A Prayer for Your Summer Plus My May Blogging Break

As I mentioned in my Spirit and Soul Refreshment for Busy Lives post a couple of weeks ago, May can be one of the busiest months of the year. And this year is no exception for me. Probably not for you either, huh?

To do my part in allowing a little breathing room, I’m taking a blogging break the last half of this month. So no worries if it appears I’ve abandoned my blog over the next couple of weeks. I’ll be back with regular weekly posts sometime when June is bustin’ out all over. Let’s say June 6th. June should be in full bustin’ mode by then, right?

Before I break away, though, I’d love to pray for us all as we prepare to head into summer and all that it holds. May this prayer be a blessing to you as we gear up for the upcoming summer season. Feel free to keep it handy to give needed encouragement and refreshment as the days and weeks unfolds.

Pray with me, won’t you?

Lord, you are the Maker of every season and we thank you for the gift of summer. It’s a time to break from many of our normal routines and enjoy more time outdoors in your glorious creation, more time with our families and friends, and more opportunities for travel adventures. Thanks so much for such a wonderful gift.

Guide us, Lord, as we make plans. Help us not to pack so much into the fleeting weeks of summer that we end up feeling stressed rather than refreshed. And please grant your blessing, Lord, that all logistics for special activities and travels will flow smoothly so we can have truly refreshing times instead of those marked by frustration or disappointment. We don’t take mercies like this for granted so we ask humbly and thank you in advance.

Please protect us, Lord, as we do things like hike and swim and play sports. Watch over us, please, in our travels so that we will arrive safely at every destination. Protect us as well from our enemy Satan as he continues to try to undermine our relationship with you and with others. He doesn’t take a season off. Please surround us with your protection.

And finally, Lord, please bless us with lots of sweet times with you and with loved ones this summer. Grant us memories that will make us smile for years to come and also grant us periods of rest that will refresh and re-energize us to get back to normal routines in the fall. And may we shine the light of your love everywhere we go and in all that we do. May you be glorified in our summer, O Lord! In your precious name we pray, Amen.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us” Psalm 67:1 NIV

*Do you have any special plans or activities that you’re looking forward to this summer? I’d love to hear about it!

The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out early this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo (taken in the Cleveland Botanical Garden)

Checking Levels

Keeping an eye on levels is important business. Checking fluid levels in our vehicles is especially important. Just try not doing it and see what happens. Sooner or later we’ll pay for our negligence.

Because my hubby has always taken care of car maintenance issues, I have to admit the only fluid level I keep an eye on is the gas. I don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road and have to go through the humiliation and hassle of trying to find gas for my car. And in today’s world, it’s just too dangerous to risk being easy pickings for some unsavory character who might happen along.

Don keeps an eye on the other levels in our car, though. Not only does he make sure we get regular oil changes, he checks other fluid levels before I take off on out-of-town trips. He doesn’t want me to have unexpected trouble because of low oil, antifreeze, or transmission fluids—and neither do I! I’m thankful he’s watching out for me. Without him, I’d have to get educated on car maintenance in a hurry or pay the price through some painful and likely expensive lessons.

Keeping levels in an appropriate range is vital in other areas of our lives as well. That’s why the doctor orders blood tests and makes us get on the scale when we go to see him for our annual check-ups. That’s why others test our drinking water, soil, and air quality. And let’s not forget the levels of expertise that must be met to qualify for most jobs. When you think about it, levels are important in almost everything.

What about our spiritual lives? Any levels there that need to be examined periodically? Sure. If we fail to feed on the Word of God or neglect our time with him in prayer, we’ll soon find ourselves spiritually parched or feeling distanced from him. Our hearts may even grow hard.

What about the level of love in our lives? What’s the motive behind our worship, our confession of sin, and our acts of service? Another level to keep an eye on is the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. How well are these qualities being displayed in our lives?

Let’s not neglect to keep an eye on our levels—spiritual levels included. We don’t want to find ourselves sidelined or distanced from our heavenly Father. We don’t want to be easy pickings for our unsavory Enemy. Let’s not find ourselves paying for our negligence. Let’s stay watchful. Let’s check our levels.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

 *The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue , comes out next week. 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! (To be included in this issue’s giveaway draw, you must sign up by noon on Saturday Apr. 29.)

*Flickr photo by Pat Hawks, Creative Commons License

One Way to Pray Against Our Spiritual Enemy

2172772997_4d1ae0c7e1“‘A farmer went out to sow his seed . . . The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.’” Luke 8:5, 11-12 NIV (see also Matthew 13:19)

The enemy of our souls—that old serpent the devil—is a liar, a thief, and a con-artist who even at times masquerades as an angel of light. He employs whatever tactic it takes to defeat and discourage the children of God and to also keep unbelievers in darkness and chains.

This low-down thief can rob us of many things—peace, joy, our marriages and families, our good reputations and witness for the Lord, our time, our health, the list goes on. Scripture tells us he also snatches away the life-giving seed of God’s Word planted among those who do not yet understand and believe. Because of its eternal impact, this treachery is even more evil than stealing food from the starving.

One way we can fight for the souls of those who’ve had the Word planted in their lives is to pray against Satan’s tactic of snatching it away. This is not something I’ve been savvy to in the past and I need to be alert to future opportunities to do such battle in prayer.

Why not join me? Let’s take a mental inventory of those unbelievers we know who’ve recently had the Word planted in their lives.

Have we shared scripture or biblical truth with someone personally or through social media? Have we given financial gifts to help spread the good news among a particular group of people? Do we know of a mission team at work right now? Are we aware of any unbelievers who have recently sat in church and heard the Word preached? Have we heard prayer requests voiced for specific people who have been exposed to God’s Word lately?

Let’s pray against the enemy’s efforts to snatch the planted Word of God away from these precious people. Let’s ask God to place a hedge of protection around his planted Word so that the devil won’t steal the truth and hope of eternal life that it can bring. Let’s put up a fight. Let’s go to battle.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.Ephesians 6:11 NIV

*Who can you pray for this week? If you’d like me and others to join you, please tell us in the comments.

*Flickr photo by W. Visser, Creative Commons License

Pre-Ceremony Tip for Wedding Day: Keep It Calm

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*I won’t be posting next week during Spring Break, but I will see you back here on March 28. Maybe you can check out the archives and Favorite Post list in the meantime!

Mother of the Bride, one last gift you can give your daughter before she becomes a Mrs. is a calm environment in the hours leading up to the wedding.

Yes, MOB, make it your goal to keep those pre-ceremony hours on the big day as stress-free as possible for your baby girl. Do your best to help her to head into the glorious but demanding hours of the wedding and reception well-rested and focused only on her beloved and the joy of the day.

One thing you can do to keep things calm in the hours before the wedding is to make sure your girl has interactions with only a few people—her immediate family, bridesmaids, and hairdresser, etc.

Since extended family and friends are already gathered for the wedding weekend, it’s tempting to plan breakfast or lunch (or another activity) as a group, but resist that temptation. There will be plenty of time for more interaction with one another at the wedding and reception. No need for your daughter to be “on” any more than is necessary before the wedding. Once she heads to the ceremony site, there will be no slowing down for her until she rides off into the honeymoon sunset with her love.

For those few things she has to do early on the big day—like get her hair done—keep it as low-key as possible. Have only one or two people accompany the two of you to the salon. If you’re at a hotel or have company staying in your home, bring food to the bride’s room and let her eat without having to interact with a crowd. Suggest she ask only her sisters and/or bridesmaids to join her.

Every family’s circumstances will be different, but you get the idea, MOB. Adopt the spirit of the advice—keeping things calm for your sweet girl—and adapt it your individual situation. Your little girl-turned-bride will be forever grateful!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Day Advice for the Bride and Most Important Part of the MOB’s Wedding Day Attire.

*Flickr photo by Corey Ann, Creative Commons License

Gift Idea: Prayers for the Mother of the Groom

IMG_8654Mother of the Bride, have you thought about giving the mother of the groom a little gift of some sort? This didn’t occur to me when I was an MOB so you may not have thought of it either. But giving a small gesture of acceptance and friendship is always worth the effort, isn’t it?

One great gift idea for the MOG is the book Prayers for the Mother of the Groom by Traci Matt. Designed for use during the last two months leading up to the wedding (or MOGs could start earlier and go through it a couple of times), this book is a wonderful resource for Christian moms who desire to cover their sons, themselves, their families, and the entire bridal party in prayer as they all go through the life-changing event of a wedding.

Each of the sixty selections included feature an introductory paragraph or two about some aspect of the wedding or the changing family dynamic, and then Matt shares an in-depth prayer addressing the topic of the day. Matt’s prayers spring from the truths and insights she’s gleaned from the Word of God and from her own personal experience as both a mother of the groom and a mother of the bride. With each selection Matt also shares a feature called “Something Borrowed”—a quote applicable to that day’s topic.

In this nicely done self-published paperback book, mothers of the groom will discover an extremely thorough and heartfelt guide for their own prayers. Not every topic mentioned or every prayer prayed will apply to every MOG, of course, but each mom will be able to easily apply what pertains to her and skim over the parts that don’t quite fit her situation. With Matt’s wisdom and skillful and easy-to-read writing style, I think mothers of the groom will love using this book.

So MOB, does this sound like a gift you’d like to offer to your future son-in-law’s mother? If you can help the prayer effort going up for your soon-to-be son and your precious girl, I’ll be you’re all for it, right? Why not bless the MOG today with a copy of Prayers for the Mother of the Groom!

*You might also like to read Make the Mother of the Groom Part of the Team and Kicking Off the In-Law Relationship.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right. Your name won’t be included in the giveaway draw until the next issue comes out, but it’s not too late to receive this issue. Sign up today!

*My photo