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

 

 

 

 

40 Journal Entries: 8-Week Series, Week 4

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.

Personal Interaction

“Prayer doesn’t change God; it changes me.” ~ C.S. Lewis

As we mark the half way mark in this 8-week series, let’s stop for a moment and examine our prayer journal journey.

What changes have you seen or felt since beginning your prayer journal?

Has it become a daily habit? Why or why not?

Has writing in a prayer journal brought you closer in your relationship with God? If not, why?

Do you feel His presence? How?

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

Meaningful prayer

Some days may be rushed or you may be feeling just too tired to pick up the pen. I understand fully. God understands too. All relationships take work even with drawing closer in our relationship to God, but one thing I hope you will come to understand through trying to make a daily habit of a prayer journal is feeling God’s presence and guidance in your life.

“All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard and will receive what they have asked and desired.” Martin Luther

If there is any power or surety in our prayer is to know we really have come into His presence. Allow your address to God sink deep into your heart in that quiet space wherever you may be sitting or kneeling… and begin writing again.

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6

Here are this week’s five words.

Grace

“What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” Rick Warren

“I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far.” Philippians 3:14-16

“This Lord is the Spirit. Wherever the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

“Obey God one step at a time, then the next step will come into view.” Catherine Marshall

Motivation

“We are trying not so much to make God listen to us as to make ourselves listen to him; we are trying not to persuade God to do what we want, but to find out what He wants us to do.” William Barclay

Jesus speaks to Peter

After they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the other disciples do?”
Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus asked him again, a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus told him, “Take care of my sheep.”
Jesus asked him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter felt sad because Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” So Peter said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep. I can guarantee this truth: When you were young, you would get ready to go where you wanted. But when you’re old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will get you ready to take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to show by what kind of death Peter would bring glory to God. After saying this, Jesus told Peter, “Follow me!”
Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved. That disciple was following them. He was the one who leaned against Jesus’ chest at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to Peter, “If I want him to live until I come again, how does that concern you? Follow me!” So a rumor that that disciple wouldn’t die spread among Jesus’ followers. But Jesus didn’t say that he wouldn’t die. What Jesus said was, “If I want him to live until I come again, how does that concern you?” John 21:17-23

“The man or woman who is compelled by Jesus’ love and empowered by His Spirit does the will of God from the heart.” F.F. Bruce

Guilt

“We know that our reward depends not on the job itself but on the faithfulness with which we serve God.” John Paul I

“If we say, “We have a relationship with God” and yet live in the dark, we’re lying. We aren’t being truthful. But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin. If we say, “We aren’t sinful” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.” 1 John 1:6-9

Acceptance

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” St. Augustine

“This is a statement that can be trusted and deserves complete acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the foremost sinner. However, I was treated with mercy so that Christ Jesus could use me, the foremost sinner, to demonstrate his patience. This patience serves as an example for those who would believe in him and live forever. Worship and glory belong forever to the eternal king, the immortal, invisible, and only God. Amen.” 1 Timothy 15-17

Wisdom

“God hath in Himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you.” Thomas Brooks

“The LORD gives wisdom. From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He has reserved priceless wisdom for decent people. He is a shield for those who walk in integrity in order to guard those on paths of justice and to watch over the way of his godly ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair— every good course in life. Wisdom will come into your heart. Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Foresight will protect you. Understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:6-11

My personal prayer for you

God, thank you for interacting with us so personally. Help each of us to fully engage in our relationship with you. We do not always have the words but we know you see into our hearts. Help us to draw closer to you as you draw nearer to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Make this prayer your own and feel God’s presence in your life. I trust He will make himself known to you.

In closing,

What do this week’s five words mean to you? As you continue to make your prayer journal a daily habit, pray upon your motivation in beginning your prayer journal and your expectations as you move through your own journal writing experience.

“In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without heart.” John Bunyan

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