Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Learning How to Live in the Moment

posted by Mark and Jill

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”  

~Colossians 4:2

“Mom and Dad,” said our son one day last year when we were visiting him in Santa Barbara where he was attending college, “I think you guys are great, but it seems like you’re always talking about the future. It’s like you don’t live in the moment.”

Mark and I are both Intuitives on the Myers Briggs scale. We love looking ahead. We love dreaming up possibilities. But Matthew was right. We spend so much time dreaming about the future that we often forget to enjoy the NOW. Since then we have been very intentional about enjoying the present moment.

This Scripture in Colossians offers a great strategy to learn to live in the moment, staying on-track, and being intentional with our prayers, but it can work in every area of life. The secret is this:  thanksgiving. Constantly breathing out thanks to God for the little things keeps us enjoying the moment and our lives.

Thanks, Matt, for the course correction. We are grateful.

Father,

Grant me a grateful heart. Help me to live in the NOW with You, breathing in Your presence and breathing out my thanks.

Amen

Search Me. Giving Your Heart a Fresh Start Daily

posted by Mark and Jill

Search me, Oh God and know my heart.

Test me and know my anxious thoughts. 

See if there be any offensive way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

~King David, Psalm 139

Something was smelly in our fridge the past week, and try as I may, I couldn’t find it. Hiding on a shelf in the door was a rotten hard-boiled egg in a plastic bag. Keeping on top of rotting leftovers is a job you just have to stay on top of. The same is true of our souls. Thoughts, feelings, actions, and words that aren’t blessed and don’t align with God’s love can fester and rot, and soon people around us can almost smell it. Taking out the trash we hold in our hearts can be a daily habit. We have a receptacle outside of ourselves:  it’s the cross. The cross is, as Mark calls it, “the toxic waste dump of the universe.”

It’s there I take my bad attitudes, my eyeball rolling, my critical tongue, my angry words, my inner whining child, my unforgiving inner brat, my silent cursing, and untamed imaginations. I acknowledge my sin, take it to Jesus, and leave it with Him. I depart that God-forsaken place forgiven and cleansed. Jesus gives me His love to replace the sin I forsook. He keeps it real simple for us:  Love God and Love Others. I’m reminded to replace my bad attitudes, critical spirit, anger, complaining, and unforgiveness with His unending love which manifests in real, sincere kindness. He can make me a kind person! I can change through the powerful force of His love.

My Father,

“Search me, Oh God and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”

[Quiet yourself before your loving God and see if He brings to mind a need for change. Then take a load of trash to the dump, acknowledging your sin and asking forgiveness. Replace that sin with a new habit: gratitude to God.]

The way I’ve chosen isn’t everlasting; it feels like death. So I die to death today and live for life! I receive Your great love, forgiveness, joy, and all the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

A Prayer For Anyone Getting Engaged

posted by Mark and Jill

Thirty-two years ago today Mark took me to a small lake near my home in Minnesota where he bent on one knee and pulled out a ring and put it on my finger. We were so young and so happy. For many years we experienced much joy in our relationship. Then we hit some bumps and jolting potholes in the road — busy-ness, pressures, stresses, and family conflicts hit like a painful hail storm for several years. We held on as best we could and made it through each challenge one by one, but the hail left pock marks that took time to heal. Without the grace of God, our marriage would have been doomed to failure. Thanks to God’s mercy and kindness and forgiveness and love, we went from a rocky marriage to a marriage on the Rock.

“It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” Luke 6:48

If you are considering marriage today and are on the brink of engagement, here is a prayer for you…

Father,

You created marriage, and everything you create is beautiful. Marriage is a microcosm of your great love for your Bride, the Body of Christ. May our marriage reinact the beauty of the Covenant you have with us, that all that is Yours is ours and all that is ours is Yours. With our faith and Your help, we will dig deep into Your Word and change any habits, tendencies, and desires in our lives that don’t follow Your instructions. We will turn to follow You wholeheartedly!

 

We submit our lives, both separate and together into your hand. Please confirm your best plan for us. We ask for grace, favor, provision, and the power to love You first and to love each other as we love ourselves. Be the rock that protects us in the coming storms.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

If you aren’t following the leadership of Jesus in your life, this won’t make any sense. We encourage you to start there before you embark on this marriage journey. We never would have made it without Him… http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/prayerplainandsimple/2014/08/welcome-to-your-new-life.html

 

The Path of Peace – Taking Steps Toward Intimacy with God

posted by Mark and Jill

Psalm 95
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw everything I did.
For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

(NLT)

I (Jill) read this Scripture today and decided to try to follow it. It was a blessing because in the end, God gave me a strategy and some important wisdom for a challenge I was facing. I think there is a progression of blessing when we follow these principles. No, it’s not how we gain love from God! His love never changes for me. It’s not based on my performance! I get that, and I hope you do as well. But as Dallas Willard says, “Grace is opposed to earning but not to effort.” There are things that we can do to gain intimacy with God just as there are things I can do to gain intimacy with Mark. Just as I must put effort into my marriage if I want it to succeed, I need to take initiative in my steps towards God in order to know Him and enjoy Him more fully.

Try this today and see what God speaks to you! Follow the steps outlined in Psalm 95:

1. Sing. It’s always music to God’s ears, no matter what you think about your performance! I had a kid who had no sense of pitch when she was little, but boy, did I love hearing her sing! God’s just like that with you! (By the way, now she sings like an ANGEL!)

2. Shout joyfully to God. (I did this when my teenage son was still sleeping this morning. I’m pretty sure he slept right through it, but his dreams might have had a jolt.)

3. Offer thanksgiving. There is just so much to be grateful for. When we follow gratitude our whole perspective changes, and it is contagious to those around us.

4. Praise with Psalms. The KJV says “Make a joyful noise”. The Hebrew brings out the tone of a battle cry. We will face battles today. But as we do, we enforce the victory that Jesus has already won on our behalf.

5. Worship.  This denotes prostrating yourself. It’s face time –as in on-the-carpet — where I recognize how BIG he is and how little I am.

6. Bow Down. Reverently bow as you would to a king, in humility and love.

7. Kneel. Bless Him and adore Him.

8. Listen to his voice. Now that you’ve reminded yourself of who He is and what He has done for you, quietly sit at his feet and hear what He wants to tell you today. It will be encouraging, loving, challenging, and always redemptive.

9. Enter into His rest! He so wants us to establish our lives with peace. May you be unhurried and full of his serenity as you enter this new day. As the Psalm indicates, this will be impossible if we do not follow His leadership, but if we do, we will find the Blessing Jesus died to give us.

Previous Posts

Learning How to Live in the Moment
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."   ~Colossians 4:2 "Mom and Dad," said our son one day last year when we were visiting him in Santa Barbara where he was attending college, "I think you guys are great, but it seems like you're always talking about the futu

posted 8:43:16am Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Search Me. Giving Your Heart a Fresh Start Daily
Search me, Oh God and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there be any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. ~King David, Psalm 139 Something was smelly in our fridge the past week, and try as I may, I couldn't find it. Hiding on a shelf in the door

posted 8:19:25am Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

A Prayer For Anyone Getting Engaged
Thirty-two years ago today Mark took me to a small lake near my home in Minnesota where he bent on one knee and pulled out a ring and put it on my finger. We were so young and so happy. For many years we experienced much joy in our relationship. Then we hit some bumps and jolting potholes in the

posted 11:59:54am Aug. 12, 2014 | read full post »

The Path of Peace - Taking Steps Toward Intimacy with God
Psalm 95 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the might

posted 12:06:16pm Aug. 11, 2014 | read full post »

A Prayer to Maintain the Mind of Christ
"The Lord knows people's thoughts; he knows they are worthless." Psalm 94:11 A Penny for Your Thoughts... Most of our thoughts aren't worth a nickel. The Lord knows our thoughts, and unfortunately most of the time we must bore Him silly. Our thoughts are often uninspiring; they are often untrue,

posted 10:46:16am Aug. 08, 2014 | read full post »


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