40 Journal Entries: 8-Week Series, Week 5

The 40 Prayer Journal Entries is an eight-week series designed to exam certain words which describe emotions and actions that keep us from having a close relationship with God. Each week we will examine five new words with accompanying Bible verses. These five words and Bible verses will be prompts for you to write about your own feelings, responses, and prayers surrounding these words and verses.

the-exchange

As we approach Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season, I have chosen five words to not only to continue drawing closer in our relationship with God but how we share or can share Him with others.

Gifts

Several years ago, I was responsible for helping members of my church’s congregation utilize their gifts in service to others in the church and community. In that effort, I had requested members to complete a survey of to help them to determine their gifts and how they may want to use them in forthcoming church events.

As I approached an older woman along with her young adopted daughter between services one Sunday to discuss participating in the survey said to me, “I don’t have any gifts or talents.” Her young daughter exclaimed, “You DO too, Mom!”

God has blessed each one of us with gifts He wants us to share with others. Why? Because sharing our gifts connects them to Christ. I feel duty-bound to share whatever talents or gifts be shared with others.

What are your gifts?

 There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person.  The evidence of the Spirit’s presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone.1 Corinthians 12:4-7

 How can I share my gifts?

 God in his kindness gave each of us different gifts. If your gift is speaking what God has revealed, make sure what you say agrees with the Christian faith. If your gift is serving, then devote yourself to serving. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If it is encouraging others, devote yourself to giving encouragement. If it is sharing, be generous. If it is leadership, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping people in need, help them cheerfully.Romans 12:6-8

Forsaken

The word, forsaken, means to abandon or desert.  God never abandons us, but He does ask us to abandon our “old ways” and our “old thinking.”   In other words, what needs to be abandoned or given up to draw closer to Him?

What does the word “abandon” mean me?

Don’t love money. Be happy with what you have because God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you.”  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper.     I will not be afraid. What can mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

How does the word “abandon” apply me?

“Some people are like seeds on rocky soil. They welcome the word with joy whenever they hear it, but they don’t develop any roots. They believe for a while, but when their faith is tested, they abandon it.” Luke 8:13

Obedience

 Obedience draws upon many emotions, and oft times, negative reactions. The dictionary defines obedience has being dutiful or submissive compliance.  Though the word, “obedience” may imply weakness, Christ speaks about obedience as building our lives on a strong foundation:

 “Therefore, everyone who hears what I say and obeys it will be like a wise person who built a house on rock. Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not collapse, because its foundation was on rock.Everyone who hears what I say but doesn’t obey it will be like a foolish person who built a house on sand.  Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and struck that house. It collapsed, and the result was a total disaster.” Matthew 7:24-26

 Why is obeying so tough?

 “I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me. So live in my love.  If you obey my commandments, you will live in my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commandments, and in that way I live in his love. I have told you this so that you will be as joyful as I am, and your joy will be complete.” John 15:9-11

Righteous

Here is another word that can have negative reactions, but usually it is because it is the act of self-righteousness that leads our gifts astray.  Righteous means morally right or justifiable.

The meaning of righteousness

“Then an act of righteousness will bring about peace, calm, and safety forever. My people will live in a peaceful place, in safe homes and quiet places of rest.” Isaiah 32:17-18

Proverbs 11

The Value of Righteousness

Dishonest scales are disgusting to the Lord,
but accurate weights are pleasing to him.
Arrogance comes,
then comes shame,
but wisdom remains with humble people.
Integrity guides decent people,
but hypocrisy leads treacherous people to ruin.

Riches are of no help on the day of fury,
but righteousness saves from death.
The righteousness of innocent people makes their road smooth,
but wicked people fall by their own wickedness.
Decent people are saved by their righteousness,
but treacherous people are trapped by their own greed.
        At the death of a wicked person, hope vanishes.
Moreover, his confidence in strength vanishes.

A righteous person is rescued from trouble,
and a wicked person takes his place.

With his talk a godless person can ruin his neighbor,
but righteous people are rescued by knowledge.

10 When righteous people prosper, a city is glad.
When wicked people die, there are songs of joy.
11     With the blessing of decent people a city is raised up,
but by the words of wicked people, it is torn down.

12 A person who despises a neighbor has no sense,
but a person who has understanding keeps quiet.
13 Whoever gossips gives away secrets,
but whoever is trustworthy in spirit can keep a secret.
14 A nation will fall when there is no direction,
but with many advisers there is victory.
15 Whoever guarantees a stranger’s loan will get into trouble,
but whoever hates the closing of a deal remains secure.
16 A gracious woman wins respect,
but ruthless men gain riches.
17 A merciful person helps himself,
but a cruel person hurts himself.
18 A wicked person earns dishonest wages,
but whoever spreads righteousness earns honest pay.
19 As righteousness leads to life,
so whoever pursues evil finds his own death.

20 Devious people are disgusting to the Lord,
but he is delighted with those whose ways are innocent.
21 Certainly, an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the descendants of righteous people will escape.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout,
so is a beautiful woman who lacks good taste.
23 The desire of righteous people ends only in good,
but the hope of wicked people ends only in fury.

24 One person spends freely and yet grows richer,
while another holds back what he owes and yet grows poorer.
25         A generous person will be made rich,
and whoever satisfies others will himself be satisfied.[a]
26 People will curse the one who hoards grain,
but a blessing will be upon the head of the one who sells it.

27 Whoever eagerly seeks good searches for good will,
but whoever looks for evil finds it.
28 Whoever trusts his riches will fall,
but righteous people will flourish like a green leaf.
29 Whoever brings trouble upon his family inherits only wind,
and that stubborn fool becomes a slave to the wise in heart.
30 The fruit of a righteous person is a tree of life,
and a winner of souls is wise.
31 If the righteous person is rewarded on earth,
how much more the wicked person and the sinner!

Salvation

“Since we belong to the day, we must be sober. We must put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  It was not God’s intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake in this life or asleep in death, we will live together with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-10

What does salvation mean to me?

(All Bible verses are GOD’s Word translation.)

In closing,

I love reading, writing, and sharing poetry. What may be good or bad in the eyes of others, I know God has given me many gifts that I continue to explore and share with others. I pray my writing touches your heart and connects to the desire to live a life in Christ.

“Nothing is really ours until we share it.” C.S. Lewis

God will help you discern your gifts and show you how can share them with others.

Continue to read and re-read the book of Matthew throughout the 8-week series to understand the heart of Jesus Christ. Biblegateway.com or Bible.com are both excellent online resources. On their home page, search any word for Bible verses containing the word. Keep writing your way through whatever has brought you to draw closer to Him.

May I pray for you?

I enjoy reading your input. Please message me here or email me at hoot@thebloggingowl.com.

Prayer prompts can also be found at on my Twitter feed: @PrayerPrompts

Blessings on your day!

Sheri

© 2015-2017 TheBloggingOwl.com and ThePrayerJournals.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

 

 

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