Theme Word 2019: Depend

*FYI, I won’t be posting next week but will see you back here on Jan. 22. Blessings to all!

I love the practice of choosing a theme word for each new year. Having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—can give me direction throughout the year and also helps me refocus on the word—this thing God has directed me to do.

I usually start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be sometime in November or December. This year three or four words came to mind, but as I prayed and asked God to direct me to his word for me for the upcoming year, one word resonated with me more than the rest.

The word that resonated the most with me for 2019? Depend. That may sound like an odd word to choose, but with the changes, situations, and tasks that 2019 may hold for me (or for my husband and me), I need to depend on God each step of the way. I can easily start to worry if I don’t remember to trust God and rely on him and his guidance and strength for whatever the future may bring. So depend it is.

Of course, as in other years, the word depend may end up with applications I haven’t even thought about yet. We’ll see. However the year plays out, I want to be found depending on my faithful and able God. My loving heavenly Father. My strength.

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:17 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2019?

*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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by  Khánh Hmoong, Creative Commons License

One Way to Pray Against Enemy Forces

The Lord threw [the enemy forces] into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely . . .” Joshua 10:10 NIV

We will all face enemies in our lives—and it’s not usually a one and done affair. The average person or group or nation will face multiple battles over the course of time. It’s just to be expected. We are not in heaven yet, and until Jesus comes again and gains the final victory over Satan, conflict and sin will continue to be part of our lives.

The enemy forces that come against us will take many forms. As a nation, we may face foreign and military battles from without and political battles and bigotry from within. As individuals, we will undoubtedly face emotional and spiritual battles as well as health-related, financial, and interpersonal ones. These are just a few broad examples. Others have probably already come to mind.

As believers in Christ, we know that prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal. Through prayer we can ask God to wield his almighty power against our enemies on our behalf. In fact, prayer is listed as the final component of battle readiness as laid out by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6.

One specific way we can pray when enemy forces come against us is to ask the Lord to throw them into confusion. In the scripture featured at the beginning of this post, we see that God did this very thing for Joshua and the Israelites. As a result, they were able to defeat their enemy. Will not God do the same for us today as we call on him for help?

Let’s do it—let’s ask God to throw our enemies into confusion. Let’s watch him act in our behalf. Let’s watch our mighty God defeat our enemies.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

*What enemy is coming against you today? Will you call on God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by D.Munoz-Santos, 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

Behind the Clouds the Sun Still Shines

One day when I stepped out my back door to enjoy an early morning drink of nature and to worship its Creator, a welcome sight caught my attention. I spotted a glimmer of light and hope for a brighter sky as the day progressed. I saw the sun shining behind the clouds.

On most dark and gloomy days, I don’t think of the sun at all, except for missing the light, the beauty, and the lifted spirits it brings to our world. On this day, however, the Lord parted the clouds at just the right moment and penetrated their melancholy presence with a reminder that no matter what the sky looks like from my vantage point, the sun still shines. The light is always there.

My thoughts soon went to friends and loved ones faced with dark and gloomy days of a different sort, far more serious than temporary cloud-covered skies. Several have been enduring life problems that hold no quick fix, and I wonder how long it’s been since they’ve spotted a glimmer of light and hope for brighter days. I wonder if they remember the sun is shining behind the clouds.

My prayers go up for them and others like them today—that even though all they may see right now are clouds of despair, disappointment, or discouragement, I pray the Lord will penetrate their darkness and allow them to see that he is there. I pray that they will be reminded that the Son always shines behind the clouds.

“…the LORD turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29 NIV

*How does the Lord make his presence known to you?

*The new 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 Vince Alongi, Creative Commons License

*I pray that this revised encore post from Sept. 2009 blesses you today!

The Power of Remembering God’s Faithfulness

“‘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 wonder how you can impact others for Christ or how you can strengthen your own faith?

One way to strengthen our faith is to recall God’s past faithfulness—to remember the times he’s been there for us or acted in our behalf. If we’ll then take it a step further and speak or write or sing of his faithfulness, we will undoubtedly point others to Christ as well and possibly impact their lives for eternity.

In the Bible one example of the apostle Paul remembering God’s faithfulness is found in the book of Acts. When Paul was imprisoned wrongfully while in Jerusalem, he testified before King Agrippa that “God has helped me to this very day. . .” While this particular statement is fairly broad, others he made were more specific. And I imagine that while he sat in his prison cell, he may have privately recalled all the times God had been faithful to him—either as a way to offer thanks to God for all he had done in the past and what he would certainly do in the present circumstance or as a way to bolster his faith when so much was hanging in the balance.

Likewise, when times are bad in our lives, we too can strengthen our faith by recalling God’s faithfulness to us. We too can impact others for the Lord as we testify how God has helped us throughout our lives, how he has helped us to this very day.

God has certainly helped me to this very day. He has strengthened me, comforted me, loved me, forgiven me, delivered me, guided me, empowered and used me, blessed me, and answered my prayers time and again.

Is this your testimony as well? If so, let it strengthen your faith as you remember God’s faithfulness to you. And let it impact others as you testify!

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.” Daniel 4:2 NIV

*In what ways can you tell others about God’s faithfulness to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by michael pollak, Creative Commons License