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—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

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

December is already a month of great joy as we celebrate Christmas, but I’d like to further focus on joy in this month’s installment of my blog series which features sentence prayers that invite God’s power into our lives.

I pray that these brief prayers will not only increase the joy you’ll already be experiencing this month, but that they will make a difference in your life every month as you make them your own. May these prayers be a special blessing to you, my friends!

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

  1. Father, since you are my ultimate and unfailing source of joy, help me be faithful  to praise you and daily spend time with you, knowing that these things will bless not only you but will also give rise to joy in my heart. (Psalm 71:23; Habakkuk 3:18; Acts 2:28)
  2. Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit each and every day and bless my life with the fruit of joy that will be a natural by-product of the Holy Spirit’s filling. (Acts 13:52; Galatians 5:22)
  3. Lord, help me to be a blessing to you and a blessing to others today, and as I find opportunity to do that, joy is certain to bubble up in my life as well. (Psalm 147:11; Acts 20:35)
  4. Father, cause me each day to hunger and thirst for your Holy Word, and may my reading and study of it bless me with a deep and abiding joy. (Psalm 119:16; Jeremiah 15:16)
  5. Lord, inspire and strengthen me to daily choose joy, keeping my eyes on you instead of the circumstances surrounding me. (Psalm 118:24 KJV; Habakkuk 3:17-18; Philippians 4:4)
  6. Lord, help me each day to be more mindful of things both large and small that give me joy and help me remember to thank you for them. (James 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  7. Father, give me wisdom to daily do something that gives me joy, something that will keep my spirit refreshed and my energy recharged. (Ecclesiastes 5:19 and 8:15; 1 Timothy 6:17)

As our lives always shine with the joy of the Lord, may others be drawn to him!

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” Psalm 126:2 NIV

*Which of the prayers do you most need to incorporate into your life right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early February. 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.

*Flicker photo by Pamela P. Stroud, Creative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Growing Deeper Faith and Trust

Are you interested in discovering some sentence prayers that will invite God’s power in your life and the lives of others in a mighty way? If so, the new monthly blog series I’m kicking off today is for you—and it’s for me as well.

I’m excited to share with you some concise and meaningful prayers God has either put on my heart in the past or ones he’s putting on my heart as I write these posts. Each month I’ll share prayers on a different topic or facet of life.

Oh how I pray that the following prayers will bless you—and me—both now and for years to come!

7 Sentence Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Growing Deeper Faith and Trust

  1. Lord, even as I believe in you, help me overcome the doubts and unbelieving thoughts that Satan tries to use against me. (see Mark 9:24 and Hebrews 11:1)
  2. Bless, O Lord, the reading of your Word and open my eyes and heart to what you have for me today. (See Psalm 119:18)
  3. Lord, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and your protection. (See Psalm 125:2)
  4. This day is yours and so am I; my times, O Lord, are in your hands. (See Psalm 31:14-15)
  5. When times are bad, O Lord, help me lift my face to you and keep on trusting and praising you through my tears. (See Ecclesiastes 7:14 and Habakkuk 3:17-18)
  6. Father, you are my past, my present, my future—my firm foundation forevermore. (See Psalm 139 and 2 Timothy 2:19)
  7. Lord, since you are the one who makes us grow, help me grow in every good way and live a life worthy of you. (See 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 and Colossians 1:10)

May God bless as we incorporate these prayers and scriptural truths into our own prayer lives!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

*Which of these sentence prayers most resonates with your spirit today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. 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 1991568456rtbp, Creative Commons License

Listen Acrostic: More on My 2018 Theme Word

Since a third of the year will soon be gone, I wanted to give more thought to my 2018 theme word listen. For me, the creative exercise of writing acrostics is an excellent way to go deeper in my consideration of certain words. Doing so helps me think of different aspects of the word.

So as I remind myself of and reflect on listen, I pray you are blessed and inspired to listen more carefully as well. And not only that, but if you chose a theme word of your own this year, maybe reading this creative exercise will inspire you to do something similar with your word. Whatever the case, friends, may you be blessed as you read!

Listen 

Lean close and be attentive to every word and to nonverbal cues as well.

Invite others—including God—to speak by asking questions and waiting for their answers. 

Silence distractions by turning off or putting away electronic devices and by setting aside time for communication.

Think about what I’ve heard, processing it and letting it sink in instead of quickly forgetting it.

Empathize with concerns shared with me and also grant understanding to my own thoughts and feelings.

Note action I need to take in response to what I’ve heard.

I pray that I—and you as well—will have hearts to become better listeners and that God will help us grow our listening skills. Now what was that you were saying?

“‘Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.’” Isaiah 55:3 NIV 

*Which aspect of listening is the most challenging for you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. One lucky subscriber 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 sea turtle, Creative Commons License