Scripture/prayer journal

One of my favorite types of prayer journals is one where I write down scriptures that speak to me as I’m reading.  Then I often write out a prayer after the ones I feel led to pray about.

This type of journal has some good benefits.

  • It can help you focus on what the scriptures are really saying, instead of just skimming over them.
  • It can help you memorize scriptures
  • You can use your journal as a reference when trying to find certain scriptures in the future (This can help you become more and more familiar with the scriptures)
  • When you choose a scripture to pray about, it helps you become closer to the One who wrote the scripture

Here is an example of a scripture/prayer from one of my journals:

3-12-14:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9  Lord, perfect Your strength in my weakness which I give to You to use for Your glory, and as Paul said, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

In 2014, I also chose John 15:4 to be my verse for the year:  “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  I began to pray that God would show me how to abide in Him.  Then I began to research vines, and the pruning and training of vines.  I began to look up every verse I could find that talked about God being the vine, about us bearing fruit, or about abiding in Him.  I wrote all of it in my journal.  It was a journey that I desperately needed and my journal was my lifeline to the Lord.  I can now go back and see the progress I made and the ways that God met my needs during that time and brought me ever-closer to Him.

I encourage you to keep your journal open beside you as your read your Bible.  If a scripture speaks to you, simply write it down.  Give the Lord a chance to draw you closer to Him through this practice.  I think it will surprise you.  His Word is powerful enough to speak something new to us on a daily basis.  It’s even better when we can record those new discoveries!

Praying for you,

jamie

Also see previous blogs about prayer journals:  Prayer Journaling 101  and Traditional Prayer Journal and Art Prayer Journals

 

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Fruit. (with a funny story at the end)

Pr. 27:19:  “As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”

What is truly in our hearts will be reflected in our actions.  We may think that we can walk in our own strength, outside of God’s will, and still appear to be living for Him, but our fruit will eventually give us away.  The truth of the fruit in our lives reveals what, or who, is really in our heart.

Galatians 5 says that when we are walking in the flesh, our fruit will show as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.

When we are walking in the Spirit, our fruit will show as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The truth of the matter is that the fruit of the flesh is what comes most naturally for us.  In our natural state, we are selfish and indulgent.  The fruit of the Spirit is just that…His fruit.  It comes from walking with Him and allowing Him to be the One to feed, water, and fertilize us.  John 15:4 reminds us that we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, unless we abide in the Vine.  Jesus is the Vine, and our Father is the Vinedresser.  When we abide in Jesus, we will bear much fruit, and that fruit will be of the Spirit.

Our flesh wars against the Spirit, just as drought, pestilence, and heat war against healthy plants in nature. We must pay attention to the fruit we are bearing.  If we notice something rotten, then adjustments need to be made.  We need to ask God to fertilize, prune, protect, and water us with His Spirit and His Word, so that our fruit will once again be of Him.

NOTE:  As I was typing this, my son spilled milk on our cloth couch.  Instead of reacting in the flesh, yelling and belittling, allowing it to ruin our morning, or going out to buy a new couch, God gave me His Spirit to react with His fruit.  I was patient and kind with my son.  I practiced self-control by thoroughly cleaning the couch instead of throwing it out and buying a new one (like I wanted to do), and I was able to show joy as I laughed with my kids when they pretended the uncovered couch cushions were cloud town.  🙂  Thank you, God.  What a perfect example you allowed me to live out.

Abiding in the Vine,

jamie

They will realize you’ve been with Jesus

Pr. 25:11:  “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

In Acts chapter 4, after healing a lame man, Peter and John had been arrested for preaching about Jesus and His resurrection.  The next day they were brought before the rulers and asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”  vs. 8:  “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said to them…”

vs. 13:  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

The words Peter fitly spoke, through the power of the Holy Spirit, were like apples of gold in settings of silver.  It was even more of a testimony to the rulers that he and John were uneducated and untrained.  Because of this, and the words that had been spoken, they marveled.  “And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

We don’t have to be Pastors, Bishops, certified teachers, or even seminary students to speak of Jesus and His resurrection.  John 15 tells us to abide in Him.  Simply being with Jesus gives us what we need to do His work.

When we spend time in God’s presence, we are not only being fed His wisdom, but also strengthened, equipped, and more confident in Him and who we are in Him.  When questioned, Peter didn’t have to pull out his credentials in order to be heard or set free.  He who had been with Jesus, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit did the work.

Vs. 14 says, that after this and “seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.”  God took care of everything.  Peter and John simply did what they were called to do and the Lord did the rest.  The rulers could say nothing against it.

The lesson for us:  Spend time with Jesus

Learning from the Master,

jamie

Nourishment to complete the tasks

Pr. 19:27:  “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

It is easy for us to give in to busyness in this life, especially during this season of year.  There are so many things pulling at us each day.  We have countless responsibilities.  We are asked to help with many things from those around us.  We have personal things we want to do.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with being busy.  Currently, our “Christmas break” schedule is jam-packed with things to do.

The danger; however, is neglecting the only thing that really matters:  our relationship with God.  With all the busyness, it can be easy to put aside our time with God in an effort to get done all the things that are pulling at us.

Without God, though, we can do nothing.  He is our Strength.  He is our Provider.  He is the One who guides and directs us.  He is the One who instructs us.  If we put Him first, He will help us get done all the things we need to do, or He will direct us when we need to say no to certain things.

Because it is true that when we cease listening to instruction we are more likely to stray from the words of knowledge, we must be diligent and intentional in setting aside our time for the Word of God.

If we are going to choose to say no to something, we must make sure that something is not our time with God.  Above all else, we need to continue abiding in the Vine.  We must remain attached to Him, allowing Him to nourish and enrich us.  It is only abiding in Him that brings the fruit in our lives.

John 15:6 reminds us, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

We cannot risk not abiding in Him.  Once we become unattached, we stray, and eventually fall away, being then cast out and withered.  After that, we see what happens.

It may seem like I’m being overly-dramatic, but I’ve seen it before.  Sometimes it only takes a few days for the enemy to cause us to become so distracted that we get out of the routine of making time with God our priority.  Once that takes place, we are vulnerable to his sway.  His sway will always lead us away from God.

During this season, during all the busyness, giving, and frivolity, we must protect our time with God and in His Word.  We must ensure that abiding in Him is at the top of our to-do list.  If we put Him first, all the rest will fall beautifully into place.  “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Let’s remain in Him,

jamie

Come and rest

Mt. 11:28-30:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I love reading these verses about the true rest that Jesus gives.  We do not have to work for grace, He gives it freely.  We do not have to work harder to earn our salvation.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then His salvation is ours.

Submitting to Him doesn’t shackle and burden us, or add more weight.  It takes the weight away.  Allowing Him to pour His love and peace upon us will give us true rest.  We are invited to come to him, learn from Him, and find rest for our souls.  He is gentle and lowly in heart, as He proved when He walked on this earth.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Running faster or working harder will not increase our strength or our salvation.  Our strength comes from the Lord.  The harder we work in our own flesh, the more likely we will fall.  God says to “wait” on Him.  We must slow down, be still, and wait.  When we do, He will renew our strength, in His power, and we will no longer be weary.

Jesus also taught us in John 15:4 to abide in Him.  Abide means to wait, to stay, be still, endure, and bear patiently.  He said that, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  He calls Himself the vine and us the branches.  With only the minimal knowledge of vines, we can certainly understand that if the branch is not attached to a vine, it cannot grow fruit.  In fact, it will wither and die.

What better news could we receive today?  Our job is to come to Jesus, be still, endure with Him, wait on Him, and learn from Him.  This will allow Him to give us rest, renew our strength, and cause us to not grow faint.  Abiding in Him will also allow Him to cause fruit to bear forth in our lives.  We don’t have to work harder for the fruit to come, but we must remain attached to the Vine.  He is the source of life.  Remain attached to Him and enjoy your rest.

Sigh…

jamie

Want your inheritance to be good?

Pr. 28:10:  “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will inherit good.”

As Christians, we have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to go into all the world making disciples.  That requires some effort, some commitment, some loyalty to the Lord.  Making disciples requires that we ourselves must be disciples.  If our life doesn’t point to Christ, it is pointing somewhere.

Too often, we think that our actions are isolated to ourselves.  It’s just not true.  We are being watched at all times.  There is someone in each of our lives over which our example holds some sway.  When we choose to walk away from the Lord, others are affected by our choices.  Sometimes we unintentionally steer someone down a path of sin and evil just by our example.  Other times; however, we fall so far from the Lord that we intentionally bring others with us.

The Bible says that if we cause the upright to go astray in an evil way, we ourselves will fall into our own pit.  Not only are others counting on us, but the Lord is counting on us to be the one that brings others to Him.

The Lord rewards those who do His will.  We will inherit good.  Eternal life is waiting on us if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Let’s focus on the part where we ourselves are disciples.

How will our life point to Christ, so that we can inherit this good?  Reading, studying, and praying over the Word of God keeps His will and His heart at the forefront of our minds.  Praying and spending time in stillness with the Lord, allows us to get in submission to His will and allows Him to speak to our hearts and minds.  Worshiping and praising the Lord will cause our hearts to fill with awe of Him and cause our mouths to pour forth truth and goodness.

When our relationship with God is vibrant and active, our lives will naturally point others to Him.  Simply abiding in God, and allowing Him bear the fruit in our lives, could be the exact thing that brings salvation to another.

Abiding in Him,

jamie