eternal · Goals · Priorities

Two Questions To Shape the New Year

2019, Here We Come!!

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There are a ton of questions we could ask ourselves as we approach a new year.  Some of the old standard questions are still excellent ones, but I’ve been pondering just two in the last couple of weeks.  Ready?

  1. What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?
  2. What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

I think those two simple questions will really encompass all those other goals, needs, and relationships we want to make better this coming year.  It covers the priorities and the people we love,  as well as the habits and idols we need to rid from our lives.

When I asked myself those two questions, here’s what pierced my heart ~

What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?

  • Prayer
  • Scripture memory
  • Reading of books
  • Writing of my own book
  • Exercise
  • Connection with family
  • Discipling

What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

  • Worry – The prayer could have taken care of that!
  • Screen time – Phones are needed and a blessing, but some days it feels like an appendage.  This is hard because I blog and do videos for You Tube, but it’s something I really want to get a handle on this year!

Both lists have other bullets, but these are the crucial ones, ones I’m taking to the Lord in prayer as I begin a new year.  One prayer I repeat over and over is,

Lord, I want my life to count for You.

I believe if I do more of what’s right and less of what’s keeping me idle, my life can count for Christ.

Oh that I may say like Paul, For me to live is Christ… Philippians 1:21

So, how would you answer those two questions?  Perhaps they can guide you as you ponder how the Lord would want you to live this next year as He grants us the breath to do so.  James 4:15

Refresh yourself in this new year!

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Christian growth · Goals · Saturation

Spiritual Snacking Choices

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No snack before supper or you’ll ruin your appetite.

Most mothers have had to say this to their child at one time or another.  A child may feel as though Mom is withholding good food from them, but oh, no!  She has stored away all kinds of good things for her family!  Plans for good meals are in the near future! She won’t let her family go hungry; she just wants her family to be hungry for the best foods that will help them grow.

Physical food can ruin your appetite for the right things, but have you ever considered that spiritual snacking actually creates an appetite for healthy spiritual eating?

 Yesterday I talked about making wise decisions regarding entertainment.  We get kind of “hungry” for something good to munch on while we’re working or doing a mindless tasks like getting ready for the day, riding in the car or washing dishes.  Just as we don’t stop eating just because we want to eat healthy, we don’t have to stop using media because we want good choices to nourish our minds. Why?  Because there ARE good things out there that can feed us well!!

Look what Scripture says –

The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish:
Proverbs 10:3

Our loving God knows that we need spiritual food to grow and He will not let us go without what we need.  His Word is the answer for every hunger in our soul!  He is so good to allow so many avenues today in which we can hear His Word given to us!!

The word SATURATION is my word for 2018.  I’ve asked the Lord to help me saturate my heart with Truth from His Word each day. I don’t always win at this but I want to share with you some of the ways that I “snack” on God’s Word most days.

  • Audio Bible – Each morning while I’m making the bed, I listen to the Proverb chapter the correlates to the day of the month. In order to keep my ear and heart engaged, I try to finish the verse before the audio speaks it.  I don’t have it all memorized, for sure, but I know it well enough that I can finish some of the verses. The Word is getting into me while I straighten up.
  • Pod Casts –  I have an app on my phone that fills my podcast library with episodes from Revive Our Hearts and Love Worth finding (there are many other preachers on that site as well). The word is getting into me while I’m working at home or traveling in the car.
  • CD’s of messages – I often listen again to messages from conferences I’ve attended, via the recorded message on a CD.  The truth comes back to my heart and I’m reminded of what the Lord taught me or I catch something I missed the first time! The Word is getting into me while I mop, fold laundry, iron, work on projects or cook.
  • Pandora radio – I have several stations on Pandora of music that is a blessing to listen to while I cook or while I have my quiet time in the morning. 
  • Bible memory – I try to work on new verses or review ones I’ve memorized as I’m getting ready in the morning.  I keep my memory verse cards nearby – on the counter or I take them with me in the car so I can keep working on Scripture.  Having God’s Word in my heart makes Scripture the most mobile of all apps! It’s always with me!

While the real meat and meals come from my time in God’s Word each morning, these are some of my spiritual snack foods.  They’re so wonderful that it truly does make my heart crave for more.

If you haven’t tried these delights, I hope you will, and if you have another suggestion of good spiritual “snacking food,” I would love for you to share that with us!

I hope I’ve made you hungry!

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Goals · Prayer

It Smells of the Lamp

I have parents that are a quilting duo! My dad, the engineer mind in the family, cuts the fabric squares. My mom, the crafter, sews them together, then Dad cuts them again to get them perfectly square. Each square gets a heavy ironing before it’s sewn again. The picture you see here is that of the pieces being laid out to see where each one should go. After placing and replacing, they will take this up very carefully, row after row and stack it the way it needs to be sewn together. Of course after the batting and backing are put behind it there’s all the hand quilting to be done. Whoa! Many, many hours go into the making of a quilt! However, when it’s all finished it’s not only warm and cozy, it is a piece of art!

This week as I was studying Proverbs 31 I read verse 18 – She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by nightAs I studied the last part of this verse, I learned that it was often said of an elaborate piece (of art, needlework, a literary work, etc), “It smells of the lamp.” That means that there were many long hours put into making that piece – so much that it even went into the night hours. You could tell by looking at it that it wasn’t done quickly; it took much labor and effort.

When you understand the hours of labor that a quilt takes you appreciate it all the more! When I look at the quilts that my parents have made for each of their children and grandchildren I am reminded of the sacrifice of time and labor that it took to make them. They “smell of the lamp.”

While I’ve pondered that phrase for the last several days, the cry of my heart to the Lord is that my prayer life would be what “smells of the lamp.” More and more I understand how weak I am and unable to do anything without God’s enablement and power in my life. Oh, that I would wake up in the morning with the burden to pray, go into the noon hour with prayer on my lips, enter the evening with a continued heart-cry to my God, and go to bed at night and be awakened to “turn on the lamp.”

Nothing else will go lacking if prayer is the center of my life. For when I am praying my needs are met, my steps directed, my thoughts established, my heart made right, and my burdens lifted. What a beautiful thing a prayer life like that would be.

Oh, God, may my prayer life smell of the lamp!


What area of your life would you want to “smell of the lamp?”

Christian Life · Goals · Uncategorized

What to Do When You Don’t Reach Your Goals

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My LG phone has set up a Health app for me.  I didn’t really want it, but I went ahead and set a goal of 10,000 steps a day.  The frustrating thing about it is that I don’t have my phone with me every second of the day!  There may be hours that it’s sitting on the counter charging while I’m running all over the house – upstairs, downstairs, inside, outside, working like a horse, while my phone is sitting there sneering at me, not logging one single step.  At the end of the month I got the message you see pictured above,

You didn’t reach your goal last month.

It may be helpful to change your goal to 9,000.

But you know, even though I know that this app isn’t correct, this message made me think.  Sadly, I’m afraid that is my heart’s inclination when something is hard. Change my goal. You see, then I can feel better about myself.  We each have two choices ~

Lower the goal and feel good about me

or

Raise the bar and feel good!

That doesn’t apply only to physical health goals, it applies in all areas of life.  But let’s think about one area in particular – our Christian life.  Do we…

  • set a goal to read through the Bible?
  • sign up to attend a 12-week Bible study?
  • commit to witness to the lost?
  • agree to help with a ministry at church?
  • volunteer teach a Sunday school class?
  • realize we need to pray more?
  • pledge to give to Faith Promise missions or to tithe faithfully

Then things happen.  Life gets busy.  We feel overwhelmed.  We get caught up with other responsibilities and we carelessly lay aside the commitments we made.  We get the mental message:

You might want to lower your goals.

After all, it would be easier.  It would make life less complicated.  We might feel better about our self.

But not really.

When we have set a spiritual goal for ourselves and then the Holy Spirit brings it to our mind, unlike my Health app, He will always be accurate.  He knows.  He sees.  Oh, not to make us miserable, but to help us, like the 10,000 steps would benefit me.  He desires to bring us to a place of obedience.

So when you realize you’ve missed the goal, all you have to do is start again.  When this new month rolls around in a few days, I’ll have another clean slate with my LG Health app!  Our gracious God forgives and wipes the slate clean when we tell Him we’ve messed up again and we need His help! 

As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

What spiritual goal have  you set aside? What responsibility have you shirked?  Perhaps this post is the Lord’s gentle way of nudging you to get you back on track.  Confess it, ask for His help to do it, and then take the next step in following through. We don’t live our Christian life based on feelings, but when you obey He gives joy, so you will indeed be feeling better when you get back on track!

Oh, and look at the message I just got on my phone…

 

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Another lesson for me is, wear something with pockets so my phone will track every single step I take!!

Do you have spiritual goals you need to give attention to?  Start back today!

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Goals · Uncategorized

Friday/Summer Favorites

Hello, September!  You kind of snuck up  on me!

Were you prepared to wake up and find that today is September 1st?  I have to admit that I’m sad to see summer go – I always am.  I will enjoy fall, but oh, those long, sunny days, beach walks, late sunsets, and Dollywood days are hard to say Goodbye to!

With the coming of September also comes an end to my blog vacation on Tuesday – Thursday.  I’ll be back each day with a fresh post!

Let’s end the summer with a look back at a FEW of my favorite Summer 2017 memories!

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One great thing about this summer was that I set some goals for myself that required making a schedule for my week.  I accomplished many of those goals and feel like these were really productive months!

  1. Finish 9-patch quilt squares and have ready to sew together by August 31.
  2. Write three chapters in reference to Proverbs 31 before Aug 21.
  3. Write Tuesday – Thursday from nine to noon.
  4. Begin a cooking ministry for others.
  5. Finish Adorned. – Still want to finish this by Sept 29.

As I look to the fall, I’m going to be setting new goals for myself and giving a timeline in which to get things accomplished.  Here are a few:

  1. Finish Christmas shopping by October 31. (I’m about half way there now!)
  2. Work on hand quilting at least one day a week (Monday?).
  3. Walk each morning at 7:00.
  4. Use Tuesday’s to serve others from my home.
  5. Invite one family over each week.

If you could make three goals for fall, what would they be?

Refresh yourself for fall!