during Lent. Becoming a person who prays confidently may take some practice, but you can get started by committing at least 10 minutes a day to prayer.
I really like getting the Verse of the Day on my iphone. I especially like the NIrV version. It takes a sentence made up of 4 phrases and makes it into 4 sentences. It is much easier to read and remember.
If you would like to see the other 2 practices, check out the full article here:
When you are at the end of your rope, where do you turn for strength to keep holding on?
Many years ago, I would turn to Christian self-help books and I found myself getting more and more discouraged because I could not live up to the expectations that were described. A wise friend told me that those books don't talk about real people and real relationships. She encouraged me to spend six months reading only the Psalms because they do talk about real people (David and the other psalmists) in relationship to God and other real people.
When I finished the six months, I was so encouraged that I continued to read the psalms for many more years and still find myself drawn to them on a daily basis.
Gina Poirer puts it this way in her post:
Have you ever been at a loss about how to pray?
I have…particularly when I’m also feeling exhausted and weak. I need prayers for strength more than ever, but when I try to talk to God, I just draw blanks.
She goes on to say:
I’ve had to tell myself that it’s normal to feel a bit wordless when you’re worn out. When you’re going through a hard time, and most of your emotional energy is spent on just getting through to the end of the day, it’s hard to focus on much of anything.
One of her 5 ways to pray for strength from the Psalms is to pray “wrestling prayers”
Early in my Psalms study I came across Psalm 13:
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
–Psalm 13: 1–2, 5–6
Because this Psalm described how I felt, I committed it to memory sung to the tune of Finlandia, the tune to which my high school Alma Mater was sung. My Dad, a history teacher at my high school, always loved that tune and one of the last things he did for me was photocopy the sheet music to which I wrote out the verses of Psalm 13. Notice how the psalmist pours out his despair in the opening verses but has been able to rejoice by the end of the Psalm. That is why the Psalms are so helpful in helping one deal with discouragement.
Be sure to check out Gina's full post and the other four ways to pray for strength from the Psalms:
Photo By Penumbra
Having recently celebrated the beginning of a new year and a new decade, fresh on my mind are goals and habits. Something that has been helpful to me is to have larger goals for the year; and smaller focal points twice a month, that I track as habits throughout the week.
My number one goal for the last two years is to spend my first waking hours meeting with Jesus. It has become a habit at this point; when after breakfast, I head out to my sun porch.
Darilynn Keith in her article, :5 ways to Shift Your Focus in 2020″ supports this by writing:
Carve out time for Him. The only way to really know Jesus (or anyone, for that matter) is to spend time with Him. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Read His Word. This is crucial to having a relationship with Jesus. Because it’s so important the enemy will work doubly hard to keep us from it. Don’t let him. Time with God will look differently for everyone, but it has to include two things: praying and reading His Word. If it doesn’t, you might as well call it self-reflection. You will never know what God’s plans are for you if you don’t leave room to hear from Him. Spend time with Jesus daily. Let Him dictate how you go about your day instead of telling Him your plans.
Because it is easy to make new year's resolutions and give up on them when faced with failure, Darilynn cautions:
Real lasting change only happens from the inside out, and that’s the work of Jesus. The change comes when we realize that our puny efforts to change aren’t enough unless they are coupled with the power of an Almighty God. As we focus more on Him, He works in us to bring out the person He so carefully created us to be. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (CSB). What if, instead of focusing so much on ourselves trying to be better people, in 2020, we poured all our efforts into getting to know the Creator who holds the blueprints of our lives in His hands?
Last year my husband and I participated in Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God study and found it very helpful in keeping our focus on God.
In her last way to shift our focus, Darilynn concludes:
Take advantage of everyday moments to glorify God. These moments come more often than you probably think, and we miss out more than you probably want to know. When you’re walking closely with Jesus, you become so much more aware of what God is doing around you. He puts us in situations every day where we have the opportunity to glorify Him. Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and ask Him how you can be a part of what He’s already doing. Henry Blackaby, in his Bible study, Experiencing God, says we should look out for where God is already working and join Him
To read her other 3 ways to shift our focus, read her full article here:
Photo By Etolane