Sometimes I forget…

TheGiftHeIs

Sometimes I forget.

I get wrapped up in all the Christmas-giving and forget to unwrap the gift of Immanuel, God with me.

In all the rush I forget my need for His soul-calming hush. But I want to remember.

I want to unwrap not only the gift God gives but the gift He {is}.

His presence is the present I need most. And so I quiet my thoughts and whisper a prayer, asking Jesus to create a quiet space, a dwelling place for His presence in the manger of my heart…

Join me over at (in)Courage today, where I’m sharing a prayer I wrote for our hearts at Christmas. I’d love to pray for you, too. See you there.

When My Sunday Heart Dreads the Monday Hurry {a promise & a prayer}

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7, NLT

WhenWorryComes

As I look at the week ahead, Lord, my mind is crowded with thoughts and things.
Competing thoughts fight for my attention; cutting in front of each other to be first in line.
Too many things on my to-do list that feel urgent; tempting me to neglect what is most important.

Jesus, I want You to be first in line, leading my days and decisions.
When concerns consume me and worry comes, hel[ me pause and tell You what I need and
thank YOU for what You have already done. I long for Your peace to surpass my understanding,
and for Your promises to guard my heart and my mind as I live in {and follow after} You.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

This Week’s Wardrobe {a promise & a prayer}

PutOnLove

Beautiful artwork by @incourage.

“Since I’ve been chosen by God for this new life of LOVE, Lord dress me in the wardrobe YOU have picked out for me: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

Through Your spirit living in me, make me even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.

And regardless of what else I put on today, remind me to wear LOVE…
 my basic, all-purpose garment. I never want to be without it.

Peace of Christ, keep me in tune with others and in step with You. None of this going off and doing my own thing. Let the Word of Christ have the run of the house in my life and take up plenty of room in my life.

Let every detail in my life—words, actions, whatever—be done in Your name Jesus as You cultivate thankfulness in me. I want my life to be a thank you note, giving thanks to God the Father every step of my day. In Jesus name, amen and amen.

Based on Colossians 3:12-17, MSG 

how to start your week {a promise & a prayer}

NumberOurDays.psalm90
{Art Source: @incourage}

Jesus, teach me to number my days this week, so that I might gain a heart of wisdom; not because You want me to get more done but because You want me to slow down and remember what You’ve already done:

*You’ve defined my worth outside of my work. (Titus 3:4-5)
*You’ve pre-determined my purpose and woven me into Your plans. (Jer. 29:11-13)
*You’ve decided my destiny regardless of my history. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Today I pause to remember these promises.

And in Your powerful Name I rest and pray, amen.

My Goodness: A Devotion & Prayer for {YOU}

Goodness&Mercy

A sweet gift and guest post from my friend, Sheila Mangum:

It was well into the second quarter of the high school basketball game when the senior captain of the home team showed up late.

Just that morning his mother unexpectedly passed away from a sudden hemorrhage. She’d been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer when she took the fatal turn.

Some of the team had been at the hospital with their grieving friend. Although they had an important game that night, the guys wanted to cancel it. Brokenhearted, the senior captain encouraged the team to play.

You can imagine everyone’s surprise when this young man came out to root for his team.

His coach asked him if he wanted to sit on the bench with his teammates.

“No,” he replied. “I want to play.”

Game rules prevented anyone not on the pre-game roster to play unless the opposing team was granted a technical foul that would give them two free throws. It was a tight game, but his coach willingly traded the points to comfort his player.

But that is not where the compassion stopped.

The other coach wasn’t interested in the free throws. He wanted to let the brokenhearted player just play. With no penalties. This coach and the referees argued over the rules until the referees won with, “Rules will not be broken.”

So, after a brief conversation with his coach, the visiting team’s senior captain took his place on the free throw line.

Giving his coach an understanding nod, he dribbled the ball and threw it two feet. The crowd stared in wonder as the ball rolled off the court. The second free throw landed at his feet. He had purposefully missed guaranteed points.

This gesture of sportsmanship ignited a standing ovation. Applause roared throughout the gym. The crowd witnessed a rare act of kindness birthed out of the goodness of the visiting coach and captain’s hearts.

We don’t often hear about people taking hold of opportunities to demonstrate such graciousness. But every day we can see God’s goodness if we simply take the time. Psalm 23:6 tells us that “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Before the brokenhearted player even arrived at the game, God’s goodness followed him, ready to show up when he needed it most. Goodness tapped two coaches on the shoulders. Goodness whispered in the hearts of a group of teenagers.

God’s goodness is here for us as well. We find it in His daily care and love, especially in times of hardship. But we have to “get in the game” to see it. If we’re checked out of life, not spending time in prayer, or not actively seeking to recognize God’s goodness, we’ll miss it. True, His goodness might not always seem as evident as a team opting out of free points in a basketball game, but God’s goodness is all around us.

Could His kindness and love be the encouraging word or hug from a friend? Perhaps it’s peace that comes unexpectedly from God’s Word, a sermon, or prayer. Maybe it’s the conversation with the grocery store clerk that brought a smile to your face.

This young man who lost his mother probably had no idea how he was going to ease the pain that surrounded him. You may be wondering that very thing as well. This is why God promises, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

God wants to be closer to you than the pain. One way He does this is by following you with His goodness and showing up through the hands and hearts of others.

I cannot tell you who won the last Super Bowl. I don’t know who the Major League’s MVP is. There’s no way I can spout off the NBA lineup. What I can tell you about is the day God’s goodness followed a crushed young man into a gymnasium during a high school basketball game and made His goodness known. I can tell you he played the rest of the game, scoring ten points that led to his team’s victory.

But most importantly, I can tell you that God’s goodness is following you. Will you get in the game and look for it? God’s goodness is following you and wants to be closer to you than the pain. Lastly, will you be God’s hand of goodness to someone today

Sheila’s Prayer for You

Father,

I love you! You alone are God. (Deuteronomy 4:39)  Besides You there is no God and in that we rejoice. (Isaiah 44:6-7)  Thank you Father that Your goodness is following my friend. (Psalm 23:6) You daily look for ways to love on your children. (Psalm 143:8) You hourly direct their steps towards what is good and best for them. (Psalm 32:8) Every minute of the day is designed to envelop them in Your everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) You think of my friend every second of the day! Your thoughts are too vast to count. (Psalm 139:17-18)  May they not miss a second of Your attention. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

Thank you for promising to be closer than the pain crushing their heart. (Psalm 34:18) You are compassionate and You are completely Faithful to love them devotedly. (Lamentations 3:22-23) I ask You to continue placing miracles in their paths. (John 2:11) Open eyes to the marvelous ways Your goodness has shown up in their lives already. (Job 37:5) You are not a man that you would lie. (Numbers 23:19) Therefore, when You say Your goodness follows them it is completely true. May Your child be ever mindful of Your very near Presence today. (Exodus 33:15) May they prepare to be amazed. (1 Samuel 12:16)

Oh and Father, may You be blessed when they turn around, like the one leper, to thank you for turning their mourning into dancing. (Luke 17:15-19 and Psalm 30:11-12)

May it be so!

In the Mighty Name of Jesus we have prayed,
Amen and Amen

To AMEN the prayer,  leave an AMEN by clicking “Share Your Thoughts” below.

 

how to start your week {a promise & a prayer}

 

DoSmallThingsWGreatJoy

Lord, whatever this week holds, whatever You give me to do ~big or small~
whether I do them well or not, please help me do each assignment
You give me with great {LOVE}

In Jesus’ name, amen.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

for I AM {with you}

Nothing comforts me like God’s promises.  Nothing calms my heart the way He can.

And on those days when I need to be brave and know I’m not alone, I remember the first time He spoke these words into my fearful heart and it made all the difference, over 25 years ago:

So Do Not Fear

This beautiful scripture art and more is 10% off at Emily Burger’s Designs through tomorrow {Sunday March 9th} at midnight.

Enter RENEESWOPE at checkout & 10% will be taken off your  purchase.Find Emily’s beautiful {scripture art HERE} and {canvas prints} HERE.

This gracious discount is for your benefit only. I will not receive any proceeds from this offer.

When you say…. God says….

YouArePrecious_Is43
When you say:
I feel worthless.

God says: You are precious and loved by Me.

You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you. Isa. 43:4

~From Chapter 12, A Confident Heart

Have you taken a peek at Chapter 12? I have included a chart of 31 of our most common whispers of doubts and truths God wants to speak into our hearts to set us back into a place of living in the security of HIS promises! They are just like the one I posted above.

No matter where you are in the book, I hope you’ll turn to Chapter 12 and  let them speak to your heart and into your doubts today.

 

WomensSession

I just finished speaking to these amazing women in Miami. I am at Expolit with my family attending a Spanish book convention where my book is being released in Spanish and Portuguese this week! I did a break-out session for women and now I’m heading into a luncheon where I am keynoting. Then I have five interviews with radio stations from Miami, Spain, Honduras, and other international outlets and then a book signing this afternoon.

Paulo&Wendy

I am so honored to be here with Wendy Bello from Proverbs 31 Spanish Ministries and with Paulo from Editorial Patmos, who is releasing my book and invited me to be here. {And Im not sure why Aster is making that funny face. I think that she was saying Cheese :)}

Updated Sunday: Here is a fun video from my Spanish publisher capturing my time at Expolit. If only I could understand all that is being said. One thing I know is that I have fallen in love with the hearts of these people!!

FINAL NOTE: Lifeway is offering my book for $6.99 {50% off }now thru May 11th!   AND it’s just in time for my MAY promotion where you can receive $50 in FREE RESOURCES when you buy a copy for yourself, a friend or your mom for Mother’s day!

So be sure to SAVE YOUR RECEIPT: I will share details here when I return from Expolit! Click here to purchase.

 

Book on Sale