A Prayer For Those Desiring a Teachable Spirit

A Teachable Spirit

I remember the days when my spirit was anything but teachable. I wasn’t under the tutelage of the Spirit at the time but perhaps a person can’t fully embrace the beauty of a teachable spirit until they have been broken by dirt poor wisdom.

Today’s post is for those who long to have a teachable, pliable, open heart to God. For those who want to wake up brimming with expectancy, fully confident that the same God who spoke life into existence long ago is even more excited to speak life into your soul this very day.

Psalm 25

Psalm 25:1-5

 

Show me your WAYS, O LORD

In Your
I-can’t-see-it-but-I-still-believe-it // unexpected // behind-the-scenes // life-awakening // justified // higher-than-mine // sovereign // heart-seeking // turn-the-other-cheek // love-those-who-pounce-on-you // Fatherly ways

TEACH me your paths;

Through
life-giving words that awaken the deadest of hearts // answered prayer // prayers yet to be answered // nature // words from babes // the deepest and darkest moments // abundant-life chasers // staying in step with the Spirit // humility

Guide me in the TRUTH

The truth that sets me free from
perfection // deception // grip of sin // disastrous decisions // legalism // mistaken identity // wasted time // the lie that says I must be doing in order for God to love me, accept me // the prison of my own conscience

for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.

 

Desiring a Teachable Spirit

Father,

With outstretched hands, I adore You, here and now.
Your ways soar above my own.
Your timing. It is precise, perfect. It is never one second too soon or too late.
Your presence. It is sweet and strong. It surrounds me, comforts and encourages me.
Sovereignty reigns in You alone. Nothing escapes Your attention, or care.
Even Your instruction⎯Your discipline⎯is a display of Your deep love for me. In this, I am confident for You are a good Father.

Obedience is Your love language.

Without You, I am nothing, Pappa.
Before You, I lay bare every lie I’ve ever believed that I could do anything meaningful without You.
I confess my pride — the idea that I have all of You that I need.
Though these words never leave my lips, this lie latches onto my actions. You see it when I refuse to ask questions for fear of seeming less-than. And when I choose not to listen well to wise counsel, or invest time in reading, studying, and taking notes to become more like Jesus.
I say I need You but I don’t seek You like a parched woman thirsting for water.
Please forgive me.

Father, this is my heart cry today, and every day:
Create within me a teachable spirit.
One that longs for You, thirsts for You, and finds everything I need in You.
For You alone are worthy.
Cloak me in discernment and wisdom to guard against sin and its disastrous effects,
for sin never leaves its slimy imprint on just one person’s life.
Pry open each finger of resistance to display an open hand and heart
desiring only You, Your ways, Your timing.

Amen.

 

// Your Turn //

 

Is there a word or phrase from the above prayer that you desire to make your own before the Lord? Or, what is one specific way you pray for a teachable spirit? Please share.

 

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How A Simple Arrow Can Point You in the Right Direction

An arrow pointed in the right direction

Ah, the bow and arrow. Now that both of our boys are honing their archery skills my appreciation for this form of weaponry has increased. Or maybe it actually began years ago when a pastor spoke on how our children are like arrows. How they were created to be released, not kept in the quiver. How we as parents are to release them into the care of their Creator, not hide them away for safe keeping. The message is a decade old and yet it still circles my mind like the hawks seeking their prey just outside my window.

This type of encircling is easier to understand when you consider the purposes of the different parts of the arrow. I’m sure there are deeper, more complex comparisons out there but here’s what I see when I spot a simple arrow.

orange arrow

How A Simple Arrow Can Point Us in the Right Direction:

 

Shaft // Jesus Christ

The shaft is the spine of the arrow and it is foundational. Everything else adheres to it.

John 15:5 reminds us, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” The Lord breathed temporal days into our lungs and eternal life into our soul. He is the foundation for all of life. We cling to Him like tendrils clutch to the branch and it is there we find joy, purpose, hope, and rest.

Feathers // Holy Spirit

Feathers on an arrow are also referred to as fletching. It creates wind drag. This stabilizes the arrow in flight, boosting its accuracy. It also helps to keep the back end of the arrow behind the front.

John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Spirit within us is the Keeper of all things⎯He prompts, reminds, convicts, encourages, teaches, and reveals. He offers stability as we stay in step with Him through obedience. And much like the feather on the tail-end of an arrow, the Holy Spirit is quick to reveal when we get out of the “let’s follow-the-Leader line”.

Nock // Community

This small plastic groove on the rear end of the arrow holds the arrow in place on the string until its power is released.

When I notice the nock of an arrow I think of fellow believers. In biblical community, there is power released, wouldn’t you agree? You can feel it⎯this synergy that we share in Him.

Arrowhead // Our Purpose

An arrowhead is the point of an arrow and there are various types. Each with a different purpose and advantage.

Sound familiar? Your arrow may fly farther than mine and that’s okay. In fact, it’s glorious! You are fulfilling your God-given purpose and I am fulfilling mine. Sometimes the Archer angles His bow at a 45-degree angle and at other times, 30-degrees. We trust and rest in knowing He never misses His target for our lives.

Arrow Stone

You may have read this post about the recent Valentine Tea I hosted for my critique group. One of their take-home gifts was this arrow-etched stone. While carefully placing each stone in my shopping cart, I thought of God and the master Archer that He is, gently pulling us from His omniscient quiver and releasing us into a particular sphere of influence. One of His making. Doors of opportunity will open, and some will slam shut. Nevertheless, the Archer’s aim is steady and the arrowhead, weighted in purpose.

Yes, there will be days when we feel more like the target rather than a weapon of truth in God’s quiver but when this happens, we need only consider the simple arrow and how it points us in the right direction: Jesus/Truth  // Power of the Holy Spirit // Biblical Community // Rest

Is there a particular “part” of the arrow that brings you assurance in the midst of your current circumstances? Is there some way I can pray for you today? I would count it a privilege if you would like to share in the comment section or message me via Facebook.

How I Prayed for Each Room in Our Home

Praying Throughout Your Home

The story – my story – truly begins with why I prayed for each room in my home, not the how.

I knew moving to our new place in the country would be both a blessing and a test. A test of faith. Traveling on roads aren’t easy for me since a bad car accident years ago. You see, I’ve always lived in the city, only miles from what I need. And even then, it was a struggle. Now we’re 20 minutes from civilization (yes, Starbucks).

Recently, the struggle became even more complicated when Brian left for France. Stresses from all different directions honed in on me like a fluorescent target in pitch darkness. The fact that I struggle with depression and anxiety, I’m learning, can magnify these stresses beyond what most could possibly understand.

Past trips to France have rarely upset me. But this time was different. In addition to other things, I had a dreaded test result looming {it turned out fine}. And I felt myself spiraling despite immersing myself in the Word, worship music, and wise counsel from friends. On the night he left, the walls felt as if they were closing in on me.

It was during one of these wise counseling sessions {thank you, Dee Dee} that the idea to pray over my house⎯my surroundings ⎯came to mind. I’d prayed over past homes but this time I sensed an urgency. The following morning, I turned Pandora to Bethel Music, cranked up the volume, and walked through my home praying even louder.

This I Prayed:

House Prayers


Front Entry

For guests entering our home to feel welcomed and cared for by us, and ultimately, the Lord. To cultivate an open home, regardless of how clean or messy our house is at the moment. For God’s blessing and protection.

Den

For the conversations in this room to be edifying and glorifying to the Lord. To be filled with joy, laughter, and family-building moments. It was also in this room that with outstretched arms I prayed for any spirit not of God to flee, in the name of Jesus. There was no room for the spirit of fear, discouragement, or confusion in our home.

Kitchen

For Brian and my family to feel loved (not cursed) by the food I prepare for them. To receive creative ideas in ministering to others through food and meals. For me to make wiser choices in my food selections. {I’m still reaping the consequences from last year’s stress-mess.} To embrace the mundane work of my hands for His glory.

Where You Create

My writing desk is in our little sunroom. I prayed that every word penned would take flight for God’s glory. To lean into, depend on, and rest in Christ for not only the work but also the results. For an outpouring of creativity. To seek to know {by experience} God more deeply, not to seek to be known by others.

Master Bedroom

For Brian and I to grow closer to the Lord, confident that as each of us grows closer to Him, we will inevitably grow closer to one another.  To rest well…physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I prayed protection over our marriage and family. In our closets I prayed for open hands in being generous to share, refusing to keep “stuff” for all the wrong reasons.

Guest Bedroom(s)

Our second bedroom is shared between a guest bed and bunks for the grandkids {and a teepee!}. There, I prayed for my children and grandchildren. To love Christ with all their heart from an early age. I prayed for them what I prayed for our boys growing up — protection, first spiritually followed by physical and emotional protection. For if they are steadfast in Christ, all else wanes in comparison. For my children, I thanked God for His faithfulness. I also prayed for the guests God would bring to our home in the future. That they would sense a safe haven in the room.

Hobby Room/Recreational

For us, this would be my husband’s music room. There I prayed that God would greatly use the gifts and talents for His glory. For him to find rest and enjoyment in his room. I also took the opportunity to thank God for Brian and the many ways he blesses me and our entire family.

Outdoors

For God to use our pool, deck, yard, barn — anything of His choosing — to minister to others. I’m considering planting a cut-flower garden to bless others. {We never know how God may want to use a garden window, a patio, deck, or an apartment balcony!} I also thanked Him for the enjoyment of His creation. For the neighbors on our country road — blessings, to know Him if they don’t, and to shine brightly if they do.

There was a time when I would’ve thought walking through my home armed with specific prayers would’ve been “out there”. No more. I’ve experienced the power of prayer both in my heart and in my home. The heaviness of oppression that led me to walk through our home lifted with every turn of my shoulders, every turning of the knob. To God be the glory.

Have you walked through your home in prayer? Or is this a new concept that you would like to try? Or, is there a way I can pray for you today? Please share in the comment section. I would count it a privilege.

A Prayer
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Why We Need A Place to Pray {& How to Find it}

viewquiettimemg_3667It’s no secret that we can pray in any place we choose but there’s something {at least for me} about having a dedicated space that helps me to stay focused on God and His Word.

Moving into a smaller home forced us to downsize in every way, especially when it came to furniture. But one thing I rallied to keep was a 3 piece set from the first ice cream parlor in Simpsonville SC, and I’m so glad I did. Even though a 7′ farm table sits nearby, this parlor table found its own niche tucked between two large glass pane windows that frame the mountains quite nicely.

It’s at this table, that the various needs surrounding my day {dirty dishes, soiled clothes, dusty surfaces, etc.) fade into the background, fueling my engagement with God. It’s as if the brain knows this when I sit in that particular spot. If not the brain, then it must be the heart.

I remember when the boys were young my go-to prayer spot was on the end of a hand-me-down oversized sofa. Some days, I’d simply curl up, confident of my heavenly Father’s presence surrounding me. You know, when that kind of truth settles deep, it can change a person’s life. And it did. I’ll never forget that corner of prayer.

We all know there’s nothing magical or mystical about a particular place to pray. Being in a certain spot doesn’t reach God quicker or deeper. I think it simply signals to my body – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – that the temporal “stuff” needs to rest. Maybe the same is true for you — when the temporal pressures of the day begin to release their grip, eternal treasures gather both a brighter and clearer place in my mind and heart.

blogcanstockphoto16813515So, how do we find our own places of prayer?
  • Seek out a quiet place. Seems obvious, I know, but prayer has as much to do with listening as it does speaking or quietly sharing from our heart. When I show up to simply spew my desires {even godly ones!} it feels a bit more like Santa’s lap than a Savior’s embrace.
  • Find a “view”, or not. For some, a beautiful landscape, or whatever you consider to be beautiful within eyesight, can be a distraction. Not so for me but we’re all different and we need to find places that work towards focusing on God.
  • Recognize that the most vital placement question is that of the heart. Does prayer have a place in our heart? In our priorities?

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.”
― Oswald Chambers

I’d love to know where you most often find yourself in prayer. Please share in the comment section below. If you’re searching for an inspiring post on prayer, there are many but this is one from Focus on the Family that covers a lot of bases.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day with me. Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

When Ministry Begins With a Simple Mug

A Cup of EncouragementIt needed a creative title. Or so I thought until this verse came to mind.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” Hebrews 13:3

Suddenly, having a carefully crafted title for this mini-ministry involving mugs didn’t matter all that much.

Because at every turn, we find people in need of encouragement.

So, how do we become more intentional in observing those around us who are in need of spiritual refreshment? Here are four ideas to get us started.

Pray. We can’t be everything to every person {Whew! What a relief!} but we can pray for the Holy Spirit to expand our spiritual vision and sharpen our discerning senses.

Watch. It’s one thing to pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes but it’s another to remain alert to His workings. When we pray, we’re to do so in expectation that He will answer. We don’t know how or when, but why bother praying if we’re not going to believe He is at work in and through those prayers? Yes, we pray first, but then we remain alert⎯sensitive⎯to what God may doing around us each day.

Listen. We must spiritually-hone our listening skills. This may will mean talking less and listening more.

Act. As God leads, we must be willing to follow through with what He begins, whether that’s approaching a person letting them know we’re praying for them, fixing a meal for a busy mom, or simply sharing a mug filled with prayer and encouragement.

So, for the past several weeks, snippets of an idea have been forming into what I’m sharing today. I pray it will continue becoming whatever God wants it to be, but so far, it goes something like this.

   blogpurchasemug
Purchase a mug. TJ Maxx and Ross offer an array of mugs, all under 5.00 each. Ideally, I try to spot one with scripture as we know God’s Word never returns void. He alone knows how His words brimming with life will touch another.

blogpraymug

Pray over it. Who might God want to encourage through this small gesture of caring? Pray, trust, and act.

blogfillmug

Fill it. Two things will be included in my mugs. A note letting the recipient know I’m praying for them, along with a specific scripture reference, and an inexpensive but thoughtful treat to enjoy during their time with God. Practically anything can be shared in the mug {more on this next week!}. One of my mugs is filled with tea bags and another one, Hershey kisses. {Next week I’ll share ways to tie simple items to scripture.}

blogsharemugShare it. You can hand it to the person, leave it on their doorstep, or mail it. In the past, I’ve left gifts on friend’s front door stoops with a gift signed simply from Jesus, because ultimately, the glory is all His anyway for it is His love that compels us to love in return.

blogpassitonEncourage the recipient to purchase another mug and pass that mug on to another person. This could be written on the card that you’ll enclose, or you can share the idea when you hand it off.

Consider how many people in our community could be encouraged by a simple mug and a sincere gesture.

Ministry in a mugThe author of Hebrews exhorts us to encourage one another daily because he knew the weight of this world would beat heavy on our exhausted souls.

The sooner we stop believing the lie that we must offer some grand gesture to make a difference, the sooner more souls will find rest⎯the kind of rest a good, good Father desires for His children.

Cou●rage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

So, who do you know, or who will you cross paths with this week, that is need of mental or moral strength to be the spouse, parent, son, daughter, friend, or fellow God-glory seeker He has called them to be? They might need a hug, financial assistance, babysitting help, or they might simply need encouragement in the form of a Psalm 46:10 moment, with mug in hand.

What’s one simple way you encourage others?

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How to Bless Those You Met At The Writer’s Conference (and 4 Highlights From Blue Ridge)

BRmtnsNow that the dust is settling from last week’s Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference, highlights {and ideas} are beginning to surface.

First, the highlights:

 

 

 

 

{ONE}

BRHelenrevised

Highlight: Meeting Helen McIntosh

Forging new friendships and celebrating established ones. There was a time in February when I considered not attending Blue Ridge this year (gasp!). I didn’t have a particular project to pitch, and with us prepping for a move I thought the money should be allocated toward that goal, but it was Brian who insisted I go — “if for no other reason than to re-connect with friends you only see once a year”. Yep, that’s my hubby! Turns out, this was a defining year at Blue Ridge when it came to meeting new friends and deepening established ones. Rosie Williams (fellow Hope Writer!) Robin Luftig, Leigh Ann Thomas, Tammy Van Gils, Jodie Bailey, Meredith Mills, Donna Nabors, Karen Friday, Jean Wilund, Nan Jones and sweet Helen McInstosh, author of Messages to Myself, Overcoming a Distorted Self-Image, are just some of the new friends I met last week, and look forward to establishing relationships with in the coming years.

 

{TWO}

Eva Marie Everson’s Visual of Nehemiah’s Wall. I admit I was tired and ready for my evening pick-me-up (which usually consisted of peanut butter crackers and a soda) when Eva Marie told everyone to get up at the end of her keynote speech and stand around the room. Four hundred + people lined the walls as she read from Nehemiah, exhorting everyone to take their place at the “wall”, much like the 44 separate groups of people who had specific tasks to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. There was a job for every group, each person, to fulfill — and our calling is no different, regardless of what it is. I can’t do what you do in exactly the same way and vice versa because God handcrafted each of us. We literally broke the mold! You have your place at the wall, and I have mine. Now let’s get to it!

 

{THREE}

BRcoffeeIt’s not just about the coffee. It rarely is, right? Starbucks sells an experience, and it’s no different for the Clouds Cafe on the Ridgecrest Conference campus. Yes, it’s newly renovated but the polished floors and expanded menu are not what makes this gathering place memorable. It’s the people who serve/volunteer there. Women like Loretta and Linda (lovingly known to Marcia Moston and me as the “froth queens”). Seeing their smiles is an experience I look forward to every single year.

 

 

 

{FOUR}

God Stepped Up When I Stepped Out…of My Comfort Zone. Two friends made this clear at Blue Ridge. One quietly offered me a hand to join in the adventure. The other threw me overboard to sink or swim. I love them both and God used both approaches to reveal Himself.

BRDDmerevisedDee Dee Parker, while staying in my room Saturday night, came up with the brilliant idea (at 2:00 AM)  to do a fun video the next morning on the subject of snacks at Blue Ridge, or the lack thereof, in our nearby vending machine. Now I’m the girl who doesn’t even like to have my picture taken but something inside (perhaps it was the lack of sleep) said, “Go for it!” And we did. {2Peasin1LittlePod…Productions! #wejustwanttobeablessing} We proceeded to do two more videos that were also well received. (Thank you!) But what touched us most was the feedback from those who shared how our friendship was so evident on the video. Some even said they wanted to attend the conference next year to be a part of the fun. “Comfort zone” Cathy would not have dared to shoot a silly video but because Dee Dee invited me to join in the fun, and I was willing to step over the proverbial line between silly and serious, new friends were made and from what we’re still hearing, many were blessed. To God be the glory!

BRLoriresizedbLori Roeleveld, sweet friend and mentor in many ways, scooted shoved me out of my comfort zone a little differently. After I shared how I’ve never liked being called out in a class setting with Lori over lunch, she promptly stood up, shouting to Jim Rubart, one table over, how he needed to put me on the spot in the next session. Really? 🙂 It wasn’t until I actually began considering skipping that class the next day that I knew this was much bigger than my insecurities. Feeling certain that Jim’s class was one I needed to attend, it was no surprise the enemy would try to use an innocent and well intended shout-out to prompt my fears into action. Not only did I attend the final class, I thanked Lori for the outburst that initially had me shaken because it led to an opportunity to stand steadfast, stomping my fears into smithereens.

Blogorangearrow

blessing fellow writers-1

Edie Melson, our fearless leader and Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference, encouraged us to exchange business cards with one another again this year. While there’s an array of reasons for doing this, there is one I’ve overlooked in the past⎯the opportunity to pray for fellow writers. Now, as I begin to write each morning, I will lay my hands on the piles of cards and pray for them, for us. Prayers like:

  • business cardsKeep our motives pure, Lord. (Psalm 139: 23,24) Flesh pinches the tenderest of places, tempting us to put the spotlight on ourselves, our name, our brand, when our greatest desire is to reflect You, Your name, and Your kingdom alone.
  • Keep our priorities aligned in a way that is pleasing to You, Lord. What do we gain if our name is on a book but find it no longer written on the hearts of those we love?
  • Keep our eyes fixed on You, Jesus. For You are the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Let the things on earth grow strangely dim as we rejoice and write in the light of your love.
  • Help us run this journey as companions, not competitors. There is no room in the kingdom for competition. This is not Your desire for us. We are on the same team: Team Your Glory.
  • Infuse our writing with divine creativity for You are Creator! Your Spirit indwells within us, equipping us to write beyond our means. As Al Gansky said in his keynote speech, “Creativity Begins With The Creator.” Amen.
  • Help us to release our work for Your glory. Some are called to plant, and some to water, but You alone, God, bring growth, landing our work in the places of Your choosing. We don’t need to manipulate, beg, or sulk. Help us to embrace truth — that You are for us, not against us, even when we cannot see, hear, or feel You at work.
  • Help us to find our validation in You alone, Jesus.

Now it’s your turn! Please take a moment to share one of your highlights from last week’s conference (or another one!). Or, feel free to share which of the above prayers you will begin praying for yourself, as well as fellow writers.

 

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