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5 More Places to Pray this Spring + Starbucks Giveaway

Places to Pray in Spring

 

Many of you enjoyed last year’s post, “7 Places to Pray this Spring” so I thought you might enjoy a few more.

Daring to step outside our comfort zones to talk with God reminds us how the faith walk is an adventure that was never intended to be squirreled away for safekeeping. It is flowing, never static. A verb, not a noun. In him, we live, and move, and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

In a recent Instagram post, Stephanie Smith (@stephduncansmith), shared this:

“Martin L. Smith, an Anglican monk, wrote a wonderful book on prayer The Word is Very Near You. In his chapter entitled “God is a Conversation,” he observes that we do not imitate prayer. Instead, we are invited to join a conversation that is already underway between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”

 

So where can we join in the conversation this Spring?

 

A local coffee shop.

If the aroma and promise of “happy juice” (as my husband refers to coffee around here) aren’t enough to draw you in, step through the doors and let prayer be your guide. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you on how to pray for those seated around you, for the Baristas, for the woman seated in the corner, staring outside the window. With your intentional heart of prayer engaged, something much sweeter than foam swirled in a fancy design will waft through the air. (Here’s a post I shared a while back about my own coffee shop experience.)

 

Take a hike!

In most areas, spring is a perfect time to hit the trails. It’s not too hot or too cold and if we’re lucky, snakes are still hidden away wherever it is they go. Before the first shoe track smacks dirt, let’s jot down five things on the trail to find. And when we do, we can pause for a moment to thank God. Some things to look for on our hike might include a tiny critter, a particular wildflower or butterfly, moss, or a tree leaf.

 

Gym

Let’s face it, summer is just around the corner. As you walk on the treadmill, lift the weights, or row, row, row your boat, pause to take in your surroundings. Choose three people to pray for silently, trusting He knows their deepest needs. Or blanket the room in prayer as you remember 1 Timothy 4:8 ESV: For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

 

Stargazing

Bundle up, tuck a blanket beneath your arm (or enjoy the leisure of a comfy outdoor chair), and look up! As you do, consider reading the scripture verses below:

  • He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name. Amos 5:8
  • Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26
  • He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4

Gazing into the dark sky, let’s pay attention to how God might be leading us to pray for ourselves and for others. Maybe it’s to remember God’s sovereignty, His creative work, or to be reminded that since He knows the number of stars and calls them by name that He surely knows (and cares about) every detail of our lives.

 

Strawberry pickin’

Tis’ the season here in the south when we load up the kids, head to a nearby strawberry patch, and hand out cartons to hold the sweet red triangular fruit. The Bible talks about teaching our children as we go and this can happen in a strawberry patch, an apple orchard, a vegetable garden, or anywhere else when we talk about Psalm 34:8, Taste and see that the LORD is good. What personal story of God’s goodness can we share with others and offer prayers of thankfulness as we go?

 

Do any of the above ideas spark your interest? We’d love to know! Or is there another place, in particular, you enjoy praying during this glorious season? Share below and you’ll be entered in a giveaway for a cup of Starbucks coffee (in case you want to try the first idea.)

 

 

Tea for Two // A Quiet One-on-One Gathering with God

Gathering each week to worship the One true God is life-giving.

Gathering with the One, quiet and alone, is a sacred delight.

 

This gathering requires no preparations. Simply come.

 

Sometimes, especially after a hard season in life, or in the middle of one, I find comfort in setting an intentional table for two. This tea time with God isn’t a weird “fluffy feel good” practice. It’s an intentional act that flies in the face of my enemy who never tires of reminding me of past sins or current failures.

But God’s nearness is the key that unlocks both my hope and joy. So I simply come.

Two teacups sit on my farm table. One cup holds a teabag. The other holds a place at the table, reminding me that my Heavenly Father’s presence is that near.

As the kettle whistles and the water pours, my cup blossoms into rich amber. Its rising fragrance reminds me of the incense that arose from the Holy of Holies, representing the prayers of God’s people.

Let my prayer be accepted as sweet-smelling incense in your presence. Psalm 141:2

 

As I sip my tea — time slows to a sacred pace. I sit still and quiet.

 

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

There’s nothing natural about stilling the heart and mind. (Lately, it seems the more unnatural/uncomfortable something feels, the more convinced I am it is of God.) He wants us to know Him. I can’t wrap my head around this truth but I fully embrace it with every drop of gratitude possible.

Let these truths settle deep in the soul: God never hides from us, ignores our pain, or fiddles with a phone when we speak. Nothing is too small, too big, too high, or too wide for His reach. He is ever-present.

 

May these truths never wear thin in the fabric of our everyday lives.

 

As I sip my tea, I read His Word aloud, pray, and talk with Him as I would with a friend sitting across from me. Words aren’t always necessary, just like any relationship. “Happy masks” are exchanged for the freedom that is mine through Jesus. In Him, I can be me — a repeat offender, quirky, and quite the mess, but it’s in this same freedom I recognize that “being me” doesn’t negate my sinfulness. In fact, it highlights it, and for my good. So I confess and close out our time by thanking God for who He is:

  • Heavenly Father
  • Holy
  • Just
  • Forgiving, full of grace
  • Omniscient
  • Omnipresent
  • El Roi, the God who sees

 

The quiet power of our tea-for-two lingers long after the last sip, thanks be to Jesus.

 

Have you practiced something similar? Is there a particular name of God you’re leaning into these days? I’d love for you to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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NEW Gift for Subscribers to the Creative Pauses Community

I hope you enjoy these five fun scripture-based coloring pages!

If you’d like to become a part of the community, simply type your e-address in the righthand sidebar. >>>> Bi-weekly posts offer a pause of goodness to your busy days, and once a month, you’ll also receive a newsletter chock-full of the latest happenings in the Tiny House on the Hill, along with ideas on ways we can draw near to God and love others well. So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

 

Book Cover Reveal + The Story Behind It

Pauses for the Vacationing Soul represents three years of questions, doubt, fleece-throwing, putting-it-off-till-perfect kind of excuses. And yet, this book also reflects those times I leaned hard into God’s goodness, invited His “with-ness” into the process, and listened well with imperfect but willing ears.

And so the story begins…

Once upon a time, the idea of creating a devotion guide for beach vacations sparked while sitting beneath an umbrella in Garden City, SC. I spent the remainder of the vacation struggling in my spirit to believe God had given me such an idea. Surely there were more qualified, with-it kind of writers to bring this idea to fruition. So I went home and tucked the idea away for safe keeping. The following summer, the same idea surfaced but this time with more details. In a split second, past bible studies I’d led using sensory items, like beach sand, scurried across my mind.

And then I returned home.

Within a few days after arriving home from the beach, my path crossed a friend who’d attended one of the studies (over ten years ago). As we were saying our goodbyes she mentioned she still had her small bag of sand I’d handed out during the study. She shared how she keeps it on her bedside table to serve as a constant reminder of God’s love. That was the confirmation I needed. So one might think I’d simply sit down, write it out, and upload it to Amazon, right? Wrong.

Life happened.

Two unexpected surgeries in one year, selling a home, buying a “new” one, and all the in-between. But this January, while mumbling to myself before God about my writing goals, or lack thereof, He hushed my words with His wisdom.

“You treat writing like a hobby, not a calling.”

Wait, what? I continue to process the words I heard in my spirit that morning but that moment held a turning point that has yet to loosen its grip.

I immediately hopped up and began writing down disciplines required for me to get back on track. You can read more about those in this post. Almost four months later, the idea that emerged on a sandy beach comes to fruition on an Amazon virtual shelf on Tuesday, May 2nd. God is good.

I’ll share more about Pauses for the Vacationing Soul release later this month but in the meantime, your prayers are appreciated. If you would like to consider being on the launch team, please click the email icon in the sidebar and let me know. I’d love to have you on the God-lovin’ Beach-going Book Launch Team!

Can I count on your prayers? I welcome the opportunity to pray for you as well. Please leave any request you might have in the comment section or feel free to email me.

 

Stop Waiting for Hope at Life’s Drive-Thru Window

Hi, Cathy here.

Today, it’s my honor to introduce you to Karen “Girl” Friday. We met last year at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference and it has been a delight watching God grow her ministry ever since. Karen’s bold declarations of love for the Lord is downright inspiring. I know you’ll enjoy her guest post.

Join me in offering Karen a warm welcome!

Drive Thru

The drive-thru window of life remains understocked with real hope.

Less than a mile from my neighborhood, in opposite directions, the same fast-food restaurant provides drive-thru service. At the end of our road, we must make a decision. Do we turn right or left? To the right stands a newer version of the long-lasting business established in the 1940’s.

But the same problem exists with both locations. My son arrives home and discovers his order is wrong. Like the time he placed his order for lunch, paid and waited. Yet, found his bag filled with breakfast items.

To our dismay, it also happens to me and my husband. Now, to make certain, I check everything. I open each bag, wrapper or container. It assures I leave with what I expected…what I wanted.

The Quest for Authentic Hope

Where do we turn when the unexpected happens? When we come to the end of our road, which way do we go?

As a pastor’s wife, people come to me looking for hope. Real people in tough places. Hearts broken by tragedy or disappointment. Dreams with no pillow to lay their heads.

And I’ve been parked at life’s crossroads. ­­­­­­­­­Not sure whether to go right or left. Tired of waiting. Not certain I’ll leave with what I expected…all the items I went there to get.

So, I went in search of long-lasting hope. It needed to be rooted in something other than this world.

A Certain Hope

Hoping things turn out as we want comes natural to us. Google defines hope as, “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

Still, here’s the problem. Life is uncertain and continues to let us down. The only choices on the menu offer false promises. High hopes placed in people, programs, possessions, money, goals, careers, and religion.

Even if we examine and double-check each item.

We’ll always leave life’s drive-thru window without real hope.

But God’s Word offers a hope established before the world existed.

“For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4 ESV.

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” Isaiah 40:31 ESV.

The New International Version translates wait as hope. “…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”

Windows of HopeThe Windows of Heaven

God’s story fulfills the promise of hope in a person and a place.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, came to give us what the world could not offer. His shed blood and broken body on Calvary’s cross triumphed over evil and religion. The empty tomb trumped the enemy’s intention to destroy hope forever. Because Jesus rose from the dead.

So, we wait for real hope from a Holy King. We lay our expectation and desire in His able and sovereign hands.

Prayer ushers in hope from the windows of heaven.

Trusting God with the impossible and unexplainable parts of life.

Set your hope fully on the hope-giver. One day you’ll see.

Hope was always coming and God knew.

 

Karen Friday

Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. She’s an award-winning writer and avid speaker who loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, Karen has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing and business development roles. Karen earned a communications degree and has experience in a broad spectrum of business services where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday.

A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week. Hope is Among Us is an award-winning blog that expresses scriptural truths as life happens. Karen is a regular contributor for the national site, Inspire a Fire, which draws 30,000 monthly visitors. Karen has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media. She is currently working on her first book project. An inspirational speaker, she addresses a wide variety of audiences. Karen is passionate about mentoring and discipleship that helps followers of Christ live with authentic faith in real life. Karen and her husband Mike Friday reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and a grandson. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. www.KarenGirlFriday.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FridayKaren
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.clarkstonfriday
Facebook Writer Page: https://www.facebook.com/karengirlfriday/

Speaking Ministry PDF 

 

 

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.

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