Uncommon Devotion

“Trust the Lord always because the Lord, the Lord alone is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:4 GW

An uncommon life.

Every morning on my way to the office, I pass by a billboard for a local Lutheran university. The billboard advertises the university’s new slogan, “Live Uncommon.” Their website blog, https://blog.cuw.edu/brand-promise/ explains their slogan this way:

“There is something quite different about Concordia University,” says University President Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D. “What sets us apart, what makes us uncommon, is that our ordinary university is attached to the Word of God and connected to His promises. Our assurance of eternal life through our Savior Jesus Christ compels us to go out into the world, utilizing the gifts with which he has graced us, to share the extraordinary.”

An uncommon devotion

I used to feel inferior to other Christians who were educated in private Christian schools and college, even though I was baptized and raised in the church by attending weekly services, Sunday School and catechism class. I made it a point that my children would be raised in Christian schools so they would be given a solid start and foundation in their faith.

It wasn’t until years later that my inferiority was unfounded. Although formal Christian education is a blessing and encouraged, it need not be a prerequisite for being a Christian grounded in biblical understanding. My daily communication with my Lord and Savior, my daily reading of his Word, and prayers requesting His presence in and direction of my life makes me no smaller than those who have a formal Christian education.

The Holy Spirit’s goal is not to fill my mind with information from the Bible, but to bring me to a deeper level in my relationship with my heavenly Father. He wants me to understand the truth, so I can know the love of Jesus Christ more intimately. The depth of Christ’s love motivates me to want to know Him better, spend time in His presence, and read His Word, the Bible.

Although I am not a graduate of a Christian school or university, I choose to live an uncommon life with a devotion to God who has blessed me with my own gifts to share with those who also may feel or have felt inferior in whatever circumstance.

Paul Honors Christ Whether He Lives or Dies

“Yes, I will continue to be happy for another reason. I know that I will be set free through your prayers and through the help that comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. I eagerly expect and hope that I will have nothing to be ashamed of. I will speak very boldly and honor Christ in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. Christ means everything to me in this life, and when I die, I’ll have even more. If I continue to live in this life, my work will produce more results. I don’t know which I would prefer. I find it hard to choose between the two. I would like to leave this life and be with Christ. That’s by far the better choice. But for your sake it’s better that I remain in this life. Since I’m convinced of this, I know that I will continue to live and be with all of you. This will help you to grow and be joyful in your faith.” Philippians 1:18-25 GW

A child of God

A genuine and intimate relationship with Christ awaits anyone who listens and allows the Holy Spirit to reveal the thoughts of God in their life. As I draw closer to Him every day writing and praying in my journal, reading His Word and praying for clarity in my life and others; He draws closer and I feel, see, and hear His presence and guidance in my life.

The Power of Prayer

Jesus said to his disciples, “Suppose one of you has a friend. Suppose you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine on a trip has dropped in on me, and I don’t have anything to serve him.’ Your friend might answer you from inside his house, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ I can guarantee that although he doesn’t want to get up to give you anything, he will get up and give you whatever you need because he is your friend and because you were so bold.

“So, I tell you to ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find, and for the person who knocks, the door will be opened.

“If your child asks you, his father, for a fish, would you give him a snake instead? Or if your child asks you for an egg, would you give him a scorpion? Even though you’re evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. So how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11: 5-13 GW

God is Here

God is Here.jpg

My Prayer

Lord of my life, I know that my life is not my own. By Your death and resurrection, You made me Your own. Help me to live under Your direction, always ready to hear the call, “Follow Me.” I am grateful for You and the angels you have placed in my life under Your direction that I may do the same. May I always be aware of Your presence; always know that I have received the gift of Your Spirit; always living so that others may receive Your love and mercy through me.

Show me again that there is love and forgiveness and mercy in Your hand. Use me despite my reluctance, doubt, and disobedience. May I live that uncommon life devoted to You that I may not be afraid to follow and fall and follow again. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray. Amen

My Spiritual Journey

The Prayer Journal’s blog is my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir.

Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be an articulate writer. Use your gifts to communicate with God by perhaps with your talent as an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. God enjoys hearing from you. I know you will be blessed! I know I am!

I enjoy hearing from you too! I’m praying for you.

Blessings on your day,

Head shot 2019 - revised

Sheri

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The Prayer Habit – Beware & Be Blessed

Years ago I enlisted the help of a therapist for postpartum depression after my second son was born. I had my children in mid-thirties, and I wanted to be that perfect mother. Constantly worried about whether I was parenting correctly and obsessed with their safety, I knew that I needed help. After a few months of therapy, I remember one session where the therapist advised me, “One day, Sheri, I am going to see your teenage children in here.” She proceeded to share with me how some of my behaviors could have a dramatic effect on my relationship with my children. After that session, I felt as though I had been ‘verbally’ spanked but I was grateful for it. She made me sit up and take notice. I am blessed to have wonderful and loving relationships with both of my sons because I heeded her advice.

So when I read a devotion by Oswald Chambers last week, I felt again as though I had been verbally spanked. It made me sit up and say, WOW! While the devotion was entitled, “The Habit of Having No Habits,” the message was clear about my prayer journal habit.

WOW!

“Your god may be your little Christian habit – the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, ‘I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.’ No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality,” writes Oswald Chambers.

Here is the link to read the entire devotion: http://utmost.org/the-habit-of-having-no-habits/

I have been guilty of loving the habit of my journal writing – the habit of writing – so much so that at times I have consciously missed to simply meditating on His Word, His presence at that moment, and forgetting to put down the pen to quietly listen to God.

As Oswald Chambers wisely ends this particular devotion, “Remember that ‘the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit’ is before all else.”

Is there someplace where I am not at home with God?

My prayer journal has helped me to focus attention inwardly on my relationship with God. I have created this habit of writing daily in my prayer journal, and I take my journal almost everywhere I go. However, this Oswald Chamber helped me to question whether my journal writing was a self-examination of my relationship with God, or was my prayer journal just an opportunity to write everything that was going on in my life?

Truthfully, the answer was both.

Writing in my prayer journal is a spontaneous habit in my life, but the habit hasn’t always been immersed in drawing closer to God. I thank Oswald Chambers for verbally spanking me just has my therapist had many years ago to set me on the right path.

Prayer Is

 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

“If we can change our attitudes about prayer – thinking of it as a process that builds our relationship with God – and cultivate a daily prayer time, we can become strong people of prayer. And the prayer life we develop has the potential to completely transform our lives.” John Maxwell, Author, and Speaker

Journal Tools

When I begin my daily prayer time, I read several Christian devotions and then I end with reading Scripture before I begin writing. God speaks to me in many different ways and in my circumstances, as well as, through other people’s perspectives. Devotion topics lead me to spiritual self-examination allowing me to explore where I am in my relationship to God. I am able then to journal my own perspective and allowing God to work with me in whatever is limiting my understanding or acceptance of His Will for my life.

The following daily devotion websites are some of my favorite reflective readings:

Our Daily Bread www.odb.org

Oswald Chambers www.utmost.org

Rick Warren www.rickwarren.org

InTouch Ministries www.intouch.org

Lutheran Women’s Missionary League www.lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions

Biblegateway www.biblegateway.com/devotionals has a list of daily devotions.

Crosswalk www.crosswalk.com/devotionals has a list of daily devotions.

Praying the Scriptures:

“Give (me) each day (my) daily bread.” Luke 11:3

“Trust in the Lord with all (my) heart, and do not rely on (my) own insight. In all (my) ways acknowledge him and he will straight (my) paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:67-68

Prayer Writing Prompt:

If my devotions lead me to Jesus, then they are good. But, if I stay where I am, something is wrong. Is there someplace where I am not at home with God?

Am I limiting myself from doing certain things that restrict me from drawing closer to God?

You can now follow The Prayer Journals on Twitter for daily writing prompts.
Twitter: @PrayerPrompts

Comment on this post with your favorite daily devotions!

If you would like me to pray for you, email me, Sheri at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com or send a tweet @PrayerPrompts.

Blessings on your day!