Yesterday Matt over at Jesusluvsall posted about how he was Thankful Prayer Is Not Like Internet Connection.
The title of Matt’s post immediately grabbed my attention because I just happened to have connectivity issues while on an important meeting yesterday. It was frustrating and embarrassing. Thankfully the other participants on the call were understanding.
So the brilliant title of Matt’s post really struck me. And I appreciated the excellent points about prayer within the post as well.
(Before I continue on the topic of prayer, I want to mention that Matt just published a book called Jesus Understands Trauma. You can find it on Amazon here.)
Matt’s post yesterday got me thinking about prayer. I wonder if we take it for granted sometimes that God is always available to us. But if we stop and ponder we will see what a gift we have in prayer. God is always there, ready to listen. How incredible that the Creator of the universe actually wants to hear from us!
In the past I used to wish I could become a prayer warrior, but I thought this was only for certain people. It took me time, but I realized we all can become prayer warriors. It just means we have to put in the effort. Daily we have to show up.
(Side note: If you have never seen the movie War Room, I highly recommend it! It’s about prayer and very inspiring.)
Once we make prayer a priority, we will be amazed at how much prayer can impact us, how much God truly hears us, how much He changes us through our prayer life, and how much He works things out for the best.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus reminds us to “always pray and not give up.” I have to wonder if there are situations in our lives that would have gone differently merely if we kept praying. We may never know the answer.
And is it possible that not praying is actually a sin? I heard a sermon by Pastor Jentezen Franklin a few months ago in which he mentioned a Bible verse that really struck me: “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.” – 1 Samuel 12:23
Please note I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty. Trust me, I am the last person to point fingers. In the past I used to avoid prayer, because I didn’t want to think about the things that were worrying me.
Over time, though, I have made changes to pursue a better prayer life. And I have to say that I have seen how prayer has drawn me closer to the Lord. And I can see how He has used prayer to mold me.
If you feel your prayer life is stale, get creative. Prayer isn’t just asking God for things. It’s a conversation with the One who loves you like no other. So try talking to Him about your day and the things you are walking through, good and not-so-good.
You could also try writing out your prayer on paper. This helps me to focus. The devil will try to distract you, and steer your mind in different directions.
You might consider getting outdoors to pray. There’s something special about that. I always feel closer to God when I have only the sky above.
You could also write out a poem to God.
Or you could even write your own Psalm, as Rainer over at The Devotional Guy™ has been doing. Check out this post where he talks about this and shares one of his Psalms as well – Kicking Off 2023 Writing My Own Psalms [Modern Psalm 7].
You could also read from the book of Psalms in the Bible and use them as prayers.
There are also many outstanding books out there that help us with our prayer lives. I’m currently reading On Our Knees by Phil Wickham and I highly recommend it. (And in case that name sounds familiar, Phil is actually a musician, singer, and songwriter. You may have heard his powerful song about prayer – Battle Belongs.)
When we make a commitment to pray daily, our hearts are changed. But don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself! ☺️
With all this talk about prayer, I also want to say that I will be forming my June prayer list soon. So if you have any special prayer requests, please let me know. Or if you want me to continue praying for something that you already shared with me, let me know that as well.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have a blessed weekend.
© 2018-2023 Bridget A. Thomas
We recently invested in storm doors for our home. But it was a bit of an ordeal. We ordered them from one of the big chain home improvement stores, and we also paid to have them installed. We were given a date of when the doors should arrive at the store. And we were told we would be contacted by someone to set up a time for the install.
The day arrived when the doors should have been in the store, but we never heard anything. My husband went down to the store and talked to them; however, they couldn’t find our order in their system. I went down later that same day, with proof of payment in hand. I talked to the same guy who placed our order several weeks prior. (We will call him Alex.) Alex did some digging and was able to locate our purchase. However, he explained that it didn’t seem to be in the computer the way it should have been. I was in there for a good length of time, but we thought everything was straightened out. Alex even believed that the doors were on the premises. But he said they could still be in a truck, waiting to be unloaded.
I was contacted several days later by an independent contractor to set up the install. (We will call him Jed.) We agreed upon the day. All seemed to be well. When the day arrived, Jed called me back and asked me if I had the doors at my house. I didn’t because Jed was supposed to pick them up and bring them to the house on the day of the install. However, Jed was at the store and apparently the doors were no where to be found. He got some employees to help him. They searched all over and couldn’t find them.
Again my husband went down there and spoke to someone. They weren’t sure what happened. But at this point we had some options. We could either place a new order for the same doors. Or they had very similar doors in stock that we could purchase instead. We opted for the doors that were in stock, and we even got a little money back because they were cheaper than the original doors we ordered.
However, we still didn’t get the doors that day. When the doors seemed to be lost, Jed had moved on to a different project that day. Several days later I heard from him, and we scheduled a new install date.
Finally that day arrived and Jed did the install of the two doors. The storm doors were just what we needed. There was one more hiccup, though. I got a call approximately a week later from the store saying that my doors had arrived. I quickly realized the lady on the phone must have meant the original doors. So I explained to her what happened and let her know we already had doors installed. She thanked me and we ended the call. I guess they either put those doors out for sale or sent them back. I thought it was humorous that the saga continued. But that is not the point of my story.
Let’s back up a few weeks. When I was in the store over a month ago talking to Alex about the mixed up order, he kept apologizing. He sincerely felt bad about the whole debacle, even though it wasn’t his fault. He was the same guy who took our order, but he was a seasoned employee. So I believe there must have been some sort of glitch.
When he apologized again, I said, “It’s not the end of the world.”
His reply to me was, “I’m glad it’s not to you. But to a lot of other people, it would be.”
I knew Alex was right. For some people, an inconvenience like this could seem like a catastrophe.
My husband and I have been through a lot of stress recently. So this additional item on our list could have easily caused us some angst as well. When problems pile up, it can be difficult to take one more thing.
And I don’t know about you, but for me personally, it is usually the unexpected bumps in my day that cause me grief. Seemingly small things that disrupt my plans. But I am learning (sometimes more slowly than I should!) to hand those inconveniences over to the Lord.
While this story is a minor example, we all have had bigger issues that blindsided us. Our initial reaction might be to panic or to get angry. When we are taken by surprise, especially if we are already stressed, we feel vulnerable and shocked.
However, one important thing to remember is that whatever comes our way is not a surprise to God. He knew it was coming. And He already knows the outcome. He often allows obstacles in our lives for a purpose. We won’t always know the reasons why different things happen. But we know the One who is in control. And He can see us through whatever we are facing.
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?Psalm 56:3-4 NLT
This takes trust. Trusting God can be difficult for different reasons. Sometimes we are used to being in control and handling everything ourselves. Or it could be that the obstacle in front of us is so big that we just can’t fathom how God will work it out. The good news is that we don’t have to worry about that part. When we put it in God’s hands, He will work it out.
Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean we do nothing. There might be action on our part. But if we lean on the Shepherd, He will show us what path to take
Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees.Dr. Charles Stanley
If you are facing something unexpected, God can help you through it. He is always there. And the best part is that He actually wants to help you with whatever obstacle you might be up against. What a loving Heavenly Father we have!
Dear God, thank You for walking beside us, in front of us, and behind us. No matter what unexpected circumstances come our way, it is comforting to know that You are there. Help us to remember to lean on our Shepherd, who will guide us and show us the way to go. We are so thankful for You, Lord! And we love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have a blessed weekend!
© 2018-2023 Bridget A. Thomas
One of my dogs, Tucker, has separation anxiety. He thinks he should always be with his Mom and Dad. When we leave him home, he might bark, whine, howl, sulk, or all of the above. He seems to have a fear that we are abandoning him. Perhaps he wonders if we will ever come back home.
I talk to my dogs like they are people, meaning I try to explain things to them. They don’t always understand. But they do feel my tone of voice. And they are smart enough to remember what certain words mean.
Sometimes I will try to explain to Tucker that we love him, we will never abandon him, and we will always come back. I was thinking recently that if Tucker just understood how much his parents loved him, then he wouldn’t be so quick to freak out.
I’m sure you can figure out where I am going with this. Yes, this made me think about us and God. If only we knew how much He loved us, we wouldn’t freak out when we are hit with a situation that brings us fear, grief, or worry.
God loves us so much. He is trustworthy. He has our backs. Even when something takes us by surprise, it is no surprise to Him. He allowed the situation to come our way. And He will use it for a purpose.
I know just saying these things is easy. But what’s difficult is getting that into our hearts. So how do we get to the point of knowing deep down that our Shepherd loves us beyond measure and that He is watching out for us?
Spending time with Him is a good start. Making a choice each day to pray helps us to draw closer to Him. Reading the Bible also helps because not only do we learn about God’s character, but we are also bombarded with truth. Reading in the Psalms has helped me to get a better awareness of God’s love. And several verses that I read recently struck a chord. I want to share a few with you. One of them is not from the Psalms. But it might be familiar to you.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 KJV
“He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.” – Psalm 33:5 ESV
“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.” – Psalm 32:10 NIV
Aren’t the words in these verses comforting? Nothing can separate us from God’s love. The earth is full of the love of the Lord. And the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him. Reading the last verse, in my mind I can see God’s love surrounding me like a blanket. A few days ago I was worried about something, and I kept repeating the words from the latter part of that verse. This reminder brought peace and comfort.
I hope these verses bring you peace and comfort as well. And I hope they remind you how much God loves you. May we remember that if God sent His One and Only Son for us, then surely He loves us enough to go to the ends of the earth for us, to provide for us, to protect us, and to see us through whatever we are facing.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a blessed weekend!
© 2018-2023 Bridget A. Thomas
I have two dogs whose personalities are very different. Even when we are in the car, their personalities show. Buddy doesn’t move a muscle and sits as stiff as a statue. He is quiet; and you might even forget he is in the back seat. But Tucker paces from window to window, squealing and panting. He makes his presence known. (And make sure you wear a hat.)
When Tucker is in the car, since he is always on the move, I try to prevent him from taking a spill. When I need to stop or slow down, I apply the brake slowly and ahead of time. But something else that helps is to tell Tucker in a loud voice to, “Hold on!”
If we are approaching a traffic light or a stop sign – “Hold on!”
If we need to make a turn – “Hold on!”
If the traffic in front of us is slowing down – “Hold on!”
The other day I was playing some praise music, singing along, and shouting “Hold on!” every so often. Then I started to giggle at how funny this would seem to an onlooker. But then something else occurred to me as well. I thought about how “Hold on” is good advice for us as well.
The right reaction is always to focus upon the Lord and to trust Him.Dr. Charles F. Stanley
We need to hold on to Jesus, no matter what lies ahead on the road. If life takes a turn, we need to hold on. If a “stop sign” appears, don’t forget to hold on. If the “traffic” gets congested, it’s best to hold on.
In the Message translation of Psalm 63:8, it says, “I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.” I love the idea of holding on to God “for dear life.” Whether we are on top of a hill or down in a valley, our Good Shepherd is there. We need only to hold on.
According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of “hold on” is “to maintain a grasp on something.” And that is exactly what we need to do with the Lord, no matter what we are facing.
I don’t know what you are going through right now. But I do know that God is there. And if you hold on to Him, He will not let you down.
Dear Heavenly Father, the road of life has many twists and turns. But You are always there, through it all. Help us to remember to hold on to You, no matter what. We thank You for Your faithfulness and trustworthiness. How amazing it is to know that the One and Only Almighty God will never let us down. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2018-2023 Bridget A. Thomas
Hi, Friends! I hope you are all well.
I want to start off by sharing a wonderful poem written by Daryl Madden. Last week, you might recall that I shared a personal prayer with you. But when typing it out, it seemed the enemy was attacking. So I mentioned how real the spiritual world is. Daryl has such a way with words, and crafted an amazing poem from that thought. Check out Daryl’s poem here!
I also want to share a video about the late Dr. Charles Stanley and his life. It is very inspiring. But make sure you have time on your hands first, as the video is an hour long. You can access the video here.
Now onto my post for today. A couple of weeks ago I talked a bit about what I learned during Lent. Something I didn’t mention was that while I was offline during Lent, we had a death in the family. My Uncle Alan left this world. And since his birthday was this week, I wanted to share a little something about him today.
When we first hear about someone passing, there is shock, grief, heartbreak, and devastation. This was a heavy time for us.
Also, when we hear about a death, this might make us wonder about the afterlife. Was the person ready? Will we be ready when our time comes? So I don’t want to miss an opportunity to say, if you or someone you know isn’t ready, perhaps these links will help: Accepting Jesus and An Eternal Mindset. If we are Christians, we can look forward to seeing our saved loved ones again. What a joy that will be!
In addition to that, I could say a lot about my uncle. I could talk about his sense of humor. I could mention that he drove out of his way to pick me up from college on Friday nights so that I could spend the weekend with family. I could talk about his life and how much he loved his family. But today I want to touch on something I learned as my family and I traveled for the service.
When I look back at the time surrounding the service for my uncle, I can see many things to be thankful for. Even in the midst of sorrow, we can find blessings. Perhaps that is why 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Many of us had to travel in order to attend the funeral. For my friends who do not live in the US, see the map below. I have New York circled in red, North Carolina circled in purple, and Florida circled in blue. Please excuse my sloppy lines 🙂
The funeral was in North Carolina. My parents live in New York and I live in Florida. However, it just so happened that my parents were in Florida at the time, so we were able to travel together. That was a blessing.
Shared meals, lots of conversation along the way, good laughs. All blessings in the midst of the sorrow.
My sister and brother-in-law live in Pennsylvania (circled in green on the map), and they traveled for the service as well. I had not seen them in nearly three years. And my parents hadn’t seen them for many months either. It was a blessing to spend a little time together.
My cousin and his family didn’t have to travel, but we rarely get to see them. So visiting with them was a blessing as well.
On the drive there, we were in terrible traffic thanks to two bad accidents. It took longer than we would have liked. But the important part is that we got there safely. A blessing.
When we arrived in town late at night, in the rain, it was stressful finding our way. Thankfully we were able to figure out where we needed to go … after a u-turn or two. But still a blessing.
We all went out to dinner one night. And afterwards we gathered to talk for a bit. Blessings.
Sharing memories and stories about my uncle. Blessings.
Texting family and friends along the way. Knowing you have people praying for you and your family. Blessings.
Extra hours to read good books, a cup of coffee when it’s needed, cool weather. All blessings.
Traffic on the way home was better than the traffic on the way there. A blessing.
I am not making light of this sad event. But I did want to point out that no matter what we are going through, we can still look around for blessings. Yes there were things we could have complained about during this trip as well. But we have a choice. Will we look for the good? Or will we look for the not-so-good?
There are silver linings around those dark clouds. There is still goodness in this world.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs – Alive and Breathing by Matt Maher. As long as we are on this earth, we can find something to praise God for. We have the Good News of Jesus to share with others. And there is joy to be found in the world around us.
Our hearts can find beauty, even in the difficult times. And perhaps when we are facing something hard, that is the most important time for us to look around for beauty and for the goodness of God.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my musings. I hope you found a bit of encouragement.
One more thing. I want to start a new routine of making a fresh prayer list at the beginning of each month. I know many people already do something similar with their prayer journals. This will ensure I am praying for current concerns and it will lead to leaning on the Good Shepherd for all of our needs. So please let me know how I can pray for you in the coming weeks.
Thank you and have a blessed weekend.
© 2018-2023 Bridget A. Thomas
Perhaps the title of my post caught your attention. You might be thinking, “We’re only 111 days into 2023. How can Bridget know the best thing she did this year?”
Today I want to tell you about something that I have been doing daily since January 1, as part of my quiet time with God. On January first I started reading Psalm 1:1. I continued reading until I reached a verse that really spoke to me. Then I wrote down that verse in my journal. And following the verse, I wrote a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, based on that verse.
Each day I have followed the same pattern, except that I pick up in the Psalms where I left off the day prior. Some days my prayer might be longer than other days. And some days I might focus on several verses, instead of just one, if the verses are tied together.
Here is an example:
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” – Psalm 8:3-4
Dear Heavenly Father, I am in awe of You! You made the heavens and the earth, the moon and the stars. You made the universe, the oceans, and the mountains. All with a Word, You set everything in place. My mind cannot fathom how magnificent You are. Yet You see each human being and You care for them. You see me and You care for me. You don’t miss one detail of my life. You love me so. How can I ever feel down or defeated when Your goodness continually follows me? Thank You, Lord! I can never thank You, praise You, worship You, love You enough. Yet I have all of eternity to try!
(Side note – You cannot tell me the spiritual world isn’t real. You cannot tell me God isn’t real. And you cannot tell me there isn’t a real enemy who wants to stop us from spreading the light and love of Jesus. I had to type the prayer above several times before it stuck. Somehow, the words kept vanishing. It seems absurd that the words would just disappear, yet they did.)
Why do I love this new part of my daily routine so much?
For one thing, I love the Psalms. The book of Psalms is the most uplifting book in the Bible, in my opinion. When I am feeling down or worried, the Psalms lift me up. They help me to remember God’s goodness.
My second reason is that I have learned the power of praise. I have seen how praising God turns things around. I can be anxious about a certain situation. But then when I stop and praise God, it takes my mind off of my worries, and it turns my focus to the Most High God.
I also love that this incorporates prayer. Prayer is so powerful and something we can never get too much of. Many people might think of prayer as asking God for things. But it is more than that. Talking to God on a daily basis not only draws us closer to Him, but it changes us as well.
I also love this routine because it gives me a gratitude boost. I have learned that gratitude plays an important role in our lives. Gratitude helps us to see the blessings around us, even in the midst of difficulties.
And, finally, I love the idea of writing it all out. There is something about putting pen to paper that makes the words more concrete. It deepens the meaning and helps us to embed truth into our hearts.
Perhaps you have done something similar already. Bible journaling is very popular these days. I have done this as well with different books of the Bible. We take verses that speak to us, meditate on them, and write out our thoughts or a prayer based on them. This helps bring new application and light to something we have read before.
Romans 12:2 (ESV) says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I believe we can be transformed by the renewal of our minds when we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, meditate on the meaning, and apply it to our lives. And that is what this new routine has done for me. I can see how the Lord is using this to mold me each day.
If this is new to you, give it a try and let me know how it goes. Or if you already do something similar in your quiet time with the Lord, please share your insights in the comments.
Many of you have likely heard about the passing of Dr. Charles F. Stanley earlier this week. I am sure many would agree with me when I say that Dr. Stanley and his ministry made a significant impact on my Christian walk. His sermons and books were always packed with insight and wisdom. When I commuted to work an hour each way, I would listen to his sermons in the morning on my drive. And I am honored that I had a chance to meet him once when visiting his church in Atlanta. He will be dearly missed by many. But think of the glorious homecoming he had!
I would like to end by sharing a few quotes by Dr. Stanley that are applicable to this post. About the importance of reading the Bible, Dr. Stanley said, “Over the years, I have come to realize that God’s Word offers the wisdom and insight I need at every turn. I cannot and never will encounter anything that is beyond Him and the principles He has written in Scripture.”
About our habits when reading the Bible, Charles Stanley said, “As you read God’s holy Word, I encourage you to keep a notebook and pen nearby so you can record the dates and times of your interactions with the Lord. As He shows you fresh truths, write them down. If He convicts you of a certain sin or attitude, make a note of it and write your prayer confessing that particular sin. If He gives you a moment of joy, praise Him in writing. If you have questions, write those down as well, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you God’s truth for every situation.”
And since I touched on Romans 12:2, here are Dr. Charles Stanley’s thoughts on that verse: “Transformation begins with our thinking and with consciences that are committed to listening to and obeying God. Our minds are renewed as we study His Word, and our hearts are changed as we submit to Him. We do not merely try hard to sin less. We learn to depend upon Him, observe His commands and trust Him to mold us into people who please Him. It is then we discover how awesome it is to live in the center of His will because it is life at its very best – and there is nothing in this world that compares to it.”
Thank you for stopping by and reading. I know there are a million other things you can be doing with your time. Your presence means a lot to me. Have a blessed weekend!
© 2018-2023 Bridget A. Thomas
Time is a funny thing. In a way, I feel Lent flew by; yet Ash Wednesday also feels like a long time ago. Today I wanted to share some of the things I learned over the weeks when I was offline.
Set Guidelines When Fasting: If you plan to do a fast of any kind, it’s important to map out the rules you want to adhere to. If you step into a fast too vaguely (something like “try to spend less time on social media”) it will never work. Before Lent started I made a list of things I wanted to remove from my routine, as well as things I wanted to add to my day. My initial step was sound. However, I didn’t refer to the list throughout Lent. This means I fell short with some of my goals. In hindsight, I should have looked at the list each day in order to keep myself on track. (Note: I admit I tend to try to take on too much at once. Even when fasting. I had too many items to focus on. I did do well with the main item, though. And that was to stay offline – social media and blogging.)
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself: Regarding the items for which I didn’t reach perfection, I didn’t beat myself up about them. I might regret that I didn’t do better, but I don’t necessarily feel guilty. For example, one of the things on my list was to not complain. Did I master that? No. In this case, this is a bad habit. It is not something we can easily turn off or on, like a light switch. Therefore, this is something I aim to keep working on.
Seek the Lord: One main point of fasting is to seek the Lord. So day by day my actions should reflect that. At the end of a fast we can look back and ask ourselves, “Did I spend more time with Jesus?”
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1
Pray: Another main point of fasting is prayer. Oftentimes when we are fasting for a particular cause (for example, perhaps we want to see healing for a loved one), it is key to add more prayer time in your day. With traditional fasting (giving up certain foods or meals) you would pray during the hour when you would’ve normally been preparing dinner and eating it (for example). My fast didn’t include food this time. However, I did start off Lent with a prayer list. I used that list throughout the weeks to keep my prayers focused.
Keep a Prayer Journal or List: With that being said, I recommend keeping a prayer journal or prayer list at all times. One day during Lent when I was going over the prayer list, I was amazed at how powerful prayer is. I could see areas where God had come through. He heard and He answered. When we can see items on our prayer list get checked off, it leaves us in awe of our miraculous God, and it makes us want to keep leaning on Him.
Protect Your Time: After about a week into Lent, I was reflecting on how much more productive I was. I had more mental clarity and I accomplished more. Then I put two and two together and realized it was because my time and energy was protected. I believe we all should set boundaries on how much time and energy we spend on different things in our lives. We each might have different needs in this area, so I will talk generally about what this means for me. You may want to pray about it to see how God wants you to protect your own time. Personally, now that I am on the other side of Lent, I hope to keep particular guidelines in place pertaining to checking my email, social media, blogging, etc. Especially on weekdays. Prior to Lent I would look at my phone first thing in the morning, and that affected my day. Now that Lent is behind us, I have been trying to put some of those things aside until my lunch break. Mainly for me this is email and blogging. (I am not big on social media in general. However, one thing I did miss during Lent was posting pictures of the sunset on Instagram, which was something I had done a lot of in the weeks prior to Lent. It was uplifting to capture God’s beauty and share it with others.)
Mental Health: This point is tied to the one above. Not only did I have more clarity and productivity, I also felt more at peace. When I have a lot on my plate, that equates to pressure. And pressure is what gets me frustrated and upset. I want to be able to handle everything that comes my way. But the reality is that I cannot do it on my own. So by protecting my time and energy, this leaves space in my soul for the Lord to come in and help me. He is my strength and I need to remember to lean on Him.
Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry: You might have heard of a popular book called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry written by pastor John Mark Comer. However, if you didn’t actually read the book, then you might not know the phrase wasn’t originally his. And it wasn’t even said to him firsthand. Yet it was powerful enough to inspire him and countless others. The story goes that John Ortberg, another pastor and author, called Dallas Willard, a Christian philosopher, and asked him what he needed to do stay spiritually healthy. The answer was, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life … Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” I read this book a few years ago and I need to read it again. But anyway, I have a point here! Again this is tied to the two items above. As I mentioned above, I found that overall I was more at peace during Lent. Intentionally slowing down played a part in that. A lot went on in my life over the weeks while I was gone. Much of it was stressful. Yet one day when I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes, I was amazed that this chore was actually a bit soothing. Prior to Lent, when my life was hurry and hurry some more, I would not have found washing dishes to be a tranquil task! Obviously I wasn’t one hundred percent at peace. If I were then I would have kicked complaining to the curb! 😜 Nonetheless, I did have more peace and when you discover that feeling, it makes you want even more of it!
“Gratitude and murmuring never abide in the same heart at the same time.” – E. M. Bounds
Hold Everything Loosely: One thing I am trying to remember is to hold everything loosely in my hands. We all make plans, and they range in size. For example, we might plan to eat yogurt for breakfast or we might plan to acquire a college degree. Our plans don’t always work out the way we expect. I tend to get frustrated when my plans get overturned. So I am trying to remember to hold everything loosely in my hands, take it all in stride, and embrace whatever comes my way. This is easier said than done!
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room – why am I posting today when prior to Lent I was posting on Thursdays? I apologize if this disrupted anyone’s routine. But I felt moving my posts closer to the weekend would help me stick with some of the new guidelines I am putting in place for myself.
I could write a bit more, but this post is already a bit lengthy. So I will let you get back to your day. Thank you for stopping by and reading. I am honored that you took time out of your day to be here. If you had any takeaways from Lent or Easter, please share in the comments.
© Bridget A. Thomas 2023
Hello, Friends! I hope you all had a fulfilling Lenten season. I’m back online. And on such a glorious day! I will keep this post short, as I know many will be spending this day in a special way. Today I want to take a few minutes to thank Jesus for His sacrifice. Will you join me?
Dear Jesus, this day brings so many feelings. Awe and gratitude don’t even scratch the surface. We are so thankful for what You did for us. But our words feel inadequate. How can we thank You enough? We were lost, yet You did the unbelievable to rescue us. What love You poured out for us! May praise be on our lips, not only today, but every day. You deserve all glory. We can never thank You enough. You paid the price we could never pay. You rescued us and redeemed us. Thank You, Jesus, for the cross. But not only did You save us from hell, which is astonishing enough. It is so much more than that. We are now joint heirs with You. We have been adopted into God’s family. We are now beloved children of our Heavenly Father. What a treasure we have in this relationship. We have a companion with us each day. We have someone who is always there for us, who always hears us, and who always sees us. We have a Shepherd who guides us each day. And we have someone who is working on our behalf at all times. We have so much to be thankful for – today and every day. We praise You and we love You, Jesus. In Your beautiful name we pray, Amen.
If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, I invite you to do so today. If you want to know how, you can say the prayer found here.
Easter really is the greatest day in history. In the words of Dr. Charles Stanley, “…the Lord’s work on the cross [is] the single most important and amazing event in history.” Let us spend the day with gratitude and praise on our lips. Let us thank Jesus for His sacrifice.
I hope you enjoy the song below. I believe it is a powerful reminder of what Easter means to us. And I hope you have a Happy Easter!
© Bridget A. Thomas 2023
If you have followed my blog for a bit, you might know that I like to observe Lent, Advent, a New Year, and any opportunity to seek change and draw closer to God. With Lent coming up, I have put some thought into what to give up or take on. Many believers across the globe like to give up certain foods or activities during this season. And sometimes people will also add something to their schedule, such as a meaningful devotional, more prayer time, or additional Bible reading.
Life has been stressful lately, and this has made me feel down and negative. So my original thought for Lent was to cut out complaining, and focus on gratitude, praise, and positivity.
I still want to do that. However, I also feel led to go back to basics and remove many other things for a time. I heard a sermon by Jentezen Franklin this week in which he mentioned that when we are under extreme attack, we should proceed with extreme action. So that is part of my plan. But it also boils down to constantly striving and doing. I need to lay aside some things in order to spend more time at the Lord’s feet. I need to turn off the noise of the world, so I can hear the voice of God.
This means I will be setting aside blogging from Ash Wednesday (which falls on Feb 22 this year) until Easter (which falls on Apr 9 this year). It’s not just blogging, as I will also be limiting time on other things as well – social media, email, etc. It might sound like I will have a lot of idle time, but that won’t be the case. Instead, my hope is to spend my time with intention.
This might sound a bit contradictory, but due to the nature of what I’ve been walking through, I know that there are unknowns ahead. I mentioned that life has been stressful. Many things have gone wrong. Every day has brought unexpected obstacles. Some days I have felt as though I was trying to push an army tank with my bare hands. And some of life has been an anxious waiting game.
With all that being said, I know my life will still be busy. However, when I have spare moments, I don’t want to habitually reach for something to fill the gaps. I want to reach for the only One who can sustain me through this trying season. And I also want to fight against the battles with praise music, prayer, Scripture, gratitude, and time with the Shepherd.
I must say it is not easy for me to set aside some of these things, especially blogging. I will miss everyone. But for my own sanity, I believe taking a step back for a few weeks is needed. And sometimes the hardest things to do are exactly the things we need to do the most. This Christian journey involves dying to our wants in order to follow the path the Lord leads us down. I am not saying that God is asking me to turn away from blogging altogether. However, I am saying that sometimes we have to lay aside certain things for a time in order to come back restored.
If you feel so inclined, please say a prayer for breakthroughs in the situations I have been battling. And if you have any specific prayer requests, please share in the comments. I will be happy to pray for you over the coming weeks. And if you plan to observe the Lenten season in a special way, please share that in the comments as well. I would love to hear it.
I pray you draw closer to Christ in the weeks ahead, in whatever way you choose to honor the death and resurrection of Jesus. I look forward to catching up with you after Easter.
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:38-42 NKJV
© Bridget A. Thomas 2023
I was recently driving a long distance by myself. It was about a four-hour drive from my town to my destination. The route was a fairly easy one, with only a few key turns to remember. Nonetheless, I still entered my destination address into the Mapquest app on my iPhone, because I like to keep track of how many miles it is until my next turn. I was on a major highway, with my cruise control set, and on my way.
I thought all was well until the app on my phone told me to get off the highway and take back roads. Upon further investigation, I found that the app was saying there were some roads closed on the initial path. At this point, I had a choice. Should I stay on the original path or follow the smartphone’s advice? I chose to ignore the app’s suggestion and continued on the path that I felt comfortable with.
But I had doubts. What if the road was closed? What if I experienced a detour? This could be scary considering it would mean traveling unfamiliar roads by myself.
However, I had a peaceful feeling. For one thing, I believed it was unlikely that the major highway was shut down. (I also checked a traffic website and didn’t see any issues on my path.) And ultimately, I knew that although I was the only human being in the car, the truth was that I was not alone. I never am. And that is one of the best feelings we as children of God experience. No matter what we are going through, we have peace knowing that the Lord is always with us. He will get us through.
Sometimes we might know something to be true, but have a difficult time feeling that on the inside. So how do we get there? It takes trust. We must trust in God in order to have this peace. Of course there are many times and situations in which we will fear and worry. Even when we have walked with Jesus for a long time. So what are we to do? Reminding ourselves of the truths found in the Bible helps us.
I find it interesting and telling that I happened to have read Psalm 139 on the morning of this journey. Perhaps the words had helped remind me of truth before I hit the road. The words in this Psalm talk about how no matter where we go, God is always there and He can see us. This Psalm also talks about how God already knew what each day of our lives would hold even before we were born. And in this Psalm we see how well God knows us inside and out. The words are simply beautiful, and can bring us great comfort.
There are many other Bible verses that talk about God being with us. I have just a few listed below. I have found that when we meditate on (or memorize) verses that speak to us, it helps us to tuck these truths into our hearts. And then when we need the truth of God’s Word in order to face something in life, it is readily available to us.
—> This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT
—> So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV
—> And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT
—> Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NKJV
The next time you are facing an uncertain path, whether literally or figuratively, I hope you will remember that you are never alone. The Good Shepherd is always with you, and He will guide you.
P.S. When I originally posted this, I neglected to say that going the original route was the right thing to do. I arrived at my destination safe and sound. Thank you to my dear blogger friends who asked. God is so good. He kept me safe and guided my path.
© Bridget A. Thomas 2023