Categories
Encouragement

Easter Inspiration: Praying like Jesus

 

Easter is a time to draw close to Christ and learn from his experience. We also can learn from his prayers from that last week of his life. It’s interesting that of his ten recorded prayers, six come from his last week. And they can inspire our prayer lives.

  • “Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28 NIV). Despite Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he said, “Now my heart is troubled.” When we are troubled, we also can ask God to be glorified in us.
  • “May they be brought to complete unity” (John 17:23 NIV). Jesus’s chapter-long Upper Room prayer emphasizes the importance of unity in the church and is an example to us to pray for the same today.
  • “Yet not as I will, but what you will” (Matt. 26:39 NIV). In the Gethsemane Garden Jesus prayed the two-sided prayer—what he wanted, life, but also God’s will in the matter. When we face critical decisions, we can pray similarly.
  • Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV). In Jesus’s first of three prayers from the cross he models the imperative of forgiveness in the face of injustice and cruelty.
  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 NIV). With Jesus’s second prayer from the cross we see his humanity in his “why” question and know that we can pray our laments also.
  • “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:45 NIV). Ultimately, Jesus’s last prayer shows us that the best posture of prayer is submission.

While we don’t have to use Jesus’s very words, he shows us the importance of opening our hearts honestly in prayer and opening our hands to receive what the Father has for us.

Janet McHenry
Janet McHenry
The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus

Janet McHenry is the author of twenty-four books—six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. Featured in Health and other magazines and media for her prayerwalking for her community, she directs the prayer ministries of The Bridge Church in Reno. Janet loves serving event planners and churches through her speaking and may be contacted at https://www.janetmchenry.com

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Relationship Glue

 

“What did she use this time?” The kind man who cleans my white carpets squats down to inspect the splashed rainbow.

“Acrylic and oils.” I show him the finished masterpiece displayed on the easel above the carpet’s danger zone.

He nods appreciatively, and from his arsenal of stain removers, sprays over the area what I assume to be an anti-acrylic and an oil neutralizing solution.

“You must see this kind of cleanup project a lot in your business.” I think of the dropped plate of spaghetti he cleaned last time he was here.

“Not like this.” He gives the fading spot a thorough scrub. “Backed up toilets, pet stains, and shoes that should have been left at the door.”

I nod because he has cleaned all those at my house, too. And I remember when my young daughter showed me her painting. Her face had been alight with the artistic freedom that comes when her hands have translated her heart to canvas. Just as much paint lay on the carpet below and as she followed my gaze, she was incredulous.

“Sorry, Mom, I didn’t see that.”

Of course not. Nor did she remember to use a drop cloth the three times before. Which is how I have gotten to know the carpet cleaning guy well enough that he took one of our kittens home to his family.

Home is the art studio for life. And like all art studios, they are creatively messy, reflecting developing people, talents, and relationships. There is a tension between keeping a tidy house and using the living areas for – well – living.

The mother of Orville and Wilbur Wright commonly directed family and guests to eat meals in the living room since the dining room table was spread with the brothers’ latest invention. Because Mrs. Wright designated space for her children to test ideas, Orville and Wilbur turned the possibility of flight into reality. That mother’s legacy outlives her for all of history because she gave wings to her sons long before they learned how to fly.       

Our Creator, God surrounds us with opportunity to create beauty. By extending to one another big and small acts of kindness, respect, and thoughtfulness on a consistent basis during good times and challenging days, people form relationship glue, those touch points that hold us together despite crisis and through celebrations. Those connections, poignant moments, and laughing-until-milk-comes-out-our-nose form a shared history and confirm that we belong. Together.

We are most like God when we create and forgive. When we paint with abundantly broad strokes of grace and love, we form relationship glue.

PeggySue Wells
PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells is the bestselling author of 29 books including Homeless for the Holidays, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, and Chasing Sunrise. Watch for her newest book, Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make with Pam Farrel, releasing in September. Connect with PeggySue at www.PeggySueWells.com.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Living in Joy Is a Choice

Dianne Barker, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *
Dianne Barker

I was just eighteen when I landed my dream job writing for our local newspaper during college. After graduation I joined the full-time staff, covering news stories and writing special features and a weekly column where I shared my Christian convictions. This brought invitations to speak for church and civic events.

What wisdom did a twenty-something have to share? My favorite presentation, “Living in Joy,” I packed with quotes and Scriptures about happiness and how to find it. Being young and eager to tackle life’s big questions, I didn’t have much spiritual depth—but I offered a solid solution to every problem. Jesus.

Many years have passed and I still offer only one solution to every problem. Jesus. But I’ve learned much more about following Him through sunshine and shadows.

I discovered joy isn’t the destination. It’s the journey. It’s part of the luscious fruit produced by the Holy Spirit when we’re fully surrendered to Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Joy doesn’t depend on perfect circumstances. It depends on our trust in a perfect God who designs our circumstances and allows everything for a purpose. I don’t have to see His purpose to believe He has a purpose.

In baffling places where I see no purpose, this verse satisfies me. “For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36 Amplified).

If nothing else, He’s developing patience and endurance. I can live in joy, confident He is in control and working on purpose.

These choices are key to a joy-filled journey:

  • Living in a state of continual forgiveness
  • Forgetting the past
  • Casting every care on the Lord
  • Choosing joy

Whatever challenge you’re facing today, don’t let it rob your joy. Choose joy!

I Don't Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! by Dianne Barker
I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! by Dianne Barker

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Safe Where I Belong

As I played with my two-year-old grandson in the backyard, a noise caught his attention, and he turned toward the street.

“Get back here,” I called. “You are naughty and going immediately into time out for the rest of your life. Now, think about what you’ve done, and how you will fix it!”

Are you scandalized by my response? Understandable.

But how often do we think God responds to our choices and messes in this angry fashion?  

Of course, I didn’t speak those soul-wounding words. I came alongside as he toddled in an unsafe direction. “Hey, buddy. Let’s go back where you’re safe.” He turned into my arms, I scooped him up, and in that instant, he was safe. I carried him to the protected yard where we laughed and played.

When my child explores beyond safe boundaries, makes unwise choices, and disobeys, I don’t demand she grovel, do penance, or humiliate herself to satisfy my displeasure. But I am overjoyed when she hears my voice and turns into my embrace. Then I carry her to safety.

Somehow, I believed asking God to forgive included groveling and muscling myself into alignment with God’s perfect will. I thought I had to prove authentic sorrow and sincere desire for forgiveness.

But forgiveness is something so free and inviting, I can’t wait to repent.

Like me, have you ever wandered, stomped off in anger, drifted away in heartbreak, and become lost from relationship with God? When I’ve made a mess of my choices, my life, my relationships, and with God, there is no way I can fix or polish my problems. I can’t find my way back on track to God.

Knowing I am incapable of securing salvation, God is near with arms open in invitation and welcome.

Like my grandson, who simply turned into my hug, I repent by turning into God’s embrace. In that instant, I am safe where I belong.

Homeless for the Holidays, by PeggySue Wells & Marsha Wright
Homeless for the Holidays, by PeggySue Wells & Marsha Wright
PeggySue Wells
PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells, history buff and island votary, is the best-selling author of 29 books including Chasing Sunrise and Homeless for the Holidays.

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Here’s to a surprise-filled new year.

Janet Perez EcklesHola from Janet Perez Eckles…Igniting Your Passion to Overcome

When everyone is busy looking at the horizon of a new year, planning, crafting goals, and plotting strategies, I decided to do the opposite. I’d look back instead, pondering on lessons learned, gems collected, insights applied, and wisdom gained.

Categories
Encouragement

They Were Dropping Like Flies

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert where it’s finally cooling down!

It was so hot that even the bees were dropping like flies. In our desert area of Southern California, my husband, Larry, and I get used to the soaring summer heat and we thought the insects would too. But we kept finding dead bees by our front door. We thought, “Can’t do anything about it and it can’t be anything too serious,” so we just ignored the strange phenomenon. Until we also noticed a dark spot on the wall near the ceiling—a wall that was close to the front door.

We called pest control and they checked the attic. The truth was revealed. Bees had taken up residence in our attic, having gained entrance through a small hole in the roof. The honey from the hive had started leaking into the wall.

And the dead bees on our walkway?

Categories
Inspiration for Writers

My Love-Hate Relationship with Flossing

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Hi from Kathy Collard Miller in the hot desert of Southern California near Palm Springs. But don’t worry, it’s a dry heat.

I have a love-hate relationship with flossing. Or is it a hate-love relationship? I don’t know. Sometimes I hate it more than I love it and other times I love it more than I hate it. I hate it when I’m about to do it and I love it when I’m done. And that happens twice a day. I’m motivated because my teeth are so ripe for cavities that I want to avoid the pain.

Plus, I have spaces between my teeth that are capable of storing a three course meal. Too bad that I can’t use that nourishment for an afternoon snack. But the feeling of food caught in those spaces so bothers me that I’m willing to embarrass myself in public trying to use my fingernail to plumb the depths of that space. As a result, I don’t go anywhere without floss. When I change purses, the first thing I make sure is that I have transferred the floss. I don’t leave home without it. I think I single-handedly keep the floss industry in business. I’m an expert at knowing the right kind of floss. But I still hate to floss!

But of course, I love the relief when that floss cleans out the Grand-Canyon-spaced gap in my mouth. And when I also brush my teeth, I feel completely cleansed. I don’t think there’s much in life that gives such an immediate sense of cleanliness and relief.

And that’s how I felt spiritually October 1st, 1967, when I asked Jesus to come into my life, save me, and cleanse me from my sins. I felt clean and relieved. I can’t tell you which was more important to me. Since childhood I’d believed that I needed to perform perfectly to earn God’s love and a way into heaven. In my mind, I envisioned a scale that kept track of my good deeds and my bad deeds. I hoped that the side with the good deeds would be heavier than the other side by the time I died. But since nothing ever measured up to deserve being on the scale’s good side, the “bad deeds” side was always lower. 

Categories
Author Interviews Writing craft

What to do when facing injustice

"JanetPerezEckles-Use"How do you put into words the devastation that leaves you numb? As writers, we need to possess the ability to express the deepest pain, the biggest joy, and the most complicated emotions.

I tried that. But the effort nearly drained me.

Categories
New Releases

CAN Book Feature: Kona with Jonah by Sandra Glahn

 

Jonah thm

 

 

Kona with Jonah

  • ISBN-10: 0899573959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899573953 

 

 

In Kona with Jonah, a four-week Bible study, readers encounter the character of God and their own need to embrace radical forgiveness. In seeing God’s love for the murderous people of Nineveh—ancestors of modern-day Iraqis—they come face to face with One whose mercy extends even to the most despicable.  Leader’s guide included. The Coffee Cup Bible Study series (AMG) is designed for both group and individual use with guided study on the weekdays and relevant devotionals on the weekends. Each study comes with the entire Scripture book of the Bible or passage(s) included. 

 

Sandra Glahn, Th.M. is adjunct professor, Christian Education and Pastoral Ministries, at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), her alma mater, where she serves as editor in chief of Kindred Spirit magazine. She has finished the course work on her doctorate in Aesthetic Studies (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition she serves on the women’s executive committee for bible.org, where she’s a regular blogger for the women-in-leadership Tapestry site.