Budding: New Growth in Spring and in Life

Have you noticed them yet this season? Budding trees. They whisper promises of things to come, slip us reminders of spring’s unfailing relief from winter’s frigid toll. One day they nudge us and say, “Look at us. New growth! There’s hope after all . . .”, while on another they call out, “Look at us! We’re budding! What will you become?!”

I love how the seasons speak to us on deeper levels and give us encouragement to grow or rest, to persevere or hope. Spring has the privilege of bringing hope to weary souls and inspiring us to branch out or reach for new heights. It works wonders in our world and in our hearts, and each year its work in our lives might be a little different.

The image of growth in spring has influenced how we see so many things. We’ve all heard people say, “He’s a budding artist” or “She’s a budding musician”, and they’re usually referring to children or teens. But I can’t help but notice, in the natural world, that even old trees bud year after year. New growth and the promise of things to come grace them as well.

And to be honest, probably none of us reading this post today are children or teens. We’re all older trees, if you will, though some of us are indeed older than others. The good news is that old trees bud! We’re not only capable of growth, it’s expected.

So what’s budding in our lives as we head into spring this year? What evidence of growth can be seen on our branches? Are we mastering a new skill or using some new technology? Are we displaying strength or peace in the face of adversity? As believers, are we looking more like our Savior each year?

If you don’t feel like you’re growing right now, it’s not too late to start. Get out there and start budding! Rejoice in the promise of things to come!

“In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6 NIV

*Is there something budding in your life right now? If not, what would you like to see bud?

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from March 2011 blesses you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by James BoweCreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In the Lives of Unbelievers

A new month means a new installment in my monthly blog series featuring sentence prayers inviting God’s power and this month we’ll focus on unbelievers.

Most of us have family and friends who have never come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Our hearts ache with the knowledge that they don’t have the same sure hope we do of eternal life in heaven with the Lord when our lives on this earth are finished. We are concerned as well for casual acquaintances and entire people groups around the world.

Through our prayers we can help prepare the way for unbelieving hearts to be open to the good news of a Savior for all. Here are some prayers that can have an eternal impact in the lives of those you’re concerned for. Let’s be faithful to pray—and ready to share!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In the Lives of Unbelievers

  1. Lord, soften the hearts of unbelievers in my world and beyond and help them become seekers with a hunger and a thirst to know the truth—to know you. (Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 5:6; Acts 16:30)
  2. Father, send out workers into the harvest field—people who will share the good news of salvation in Christ—and please bring about your divine appointments with those who need to hear. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:2; Acts 8:26-39; Romans 10:15)
  3. Lord, remove the blinders and lift the veil of darkness and spiritual blindness so they can see and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17; John 3:16; 20:31)
  4. Holy Spirit, convict unbelievers of their sin and their need for a Savior. (John 6:44; 16:7-8; Romans 6:23)
  5. Father, open doors for spiritual conversation with those who don’t know you and give me the words to say, helping me to speak the truth in love. (Matthew 10:18-20; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 4:5-6)
  6. Lord, place a hedge of protection around your planted Word so that the devil won’t steal the truth and hope of eternal life that it can bring. (Mark 4:15; John 5:24; 17;17; Colossians 1:25-27)
  7. Lord, open their hearts to respond to the message you’ve sent to them, giving  them ears to hear. (Acts 16:14; Mark 4:9)

As you make these prayers your own, may God work in hearts in a mighty way, bringing all to salvation!

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NLV

*What other sentence prayers can you add?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by dtcchc, Creative Commons License

Anyone Snowed Under?

Any of you ever find yourselves snowed under? This was the sight that greeted me several years ago when I opened our door the day after a blizzard buried us in its immobilizing winter white. With temperatures below freezing and more snow on the way, our bushes and lawn didn’t fully see the light of day for quite a while.

I have a feeling that some of you might be snowed under. Snowed under by things other than winter’s icy calling card. Burdened by things longer-lasting or even more immobilizing than a foot or two of snow.

Some of you may feel weighed down by a burden of grief. I’ve certainly been there. Others may find yourselves buried under a pile of work or unpaid bills while some of you are bearing the weight of others as well as yourselves as you struggle to keep up with parenting or caregiving duties. And it might just be a combination of several things causing some of us to feel overwhelmed.

Are you feeling like you may never see the light of day? Be encouraged. Remember that we have One who wants to bear the weight of our burdens for us. We have One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

So turn to him. Tell him you’re snowed under and ask for his help. Then relax in his arms and be at peace, my friend. Be at peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

*What burdens you most in this season of your life?

*Hope this slightly revised post from February 2011 blesses you today!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Love

*To free some of my time for other things, I’ll now be posting only on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Hope you are blessed each time you stop by!

As we continue the monthly blog series featuring sentence prayers inviting God’s power, February is the perfect time to focus on love.

Do you long to live a life of love? I do. I want my life to be marked by a deep and abiding love for God and a genuine love for others. But that kind of life doesn’t happen automatically. I need God’s power to live love and I bet you do too.

May the following sentence prayers help each one of us grow the life of love we desire to live. Let’s invite God’s power into our lives!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Love

  1. Father, empower me so that my life—my actions, my thoughts, my motives for everything—will be an overflow of my love for you and my love for others. (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 John 4:7, 11-12, 16, 19; 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  2. Lord, give me a heart to love you more. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Philippians 1:9
  3. Lord, help me see interruptions that sidetrack and delay me as opportunities to show love to someone. (Psalm 31:14-15; Ephesians 4:2)
  4. Since love is a choice and an act of obedience, Lord, please empower me to forgive those who hurt me or those I love. (John 13:34-35; Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8)
  5. Father, help me to live and love unselfishly, putting the needs and desires of others before my own. (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:4)
  6. Lord, help me to reflect your love through generous giving. (John 3:16; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:18)
  7. Lord, help me to show my love through prayer—through praise and thanks to you and through intercession for others. (Psalm 18:1; Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:1)

Friends, may God’s love shine through us in ever increasing measure!

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV 

*Which of the above prayers (actions) do you find most challenging?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by garryknight, Creative Commons License

Endurance Possible with God’s Unfailing Help

But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.” Acts 26:22 NIV

Do you ever wonder how the Apostle Paul from Bible times endured the many trials and times of crisis that came his way? After his dramatic conversion to Christ and being called by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, Paul faced not only trials and imprisonment, but his very life was threatened time and again.

At one point after one of his arrests (when the Jews had seized him and tried to kill him,) Paul had the opportunity to defend himself before the Roman king Agrippa. Paul shared  a bit about his personal history, his eventual conversion to Christ, his ministry to the Gentiles, and the resulting opposition he faced from the Jews—including how they tried to kill him.

Paul then summed up his life to that point with this powerful testimony: But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.” (Acts 22:26) In everyone’s hearing, he pointed to the One who had been his strength.

Yes, Paul had been able to endure the hardships and dangers in his life because of God’s unfailing help. In spite of all that had happened to him, he was able to stand before King Agrippa—and stand up to all the opposition he faced—because God was with him being his strong support.

Is this your testimony too? Our testimonies are such a good thing to remember when times are bad, aren’t they? Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that God has been with us to this very day and that he will continue to be with us come what may.

If any of us are struggling to hang in there today, let’s remember that endurance is indeed possible with God’s unfailing help. He didn’t let Paul down and he won’t let us down either. He will ever be our strong support. He will ever be our Rock.

God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

*When have you felt God’s strong support in a very great way?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by DVIDSHUB, Creative Commons License