Focusing on God Month by Month in ’14

 

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I John 4:8
 
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
 
This year I am excited about a plan God gave me to focus on Him month by month through the fruit of His Spirit …

January – God is Love
February – God is Joy
March – God is Peace
April – God is Longsuffering
May – God is Gentle
June – God is Good
July – God is Faithful
August – God is Meek
September – God is Self-Controlled
October … God will show us what to do next!

Reminders
Go grab three or four 3×5 cards! I’ve got mine!  Place one near your sink, in your bathroom, on your bed stand, in your car – and focus the WHOLE month of January on the LOVE of GOD! These cards will remind us daily. Yay for reminders!!  On each card write one of these (or make up one of your own!) …

          “God loves me!”
 
                    “God = Love”
    
                              “God, please teach me more about You as Love”
                             
                                        “God loves me!”

                                                   “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”

Ask and You Shall Receive
I encourage you to pray with me daily, asking God to reveal more of Himself to us every day this month: how we can love Him more completely, and in turn love others with His love.  This is according to His will, so we know He will answer, “Yes!” 

Record and Share
Keep a pen near your cards so you can jot down things God reveals to you through His word and Spirit about Him as Love. Or you could write them in a journal, or share what you’re learning right here!  We can also be looking to tell people around us about God and what He is teaching us about Himself.  We and they will be blessed!

I’m looking forward to growing in God, intentionally focusing on Him and learning more about Him in all His wonderfulness.  Will you join me?

“… that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17-19 NKJV

Abba Loves Me When I’m Tired

 

Do you ever have days … weeks … months when you’re tired?  The past two weeks I’ve been waiting for my energy to arrive.  Still waiting.

I’ve been exercising, eating right, getting sun, working, sleeping well … why, Lord?  It’s easy to get discouraged when life isn’t going the way I plan!  As I wait on Him and learn to accept with thankfulness my temporary weariness, I can rest in the One Who made me, saved me, loves me, and keeps me. 

I treasure this picture of my Dad and me (above).  Whenever I am with him, I feel loved, safe, and encouraged.  In an infinitely greater way, my heavenly Father loves me, and His power is infinite – while ministering to me at my level.  Oh, the wonder of it!

I invite you to join me in praising the all-loving One, Who knows and cares.  We can rest in Him!

To weary Moses, God said (and forevermore promises to stay with all of His children):

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’”  Exodus 33:14
 
 
With the overwhelmed King David (the man after God’s own heart) we can pray:
 
“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.” Psalm 61:1-3
 
 
“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:26
 
 

The prophet Isaiah declared to Israel, and to us:

“Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  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.” Isaiah 40:28-31
 
 

Jesus promises:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
 
 

The writer of Hebrews found refreshment and courage to continue on, by focusing on the unchanging character of our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ.  We can, too, because:

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

 
“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Prepare To Worship


“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

It is Saturday evening.  My husband and I are sitting near each other working on our computers while listening to one of our favorite music stations.  If you’d like to listen with us, click here.  It is the evening before we go to church to worship God with our local family of believers.  Sundays are unique from every other day . . . a day set aside to focus on God.

It’s not that we don’t worship every day at home. We can worship God while we have our Bible quiet time, while we’re sitting down to a meal, in the shower, sipping tea, kissing boo boos, baking cookies, pulling weeds in the garden, etc.  God isn’t particular about where we worship Him, as long as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.  But, there is something particularly special about worshipping God as a church body.  Together.  And for this special event, we like to prepare.

Here are some ideas that might help you prepare on Saturday to worship on Sunday:

1.  Pray for your pastor and his wife.  A friend on Facebook always posts a nifty reminder like the one pictured below on Saturday evenings, reminding us to pray.  It is great for many reasons to teach our children to pray for their pastor.

2.  Reserve the evening to be at home.  We’ve found if we plan too much on Saturday evenings we are exhausted and not in very good shape for Sunday.  Of course Saturday activities cannot always be avoided, but because of the substantial benefits we make this a priority in our household.

3.  Lay out clothes and begin food preparation.  Is it just me, or does it seem like Satan is working overtime on Sunday mornings?  It is upsetting to the whole family to scurry around hairy-scary at the last minute looking for that missing shoe!  We are trying to get in the habit of laying out our clothes and shoes the night before, along with having breakfast and lunch preparations well on their way.  Have you ever read about the lengths Jews go to to prepare for Sabbath?  It’s phenomenal.  Sunday is the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection on our behalf – it seems like a day worthy of respectful preparations.  I’ve found that Sundays are much more peaceful if I prepare to be undistracted by things that could be taken care of on Saturday.

4.  Listen to worshipful music.  Like the link I shared above, there is nothing besides Scripture and prayer that prepares my heart for worship like worshipful music.  This can also set a wonderful Christ-centered atmosphere on Sunday morning while the family gets ready to go to church.

5.  Read Scripture passage before the sermon tomorrow.  We get our bulletin via email around Thursday or Friday every week, so we know what Pastor will be speaking on the following Sunday.  It helps me if I prayerfully read through the passage before he preaches.  God’s Spirit has more time to work in my heart, making it more likely that I will apply the Word to my life come Monday morning.

6.  Watch a worshipful video/DVD.  My favorite, for Saturday and any day of the week, is In His Presence: A celebration of the peace, love and promises of God in word and song (Moody Video).

7.  Ask God to clear your mind and heart.  Confessing sin and asking God to clear your mind of sinful thoughts or attitudes is essential for worshipping God. This could be likened to preparing soil in your garden for seeds and growth.  Check out this link to read verses that address this very need.

8.  Pray for the persecuted church.  At times I find myself taking my church for granted, or obsessing about inconsequential irritations (there is no perfect church).  One sure cure for this is to remember my sisters and brothers around the world that face persecution and are not allowed to openly attend worship services.  We are so very blessed – let us thank God and cherish the privilege of meeting to worship and grow in God together.

Do you have any other ideas that you use in your family or personal habits that you can share with us?  I would love to hear about them – please leave a comment below!

Praying for you dear sisters as you prepare to worship with your church family tomorrow.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25


Special thanks to Brenda for sharing the pray-for-Pastor picture!