Our Savior’s Prayers

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For the next few days, as we meditate on our beautiful Savior and on all he did for us through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, let’s consider some prayers he prayed during the last hours before his crucifixion. While you read these prayers of Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply them to your own personal life.

 “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.’” John 17:1

 “‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one . . . Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth . . . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’” John 17:15, 17, 23

 “‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Matthew 26:39

 “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’” Luke 23:34

 “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice…’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” Mark 15:34

 “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’” Luke 23:46

 Won’t you join me this Easter in committing our lives into the Father’s hands? A blessed Easter to all!

*Which of these prayers of Jesus most resonated with you today?

*I hope this encore post from April 2011 blesses you today!

 The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue , comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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!

 *Flickr photo by Kimber Photography, Creative Commons License

Gardeners, Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers!

3370451864_6fff8307b4_zMother of the Bride, do you or your daughter love to garden? If so you might like to grow your own flowers for her wedding. Not only would it add a unique personal touch to your celebration, but it could save money and create a great memory as well.

I know it might sound a bit far-fetched at first, but why not enjoy your passion while accomplishing a task for the wedding? Some moms and brides love to sew and fashion their own dresses for the big day. Others love to cook and provide much of their own food for the reception. If you love to garden, why not plant and nurture your own flowers and then take joy in displaying them on Wedding Day?

I admit I’m not a gardener and don’t have first-hand experience with this. But I do know that people craft wedding flowers and table décor from silk flowers as well as from paper. So if they can do that, why not put your gardening skills to work for you and have some fun, too?

Maybe you feel confident in your gardening abilities but not so much when it comes to designing the arrangements or bouquets. If so, you could do the growing and find a floral designer to finish the job. You’d still be giving the wedding your personal touch.

If you’re interested in giving it a shot, here are a few resources to help get you started:

Better Homes and Gardens—Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers 

Gardenista—DIY: Secrets of Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers

Bridal Guide–How to Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers

*You might also like to read Wedding Decor: Craft It with Paper, Wedding Idea that Sparkles: A Brooch Bouquet, and Knitted Bridal Bouquet and More.

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post has been helpful to those of you who weren’t MOBs when I originally posted it in September 2013.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Robert S. Donovan, Creative Commons License

Taking Photos: Another Way to Worship

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A few weeks ago it struck me that my little hobby of taking photos is in fact another avenue of worship for me. My Facebook and blogger friend Nancy confirmed my thought a week or two later with this comment on a photo I posted on Facebook recently: “Love your pics. They glorify God.” Wow, how I loved to hear that.

Yes, capturing the beauty of God’s creation through a photo, rejoicing in that capture, and sharing it with others can indeed be worship. It might not be worship for every photographer—amateur (like me) or professional—but for those of us communing with God as we do our picture-taking-thing, it definitely qualifies as worship.

Of course, I don’t always have God on my mind as I snap photos, but many times I’m thinking of him and the beauty before me—and also calling on him for help, especially when I’m trying to capture photos of birds or other wildlife. My thoughts are often filled with things like oh,let it stay, Father, let it stay and thank you, Lord, for the great shot.

What joy then to be able to share a photo that brings others joy, or causes them to think of God, or ushers them into their own time of worship and adoration of the amazing Creator God we have. How wonderful is that?!

Taking photos is just one of many creative avenues for worshiping our Creator. For others, it could be music or dance or cooking or knitting. The possibilities go on and on. If we are rejoicing in God and communing with him as we undertake an activity, it indeed becomes worship.

 May the photos below inspire you to worship as you consider the beauty God’s given us!

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Mount Moran from Oxbow Bend“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . O LORD, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3a, 9

*What creative way have you found to worship God?

*My photos

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 3rd. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Attention to Detail – What a Difference It Makes

5644919777_2c2b2233a5_zWe’ve all heard the phrase it’s in the details. Over the past few years, I’ve seen this principle proved true time and again. Yes indeed, attention to detail makes all the difference.

Attention to detail is the common denominator that makes a conference successful, a party fantastic, or wedding celebration amazing. In fact, I’d say attention to detail plays a significant role in making any event truly outstanding.

For example, I’m sure months of careful planning went into making the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference I attended in September the excellent conference that it was. Also, our daughters’ wedding celebrations shone as brightly as they did because we gave meticulous thought and attention to a myriad of details for months leading up to their big days. After Kristin’s wedding, I actually received a note from one of her bridesmaids telling me how much she enjoyed the wedding weekend and how the attention to detail made everything perfect.

Attention to detail makes all the difference in creative endeavors as well. Writers bring stories to life through vivid details they’ve carefully selected. Artists work on a piece until the details are exactly what they want and just the right effect is achieved. Musicians perfect their techniques and dynamics until the sound we hear transports us. These creators’ attention to detail moves their work from ordinary to extraordinary.

The Creator of all creators provides the example above all examples. His attention to detail astounds any of us who take the time to notice the intricate details and workings of the natural world around us. Our very bodies display his amazing handiwork as well.

In addition to seeing God’s detailed care in all of creation, we also see through his Word that details are important to him. Consider the specific instructions, including exact measurements, that he gave concerning the building of the tabernacle as well as the specifics concerning its contents (as one example, see Exodus 25:31-40 for details about a lampstand). Yes, God gave attention to details.

Let’s think of our lives today. What is crying out for our attention to detail right now? Possibly an event, a job, or a creative endeavor, or maybe our health or a relationship with a loved one or with the Lord? Are we willing to devote the time and effort to make these things truly shine?

Let’s move from ordinary to extraordinary. Let’s strive for outstanding. Let’s give attention to detail.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

*When have you seen attention to detail make all the difference? What awaits your attention to detail right now?

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17th post and sign-up is to the right. Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 13. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Hey Paul Studios

Midweek Morsel: God Sings Because of Us!

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Did you know that God sings? This past January, one of the devotions in Journey, Lifeway’s daily devotional magazine for women, reminded me of this wonderful truth. It wasn’t first-time news to me, but like with so many other truths, it had slipped from my conscious thoughts.

An image of God singing may not fit the mental picture you have of him, but think of it this way: As we worship God, most of us are inspired to sing. Because we love him, we want to express it and many times spontaneously burst into song. Or sometimes some of the songs we know perfectly express the things we want to say to him and so we sing them. Other times, God makes us so joyful with the blessings he showers upon us, we can’t help but sing to him and because of him.

Likewise, we—as God’s precious and chosen children—bring him so much joy, he, too, bursts into song. Sometimes a song may express his heart for us in the perfect way. Or sometimes we bless him with things we say or do. Sometimes he probably can’t help but sing. And all because of us. Amazing, huh?

“He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17b

*Go ahead and take a guess—when do you think God might have most recently sung because of you?

*Flickr photo by ShotHotspot