Friday, April 6, 2018

Eastertide Thoughts

During this Eastertide season, the time between Easter and Pentecost, I am re-using a Lenten study book titled 40 Days to Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole. This marks the third year I have read and studied it. The following entry is the result of thoughts I experienced last year.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, Matthew 14:22-23 (ESV)
Jesus heard of John’s cruel death. He “withdrew to a solitary place in order to pray, reflect, and grieve. People found Him anyway. He showed his compassion for them. Our Lord preached and healed those who requested it. Then, He sent his disciples on ahead and retreated back to solitude again.

I have heard and read that our modern world chooses not to honor grief. As I observed people when I grew up, I saw people act “back to normal” the next day after a funeral of a family member or someone close to them. The idea of grief being a personal issue escaped my youthful mind and heart.

In old movies set in the 19th Century, a woman was expected to wear black clothes for one year. This, to me, seemed to be for public show.

In my research on grief, I have discovered experts have divided the grief process into at least five, and as many as ten steps. An interesting fact is these experts cannot tell us how long a person will spend in each step or in what order one experiences them.

As I read about Jesus’ seeking solitude, not once but twice, tears came to my eyes. I know that I have not been allowed to grieve certain losses from my family at the time of the losses. However, eventually, I have gone through the process each time.

Some points about grief:
1.)    Grief is an emotion that has to be dealt with.
2.)    It is personal. No two people grieve in the same way.
3.)    It takes time to get through the process.
4.)    We who believe in Christ are not to grieve as one who has no hope.
    (1 Thessalonians 4:13, ESV)
5.)    Each of us will experience grief each time we lose a friend or a loved one to death.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Teach Us to Number Our Days/A Give-Away

I have been reminded by a fellow blogger that I have not said anything about my book for quite some time. Here is a devotion from Times of Times of Trouble Bring Rays of Joy

Teach Us to Number Our Days 

Times of Trouble Bring Rays of Joy: Thoughts of God and His Word
“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

Moses prayed this as part of a prayer in the book of Psalms. He asked God to instruct him and his people to order their days. We also need to learn to do this. Moses stated the reason for prioritizing their daily activities—so they could learn and become wise people.
In our twenty-first century world, many activities call out to us, usurping our time. Just watching television can cause us to waste time. Our time spent on the computer can also take a chunk of the day. I try to practice moderation in these activities. From time to time, I create a chart—a timetable to help me gain ground in this uphill struggle to manage time.

For Your Thoughts:
1.         List three things you can do this week to help you better manage your time.
2.         How can you manage time to establish better habits?

If you leave a comment about your struggles with time management in the area below, I will enter your name into a drawing for a chance to win a free copy of my book. All I ask in return is that you post a review of it on your blog and on Amazon. This giveaway has to be limited to the United States. It will be open for one week, until Tuesday, April 10th.

We are having a season of rain here in central Indiana. Hubby told me we would have this ‘liquid sunshine’ for a whole week.  We have to remember that April showers bring May flowers.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Thoughts on Prayer (part 1)

Quiet Spirit.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

I picked a book out of a basket in my writing room. The title of the book, “If my people. . .”, a 40-day prayer guide.  I leafed through it and decided to use it in the 40 days of Lent. Later in the day, I realized how I could utilize the passage 2 Chronicles 7:14, as a beginning point of my Lenten observance.

God speaks to Solomon on the occasion of dedicating the Temple. He says some very pointed things.

The LORD speaks of what His people, you and I have to do. We have to pray. He tells us if we pray, not if we share our concerns with our best friend, or talk about someone behind their back. He will respond.

When we pray, we are to humble ourselves. We are to realize that we are sinners and that He is the only perfect being.

As we prepare to pray, we are to seek His face. We are to earnestly make our way into our prayer closets and shut the door and spend quantity time in prayer. We need to spend time with Him to strengthen our relationship with Him. We should attempt to keep our ‘on the run’ prayers to a minimum.

Then, and only then, will God hear our prayers and forgive our sins and heal our land. God’s actions are contingent upon the condition that we spend time in prayer to Him.

These were some of my thoughts on prayer at the beginning of Lent.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...