Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Prayer to Refresh Your Soul

Lord, OBLITERATE every lie I have believed about myself. Where falsehoods are deeply entrenched in the deepest part of me, pull them out. Replace every lie with Your amazing truth. Help me to do my part by absorbing and memorizing Your Word.

God, bring healing. Bring freedom. Help me know, understand, and accept who I truly am in Christ in a real, transforming way. Thank you for causing Your truth to flourish in me. Thank you for displacing every lie and enabling me to embrace who You say that I am. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

P.S. Congratulations to Andrea, who left a comment on 9/22/15. She is the WINNER of a signed copy of Glynnis Whitwer’s new book, “Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day”. I will be emailing you, Andrea. J

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prayer to Refresh Your Soul

Lord, when I feel weak and overwhelmed, help me to remember that You are my strength and shield. I don’t have to struggle. I don’t have to figure everything out. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to stress. I can and will trust You, rely on You, and confidently lean on You. Thank you for being my strength, Lord, today and always. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Taming Your To-Do List {And a Give-Away!}

It's a joy for me to host my sweet and gifted friend, Glynnis Whitwer today. Glynnis is one of the most productive and organized people I know, and she's written a book that will help you choose wisely, be led by the Holy Spirit, and become more productive--without losing your mind. I love this book and am sure you will too. Be sure to follow the instructions below for your chance to win a signed copy! 
A few years ago, I had to face a hard truth about myself. Although my days were filled with good things, I wasn’t always choosing the best things.  The things that mattered most, often fell to the bottom of my to-do list. Then I’d transfer them to the next list, and sometimes they even fell off the list.
I thought the solution might be to work harder. But that only produced a stressed out, burned out mess of a woman, who was short-changing God, her family, friends and herself.
What God helped me discover was an internal tendency that was impacting my ability to get the right things done. When faced with two choices of what to do, I want to choose the easier of two tasks. For example, if my choice was between answering emails or working on a chapter of my book, I’d start with the emails thinking to check some things quickly off my list. Only once I started on emails, I was on a runaway train of “busywork,” and that creative project got pushed aside.
Thankfully God showed me my choices were creating a habit of procrastination that needed addressing. And working harder was never going to solve the root problem.
There were some complicated issues to uncover, but I also discovered small changes can produce the greatest amount of impact.
Procrastinators often repeat the same habits, hoping for a different result. Some times we need a small tweak in our approach to find success. Facing any personal struggle takes creativity, persistence and a willingness to try something new. But we can change.
Here are some of the small changes that made a big difference in how I managed my responsibilities.
Build renewal into your week
If we want to sustain energy to fulfill God’s calling on our lives and complete the work He has given us to do, we should build renewal into our lives on a weekly basis. 
God actually designed the need for rest and renewal into our minds and bodies, starting with the need for seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Then He designed an ultradian rhythm into our bodies, which creates a lull in focus and energy every 60 to 90 minutes. Rather than pushing through with a dose of caffeine, give yourself a much needed 5-10 minute break. The other significant renewal God designed is the Sabbath. I have to trust God knows more than I do about what’s best for me, and honor this important day of the week with true rest.
Develop smart routines
Routines help us conserve mental and physical energy by removing decision-making. What time of day could use some order for you? Morning, after work, evening? Try writing out a schedule, and assigning times to tasks.  Most of us actually crave structure, we just don’t realize it until we experience it.
Reward yourself
All parents understand the power of rewards to get children to do the right thing. But I wonder if we think we’ve outgrown the need for rewards. Apparently God doesn’t think so, as there are over 80 verses in the Bible that refer to rewards.
I’m guilty of assigning a reward only when I’ve completed my ultimate goal. But rather than inspiring me to action, a reward that far away reinforces my perfectionist thinking that the only thing to be celebrated is the completed project.
What I should do is celebrate progress with small rewards along the way. So if you’ve put off sorting through mail for a few weeks, promise yourself a small treat when you’ve worked for five minutes. Actually, your first reward might be for starting! And that’s okay.
If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, just start small. Try making one change and live with it for a while. Small positive changes have a powerful cumulative affect. And one day, you’ll wake up and realize you don’t dread the day so much. In fact, you actually can’t wait to get started on your best work.
FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED COPY of “Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day”, please (1)  leave a comment sharing what small thing you intend to start, and what your reward might be AND (2) leave your email in your comment so I can reach you if you win!

Glynnis Whitwer is a wife, mother of five young adults and executive director of communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her latest book, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day, can you help you identify your priorities and reorder your schedule so you can live them out. You can connect with Glynnis on her blog at www.GlynnisWhitwer.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Prayer to Refresh Your Soul

Lord, help me not to lose it today. Not when I get cut off in traffic, not when things go horribly wrong, not when I have the opportunity to retort with a few choice words. Please help me to reign in my anger, because it will never achieve what You desire. Lord please give me ever-increasing grace in this area as I make the effort to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. May all my responses continually be led by Your Spirit and not my flesh. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Unshakable Peace

It arrived in the form of a heart-rattling text. 

The words in the little text-bubble read “I’ve got something to tell you”, and instantly my gut contracted and I knew—I just knew—it wouldn’t be good.

That day, I had to wait hours and hours before the dreaded conversation actually happened. Though I sensed something serious was about to hit me, I had no idea what it could be. All of which means I had hours and hours to wonder, fret, and stew.

And that’s when the inner earthquake began. I’ve written about inner earthquakes before , and I know the right things to do. But this involved someone extremely near and dear to me, and the not knowing? It was messing with my mind.

So I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. But the awful fog of dread enshrouding my entire being refused to lift.

After about two hours of deep turmoil, a God-thought penetrated my mind. And sweet friends, let me just tell you that I have never, ever felt so grateful for the Holy Spirit’s ability to speak to my heart. 

Don’t go where the enemy is trying to drag you. Guard your heart and hold on to your peace.

The truth is the enemy wants to entice us far from God's peace. He wants to drag us to the ugly place of emotional turmoil. But the Holy Spirit gives us exactly what we need, right when we need it {can I get a Hallelujah?}.  He truly is our Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, and Standby. (See John 15:7) 

And suddenly I understood I had unwittingly made a choice the moment I read that text. I had surrendered my peace. It might as well have been a hold-up with a masked thug, because that’s how fast I gave it up.

We know the enemy is a thief (See John 10:10) and sometimes God allows him to do awful things (just read the book of Job, or the current headlines). But the truth is he can only take our peace when we allow it.

If we want peace in the middle of our crazy, we need to clutch it for all we’re worth. Jesus paid a massive price for our peace. He died for it. He bequeathed it to us, which means it is legally ours.
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] (John 14:27) (AMP)
Now hear me out. The enemy knows how to rattle us. He knows our weak spots. He knows how we’ve always reacted in the past. But our response to any of the stuff he’s doing or attempting to do in our lives is always, always our choice.

We must refuse—absolutely refuse—to yield our peace. We must stop allowing ourselves to be agitated and disturbed and unsettled {Jesus’s own words!}.

We can’t always control what life throws our way. But holding on to peace is always a choice. My prayer is that in His gracious kindness, the Holy Spirit will remind us of this important truth when we need it most.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10) (ESV)

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