Favorites from the Book of all Books: God’s Word

It’s always fun to talk books. Fun to share what we’re currently reading, fun to tell what our favorites are, and fun to pick up some great recommendations for future reads. Today let’s talk about the Book of all books—the Bible, also known as the Word of God.

As I tell the little ones in my nursery-age Sunday School class, the Bible is a special book. In fact, it’s the most treasured book I own, as well as my absolute all-time favorite to read. When it comes to other books, even the ones I fall in love with or am blown away by, none stay as close to my heart as the Bible. After I read others, I put them on a shelf and only think of them occasionally. I might pick them up again and reread them years later, but they don’t impact my life every day.

Not so with my Bible. I read it daily. I even try to memorize verses I especially need or love. Not only is the Word of God “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) in my life, it breathes fresh life into me like nothing else can do. It comforts me, guides me, encourages me, and gives me truth I can offer to other thirsty souls. To put it like the Bible itself does, “the word of God is living and active . . .” (Hebrews 4:12)

I’m sure the Bible is life-changing and precious to many of you as well. So today let’s share some of our “favorites” from it. What’s your favorite book within the Bible? Favorite story? Favorite verse? I hope you’ll take time to leave a comment and answer any or all of the questions. It’ll be fun to hear what’s especially meaningful to others, won’t it?

I think my favorite book has to be Psalms—maybe because I love poetic writing and music, but it’s also so full of refreshment and encouragement. My favorite story is the Christmas story. For me, it’s just hard to top the angel’s announcement of a Savior born to us all. And favorite verse? That’s a hard one. So many mean so much to me. But one I come back to time and again is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)

Okay, it’s your turn. Tell us your favorites from the Book of all books!

“They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32:47 NIV

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. 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 Savio SebastianCreative Commons License

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

My monthly blog series featuring sentence prayers that invite God’s power continues today with a focus on courage.

I don’t know about you, but rarely a day goes by that I don’t need courage in one way or another. Whether facing a dreaded task, dealing with a difficult person or situation, starting something new, or facing the fear of an unknown future, I need a power and strength beyond my own to move forward. I need the Lord. And I bet you would say the same.

May the following sentence prayers help express your heart as you call on God’s power for living a life of courage. Be blessed and encouraged, my friends!

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

  1. Lord, help me not to fear what the future may hold but to trust you to walk with me through every age, stage, and situation. (Joshua 1:9; Matthew 6:34; Philippians 4:6-7; Acts 2:25)
  2. Lord, give me courage to follow your leading and do the work you’ve called me to do. (1 Chronicles 28:20; John 4:34; Colossians 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:5)
  3. Father, grant me courage and perseverance to press on in the face of setbacks and hardships. (2 Chronicles 15:7; Proverbs 24:16; Luke 13: 31-33; Galatians 6:9; Philippians 3:13-14; Hebrews 12:1-3)
  4. Father, give me courage and boldness to live as a light for you and to share my faith with others. (Matthew 5:14-16; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:8)
  5. Lord, empower and embolden me to speak the truth in love and to take a stand for you and the teachings from your Word even when it’s unpopular. (Daniel 3:9-30; Acts 4:1-20; Ephesians 4:15, 25)
  6. Father, give me courage to admit when I have sinned against you or wronged others as well as the courage to ask for forgiveness. (Psalm 25:11; 51:1-12; Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 15:11-22; 1 John 1:9)
  7. Father, grant me strength and courage to fight temptation and to stand against the attacks and schemes of Satan. (1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6:10-11; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

Friends, may God shine through us and be glorified in this world as we seek to lead lives of courage!

“‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:9 NIV

*What task, trial, or situation do you need to face with courage today?

*The current 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 prodigy130, Creative Commons License

Lavish Gift of Love

Have you ever wanted to lavish a costly gift on someone—whether financial, emotional, or an investment of time and effort—but felt a little unsure about it?

I’m not referring to using your resources in an irresponsible way, one that would leave you unable to pay your bills or meet your current obligations. No, I mean questions you may have about whether it’s right to splurge on someone you love when millions around the world are so needy, when there are so many worthy causes that could benefit from your investment.

Consider this example from the life of Jesus. Matthew tells us in his gospel (ch. 26:6-13) about one—identified as Mary in the John 12:1-8 account—who lavished her love on the Savior just days before his crucifixion.

During a banquet given in his honor, Mary came to Jesus and anointed him with a jar of very expensive perfume. She drew immediate criticism, however, from the disciples. They called it a waste. They pointed out that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

Jesus saw it differently, though. He said, “She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” (Matthew 26:10-11 NIV)

He also said she would be remembered for this act of love wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world. Jesus approved of her lavish gift of love.

Today the same is true. Worthy causes and desperate need will always be present, but we won’t always have our loved ones with us.

I’m not suggesting we forget the poor or hurting. Of course, we should give to help those in need. But I think we can also feel free to lavish a costly gift on a loved one occasionally. After all, it’s a beautiful thing to show someone the depth of our love. Just ask Jesus. I think he would approve.

“. . .love one another deeply, from the heart.”  1 Peter 1:22 NIV

*What lavish gift of love have you received?

*Hope this slightly revised post from March 2013 blessed you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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. Sign up by 4-24 to get in on this issue’s giveaway. If you subscribe after that date, 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 Aih, Creative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In and Through the Church

As we turn our calendars to April, let’s turn our thoughts to a new category for my monthly “7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power” blog series. This month let’s focus on the church.

In considering the church, let’s remember we’re not talking only about the local church we belong to but the body of Christ worldwide. The church encompasses all true believers—Jesus followers everywhere, from my corner of Kansas to the utmost corner of the earth.

Through our prayers for the church, we—the body of believers—can make a difference in our world and in the lives of individuals not only today but eternally as well. As we call on God, he works with life-changing power in answer to our prayers.

May the following prayers help equip us as we lift the church, the body of Christ, to God in prayer. These are just a few of many possible prayer points for the church, but may these provide a start. Here’s to making a difference!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In and Through the Church

  1. Father, protect your church from the schemes and attacks of Satan as he seeks to cause division, confusion, hurt, and any number of other things that would render us ineffective or even damaging to the cause of Christ. (John 17:15; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
  2. Lord, move us, the church, to be people of prayer and revive us personally, corporately, and in our nations. (Isaiah 56:7, Acts 2:42; Colossians 4:2; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 57:15; Romans 12:11)
  3. Lord, cultivate in us a spirit of unity, both in purpose and in our relationships with one another so everyone will see that we are your people. (John 13:35; 17:21-23; Romans 15:56; Ephesians 4:3)
  4. Father, move and empower us to go out into the world to share the gospel of Christ with all people everywhere, to plant new churches, and to help new believers grow in their faith. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:2)
  5. Jesus, help us to be your hands and feet in our world, loving and giving to others as you would. (Matthew 5:42; John 15:12; John 13:34; 1 John 3:16-18)
  6. Father, help us to stand up for what’s right, to speak up for the oppressed and those who can’t speak for themselves, and to pray for those who are persecuted. (Psalm 94:16; Proverbs 24:11-12; 31:8-9; Hebrews 13:3)
  7. Father, help each of us faithfully carry out the individual roles you’ve called us to fill in the body of Christ. (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; 1 Peter 4:10)

God bless you, your local church, and the church—his body—worldwide!

“‘. . . I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’” Matthew 16:18 NIV

*What prayers for the church would you add to the list?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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.)

*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 kristi.ee, Creative Commons License

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