Being PRESENT in His PRESENCE

DSC_2200I’ve been pondering distractions lately.  Watching people in stores, restaurants and at the pool or in cars and noticing how distractions divide our attention. Often the people we are with become second when we are distracted.

Statistics show traffic accidents on the rise as well as accidental deaths and injuries all  due to a “lack of focus”. My friend posted a sign they posted in the work place about personal cell phone usage because her employees were more focused on their phones than their customers.  In several instances employees playing a game on company time actually suffered accidental injuries in the workplace while they were rushing to capture a fictional creature.

My friend Beth was the victim of serious car accident due to a DSC_0248distracted driver who was texting.  Both legs and pelvis were broken and she spent days in the hospital and months recovering all because the other driver was distracted.

When parents are distracted often the kids pay the price for it.  I know how quickly a child can scamper when we are distracted by something.  As a young mom I thought the kids worked as a team.  One would distract me so the other could climb on the table or out the door.

DSC_0904Distractions cause our communication to suffer.  Trying to chat with my husband while he’s watching  Golf, is never productive. Striking up a conversation with me, when I’m proofreading or writing is also bound to result in frustration for both of us.

Many of our distractions are manmade and the result of choices we make. We choose to fill our boredom or our gaps with a distraction instead of allowing solitude or silence or focusing on what’s in front of us.  A man who makes his living in the tech industry and Google gaming sees the danger in distractions.

“I’d argue that what’s happening is that we’re becoming like the mal-formed weight lifter who trains only their upper body and has tiny little legs. We’re radically over-developing the parts of quick thinking, distractible brain and letting the long-form-thinking, creative, contemplative, solitude-seeking, thought-consolidating pieces of our brain atrophy by not using them. And, to me, that’s both sad and dangerous.” -Joe Kraus  Partner at Google Ventures.

One of the scary things about this quote is that it was mentioned in a speech he gave in 2012.  Four years ago.  Also frightening was his take on “solitude-seeking, thought consolidating pieces of our brains”.

Where do we find God?  What does the Bible say about seeking alone and quiet time with God?

DSC_0903“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

 

I believe distractions are not only costing our personal relationships but also our heavenly ones.  Our Connection to the Creator is causing a shift in our spiritual lives as well.  It is more about the culture shaping us than us shaping the culture.

Are we missing messages and missions God has for us because we are too distracted to connect with him?

POINT TO PONDER: What can you do today that can help you to increase your quiet time with God and make it distraction free?

We will be discussing this during our Retreat “HOPE: An Anchor for your Soul” get details here: http://kissedbythecreator.com/?page_id=406

Catch us on #HOPEscope every Monday – Friday at 7:15am on www.periscope.tv  (search Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator)

Numbers…

I received a number today for a young man I’ve known since birth.  It broke my heart.  It was a prison number. I wept looking at the number after his name.  I thought of the significance of this number and what it meant in Jail and what it will mean moving forward.

I pray he lives beyond that number.  I’m praying prisonfor the number to become a memory.  Praying that number which represents a mess, will become part of his message.  This child I held as a baby, who grow up with my kids side by side, diverged and now  he isn’t a name, he’s a number….for this season.

What are numbers?  They are a symbol or word in a series  for identification.  For now, he will identify and be identified by this number.  But God calls him still by name.  God sees him as son, not number #31-68734.  His family still calls him by name but where he lives, they shout out his number.

450px-NumbersBookCover.svgNumbers play a major role in our lives.  From our chromosomes to our vertebrae to the number of bones in our hand and the muscles it takes to frown, our bodies are connected and identified by numbers.  Here in the United States we are issued a Social Security number at birth that is used for a variety of purposes like taxes, insurance and education, that number defines and unlocks information we need.

Phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers are all crucial to defining our communication with each other and our wealth.

 

Numbers are used in the bible from the 10 Commandments to the days 40 days of the floodBundesstraße_40_number.svg
and 40 days and 40 years in the wilderness and the 12 tribes of Judah…all of these events and issues defined by a number.

Numbers-Chapter-SummariesThere is even a book with the title “Numbers” in the Bible.  Ironically or perhaps not, the book of Numbers explains how Israel prepared to enter the promise land, but sinned and was punished. The title refers the two population censuses Moses took during that period.

There are four themes in Numbers.  The beginning depicts the preparation for the journey  to the Promised Land. The second portion talks about the Israelites travel and grumbling and how God continued to provide for them.  numbersThe third portion discusses their disobedience and severe punishment for being unfaithful to God. The final theme addresses the new generation and their victorious conquests, more disobedience and finally the entry into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert.

The book of Numbers recounts God’s unfailing direction in the lives of his people. It shows the ways God tested their endurance and their faithfulness. Though they sinned, God remained faithful to guide them on their journey with the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day.  God never left them alone in the desert. He never ventured far from them in the wilderness.

barbed wireI pray this for number #31-68734.  May this wilderness experience be his NUMBERS moment.  May he come to see God and feel His faithfulness and sense a new direction in his life. My prayer is that if you are experiencing a Numbers moment, you to would feel God’s presence and recalculate your destination with HIS help.

 

POINT TO PONDER: Are you called by a number? Are you experiencing a Numbers Moment? Call on the Name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus.  Struggling? Turn it over.  Here’s some inspiration about God’s ability to take your Number and give you a name.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upLBLppWTj0

 

 

Sweeper Tracks – Ode to Mother’s Day

Me and Baby Jake(Written 2/6/97 when I only had two littles)

I am a mother who has been blessed beyond belief, so why am I complaining? It has just been one of those days.  Those long, long, days. It’s 5:30 p.m. and I am still in my robe sitting with my two kids under two (and under foot and anywhere else they can fit for that matter.) Where has the time in this day gone?  Soon my husband will be home asking that dreaded (does he really want the answer?) spousal question….”Honey, What did you do today?”

Well, I’ve been barfed on, pooped and peed on, played on, hung on, and clung on. I’ve picked up, put down, washed this and that…and that again.  I’ve read, sung, swung and swaddled.  I’ve collected, rejected and disinfected. What did I do today???

Scan_Pic0008I was lamenting to an older friend about the small things I’ve missed since having children.  You know, the spare time, spare money and spare car.  Simple things like only having 3 loads of laundry per week, biweekly visits to the grocery and only have to run the dishwasher once a week.  Oh! Those were the days.

I was even petty enough to mention that I Rachelmissed “sweeper tracks”.  You know those nice, neat Hoover patterns, that before kids, could last hours, even days in seldom used rooms.  Those tracks that represent cleanliness and order.  I complained that I couldn’t remember the last time my carpet retained sweeper tracks for more than 30 seconds.  They are quickly replaced by tiny footprints, cracker crumbs, raisins and tire tracks from a myriad of toy wheels.

hannah's carrotsAfter a brief pause my wise friend reminded me that all too soon I’ll be staring at Hoover patterns that would make the greens keeper at Pebble Beach green with envy.  Sweeper tracks that will last for days and I’ll long to see those tiny foot prints and caravan of wheel marks.  I’ll have my spare time, my spare money and my spare car, but I won’t have these little people.

Sometimes it takes a different perspective toeaster kids help you savor the moment – even the unpleasant ones.  As I slather on the 30th coat of Desitin today, I realize my answer to the spousal question will be, “A lot of cool stuff. I had a great day.” For all too soon I might be answering, “Nothing Much”.  I am thankful for these little people, thankful for my Hoover and thankful for friends that help me see the whole picture.

DSC_0854

EPILOGUE:

That was 19 years ago.  The Hoover replaced by a Shark. I can’t remember the last time I stepped on a lego or moved a matchbox car or bought cheerios. That friend was wise and I’m glad I heeded her advice. I did enjoy those years.  Today, I do have some spare time, and a spare car….still waiting on the spare cash…perhaps AFTER they are through college.  I do have sweeper tracks, but I don’t have the little people (only a 15 year old remains).  I miss the days when a kiss and a lollipop could fix just about anything.  I’m not complaining…this season isn’t bad at all it is just different.  I am proud of all that my kids accomplished and I am glad I soaked in those times and memories.

From someone whose lived it, can I share some advice? LIVE for today.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Invest in the lives that are around you now…the future will unfold in a timing all its own.

POINT TO PONDER:  What is your favorite childhood memory?

Catch us Monday thru Friday at 7:15am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator  You can also find us on Facebook @ Kissed by the Creator.

Do Not be Afraid…

Beyond the Manger Monday #2  (pursuing Advent all year long!)

LightsMany times throughout the Christmas story we hear the Angels say, “Do not be afraid”.  This is the greeting to Mary and Joseph before they are asked to do something very challenging in their lives.  For Mary it meant dying to self and carrying a child as an unwed mother.  For Joseph it meant continuing a commitment to a woman carrying a baby that wasn’t his.  Each time the Angel appeared was preceded by the admonition to “Be not afraid.”

Shepherds were solitary creatures who felt more comfortable in the hillsides with their animals, living quiet lives.  The angel appeared to them to announce the news and said, “Do not be afraid” then Heavenly hosts belted out glory to God in the highest slicing their silence with singing.

As we get further and further from Christmas and its songs and stories, these words slip further from our minds.

Do Not Be Afraid101_8292

That babe in a manger came in a way that could inspire fear.  Sometimes the things God allows into our lives can initially cause us to fear.  They can cause us to quake like the shepherds, or take us by surprise like carrying an unexpected, unplanned child or marrying a woman who conceived God’s child.

Matthew 10:31 says, “Do not be afraid you are more valuable to God than a flock of sparrows.”  This verse refers to the fact that just as God provides for the Sparrows, he too will provide for us, because we are even more valuable.

The grown up baby Jesus in Matthew reminds us not to be afraid.  That baby grew up into a man who was not afraid to say the tough words and love the unlovable people and connect with the sinner while challenging the self righteous.  He took on our sin and died on the cross. But when he went to heaven he did not leave us. He said, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” ~ Matthew 28:20

God can take what scares us to pieces and give us peace about it. Are you quaking about something in your life?  Do you want to move forward but find fear stopping you, chaining you in your tracks?  Take a moment to meditate on a few of these verses:

“We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”
—Hebrews 13:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
—Philippians 4:6-7

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
—Psalm 34:4

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
—Psalm 42:5

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
—Matthew 6:34

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
—2 Corinthians 4:8-9

101_0706God’s word is truth and these promises are still true as they were the day they were written. Let’s purpose to live out our days free from fear by breaking the chains of fear which can bind us.

POINT TO PONDER:  Fear often comes when God has a mission for us to accomplish…could your fears be hindering you from being a blessing to someone somehow?  What can you do today…to step out in faith and be freed from your fear?

Catch us on #HOPEscope every Monday – Friday at 7:15am on www.periscope.tv Mondays feature “Beyond the Manger Monday” where we are exploring how to live Advent all year long. (search Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator)

I’ve lost that “Grinchy” Feeling….

LightsEach year I focus on #oneword for the year.  A word, that I research and seek out in scripture and pray about.  A word I feel the Lord puts on my heart as a focus for the coming year.  Past year’s words have included: Joy, Celebration, Ponder, Wonder, Hope, and Peace.  As of Christmas morning I had yet to sense my word for 2016.  I wasn’t stressing because several times I didn’t get it until mid January.

The day after Christmas, I had to leave my family all snug in their beds and set out in the dreary rain for work. I knew that before I reached my client, my family would be rising to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and a lovely breakfast.  To say that I was in my own personal land of pity as I drove the route to the nursing home was an understatement.DSC_0357

I was feeling “Grinchy”, really really “Grinchy” (no, not my #oneword for 2016).  My heart was heavy and I was focusing on myself and that I was missing out.  I knew I couldn’t walk into a patient’s room cloaked in regret, anger, and self-pity, so I began to take stock of my blessings over the last 24 hours.  I also sought God for my #oneword.   I pondered the Advent series I lead over at #HOPEscope on Periscope and how many people wrote to tell me it blessed them.  I wondered about what theme to approach in 2016.  As I prayed and drove, my spirit lifted and my thoughts drifted to the word ADVENT.

DSC_0320My attitude of gratitude caused me to berate myself for the total 180 swing my emotions took as I set out for work earlier.  The carols which had brought me joy and a stirring of anticipation had made me feel like I was lacking…and were almost painful to hear as I journeyed further from my family for the day.  I went from celebrating Christmas to commiserating with Scrooge in about 15 minutes time.  I went from glad to sad, from blessed to stressed, you get the picture. Thankfully Gratitude changed it around.

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,” – reverberated in my grey matter.  (No it is not Biblical it is Charles Dickens – “Christmas Carol”) What would that really look like?  To keep the excitement and enthusiasm of anticipating Christmas ALL year long?  Was it even possible?

This past week, I have been writing fast and furiously about living out a NEW ADVENT in preparation for not the babe….but the Second Coming of Christ – The Return of the King!

Advent means ‘Coming’ in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world.

How can we capture the excitement of Advent and be full of love and joy as we are during theDSC_0333 holidays and live that out 365 days a year?  How could our year and our lives be different if we took the time to explore how the presence of Christ on this earth impacts our lives AND our future?  The Return of the King is the culmination of the life of the Love Gift sent by our father in Heaven to the manger.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 1 Peter 1:13

101_9456We need to take as many people as we can with us to Heaven.  This year my #oneword  ADVENT, will take me on a journey of preparation for the “Return of the King” I will explore the adult life of Christ and what his purpose was beyond that of salvation.  How does he manifest in the names he is called? What promises do we have because he came as a babe in a manger?  My prayer is the joy of the NEW ADVENT will be contagious and I will reflect the image of Christ.  My hope is that people will see the ADULT JESUS living in me, and want to meet Him.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

I hope you will join me in this journey into preparing for a NEW ADVENTThe Return of the King.

I will be exploring this each Monday on  “Mondays: Beyond the Manger”  over at #HOPEscope on www.periscopetv . My show airs live Monday-Friday at 7:15 am eastern time! I hope you will join me!

POINT TO PONDER:  What is your #oneword for 2016?

Gliding through God’s Fingerprints

DSC_2193This summer, we rented paddle boards as we headed north to Lake Michigan. We were looking for recreational activity but as often happens, a spiritual connection was also made. I love how God speaks to me as I immerse myself in creation.

The paddle quietly cuts through the big water, and with each stroke I am taken further from shore. Further from the trappings of the world, the noise of children and the scent of sunscreen and campfires. It’s just me and THEE gliding across the unusually glassy lake.

Beneath me I can see the occasional fish or the rock formations, but it is the ripples in the sand that soothe my soul.

The gentle undulating patterns are from the currents as the rhythmic water laps. At the shoreDSC_2141 line it crashes as it rolls and rolls. But out away from the shore, the gentle waves billow on silently rolling and lulling the board as it cuts its own swath through the lake.

The ripples that decorate the lake floor remind me of what the fingerprints of God must look like. They, like the postcards from heaven sunset I am paddling toward are the small vestiges of the Master artist.

His gentle smooth and wavy designs at the bottom of the lake are pristine, they are untouched. They are my private art exhibit. I lose myself in them as I paddle on. I ponder God’s fingerprints on the story of my life.

DSC_2122The Master’s hand is a genius. His artistry is not only evident in creation but in our lives. I think of the times he deftly plucked me from danger, the times he skillfully steered me in the right direction and the times he’s made the divine connections with those who’ve greatly impacted my trajectory.

 

I also think of the trials, frustrations and disappointments I’ve experienced and laid at theDSC_2248-001 foot of the Cross, sometimes more than once. Who hasn’t prayed prayers that were not answered in the way we intended for them to be? Even in  disappointments God’s fingerprints are evident in our lives. He continues to mold and shape us into the vessel he wants us to be. We are being sculpted, refined and defined by the Master’s Hand.  The same hands that carved the Grand Canyon.  The same hand that hangs the stars each night.

We need only to yield to his touch and to his hand to fully realize our potential and purpose in this life. If you are struggling with an area of  life that seems burdensome or devastating, just remember you are not walking it alone. HE wastes nothing.

One thing amazing about his artistry is that it is true perfection. HE makes no mistakes.

POINT TO PONDER: What area of your life is a work in progress? What lessons have you learned from experiences that were horrific initially? ACT NOW: Share those experiences and offer hope to the hopeless. Be a beacon!
Catch us Monday thru Friday at 7:15am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbythecreator!

10 Treasures from Tower

Ministry Team

Ministry Team

God was glorified at a powerful weekend at Tower Presbyterian Church in Grove City last weekend! We connected with the Ladies on the topic of HOPE as an Anchor for the Soul.  Our topics included: How Hurts Grow Us, How God loves us, and HOPE as anchor.

 

1.God is Faithful

2.You are never too old to learn something new

3.There is no such thing as “too much” sea glass

4.Hidden struggles brought into the light lose their power over us

5.Old friends are good friends to have

6.Power Points can be made last minute and work

Discussing a Knot in our lifeline to the Anchor of our souls.

Discussing a Knot in our lifeline to the Anchor of our souls.

7.Counseling sessions can make you hungry

8.When there is purpose to our pain, it is easier to bear

9.Stories of God’s faithfulness never get old J

10.There are NO “chance” encounters

Too Cute!

Too Cute!

 

 

 

Below are the 10 Truths that Tammy has learned and gleaned and shared in her Testimony by request!

When we go through trials we must believe these truths:

1. There is a specific purpose for my trial whether God sends it or allows it.

2.This trial is designed to meet His purpose in my life.

3. Trials prove to be good if we respond in faith.

4.Trials can strengthen our faith.

5.Trials allow us to demonstrate perseverance.

6.Trials will develop Christ-likeness in me.

7.This trial will help me measure my spiritual maturity. (He is making us who we are designed to be)

8.God will walk me through this trial.

9.God is in control of the time and intensity of my trial.

10.By God’s grace and power I will overcome this trial.

Tower CenterpieceOur team was so blessed. A wonderful team of ladies put together a lovely atmosphere with every detail in the beach theme. The food was amazing and the decorations delightful.

Tower TablesWe ended in worship and praise having accomplished the goal of sharing how important Hope is, and our role as Christians in being a Hope-giver to the hopeless.

Tower Audience

A special thank you to the Tower team, especially Lisa Flick for all her hard work! May He continue to till the hearts of all who attended.

Living Water

100_3515Vibrant. Brilliant. We eagerly scoop up the luscious looking stones in various colors and put them into our treasure bag.  “Look at this one Mom,” Hannah shows me a brilliant red stone and Rachel carries over a green stone.

Back at the camper we reviewed our finds and empty the treasure bags filled by the lake. Now dry, the stones looked dull and drab.  Ordinary.  Having lost their luster, we couldn’t even tell which stone was whose.  They looked nothing like the treasures we eagerly picked up along the lakeshore.

Before frustration and disappointment totally set in, I grabbed a bottle of water and poured itLake Rocks over the rocks in my hand.  Once again, the colors burst forth like fireworks on a hot summer night.  In my hand I once again held the colorful treasure now restored.

What made the difference?  It was the water.  Devoid of water the stones look like nothing more than driveway stones worthy of a toss. The water made them appear alive and vibrant and something to be treasured.  Much like us.

101_8383

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38

It’s the Living Water or Christ in us that makes us appear vibrant and brings life into our souls.  It’s the Living Water that keeps us from leading a lackluster life. When we become parched, dry and distant from the Living Water, our spirit is rendered barren, and cracked.

Crevices are where things can hide or take root. Our spiritually dry fissures become places where the enemy can gain a foothold. These gaps take the form of looking the other way at sin, or justifying ungodly behavior. The dark dry places of our hearts are fertile ground for secrets and apathy.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I 101_8292will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14

Immersing ourselves in the Living Water regularly is crucial to living a life that glorifies the Lord. When we are infused with His truth and His presence, our lives can’t help but reflect Him.  When we radiate His presence, people are attracted to HIM in us. His goodness and mercy and grace shine brightly in our lives.

We were drawn to the stones for their beauty.  It was their reflection in the water that caught our attention. Like the stones bathed in water lively sparkled and beckoned to us, a soul swathed in the Living Water becomes a beacon.

We weren’t made to be a lackluster, dry, stone that is cast aside or overlooked.  We shouldn’t want to be a treasure missed. We need to be saturated with His presence. We want to be a brilliant find, one that can point the seeker to the source of water that will never run dry.

POINT TO PONDER: What does your life currently reflect?  Are there places in your life that could benefit from a good dousing of Living Water?  Some creative ways to connect with your Creator were listed on the blog here:  Feel free to connect with me, I would love to share some ideas and encourage you.

Check out #HOPEscope the Weekday Show on www.periscope.tv at 7:15 am featuring quick devotion and prayer to start your day HIS Way!

 

Wildfires and Flourishing in Barrenness

Wildfires 2015, These photos are from a friend of mine…her view…her life…her reality..

Jenny's back deck

View from Jenny’s back deck

Jenny's back deck

Forest Fire

Back in 2010 I wrote the blog below. It was more of an essay on flourishing in barrenness. FireCurrently, as I watch the fires rage out West, my heart is ripped apart thinking about the devastation. I’ve been praying for those in the path and those dedicated to halt its progress.

Beauty4AshesThere really can be beauty from ashes, you have to look hard.  I can imagine how hard it must be to see through the smoke and tears out there.

2010 Post

During a powerful windstorm I was watching leaves fiercely being plucked from the tree in my front yard. The afternoon wind relentlessly yanked the amber leaves until at dusk; all that remained was the skeleton of the tree.

How beautiful that tree was at sunrise and by night fall it was vastly changed.

It made me think of Job. Job woke up one day on the top of the world and in a short period of time he was stripped of his wealth, his family, and friends.

How many times have I been stripped of something and temporarily my faith goes with it? As a writer, rejection is a huge part of my life. Sometimes I allow rejection to strip me of my confidence and belief that I am doing what God has called me to do.

I watched a documentary on Yellowstone. They were discussing forest fires. Looking at the the barrenness left behind by devastating forest fires, I was heartbroken at all the glorious green that was turned to rubble and stripped by the raging flames. The charred blackened earth looked desolate and barren, similar to the way my spirit feels sometimes.

I learned about a certain tree whose seeds can only regenerate after a fire. Yellowstone geologists showed tiny shoots that emerge amidst the black barrenness within days of the fire. They even mentioned that the burned out area is like a firewall of sorts that will protect the area from another fire for up to 100 years.

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house.” Job 42:10-11
so-much-to-do-so-little-time@blogspot.com

so-much-to-do-so-little-time@blogspot.com

Interesting that growth happened in the midst of what seemed to be desolation. Growth with roots! Job was restored, the forest regenerated. So the trial yields something beneficial?

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So that when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7.

ACTION ITEM (added)  Pray for the people in the fire…literally the firefighters as well as the Jobs in your life who are under fire spiritually!

Point to Ponder: Are you in a season of barrenness or testing? Do you feel God allowing things to be stripped away? Look deep perhaps you will see the tiniest shoot of growth, it may be small but it has the potential to grow into a flourishing forest of faith. Enduring the stripping seems worth it when you know the outcome will be positive – that is His Promise!

5 ways to Creatively Connect with the Creator in Prayer

folded hands“Our Father who art in Heaven….”  I remember our nightly ritual, brushing teeth and bed time prayers with folded hands.  I knew the prayer by heart. I could offer it up in my sleep, and often said it as my Father carried me to bed.  As I got older, those words became more powerful and the practice of prayer more personal. I began to learn about the value of personal prayer.  Coming from a charismatic background I’d seen prayers for healings yield lengthened limbs, and bid diseases away.  I saw doors of opportunity open and relationships restored as a result of prayer.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces

wonderful results.” (James 5:16b NLT)

Sometimes our prayer life can become routine or stale.  I felt like my prayers were becoming laundry lists of petitions lacking sincerity.  I decided to shake up my prayer life a little by reading some devotionals and old school prayer books and was blessed by how new the practice of prayer became.

Last Blog we discussed visual reminders to keep a focus on God’s presence, this blog I am going to share with you some things I’ve incorporated that keep me focused on prayer time and block out distractions

             My prayer beads were a gift from my ministry partner.  They are smooth and purple.

Prayer Beads

Prayer Beads

Sometimes I will just hold them as I pray each stone representing a different prayer of thanksgiving and I’ll go through them again with petitions…helps me balance my conversation with God. Sometimes I will just sit quietly and thumb through them allowing for silence for God to speak.

“The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.”

(Psalm 145:18)

Shower door prayer reminders

Shower door prayer reminders

2              I am known for writing the name on my hand of someone to pray for throughout the day. (YAY for Sharpies)  I also keep a dry erase pen in my bathroom to write on my mirror and shower door so that I can be prayerful while I am getting ready for work.  “A day hemmed in prayer is not likely to unravel” (Note: Do not confuse Sharpie w/dry erase. Much harder to get off mirror; lesson learned the hard way.)

“Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

             This past year, I have been making coloring part of my Sabbath.  I will sit on my

Coloring Book and pencils

Coloring Book and pencils

back porch with soft music playing and chose a picture, while I color it, I lift my prayers to God.  It makes prayers less rushed and more heartfelt. I find the contemplative quiet in between is so beneficial to the  “Listening” part of prayer.  It really is a two way conversation.

“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” ~ Andrew Murray

Prayer Journaling

Prayer Journaling

4              Journaling prayers has always been a part of my life, but I had gotten away from keeping record of answered prayer. Answers are such an incentive and encouragement to our prayer lives.  The bible is full of answered prayers which show the Power of Prayer.  Journaling our prayers gives us a gentle reminder that the God who answered us back then….is the same God we are seeking today.

 

5              These prayer stones were stones I intentionally

Prayer Stones

Prayer Stones

picked up on Lake Erie several years ago.  I wrote topics on them in sharpie and set them in a basket. Throughout the day I would take one out and pray about that specific need and lay it on the table. At the end of the day the basket was empty and I had some great unstructured conversations with God.  Often I will leave a particular stone out to remind me  to pray about an issue that burdens me.   It prompts me to be a “Prayer WARRIOR and not a prayer WORRIER”

I am super excited about the movie coming out called WAR ROOM – it looks fabulous and is centered on prayer.  Check out the trailer here :  http://warroomthemovie.com/

Prayer is part of a Christian’s daily walk.  Prayer is connecting to the Creator.  You don’t get to know someone by only spending one hour a week with them. Talking with God daily will increase your faith and your connection to him.  We are called to pray without ceasing in Thessalonians 5:17.

My prayer is that you will find a method that works for you and that as you grow deeper in your relationship with the Savior; Prayer will become something you crave.

POINT TO PONDER:  What can you incorporate into your prayer life to make it more meaningful to you and to the Lord?

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