If only…

Have you ever played that mind game with yourself, “If only….”? Maybe you have even played it with your closet friends talking aloud or seeing someone win the lottery on the nightly news.

If only, I lived there instead of here. If only, I had a million dollars I could follow my dream. If only, I were thin and beautiful like her I would have a lot of friends. If only, I were different than who I am now.

What it means to follow Jesus

There have been plenty of times, I played the “if only” game throughout my life. I wondered why God placed me in the most useless place or circumstance. As I measured myself against others, I would sigh and wonder when it would be my turn to be happy, to be at peace, or to feel fulfilled. It is so easy to fall into this “if only” game with social media showing us how much fun or how happy others seemingly are by their vacation, party photos, and joyous announcements.

The “if only” game is a trap we must avoid at all costs.

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:21-25 (GW)

Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was the greatest use. He did not think the way we do, but how God thinks. He never defended, argued back, or vindicated Himself because He knew God’s character and understood His purpose.

What then is my purpose where I am planted now?

“So I can guarantee that God’s angels are happy about one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts.” Luke 15:10 (GW)

I find it freeing in Jesus’ example of never defending or arguing about God’s character. He went about the purpose God put Him on earth to accomplish. He suffered and died for me to save me from my sins. Why must I complain? We never have to play the “if only” game with God. Christ accomplished our “if only.”

”If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

So then, those who suffer according to God’s Will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:14-19 (GW)

I must never measure my life against another person. God is the director of my life. We each have our own place and purpose for the glory of God. When I refuse to play the “if only” game as a follower of Jesus, I am totally incapable of judging where I am to be. I satisfy His heart when I make others strong and mature in God.

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My Prayer

“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, I pray that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that no evil may have power over me. Amen.”

(Adapted from Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer)

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I have kept a prayer journal over the last ten years to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God.

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God’s Blessings to You,

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Sheri

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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

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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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