Archive | December 2012

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 31 – Read Your Bible!

Of all of the choices that you will make in 2013, there is none so powerful as the choice to read your Bible!
Reading your Bible every day will cleanse you and direct you.  It will enable you and empower you!  Reading your Bible on a daily basis will strengthen you and give you heaven’s joy for earth’s journey.
A daily discipline of being in the Word of God every day will:
Deliver you from depression!
Help you to focus on the eternal!
Improve your prayer life!
Give you the resolve to forgive!
Remind you to worship!
This one choice of spending time in the Word of God every day will turn you into the very best version of yourself!
Reading your Bible is better than:

Losing weight!  Going to Hawaii!  Buying a new home!  Finding a husband!  Having a baby!  Winning the lottery!

Reading your Bible will quickly evolve from a “have-to” … to a “want-to” … to a “must-do”!
So … after you get up every morning of 2013 and pray this prayer, “Lord, I will seek You first and foremost today!  I will never give up my pursuit of all that You are and all that You have for me …”
Your next choice will be to open your Bible! Declare it with me now, “I resolve to read my Bible every day of 2013!”

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 30 – Read a Devotional Every Day.

I love reading the heartfelt thoughts and inspirational insights of men and women of God who have embraced the principles found only in the Bible.
Every day, after I read the Word of God, I spend a few extra minutes in devotional readings.  It is like a clear, cool drink of water on an excruciatingly hot desert day!
Some of my favorite devotional books have been handed down in my family for generations.  I love to see what insight and wisdom my father chose to underline in these precious daily readings.  It is a treasure to trace my great-aunt’s writings in the margins and know that the Holy Spirit spoke to her through these very same written thoughts.

My three favorite devotional books are:

“My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers
“Morning and Evening”  by Charles Spurgeon
“Streams in the Desert”  by Mrs. Charles Cowan
I have also been delighted to devour contemporary devotionals written by some of the great men and women of this generation on YouVersion which is an app on smartphones or can be accessed through the internet.  There are hundreds of daily devotionals found in this venue that are easily read and daily delivered to your “inbox”.
Many days of life are difficult days and we need to do everything possible to strengthen our souls with the resolve and nurture of heaven’s power.  One of the many ways this strength has aimed itself at my fragile life is through the unconquerable wisdom found in devotional readings.  I am a better and stronger woman because men and women of other generations have penned wisdom for me.  What a gift!

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 29 – Memorize a Scripture verse every month!

Memorizing Scripture verses is not just for kids in Sunday School but it is for all of God’s children regardless of age!
The Bible tells us, in Psalm 119: 11, “Your Word have I treasured (hid) in my heart that I may not sin against You.”
When you commit the Word of God to your memory, you are building a high-power defense system in your life.  You will be able to stand against the schemes of the enemy with a resolve and power that is truly from the throne room of the Most High God.
“I delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your Word.” – Psalm 119:17.
Of all of the things that you need to remember in life, do not forget to remember the Word of God!  It is so much more than a discipline … it is truly a delight!  There is no way to describe the joy that you will experience as God’s Word fills your heart and mind as you go through a difficult day.
“Even though princes sit and talk against me, your servant meditates on Your statues.” – Psalm 119:23
No matter who is talking about you or against you, the Word of God will define your life in a way that nothing else can.  It will give you a definite and abiding strength as you navigate difficult relationships and people.  The Word will guard you from the onslaught of vicious and cruel people!
“My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your Word.” – Psalm 119:28.  When you are going through dark days and lonely valleys, it will be the Word of God that gives you a divine strength.  You need to memorize a Bible verse or two before your next storm so that the Word can stabilize you as you travel through the storm!
Memorize one Scripture verse every month.  Where to start, you might ask?  Well … I have just given you 4 incredible verses in this short essay!  Go for it!

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 28 – Treat someone!

One of the greatest delights in my marriage has always been when Craig and I go out to eat and we look around the restaurant and pray for the people in the room.  Often, we will tell our waitress to give us the check of another family who is dining at another table.  We tell her not to tell them who picked up their check, but just to let them know that God is taking care of them!  What fun!
Sometimes when I am in the drive through at a fast food restaurant or coffee shop, I will tell the person in the window that I am paying for the car behind me.  It doesn’t cost much … perhaps less than $2 … but Oh!  The joy of knowing that I have just blessed some unsuspecting person!
Life is so short and sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference.  What extraordinary joy to give for no reason at all!
What blessing to be part of God’s gift giving strategy!
If you are weary today … give to someone else!  Buy a cup of coffee!
Tip your waitress with a $10 rather than a $5!  If she deserves a $10 … give her a $20!  There is no end to the pleasure of giving not because someone deserves it but because we serve a God Who knows the joy of 100 fold giving!
How about buying ice cream for all the neighborhood kids when that ice cream truck rings its little bell?
How about inviting that newly widowed woman at church out to Sunday lunch with you and your family?
How about slipping your pastor a gift card to the mall?
How about it?!
And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” – Matthew 10:34
“Give, and it will be given to you.  They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together and running over.  For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” – Luke 6:38

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 27 – Ask God to Reveal Himself to You in Big Ways and in Little Ways.

Are you brave enough to pray this prayer, “Lord, would you reveal Yourself to me this  year?  Would You reveal Yourself to me in little ways and in big ways?”
If you will courageously and consistently pray that simple prayer, you will have an awareness of God’s presence and power that has never before been entrusted to you.
You will hear God’s voice in the majesty of a sunset.
You will see God’s smile in the daffodils of spring.
You will know His peace in the rustle of the autumn leaves.
You will feel His hand guiding and providing as you cheerfully give to His Kingdom.
You will know His thoughts as you read His Word.
You will feel His delight in moments of worship.
You will be overcome with His strength when you are at your very weakest.
You will experience His presence even in the storms of life.
God takes pleasure in revealing Himself to His children.  He has only been waiting for you to ask!
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the word of His hands.  Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” – Psalm 19: 1 & 2

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 26 – Listen to music!

Listen to worship music every moment that is humanly possible. Fill your life and your home with the music of His presence.  Sing along with the great hymns of the faith and the contemporary lyrics of today.  One of the most important choices that you will make every day of this new year is to spend some time with worship music turned up, your hands in the air and your voice lifted in praise!
Music has been an integral part of my life since I was a little girl.  I learned to sing and play the piano before I could even complete a full sentence.  There is nothing that calms my heart like music.
There is nothing that causes me to dream like music.
There is nothing that excites my soul like music.
Although worship music and the great hymns of the faith are my primary choice of musical preference, I also listen to other types of music throughout my daily routine.
I love to listen to Broadway show tunes!  The music of Rogers and Hammerstein and Irving Berlin never fails to put a spring in my step.
I love to listen to the classical compositions of men like Gershwin and Chopin. Enlarge your musical vocabulary and learn the joy of having classical music playing in the background of your life.

Discover the joy of unlocking an untapped musical arena with a new artist.  Ask your friends and family members if they could suggest an artist that you have never before known.  I have recently found the music of “The Annie Moses Band” and have thoroughly loved this family of Juilliard-educated musicians who give new meaning to the word “creative”!

One of my musical addictions on the computer is to go to www.pandora.com and create my own station.  I simply type in the name of one of my favorite artists or composers and what ensues is a gold mine of musical wealth!
Fill your home with music.  Fill your car with music.  Fill your shower with music.  Fill your heart with music.  Music is a sweet gift from heaven meant to enrich our lives with a sense of daily delight and creativity.  Don’t miss the extraordinary depth that only music is able to bring to a weary soul.

MY FAVORITE THINGS

blog pic favorite thingsDay 25 – Be a better listener than you are a talker!

Press pause.  Take a breath.  Take a deep breath.  Listen to someone else.
When you are listening, don’t be distracted by playing a game on your phone or by picking  at your fingernails.
Look in the communicator’s face and listen to their heart.  It is one of the greatest gifts that you will ever give to someone.
I always try to remind myself that everyone I meet is someone more important than I am.  They have valuable opinions and deep heart pain that needs to express itself.
Often, when meeting someone for lunch, my agenda is to simply have no agenda so that my lunch companion can have the full pleasure of sharing life from his or her point of view.
Anybody can talk long and hard … but it is a person of pure gold who chooses to listen well.
When you listen with your whole heart, it is then that you may be communicating friendship’s strongest message of all, “You are valuable to me.”