Wounded Lives. Healed Hearts. Week 6: Simplicity

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Jane and I welcome you to Lesson Six of Wounded Lives. Healed Hearts. We are very excited to join you during this journey into encouragement  and healing. Jane and I are praying that this week you will make some changes that will enable you to live simply in Christ.

Weekly Homework Each week we will add your assignments to a password-protected post. Look for the password every Tuesday evening in your email. Below you will find homework for each level of study. Feel free to change from Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3  as your schedule allows! Remember, there is no pressure to complete every activity. These are just options for your growth. They can be accessed at any time, even after the study ends.Week 6 aHealed jpeg copy

Level 1, Study: Weekly Goals 

  • For Week 6, watch the video posted below: The Wailing Wall
  • Complete pages 85-98 in Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women.
  • Feel free to do any of the other activities from Levels 2 and 3 as your time allows.

Level 2, Community: Weekly Goals 

  • For Week 6, watch the video posted below: The Wailing Wall
  • Complete pages 85-98 in Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women.
  • Answer the question on the Speak Your Mind comment section at the bottom of this post.
  • Don’t forget to check out our private Facebook page. Leave your comments about this week’s study, post your prayer requests, or share any insights/questions you may have. Only members of our Bible study group will see these posts.
  • Join the Community Call, Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST on Talk Shoe (information on TalkShoe is in your weekly email.)

 Level 3, Opportunity: Weekly Goals 

  • For Week 6, watch the video posted below: The Wailing Wall
  • Complete pages 85-98 in Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women.
  • Answer the question on the Speak Your Mind comment section at the bottom of this post,  and join the Community Call on Wednesday night on TalkShoe.
  • Complete the Digging Deeper questions in the margins of each lesson.
  • Don’t forget to check out our private Facebook page. Leave your comments about this week’s study, post your prayer requests, or share any insights/questions you may have. Only members of our Bible study group will see these posts.
  • Take advantage of the Help for Healing resources by clicking on the links below:

Early Will I Seek You Blog

What is the Simple Life? Blog

 Rest Prayer

 

Week Six Video

Please take a few moments to worship and express your gratitude to God through music for His many blessing and gifts.

Questions of the Week (Please respond in the Speak Your Mind section at the very bottom of this page).

In what ways is God asking you to simplify your life?

 

 




Lent Week 2: Self-denial

 As a child, the season of Lent often began with a battle royal for me.Then-Jesus-said-to-His

You see, my parents always encouraged my sisters and me to give up something for Lent. More often than not, I usually gave up candy. Every week a good portion of my weekly allowance quickly found it’s way from my pocket to the coffers of Krajci’s Drugstore a few blocks from my house. In the small town where I lived, Krajci’s was one of the few places that had a huge selection of five- and ten-cent candy. Bub’s Daddy Bubble Gum, Paydays, Wonka Bottle Caps, Snickers Bars, and cherry Colas were a few of the items I splurged on. Forty days seemed an awfully long time to go without a treat from Krajci’s.

Self-denial

I didn’t totally understand at the time the purpose for giving up something during Lent. I would have been happy to have given up brussel sprouts or tuna noodle casserole, but I understood enough to realize that what I gave up needed to be something that I actually liked.

Today I realize that one of the purposes of self-denial is that it is part of the process of spiritual formation. I need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that He continues to transform my life to make me more like Christ.

In that spirit, this year during Lent I am going to work on “giving up” a sin pattern in my life — and hopefully this will be something that continues for the rest of the year too. I think I know just what bad habit I want to be rid of this year: lateness.

Tardiness has been a habit that has plagued me since childhood. It worsened during my teen years (just ask my best friend Pam who drove me to school most mornings). I was always rushing around stressing myself out and anyone else that had the misfortune of being around me. I’ve since made some changes but still have plenty of room for more. I know this won’t be an easy fix for me, but I’m expecting progress!

If you’d like to join me in giving something up for Lent, tell me about it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from a few fellow bad-habit breakers.

Pray on!




New Year Prayer

New Year PrayerWith the New Year comes a fresh start free from mistakes, regrets, and failures of the past year. Hope and possibilities and expectations jostle  for space in my soul as I look to the future. Yes, if I’m honest, some anxiety too. But mostly excitement for what lies ahead. Like sojourners of times past, I want to welcome the Lord into these next 12 months. Or should I say, I with Him. I want to be sure the door of my heart is open to Him this New Year.

I recently read about an old Scottish tradition that placed much importance upon the New Year. Folks visited from house to house as the New Year rang in, wishing each other a good year while celebrating with food and drink. Once midnight passed, each household watched expectantly to see who would be the very first guest to cross the threshold of their door, thus portending what the next year would hold.  I can just envision a knock on the door and families gathered around the hearth to see who would take that first important step into their home.

To acknowledge this tradition, the Celtic Daily Prayer Book includes a “first-footing” prayer for the New Year, on page 238 called The Opening Door, in which the pray-ers welcome Christ to be the “first foot” into their home to bless them. What a lovely idea!

I was so taken with this thought that I wrote a short prayer myself to welcome Christ into my New Year.

Open Door

By Jane VanOsdol

I open the door of my heart this New Year …

to see Your glory all around me;

to hear the whisper of Your voice;

to smell the fragrance of Jesus in my life;

to taste the fruits of Your blessings;

to feel the presence of Your Spirit.

Welcoming your footsteps across the threshold of my heart,

Anticipating the gift of another year.

Amen.

I wonder if your heart is open to God this year? Do you feel the anticipation of new adventures waiting to be lived, or have difficulties of time past left you dreading the door before you? Open the door to Jesus so that He is the first one to set foot in your heart this year.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

May you experience the peace of Christ and the joy of living life with Him this year.

Pray on!

*Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net artur84




Nature Up Close: Transformation

DSC_2841As I was working in my garden tonight, I was delighted to see five caterpillars (I think they’re monarchs) on my dill plant! What a treat to get such a close-up view of them doing what they do best–eating. I love observing the small, often unseen creatures in nature. As you may or may not know, the tag line to Only By Prayer says “where the sacred and everyday meet.” When I take time to stop and intently look at the little things in life, that is one way I am ushering the sacred into the everyday.

I ran into the house to get my camera to capture these fascinating critters. Take a look below. I was able to capture it in mid-bite!

httpv://youtu.be/RJTLZcVbrbo

The life cycle of the caterpillar and its metamorphosis into a butterfly (or moth) is a wonderful analogy to our lives with Christ. When we give Him control of our lives, He is able to transform our lives into a thing of beauty — to a degree that we would never be able to attain on our own. It does take some work on our part, though. Just like the caterpillars are muching away gluttonously to fuel their transformation, we also need to be taking in God’s word and participating in spiritual disciplines to grow. God has put the food in front of us, but if we don’t eat it, we’ll never realize the potential that He has given to each one of us.

Let’s munch away today!

 




Abiding with Jesus to Fuel Your Prayer Life

“He that dwells with God in Christ Jesus is the man whose steps are enlarged in intercession.” Charles H. Spurgeon.

I came across this sentence in the book A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer. I’ve started working through this book/study, and am currently in Chapter 2, which emphasizes how important it is to your prayer life to abide or remain in Christ. I’m intrigued by that term and have been praying about how I might do this. The term abiding comes from the Greek word meno, which can mean “to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue, to be present.” All of these things take time, don’t they?

Now, I’m a big believer in “arrow” prayers. I generally pray throughout my day as the Holy Spirit brings people and causes to my heart. But I’m being convicted of the importance of spending time with Jesus each day whenI am silent, just listening to Him and waiting on Him. This takes time—time that I don’t always get up early enough to spend.

I usually read my Bible and pray from my prayer list in the morning, but contemplative waiting and listening often get short shrift in my rush to get out the door to work. But if I want to be effective in my prayers, then I need to take the time to hear from the heart of the One who answers prayers. After all, bearing fruit—including fruitful prayers—involves being grafted into the vine.

So, one of my resolutions this year is to take at least 10 minutes each day before I begin praying to be quiet before the Lord and then see how that affects my prayers. Maybe I’ll be directed to pray in a certain way. Perhaps He’ll bring people to mind that hadn’t been on my radar. Or maybe, I’ll just be mindful of the silence. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing how this time will change my prayers and me. I’ll keep you updated.

How about you? How are you going to “enlarge your steps in intercession” this year? Are you going to change anything related to your prayer life in 2013? If you’d like, you can share your ideas below.

Blessings for the New Year and pray on!

A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net