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Keep Praying

“The Lord is not slow about keeping His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

Yesterday, I had a Bible study with a neighbor that I’ve prayed for years and years and years to desire to have an intimate relationship with the LORD.  She sent me a text asking if she could come over and talk about the book of 2nd Peter that she is reading for a Bible study she is attending.

I’m sure you read that last paragraph as you would any other, comprehending and ready to move on to the next sentence, but I am stopped … totally in awe of the work the LORD is doing, literally humbled to my knees in worship,  near speechless, oh so thankful and full of praise for the answers to prayer that last sentence holds:

  1. my friend is reading the Bible  (a miracle)
  2. she is attending a Bible study (another absolute miracle!)
  3. my friend was wanting to come over to talk about a specific book of the Bible…  that  she is studying…  wanting to know how I study the Scriptures (Praise God!!!)

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I showed her what I do in my personal Bible study time (the inductive method employed by Precept Ministries: marking key words with colored pens and pencils, finding themes for chapters, etc.). 

I think this was one of my favorite Bible study experiences ever.  I have led many studies in the past, but they are usually with seasoned older Christians or with a young person raised in the church wanting to go deeper.  But before she left, this dear neighbor told me that before this year, she had never even read the Bible, and until yesterday, she had never known you could study like this, much less read a book of the Bible multiple times and only want to read it again.

As I wrote in my journal, “Today was unlike any other! … Every thing was new.  She was hearing everything with the most attentive ears for the first time.  Her awe left me in greater awe of God and of the depth and treasure of this truly ‘awe-some’ text that  can sometimes feel too familiar.” 

2 Peter, the apostle Peter’s final words to us, only 3 chapters, and yet, so much is there!  (If you’re looking for a place to start a deeper study, why not begin with this brief book?  Precept has many free downloadable resources to help you get started.  Follow this link to download a  PDF with an introduction to 2 Peter with an observation worksheet to mark .)

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Another friend and I pray together regularly and fervently for many friends, loved ones, and strangers that are far from the LORD, some who are as lost in sin as could possibly be and others who have lost their way and wandered far from God.

We have a couple people that we call our “least likely”, the people that it is difficult to even image them ever seeking the LORD, but that we can absolutely imagine the LORD seeking them.  When I think of the transformation occurring in my neighbor’s life after so many years of praying and “planting seeds”, I am hopeful for even the “least-likely of these”.  God does not work on our timetable, but with Him, anything is possible!

How about you?

Does someone come to your mind when you think of an “impossible case”?  Were you once an “impossible case”?  With Christ, we know that there’s no such thing!

If there is someone who is heavy on your heart?   Don’t give up on them!  As long as they are breathing, there is hope.

Don’t get discouraged! That is not of faith, and it is  not from the LORD!  Keep loving them.  Keep serving them.  Keep praying for them.  They may one day become a source of great joy and sweet fellowship, and all the glory will go to God.


If you are reading this, I am praying for you that you will either choose to:

  • go deeper into the Word, discovering how vast the Scriptures are with practical insight and truth and how deep the Father’s love is for you,
  • OR that you will invest your life in befriending someone who needs a friend and pray for an opportunity to lead them to Jesus.

(Sometimes the best “witnessing” is done when you’re just not in a hurry, genuinely loving someone over a decade, of talking about life and offering prayers and encouragement while cleaning out a refrigerator, folding laundry, going for a long run or walk together, making a craft, visiting while popping in with a baked treat, or just being there for support during a crisis or heartache.)


For more information on Inductive Bible Study, go to Precept.org.   There you can also look for a Bible Study group near you.  Or if, like me, you live in a rural area where a study is not offered, you can find out about attending a weekend of training and then start a Bible Study group of your own.

20 Days Toward Victory Over Sin

Yup, we did it again.

Little One lied.  And, I yelled.

  • a “little” lie grew because she wouldn’t admit it
  • a “little” aggravation grew because I lack self-control

We both have a sin problem.

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Little One needs TRUTH

and

I need GRACE

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I can be such a Pharisee, focusing on her sin and excusing my own.   She desperately needs a splinter taken from her eye

before she grows older and it grows into a stronghold,…

before it grows into a plank like the one I have in my eye.

I need to take the plank out of my eye so that I can patiently, lovingly, consistently, and objectively help my Precious Treasure with this sin that so easily entangles her.

We both need God’s help so we can see!!!

We need His GRACE and His TRUTH to set us free.

We’ve come so far and victory is within reach.  I know it.  She knows it.  It’s obvious; the LORD just won’t let this go in our lives.  He’s keeping a tight reign on us, and we’re miserable when we try to fight against His discipline in our lives.

So, we’ve mutually surrendered.  We want to cooperate with each other and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

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Here’s what we’re doing to encourage each other and celebrate our success in this battle for victory over sin.

  • On a mini, sticky-post-it pads, we’ve numbered 1 to 20.
  • Each day that Little One does not lie, or immediately confesses, I will rip off one layer at bedtime and tape in it on the next clean page of her journal.  Then the next morning she can start her day with the happy reminder of victory.
  • Each day that I do not raise my voice (I’m trying to only whisper sternly, because I can only do that when I intentionally think about it… and because it’s such a grey line between a “serious mama voice”, “raising my voice”, and “yelling”.) when giving correction, she will rip off one of my tabs and tape it into my journal.

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(One of the best bits of advice an older and wiser woman gave me, that has worked wonders in attitude and obedience, is to give out a job rather than lecture or repeat.  This works!!!)

We have them hung in an obvious location that we will see often as a reminder of our goal.  Little One has hers hung over her bed, and mine is hung on my prayer board in my room.

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Rather than demanding “control” (aka “our own way”:  getting what we want, when we want it), we  mutually decided we want the Holy Spirit to control us.   We want His way, all the time!   So, this is a tool to help us hold each other accountable in a positive way.

Having trouble with your tongue? Here's a simple suggestion: memorize or post a scripture verse that applies to your struggle ("...everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger... if anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless." - James 1: 19,26)

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Everyone struggles in some area.  We are aiming for 20 days without lying or exaggerating or intentionally misleading /correcting calmly without raising my voice or repeating myself.  Is there some area of your life (and yours child’s) that you could use a little encouragement and positive accountability?


 

If you’re reading this, I’m praying for you, and I’d appreciate your prayers, too!

If you’d like prayer about a specific struggle, post it in a comment.  As with everywhere else on this site, if you mark it as private, it will not be shared.

________________________

If you struggle with lying and are looking for help in telling the truth, here is a place to start that has helpful advice and a free e-book about lying:

How to Stop Lying (part 1)

How to Stop Lying (part 2)

PRAY TOOLS – the best of the best (part 4)

Prayer Notebook

When I was a child, I remember my parents using a “29-59” prayer notebook developed by Peter Lord.   It had a separate page to fill in for each person/topic of intercession and scripture based prompts on various topics on the page dividers.  I used one of those notebooks in for years, but over the years, I made it my own.  It slowly transformed into a visual oriented page-protector system of my own that works for me.

Here’s a glimpse of my ever-changing notebook:

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How I Organize my Notebook:

prayer notebook 21prayer notebook 22 prayer notebook 23 prayer notebook 24 prayer notebook 25  Five Color Divided Sections

  1. BLUE – Prayer Tools (currently using)
    • lists (promises, attributes, etc…)
    • poems
    • verses
    • prompts
  2. PURPLE Family (with a separate page protectors for…)
    • our family (as a whole)
    • my husband
    • myself
    • our children (as a group)
    • each child individually
  3. YELLOW – Other Lists  (page protectors for…)
    • extended family
    • church
    • friends
    • ministries/missionaries
    • special acquaintances/needs (for long term prayer)
  4. RED Important/Urgent (page protectors for…)
    • pressing world needs
    • persecuted church
    • government
  5. GREEN – Prayer Tools (not currently using)

Page Protectors

In our family pages, I keep all the prayer lists from the previous years in the back of the clear protectors.

It can be an encouragement to see my old requests (like potty training, getting rid of a pacifier, etc.) have been met when I’m praying for today’s challenges.

Every season’s list is a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

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On special prayer days, especially after Christmas when photos of family and friends that come in cards, I up-date my notebook.   I find that seeing the faces of those I care about focuses me and inspires me more than any black and white list.

Instead of trying to pray for everyone and everything, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me as I pray.  I pull out a couple missionary prayer cards, photos, or symbolic visual reminders from a page protector as my prompts.

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Topical Lists

I collect and create topical prayer lists (such as praying for pastors, missionaries, government officials, …).

Since I’m not as motivated to pray for things removed from my immediate family, I find that putting  in writing what I really want to ask the LORD or using a premade list by those who are more closely connected to the needs keeps me from putting it off, being distracted, or feeling guilty for blanking-out when I start.

number them (1 to 7, 1 to 30) and focus on one specific need on the corresponding day/date.  — Of course, with everything, a good thing can turn into a burden or an issue of sin (like pride or legalism) if we don’t guard our heart and choose to be led by the Holy Spirit.   The purpose of these tools is encouraging prayer, not list and notebook making.

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Some pages have become so precious to me.

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They represent many tears, dreams, deepest desires, concerns of people close to me, and fears given over to the LORD, but they also remind me of God’s promises, His character, His generosity, and His faithfulness.  He has answered so many prayers!

My Prayer for You

I hope this, and any other prayer ideas you come across, will only inspire and encourage you, not overwhelm you or cause you to take on a burden.  Remember, prayer is “casting (our) cares on the LORD because He cares for (us)”.

I pray that whatever tools you choose to use that you will let them be presents to the One you love.  When He gives you ideas or resources receive them as gifts from Him.

Check out the latest “personal retreat” a Leap Year Prayer challenge:  “1-1-1-1” (PRAY)

Soooo many wonderful days!!!!

I love the fall.  What a marvelous window of holidays!

It’s only just begun, and as much as it seemed dreadful in August to think of saying goodbye to summer, already I am happily embracing my favorite time of the year!

It means the beginning of hay rides, bon-fires, long hikes in the woods under falling leaves, and pulling out snuggly warm clothes.

Best of all, when September comes, and holidays begin, the days feel more “festive”.  Every week is filled with history to research and remember and traditions to preserve and pass-along to another generation…  so many reasons to celebrate!
Continue reading Soooo many wonderful days!!!!

XKA – This is Your Invitation…

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coat of arms 06Friends and Fellow Seekers,

Often times, I’m writing in reflection mode, past-tense, recap-after-the-fact rather than what I’m dreaming about and working on at the moment.

But, when I read a few verses from one of my favorite chapters as I prepared for on a Spring project, I thought of you, and I thought I’d try something new.

I want to let you in on the process… the daydream, what I’m planning next.

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Jesus, speaking to His disciples before His death, said, “…I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:15 (NIV, or as the Living translation puts it, “Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything…”

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I want “friendship”.  I want to be friends with you, to share with you what I’m thinking about today and what the LORD is teaching me now.

(And, I always love hearing from you.  So, feel free to leave your comments.  If they seem personal or if you mention you’d like your thoughts to be kept private, I won’t post them) 

 “-ship”  – the suffix means a state or condition; a rank, a position, or an office.

The LORD bumped us up from “servant” to “friend”, a new condition in our relationship, a new position of honor.

And, as mutual friends of Christ, we are “fellows”, comrades, equals.

Because of our “friendship” with Christ, we can enjoy the most amazing “fellowship” with each other!

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With that concept in mind, I offer to you an invitation

“Sorority” =

(Greek for sisterhood, or “sister-ship”)

I want to let you in on the next Personal Spring Retreat (2016) as it is created!

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The Sisters of Chi Kappa Alpha

Extend to you our Warmest Congratulations

on your invitation into the Sisterhood of Our Sorority

 

Dear Pledges,

Chi Kappa Alpha is an open “sorority”, or “sisterhood”.  Invitations are open to all Seekers.   To be inducted into full membership, all you have to do is accept the invitation and on your honor complete the following requirements:

  1. choose a place to pray
  2. make it your ambition to meet with the LORD to Seek Him First everyday
  3. subscribe to these posts and take on as many (or as few) of the challenges that are posted as you wish (when it comes to “personal retreat challenges” everything is always optional)
  4. find or create a “sisterhood” of your own (They don’t have to be Chi Kappa Alpha girls; they just need to be ladies you can pray with regularly and share what the LORD is teaching you and what He is doing in your life.)

– The ΑΩ chapter of ΧΚΑ

Stay tunes, or “stay subscribed”.  There’s more to come!

If you’re curious, checkout these pages…