Named

(Excerpt from Power Prayers for the Graduate, Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2009)

God, I realize that names must be pretty important—an angel came and told Jesus’ mother what to name him and the same thing with his cousin, John the Baptist.

You have many names in the Bible and they all tell me something about Who you are. You are powerful, protective, and my provider. I call your name and you rescue me.

Help me to live my life so that I can bring honor to your name. So many people call themselves Christians, but their lifestyle doesn’t reflect a life lived like Christ. Help me to be a genuine reflection of You.

 

Advertisements

I Am God’s Child

(Excerpt from Power Prayers for the Graduate, Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2009)

 

Jesus, thank You for making the way for me to belong to your family. Everyone who accepts you and believes in you has the right to become a child of God. I am born of God—not as a natural birth, but a spiritual birth. You are my example and I will do my best to follow in your footsteps. I want to be like you. I want to have the same character and nature of our Heavenly Father.[1] I accept that right and receive your gift to be included in the greatest family of all eternity. My spirit is alive to God.

The Spirit of God,

who raised Jesus from the dead,

lives in you.

Romans 8:11 NLT

[1] John 1:12

The Power of Who I am in Christ

(Excerpt from Power Prayers for the Graduate, Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2009)

One recent graduate who had not yet decided if she was ready to hit the job market, prepared for the onslaught of questions for “back-to-school” night at her daughter’s elementary school. She had cleverly ordered business cards that read: Julie Stout, Domestic Engineer with her home phone and address, cell phone and email address.

The way we think of ourselves has everything to do with how the world sees us. When you look in the mirror, you see a graduate—but what kind of graduate? Are you confident, shy, easily intimidated or ready to take on the world? Graduate doesn’t really tell the world who you are but more that you are transitioning to the next step in your life.

When you meet someone, the first question you’re asked after your name is “…and what do you do?”

We define each other by what we do rather than who we are.

Often our occupations define us to others instead of our commitment to Christ.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” The disciples replied from different perspectives from various people, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” Then Jesus pointed the question at them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”[1]

Peter recognized Jesus because He had become who God desired him to be. They saw God when they saw Jesus. He said and did what the Father told him to do and say. He lived in the power of who God created him to be.

At some point in your life you were probably introduced to someone based on your relationship with someone else—Annie’s sister, Professor Vance’s student, or Rich’s friend. Now, imagine if you were introduced to others based on your relationship with God. This is God’s child, Stephen. He’s the spitting image of his Heavenly Father—so strong and courageous. Or, c’mon over and meet Shelley, she so compassionate, just like Christ!

As a Christian your relationships with God should be the foundation of your personal identity. The only way to find out who you really are and who you are meant to become, is to discover God’s identity and the character that goes along with that identity.

Ephesians 5:1 says, Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children (niv). Throughout the Bible you read the truth of who God is and how he relates to you. You can find yourself within the pages that describe His character, His morals, His values, His work ethic—His identity. As you spend time in prayer with Him you will experience His presence and a personal relationship with Him.

The amazing power of who you are in Christ provides you with everything you need to succeed. When you are weak; he is strong. He has made you more than a conquerer, an overcomer in this life. No matter what battles you face—you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

 

When My Heart is Overwhelmed

(Excerpt from Prayer for an Anxious Heart,  to which I had to honor of contributing with thanks to Barbour Publishing Inc.)

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
PSALM 61:2-4 NLT

Lord, life happens all the time, and no matter how much I try to plan or prepare for the future, the unexpected occurs. I try to control my world, and just when I think I might have it all together, something happens to remind me I am not in control. From deep grief to small disappointments, those things can cause my emotions to spin out of control and overwhelm my heart.
When those times come—and they will—lift my chin and help me focus on you. You are a very present help in time of trouble. Only you can calm the storm inside of me when a tornado of uncertainty spins from within. You are my peace and my strength. You provide shelter and safety to my wounded heart. When I look to you, I find a place of rest for all the questions running through my mind.
Thank you for always being there for me when I cry out to you. Thank you for always settling my soul with your presence. I put my mind on you and I rest in the sanctuary of our love. Help me to live my life under the shelter of your wings. I close my eyes and rest in you now.

 

First Pride, Then the Crash

Most likely you’ve met a person that brags on himself. He’s working to change your perception of him, to see him in a better light or persuade a self-promoter. It can be exciting to say, “Hey, look at me! See what I can do.” But sooner or later others get tired of it. We are all special to God, and we all have value, worth and a part in His plan.

Love does not parade itself; it is not puffed up.[1]

When we’re little we expect to be center stage; but once we hit elementary school, some of the things everyone thought were so funny aren’t so cute anymore. We’ve grown up. As we grow, we find that it is much more appealing to others to compliment and sing your praises because they noticed the gift you are—not a present you need to open and parade in front of them.

Proverbs 16:18 says, First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.[2] Satan fell. In Isaiah 14:12-15 you can read how Satan went from the highest point (Heaven) to the lowest point (Hell).[3] Notice the question, “How are you fallen from heaven?” And the question is answered:

“You have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’”

Satan became so puffed up he thought he could do a better job than God—the One who created him.

The opposite motivation of love is to draw attention to self and expect others to serve you.

Love is not prideful. Love serves. A good friend of mine has set an example of service in my life. She goes the extra mile at all times. When she sees a need, she’s on it. If your tea glass is half full—she’s filling it. She has an open heart and home. She is willing to bless wherever and whenever she can.

A heart of service doesn’t mean you can’t have self-respect, and that you should lie down and let people walk all over you. I don’t believe you should allow others to take advantage of or abuse you, but serve and give yourself away because you love others.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle. linae cover

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV

[2] MSG

[3] NKJV

Only through Love

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

1 Corinthians 13 says, Love suffers long and is kind. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story about Joseph, a highly favored, younger sonwho truly suffered long and respondedin the endwith kindness.

One of the things I love about God is He can take anything that anyone means for harm and destruction and use it for His goodness and glory.

Joseph’s older brothers were so jealous of him, they sold him into slavery and told his father he’d been killed by a wild animal. They even took the coat their father had made for him, soaked it in the blood of an animal and presented it to their father to support their story. You can read the full account in Genesis 37.

Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.[1] Through the actions of his jealous brothers, God was able to save Joseph’s family during the years of famine that ravaged his nation years later. Joseph’s ability to love and forgive his brothers in spite of all he’d been through at their hand, gave life to his family and all of Israel.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com. linae cover

[1] Genesis 37:5

Waiting for Patience

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

The words, love never fails, stopped me in my tracks when I read them in 1 Corinthians 13:8. Those words were very difficult to accept. From my viewpoint love had failed me many times, and yet the Bible is God’s Word and pure truth! So, in my heart and mind, something had to give. It was MY IMAGE OF LOVE that had failed me. I needed new picture of love— the real, God kind of love. Since God’s Word is true—love can never fail—I wanted to know and understand that unfailing love, and make it a permanent part of my life.

Love waits with patience…I often back up and reread 1 Corinthians 13:4: love suffers long…that is patience. Then I think, uh, oh! Here we go again. As I mentioned earlier, from my perspective, patience equals suffering! As difficult as it was for me to admit, the key element that must be recognized is love never fails because love is patient.

Waiting has always been difficult for me. I want it now—whatever it is! When someone says, “I’ll tell you later,” my immediate reaction is to say, “No, tell me now.” Now always seemed better than later.

At Christmas time, I’m right there with the kids. “Can we open the presents now? Let’s open one or two.” If I have my way, we’ve got most of them out from under the tree and open before Christmas morning ever arrives. And truth be told, a tree without gifts under it on Christmas morning is a sad sight. Even if we’ve already opened and played with all the gifts, the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning was lost because of my own lack of patience.

Over the years I’ve gotten better. I remember spending a long season (more than two years) contemplating the meaning of Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.[1] It seemed during that specific time in my life—no matter where I looked, or what I walked through—God was speaking to my heart to wait, and I knew He meant wait with patience.

For me, a ninety mile an hour person, patience takes faith. I know that only by God’s power am I able to wait. I’m still learning that God’s love is like a battery that powers up my ability to wait. With love in place, I have a supernatural ability to do what I had no power to do before.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com. linae cover

[1] NIV