Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Who Can Pray?

Psalm 1

As we continue our conversation about prayer, let’s consider who can pray? Anybody can pray! We just might not all get the desired response. Let’s take a step back and think about this.

Some people say God only hears the prayers of Christians. They get this idea from Bible verses that talk about God only hearing the prayers of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29, Proverbs 28:9, Isaiah 1:15 are examples). In fact, David said that if he had cherished sin in his heart, God wouldn’t have heard his prayer (Psalm 66:18-20). These verses are true as presented in their context (the verses that surround them) or under the specified circumstances, but we run into trouble if we claim they present a hard and fast rule that God must obey all the time. [To continue reading, click here.]

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Conversation Begins

The Conversation Begins
“Prayer is keeping company with God.” –Clement of Alexandria

Today I’m starting a new series on prayer. Once a week or so, I’m going to write to explore this practice with you. I’ve brainstormed enough ideas to write every day for a month, but blogging every day would keep me from doing other things I need to do every day, so I’ve decided to keep these to about once a week. For those of you who participate in October's "31 Days of . . ." blogging event, think of this as “31 [or more] [non-consecutive] Days of . . . Prayer.” Between prayer posts, I’ll continue to write about other thoughts God puts on my heart.

Let’s start with the basics: What is prayer?

Prayer is simply a conversation with God. In fact, it is a conversation initiated by God in the beginning, in your beginning—when He created you.

[To continue reading, click here.]

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gracefully Removing the Labels That Hurt

Ugly Label
In my current Bible study class, we’re studying the topic of grace. In this past week’s lesson, we looked at the story of The Woman Caught in Adultery. You can read the story here if you are not familiar with it.

To summarize, this woman was dragged before Jesus by a group of legalistic religious leaders who were using her to trap Jesus. They wanted to know if He would enforce the letter of the law and have her stoned or deny the law and condemn Himself. They thought they’d wrangled Jesus into a no-win situation. But Jesus simply told them to let whoever among them who was without sin throw the first stone. The crowd slowly dispersed. When the woman realized that no one had condemned her, Jesus told her that He wouldn’t condemn her either. He told her to go and sin no more.

At this point in the lesson, our group leader asked us what we thought became of the woman. My imagination grabbed hold of that question, and I found myself thinking about it long after I’d gone home. [To continue reading, click here.]

Monday, September 21, 2015

Trusting God with the Moment That Matters Most

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’”John 4:39-42

Moment That Matters
One of my college professors used to say that faith is more caught than taught. I saw this in action when my children were little. As a mom who loved Jesus, I looked forward to the day when I could pray with my children, leading them to invite Him into their hearts, knowing they were saved and walking heavenward with me.

It didn’t happen quite that way. We took our boys to church—that was a given, us being a ministry family. But we would have done that anyway. We studied the Bible together. My husband and I shared our testimonies. We prayed with our boys regularly. As my oldest son entered fourth grade, though, that longed-for moment had not yet come . . . his decision to give his life to Jesus . . . at least as far as I knew.

[To read the rest of the story, click here.]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jeremiah 29:11 in Context

Jeremiah 29-13
“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” –Jeremiah 29:10-13

Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse for many. I love claiming the promise that the Lord has good plans for me, plans to prosper and not harm, plans to give hope and a future. These words are comforting in times of trouble; they inspire confidence!

But we often take them out of context which means we miss part of their meaning. When we look at the surrounding verses, we discover this verse is more than a promise about what God is going to do. [To continue reading, click here.]

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Questions to Ask When People Bring Hurt

1 Peter 3-8n9
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” -1 Peter 3:8-9

If only everyone would follow Peter’s instructions found in these verses, our world would be a happier place. Just imagine if everyone tried to see the other’s point of view, to be sympathetic, to love, to show compassion, and to act with humility in all situations.

Sadly, not every does. In fact, everyone doesn’t—at least not in every situation all the time. This may be why Peter devoted one sentence to how to conduct ourselves positively and two to what to do when others don’t. In this world, we will encounter evil and insults. [To continue reading, click here.]

Thursday, July 30, 2015

We Follow the One We Choose to Trust

A few years ago I did a series on this blog called The New Spice Rack Recipes. My brother had learned that salt was my seasoning of choice and decided to correct that by buying me a new spice rack for my birthday. I decided to take the hint and determined to find at least one new recipe every month that featured one of the spices from my new spice rack. The series ran until I’d used each spice at least once.

The series came to an end, but my cooking adventures did not. Since then, our family has had to give up soy and gluten, and I’ve had to learn a whole new way to cook. But the spice rack project prepared me for this adventure. I’m not a great chef, but I can no longer say I’m not a good cook. I’ve been practicing and learning to enjoy the process, too. In fact, I suspect my earlier cooking issues came from being impatient, from trying to hurry the science up. (And if you don’t believe that cooking is a science, then you haven’t really learned to cook.)

For Christmas this past year, my son and daughter-in-law gave me a new cookbook called The Gluten-Free Table by Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse Swanson, aka Emeril’s daughters. I’ll confess, it intimidates me. I’ve only tried one of the recipes so far—but it was so good! Pan-fried Flounder with Lemon Garlic Butter. It totally takes the healthy out of gluten-free! That’s probably why it’s such a hit in our house.

I made this recipe the other day. [To continue reading, click here.]

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Of Dead Keys and Fruitless Fig Trees

In our house, I’m the Keeper of the Keys. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s similar to being the one who is expected to carry every else’s papers and books at church because I’m the one who carries a purse. (I usually refuse to live up to this expectation, but it’s there just the same.) I don’t carry a purse around the house, yet I’m still the one who gets to keep track of all the spare keys.
Whenever we move into a new home, every responsible inhabitant gets a set of house keys—and I get any extras to keep in a drawer—just in case. Every time we purchase a new padlock or security box or file cabinet, I get the spare keys for those, too. And because there’ve been times when a family member couldn’t find a key . . .

[To continue reading, click here.]

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Appreciating a Good Day

Father, it’s been a really bad day—I mean really, really, really bad. I'm ready to move to Australia with Alexander. Or maybe Montana will do. Seriously, Lord. Everything has gone wrong. Everything! So I’m dropping everything right now and coming to You. Please turn this day around. Please let the rest of this day be good.

Didn’t you just talk with Your mom?

I did!

What part of everything going wrong was that?

[To continue reading, click here.]

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Links to Where I'm Writing Now

Dear Friend--

In case you're wondering why I haven't posted anything new here recently, I don't blog here anymore.

That doesn't mean I've stopped writing, though! In fact, I'm writing more than ever these days. I blog, I tweet, I comment on quotes I find in great books, and I'm working on my own second book. There's just so much to say about God and His Word and His world and His work and how we can cooperate with Him to grow in His love, share it with others, and build His Kingdom. I don't have all the answers, but I'm seeking them and sharing what I learn each day.

I invite you to join me!

Below is a list of links to all the places where you can find, follow, friend, or like me, so we can interact and learn, together, about our great God. (You'll also catch announcements about giveaways for my current book and releases of new ones.):

Janet's New Blog: Wildflower Faith