Welcome

cupboardI’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. :)

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

Free Tools for Prayer Strategizing

We previewed “War Room” last night for our church New Year’s Eve event this evening. I was reminded of more things I need to focus upon, develop, and spiritually hone in my life.  My favorite part of the movie was actually something in the bonus features. “Modern Day Miss Clara,” introduces viewers to Molly Bruno, a 91-year-old prayer warrior and one of the inspirations behind the character of Miss Clara. Sweet and empowering. I was encouraged by this lady’s example, and inspired to be like her. I found years ago that “My job is not the heavy lifting.  That is His job.” I want to realize this even more in the coming year. You too?

Some years ago, I wrote this outline for a ladies retreat. I apologize for any formatting weirdness…I’m copying and pasting from a Word document. I hope it will help others who want to pray for their family more faithfully, and for their husbands in particular:

PRAYING FOR MEN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

PSALM 112

No title to this psalm, but it is a companion to Ps. 111.  Psalm 111 ascribes praise to God for His glories.  Psalm 112 ascribes praise to God for how His glory is manifested in man.

Verse 1—“Blessed”=happy, to be envied

“is the man that feareth the Lord” (reverential awe)

–not “blessed is the powerful, the handsome, the rich man…”

–Jeremiah 9:23,24 (LOOK UP)

Psalm 111:10—this man has begun to have wisdom

God is great =fear

God is good=love

“Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof.” Spurgeon (Phil. 2:17 will & do).

“delighteth greatly in his commandments”

–commandments =law, ordinances

–he delights in God’s directives and glad for the safety of divine restriction

–Ps. 1:2

–he is cheerful in obedience, not reluctant

PRAY: That he would fear God.  That he would delight in the Word of God.  That he would obey God’s commandments.

Verse 2—the upright man leaves a legacy of potential blessing; an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled…

–“Honesty and integrity are better cornerstones for an honorable house than mere cunning and avarice, or even talent and push.” Spurgeon

PRAY:  That he will be a consistent example to his children and others.  That he would have a faith worthy of imitation.

Verse 3—II Cor. 4:10

–Who can be richer than he who is heir of God and joint heir with Christ?

–Romans 8:17

PRAY:  That he would strive to “make others rich”, beginning with his own house.

Verse 4—because of the strength of his faith, he does not fear

–Ps. 23:4

–this is the kind of man people look to in adversity

–speaks of a connection between integrity of purpose and clearness of perception

–righteousness=discernment  Thos. Chalmers (1847)

–see 111:4 phrase used regarding God “gracious, full of compassion”

–Matt. 5:45  Eph. 5:8  Luke 6:36

PRAY:  That he would have discernment, especially in difficulty/temptation

Verse 5—4b lead into this.  He considers the needs of others (not “be ye warmed and filled”) type of man.  HE is open handed with wealth and talents.  He spends, saves, gives and lends in order to fulfill his Father’s will.

–Discretion called the chief of all virtues.

PRAY:  That he would have works to prove his faith (James), know how to demonstrate agape (selfless) love, and have the mind of Christ in ordering his affairs.

Verse 6—His character (what God knows us to be) lends itself to a sterling reputation (What men perceive us to be).  They are one and the same.

–seeks an everlasting remembrance “Well done” (Mt. 25:21)

–faithful regardless of who is/is not watching

–men pleasers have their only, fleeting reward in this life (Mt. 6)

PRAY:  That he would have a tenacity for the truth and a resolve to do right.  That he would live his life practicing the presence of Christ—for His approval and not man’s.

Verse 7—when trial touches him personally he has a godly fortitude that gives no consideration to panic, alarm.  He is neither fickle nor cowardly, but is quiet and patient, waiting upon God.

–what makes him this way (back to verse 1)

PRAY:  that he would have an inner strength and unswerving and fearless dedication to his God.

“God is unchangeable; and therefore faith is invicible, for it sets the heart on Him, fastens it there on the rock of eternity; then let winds blow and storms arise, it cares not.”  Robert Leighton

Verse 8—fixed = prepared, set up; established=to sustain, support

–“see his desire”…looks upon his oppressors with confidence

–his desire is not revenge, but rather salvation

–his courage has a firm foundation

PRAY:  That his feet may be solidly planted when facing opposition, that he would desire the good of those who would be his enemies.

Verse 9:  His motto is “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, Mt. 10:8)

“His life is the result of principle, his actions flow from settled, sure and fixed convictions and therefore his integrity is maintained when others fail.” Spurgeon

PRAY:  That he would know the blessedness of giving, realizing how much he has been given.

Verse 10—“The ungodly shall first see the example of the saints to their own condemnation, and shall at last behold the happiness of the godly to the increase of their eternal misery. “ Spurgeon

prayerforhusband

 

PRAYING FOR MEN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

Sunday: That he would fear God.  That he would delight in the Word of God.  That he would obey God’s commandments.

Monday: That he will be a consistent example to his children and others.  That he would have a faith worthy of imitation.

Tuesday: That he would strive to “make others rich”, beginning with his own house.

Wednesday: That he would have discernment, especially in difficulty/temptation.

Thursday: That he would have works to prove his faith (James), know how to demonstrate agape (selfless) love, and have the mind of Christ in ordering his affairs. That he would know the blessedness of giving, realizing how much he has been given.

Friday: That he would have tenacity for the truth and a resolve to do right.  That he would live his life practicing the presence of Christ—for His approval and not man’s. That his feet may be solidly planted when facing opposition, that he would desire the good of those that would be his enemies.

Saturday: That he would have an inner strength and unswerving and fearless dedication t­­­o his God.

Here is a link to the “30-Day Praying for Your Husband” Challenge from Nancy Wolgemuth (newlywed!) at Revive our Hearts.

Here is a link to an excellent, free tool from Proverbial Homemaker to help you in praying for your family more effectively in 2016! Grab it now, and join me on the “front line”!

52-Weeks-of-Praying-for-Your-Family-Scripture-Cards-Journal-Pages-Proverbial-Homemaker-PIN

The Lovely “Steam” of Thankfulness

steamcupI came across some lovely thoughts this morning, by C. S. Lewis. So perfect for this time of year. Thanksgiving sets our minds to actually be looking for things in our lives and circumstances that are gifts– undeserved reasons to be grateful. Then we continue on quickly (faster every year, it seems) into the Christmas season, with its focus upon gift giving.

Ironically, at a time when we ought to be reminded of God’s unspeakable gift, from Whom that “free gift” is given…discontent can settle upon the heart.

Things aren’t ideal. Someone is missing. That “just right” something you had in mind to give a special someone…is elusive. The Christmas cookies burned, and the gingerbread house project for the children turned into a melee. The house isn’t clean enough, or Martha Stewart-ish enough for your guests. The roads are too icy. The clamoring crowds at the stores rattle your nerves. The trip to grandma’s takes too long. Our minds and spirits become overwhelmed by all the holiday hoopla.

So here is my advice. Let Thanksgiving continue. For the rest of the world, “Turkey Day” is one day of ridiculous feasting, with fabulous leftovers to follow. And then, like the picked-over bird carcass, it is gone.

Have a gratitude journal this Christmas season.

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?”

Psalm 116:12

treepileIf you were able to lay positively everything you’ve been given …every “good and perfect gift” from God was tied up and placed under your tree….how abundant would your Christmas feel to you? Then enjoy that feeling, because it is just so. Your breath, your sight, your loved ones, your talents, your voice, your most cherished memories, your warm home, art, music, sunsets, rainbows, mountain vistas, all that you love, everything in which you find comfort, joy, and happiness…and that “free gift” Paul so loved to talk about…you are heaped with these things…good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.

Enjoy this, as I did this morning:

…I dined at the Harwoods that night and came away—on Tuesday morning—as you said in your last letter ‘thanking the Giver’ which, by the way, is the completion of a pleasure. One of the things about being an unbeliever is that the steam or ‘spirit’ (in the chemical sense) given off by experiences has nowhere to go to.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Give off that lovely, fragrant “steam” today! Let it rise from your cup that runs over with thankfulness!

“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:17

Hope for the Hurting at Christmas

“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev. 7

christmasjournalWoke up praying for dear ones in great need today, and so very mindful of those who have said a temporary goodbye to fathers, brothers, husbands, mothers, and their own children this year. They say “the holidays are harder”, and in many respects that is true. My precious Daddy left this world at Christmas time over a decade ago. My Christmas Journal has been empty every year since. Not out of bitterness, but because of a weight that presses. Written words carry weight with me. To write a passage “without him” would make it seem he is gone. He is not. He is just as much alive today as the last time I was folded up in one of his whiskery, Old Spice-scented bear hugs. I don’t care to do anything tangible that subtracts him from my heart during this special time of year, with all of its memories.

A Christmas card, in his familiar, angular scrawl, marks the last page I wrote on in that journal. In it, he speaks of how much he looks forward to seeing everyone. And he will. He’s waiting with my mom, celebrating the birth of the Savior with the Savior Himself. What must that be like? I’m so grateful for the “blessed hope” of being with them all one day.

christmas lights

A photo from several years ago.

On our front lawn, we have a large wooden cross, framed in white lights, with a large, red gift bow in the center. We’ve done this for many years. This is Christmas. I brought a picture to Jr. Church last Sunday. I told the children, “I have a Christmas picture to show you…see if you can explain to me why I call it a ‘Christmas picture.'” It was a picture of Adam and Eve in the Garden, in front of the forbidden tree. A few little ones guessed it was the first Christmas tree, with fruit as “ornaments”. Then one bright young man observed, “I know…it’s because if Adam and Eve had not disobeyed, we would not have needed a Savior.” I shook his hand, and told him I was very proud of him. Yes. He nailed it. Jesus was “born to die” as the song says. “Christ was born for this,” the old hymn proclaims. His work on the cross was His gift to us. The Son of God became a man so that men could become sons of God. (John 1:12)

In the future, I look forward to having no more tears or sorrow or pain or death or crying. Those former things will pass away. Right now, I can embrace the cross of Christmas which reminds me that Jesus became “God with us” so that we could be “whiter than snow“. This I pray for everyone who might have the patience to read this today. Won’t you make room for Jesus, my beautiful Savior, this Christmas? I hope you will.

Be a Do-Bee

This morning, while sipping my French Vanilla coffee, still snuggled in my fuzzy Christmas robe, this was the word God had for me:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

When we pray for God to open our eyes as we read, He will be purposeful in guiding our understanding. He wants us to move far past “checking off the box” that we did our reading. He wants it to affect our living. He wants to meet with us, and change us.

Have you ever looked into a mirror in someone’s house, a department store dressing room, or a thrift store, and things looked a bit wonky? You looked too short, too tall, too wavy, or just weirdly disproportionate. The passage above tells me this–if I look into that mirror of the Word, it will be perfectly accurate in what is reflected. The Spirit will reveal with crisp, clear accuracy exactly what we look like inside.

dobeeMany (many!) years ago, I watched a show called “Romper Room” as a child. From that show, my mom picked up the phrase “be a Do-Bee“. The song says “I always do what’s right, I never do anything wrong.” Well, that’s not exactly realistic, knowing human nature; however, the idea was that I was given information on what was right, and I needed to act upon it. I still try to teach this idea to our children… obedience, right away, the first time they are told. But how am I doing with this?

Today when we read, let’s simply ask God to show us what’s right. He’ll never refuse. Then let’s determine to be a doer of what He shows us.

Using What You Have

encourage3Several years ago, a verse from the Old Testament caught my attention while I was preparing for a ladies retreat session on spiritual gifts. It was not your “typical” passage you see used for this topic:

And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. Exodus 4:1,2

Moses doubted himself frequently. God asked a simple question…”What do you have?”

What is in your hand today, ladies? How can God use it for His purposes? Long ago I discovered that the pen (or keyboard as the case may be) in my hand needed to belong to Him, because He wanted to use it for Himself.

So, every time I see something from His pen in my hand published, there is a feeling I can’t describe. A gratitude-rejoicing-satisfying-validation. Like when a child of ours is given a directive, completes it in a timely manner and to the best of their ability, and they come back to tell us it’s been done. They look for our approving smile, and listen for our words of affirmation.

So today I am blessed to be holding in my hands a copy of the Encouraging Word magazine, which includes a post from this blog.

encourage1

This magazine, now in its 16th year of publication, is designed for Christian women of all ages. The senior editor contacted me several months ago, asking if I’d be interested in being a contributor. What a blessing to see approval and affirmation from my Father in having my writing published again after so long a season. I’m beyond grateful to be useful.

What’s in your hand today? A spatula? Paint brush? Baby bottle? Story book? Whatever it is, use it for Him.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31