This Lenten season is about coming closer to God, following His will, reflecting on the Christian life, and becoming better.
One of my goals this Lent is to pray morning and evening. I recently found this nice website that goes through each day of Lent with prayers, reflections, and Bible verses.
Tuesday’s reflection was on desire for God. What a great thing! God wants our emotions, everything about us. We don’t have to be serious, non-passionate Christians in order to follow Him. We can put our heart and emotions into being a child of God!
May we grow in desire for God and let Him guide us in all that we do, even have Him guide us in channeling our emotions for good.
“Father of my soul, Mother of my heart, I know Your love for me is limitless beyond imaging. You care for me as a loving parent. Through my smallest Lenten sacrifices, help me to become less selfish and more aware of Your ways. Fan the flame of my desire to draw ever closer to You. Guide me to seek Your love. Amen.”
Have a passion for something that makes you feel so happy when you do it? Dreaming about something special? Hoping to “someday” make it happen?
Getting started with something new can take time, planning, and effort. But that shouldn’t let you give up. Instead, why not start it now? Even if it’s baby steps, a little planning and doing now will then make you soar and succeed fully later.
What are your goals for this Lenten season?
For me, Lent is about focusing on your need for God in your life, and aiming to simplify or enrich your life. Whether that means fasting or giving up something, or whether that means adding something to your life. How about trying something new or reading daily devotionals? How about giving gifts or your time to help the needy? How about praying more or listening to hymns?
A little something can make a positive impact. I notice that when I’m volunteering or listening to Christian hymns, I’m feeling good! So really make an effort (it doesn’t take much) to enrich your life this Lent. Do it for yourself, for your community, and for Jesus. He gave himself for you!
I love listening to music and their lyrics. Especially when it’s lyrics that inspire me or portray a message. Here are some lyrics below on hope and life and happiness!
“When the love spills over and music fills the night, And when you can’t contain the joy inside, Then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus And live.” – Chris Rice
“Every moment matters in the end, Smile at what used to be, The glory and the agony, Smile at a memory, Smile at your enemies, yeah. A smile finally saved me, found me, and repaid me, For all the time that I’ve put in And now I’m smiling back again. Just smile for a while.” – Hootie and the Blowfish
“Believe in what your heart is saying, Hear the melody that’s playing, There’s no time to waste, There’s so much to celebrate. Believe in what you feel inside, And give your dreams the wings to fly, You have everything you need, If you just believe.” – Josh Groban
“I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance. I will find my way, if I can be strong. I know every mile will be worth my while, When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong.” – Michael Bolton
“I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams, And that faith gives you the courage to dare to do great things. I’m here for you whatever this life brings. So let my lvoe give you roots and help you find your wings.” – Mark Harris
“You will fail because you are human. You will fall because the path is rough. But know that your failures too are part of the gift of life, so put them to their highest use. Don’t stop, mate. Give everything a go!” - Nick Vujicic
We make mistakes. We suffer through hard times. We have our struggles. Despite those, we should take them and go beyond.
As Nick mentions throughout his book, Life Without Limits, our struggles and challenges are here to help us. Failures are a gift from God, teaching us to be more successful and stronger, building our character, motivating us to achieve new heights, and giving us an appreciation for success.
So, next time you are struggling through a challenge, just think to yourself that you are growing and preparing yourself for good things to come! Stay in the game and continue to give your all.
I get daily emails from Heartlight.org and loved yesterday’s reflection on Job 23:10-11.
“He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.”
“How we long for this to be our true confession. We are not yet gold, but long to be. We are not yet fully following His steps, but are trying. We have tried to not turn aside, but we sometimes falter. Thank God for His grace until our intentions and desires are fulfilled in our discipleship!”
Remember that God is with you always, and He accepts all that you are and waits patiently for us to come to Him. God is doing something special in our lives and is shaping us for the better! Someday we will reside with God in His heavenly kingdom, a place where we can shine.
“Come forth as gold”! There is joy and hope in that statement!
Yesterday the Oscars were on television and many people around the country were tuned in to watch the lovely and comedic Ellen Degeneres. I didn’t happen to watch the Oscars, because I don’t have cable, and I have not watched many of the movies that were up for an award, but I was glad to hear that Frozen one for Best Animated Feature and Let It Go won for Best Original Song in a Feature Film.
For me, yesterday was Oscar Day for a different reason. In remembrance of Oscar, the black cat that we found outside last year and took it in our home to feed and take care of. Yesterday, we brought Oscar to an adoption agency to be adopted out to another loving family. Oscar was sweet, fun, playful, and a stinker, but he was aggressive to our two other cats, so after much effort to try to keep him, we decided he’d be best in another household.
It’s always hard losing a loved one, and this was something we’ve never experienced with a pet, to lose not by death but by having someone else adopt him.
For Oscar Day, I pray for all cats that are in need of a loving home, that they may be adopted out to a loving kind family. And I thank God for the short time that Oscar was with us. We are blessed with pets to be our companion and bring some joy into the home!
I’m currently reading Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic, an inspirational speaker and Christian. This book is filled with wonderful motivational words!
One of his chapters talks about having faith in God with planting good seeds in our hearts and trusting in the possibilities.
Nick describes the parable of the sower and that “Our faith is the rich soil that brings those seeds to life.” He mentions how his parents encouraged him and planted positive seeds - “Have a good day, Nicholas! Do your best and God will do the rest.” And, Nick mentions Norman Vincent Peale who said to “Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark your life seems to be, raise your sights and see the possibilities. Always see them, for they are always there.” (Norman Vincent Peale)
“Without trust in the possibilities for your life, where would you be? Our hopes for the future give us momentum. They keep us moving forward through the inevitable hard times, the discouragement, and the despair.”
I loved reading Gary Chapman’s book on Love Languages. There are five love languages, or ways we like to show and receive love. The way you like to receive love may be different than your partner or friend or family member, so it’s good to know what each are as a way to express their love.
(His book description: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch, are all ways to show and to be shown love. Once you understand these “love languages,” you’ll be able nurture not only a romantic relationship, but also casual, business, and familial relationships effectually.)
You can even take the test on his website to determine what your love language is. There can be more than one that you may have. For me, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch are all pretty important as my love languages. Below I found a nice chart for ways you can live out the love languages in your home.
In Choosing Happiness by Stephanie Dowrick, she writes a page on how to listen carefully, and I thought she had great points! Here are a few:
- Clear space in your mind. Set aside your preconceptions
- Relax your body. Focus on letting that tension go.
- Give yourself permission to do nothing but listen.
- Activate all your senses as you listen. Watch the other person’s face, breathing, body, and gestures. Listen to what lies behind the words. (Note – I really liked this advice! Often I’m multitasking and not being attentive enough)
- Be respectful of the emotions that are being expressed.
- Do not interrupt. Even when there’s a pause, let the speaker have time to think.
- Strictly censor your questions – especially nervous or intrusive ones.
- Value silence. Your listening, attention, facial expression and body language are all “speaking”.
- Do not top their story with your own (“I understand completely… in fact, I used to…”)
- Do not give advice unless it’s asked for. Giving advice can be nothing more than a way to deal with your own tension. If you must give advice, do so in the first person. And do it undogmatically. (“I might…”, “What’s sometimes worked for me is…”)
- At the end of the conversation acknowledge what has been shared (“I am really touched by what you’ve told me” “You’ve give me so much to think about”)
- Use your listening skills to listen to yourself. Find out what you habitually talk about; know how your voice sounds; recognize the emotions that drive the way you speak; what version of your “self” you are most often presenting.