Tag Archives: journal

is it a NEW year?

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autumn-832334_640Happy last day of 2015!

Was it a good year for you? Before you answer that, let’s quantify “good,” shall we? In this context, “good” means: spiritually satisfying. Are you content with your QT (Quiet Time), how is your faith? What about your prayer life? Are you plugged into a Bible study group or class? Do you have a mentor who is pouring into your life? In turn, are you pouring into a younger person’s life?

Over Christmas, I was finally able to sit down to watch the movie, “War Room”. My husband and I had wanted to see it for some time but, well… life happened. My in-laws afforded us the opportunity to watch the movie while they watched our busy boy. I had heard many great things about this movie and I agree, it was a good movie. It challenged me. In it, I loved the character of the woman (Miss Clara), who mentored Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer). I loved watching how Miss Clara slowly, yet purposefully, poured wisdom into her young protegé. It paid off in spades!

For me to be a better Mom, wife and daughter, it is vitally important that I’m spending time daily in God’s Word. It can be trying and it can be difficult to squeeze in the time, but I’ve found it to be a discipline like any other. Typically, I’m ashamed and embarrassed to say, it’s quite short. Sometimes only 10 minutes, but I try to cram in as much as I can into those fleeting few moments. Setting the day right with your ‘spiritual vitamin’ makes the day go so much more smoothly. How? Well, first of all, it takes my mind off of “me” and what “I” can accomplish or control in “my” day. Rather, my focus is now turned to Him and how He will lead and guide me through the day. Perhaps He has some ‘divine appointment’ for me that I would certainly not be clued in to if my focus were only on me and my agenda. We are such selfish people by nature that if we don’t ask the Lord to order and guide our steps, it will become all about “me,” “my” wants, and “my” needs.

Truly, this is living life upside down. I like to think of it as exchanging my life for His. It’s no longer about me. By allowing Him to live in and through me, great things for the kingdom will be accomplished. It all starts with a Quiet Time of prayer and Bible study. We have to still and quiet our minds so that we can hear God’s voice above all others. To discern His voice, we have to know His Word. Once we know it, we can then hide it in our hearts and minds so that our lifestyle reflects it through the aid of the Holy Spirit. Once that happens, we will be able to pour into others.

Transforming your mind in this way will start you off on the right path for the New Year. I’m ready to jump in with both feet, how about you? Do you have a devotional to help you get into God’s Word? If not, check out my ‘devotions’ page to get some ideas. Another great tool is to have a journal where you can write down your prayer requests and then mark when the Lord answers them. This idea was beautifully portrayed in “War Room”. I love to do this because it clearly demonstrates for me an exact point of need and an exact time of answer. This grows and stretches your faith to see how God works in your life. You can always go back to your journal when a new trial presents itself to remind you that He met your need back when, and He’ll surely meet your need now. Just be sure to be specific in your requests so that you will more clearly see God in the details of answering your prayers.

2016, we’re not afraid of you! We are setting our minds on the only One who can make our path clear and straight, directing us in the way we need to go!

 “Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.”

(Proverbs 3:6-12, MSG)

Aside
What Does Contentment Look Like?

Do you feel like a pauper or a person of wealth? Do you find yourself on a never-ending treadmill, trying to accumulate all you can in this life? Do you have a roof over your head, food in your pantry and clothes on your back? Do you feel you are in a constant state of comparison with others whom you feel are “better off”?

In an effort to become (more) content, I’ve started a thankfulness journal where I can record my blessings. I believe it to be a simple and excellent way to stay positive and keep a proper perspective. I aim to record only one item per day in an effort to keep my thoughts simple and focused. You’ll find a short list below of what I’ve written thus far. Some entries may seem overly simplified; however, nothing is too simple to record. In order to be truly content, I want to be intentional in thanking God for each and every blessing He’s bestowed upon me.

  • I’m thankful to be a Stay-at-Home Mom
  • I’m thankful to be both a wife and a mom
  • I’m thankful my husband works a “9-5” job allowing us to have dinner as a family every night.
  • I’m thankful for the Bible study I recently started attending and that it offers free childcare!
  • I’m thankful for a community of Moms I can do life with
  • I’m thankful we have 2 paid-for, reliable vehicles
  • I’m thankful for a healthy, growing child
  • I’m thankful to have money to shop for groceries
  • I’m thankful to have a home that’s safe and keeps us dry; staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Living in an age of such affluence, it’s quite easy to get lost in the “comparison trap,” as I call it. Comparing ourselves to the so-called “Jones’,” who supposedly have it all, which is such a lie! You who are well-traveled or have taken a mission trip, already know that in comparison to the rest of the world, we are quite blessed as a nation. Having a car, much less two cars, makes one quite wealthy.

Being caught-up in the trappings of this world will get us nowhere fast. We’ll never, this side of heaven, gain all that we want; it’s a never-ending cycle. When does the roller coaster ride come to a screeching halt? I’m convinced it won’t until we change our perspective.

“Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” (Hebrews 13:5, AMP)

For me, I need to work on holding loosely to the things I possess. After all, it’s only stuff and can’t be taken with me when I leave this earth. Possibly the greatest example of contentment and thankfulness, that I know of, is found in Philippians 4:11-12:

Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.”

I’m convinced that when we focus on thanking God for all that we do have, our perspective changes for that which we feel we don’t have. If we have clothing, shelter and food, we are indeed rich. Anything over and above that is simply God’s favor and grace. I know I am quick to forget this truth when I take my focus off my God who supplies my every need and look to my neighbor who, in my eyes anyway, has everything I think I need, or even deserve.

“But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].” (1 Timothy 6:6, AMP)

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8, AMP)

Won’t you join me in recording your blessings, no matter how small, to remind yourself just how blessed you are? Let’s train our focus on the Giver of every good and perfect gift. I believe it will change both our attitude and perspective so that we can get on to what’s really important in this life.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].” (James 1:17, AMP)

 

What Does Contentment Look Like?