Prayer Journal

Last month I was browsing through a bundle purchase I made, and found ideas for a prayer journal.

“A prayer journal?” I thought. “I always pray. Do I need a prayer journal?” The answer turned out to be a resounding YES!!!

As I started looking into what, exactly, a prayer journal is, and watched some youtube videos, I was immediately sold. Yes! A way to be organized and methodical with my prayers; some direction and prayer prompting! I got excited.

I got so excited that I started my own prayer journal, and hosted a prayer journal workshop at my church. We all brought our own supplies, and had opportunity to work together and fellowship while we put together our journals. I provided several handouts of prayer prompts that I’d found online.

I sewed a fabric and batting cover for it from a fabric that brings me God’s peace.

This was a process over a few weeks of arranging, re-arranging, making pages; and writing verses, prayers, and requests. It is still a work-in-progress as God gives me new insights and things to pray for. I love that this is a dynamic work.

I highly recommend a prayer journal (several of the youtube videos call them, “war binders”). My prayer time has blossomed. I am definite in my prayers for various people and organizations; my prayer time is focused and guided (instead of mind-wandering); I have a new and even closer connection with my Lord; I can easily spend an hour praying; and I LOVE my prayer time.

I use a mini-binder because I like the feel of the smaller size. (A mini binder fits pages that are half the size of 8 ½” x 11” pages.) I started with a 1” ring width, but had to go with 1.5” because I put so much in it.

Many of my pages that are filled with prayers have little sticky markers: I don’t pray every page every day. I pray one or two items on a page, then move the marker to the next one, to remind me where I left off.

To stave off distractions from taking me away from my prayers, I keep note paper nearby. When something pops into my mind that I don’t want to forget, I jot it down. Now I don’t have to worry about forgetting something important, and I can concentrate on praying.

I have several sections that I pray through every day; and I have five other sections that I pray Monday – Friday. As specific needs occur, I write them down wherever appropriate.

  • Praise
    • Includes a Grateful section, Bible verses, clips from online sources, an Aha! section of things that strike me as being so cool about God, and pages of hymnals that I copied
  • Self
    • This is a pretty thick section, because I need a lot of prayer!
    • Includes prayers from Supplications, various clippings, Confession section, hymns, prayer requests from this Maggie blog, and a calendar page from pdfcalendar.com (link below) to remind me of upcoming events to pray about

  • Marriage
  • Family
    • Includes a sub-section for parents, children, siblings & families, and in-laws

My Monday – Friday sections:

  • Monday: City, State, and Nation (& World)
  • Tuesday: Social Issues (abortion, LGBTQ, trafficking)
  • Wednesday: my church (people / prayer requests, missionaries, outreach)
    • This would usually include specific prayer for church leaders, but my husband is a church leader, so I put that section in with his.
  • Thursday: Friends & Neighbors
  • Friday: Persecuted, Prison Ministries / Prisoners, Homeless

Following are some things to think about before you put together a prayer binder. At the end are several online resources.

Do you have a prayer binder? Do you have resources to share?

Binder options:

  • Ring-style or spiral / permanent bound?
    • Ring-style (regular or smaller-size):
      • you can add / take out / rearrange pages as you need
      • You can take out pages to use, say, for sermon notes at church, then insert back into your notebook; you don’t have to take the whole notebook with you
        • Keep a clipboard handy for when you want to take out separate pages to write on
    • Spiral or otherwise bound:
      • can’t move or add pages
      • but you can use sticky notes / sticky tabs; can glue in pages
      • easier to carry around
  • search “journal binder” or “prayer journal” on amazon or Christianbook.com
  • “3-ring binder” or “binder portfolio” or “mini portfolio binder” or “mini binders 5.5 x 8.5 three ring” or “blank journal” or “travel binder” on amazon
  • watch out for how many rings; be sure you have a hole punch / pre-punched papers for those hole patterns

Big picture considerations:

  • Is this a lifetime journal, or will I make one for each year?
  • What size?
    • Will I take this with me to waiting rooms? Prayer group?
    • Will this be a stationary piece in my prayer closet?
  • Do I want a separate section for answers to prayer, or will I include answers along with the prayers?
  • Will I write directly on the pages, or write on sticky notes to stick on the pages; or both?
  • Will this journal be only for prayer, or will I also use it for Bible study journaling?
  • In a pre-bound journal (i.e., spiral notebook), make pages and sections (or outline your plan) before adding section tabs, so you have an idea of how many pages for each section

You may want to include:

  • Calendar to jot events to pray for
  • A front page of prayer-inspiring Scripture
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Section for Scripture memorization
  • Sections for praise, adoration
    • Attributes of God
    • Praise Scripture
  • Section labeled Confess or Repent / what needs pruning
  • Bible studies / book study (group or individual)
  • Sticky notes / jot-a-note
    • Ideas to include in the journal
    • Random thoughts that intrude, and you need to take care of them later (i.e., don’t forget to add pineapple to the grocery list): put these in a special spot once you’ve written them down, so you don’t have to concentrate on remembering them.
  • Goal pages
  • Inspirational page(s): quotes, ideas
  • Printed prayers that mean something to you
  • Poetry
  • Hymn or praise song lyrics / sheet music
  • Names of God / Jesus / Holy Spirit
  • Coloring pages
  • “Aha!” page

Arrangement of sections:

  • Days of the week: Pray for specific issues on each day of the week (i.e., family, marriage, children on Mondays; church, leadership, church groups on Tuesdays; etc.)
  • Prayer issues (sections for family / church / ministries / prayer group, etc.)

Prayer / Section Suggestions:

  • Family
    • Self, spouse, children
    • My home
    • Extended family
  • Leadership / Government (local, state, national, world)
  • Workplace
  • Churches
    • Specific church ministries or groups
    • Church leadership
    • Church participation
    • Families in your church
    • Truth in preaching and teaching
    • Missions
  • Salvation
  • Health
  • Families / Marriages; legal battles, transgender / LGBTQ, etc
  • The persecuted
  • Prison ministries
  • Friends
  • Healing / emotional / relational
  • World events (abortion, persecution, etc.)
  • Specific ministries / schools / organizations
  • Work / school
  • Testimonies
  • Growth areas
  • Affirmations
  • God’s promises / witness to His faithfulness
  • Pouring out your heart / issues precious and dear to you
  • Listening to God: things God is telling me
  • Finance
  • A prayer group you belong to
  • Urgent needs (“Emergency Room”)
  • Other

Supplies:

  • Binder OR spiral notebook OR bound journal
    • Binder: normal size or half-size or other-size
  • Binder paper (pay attention to the kind of binder you’re using, and the hole placement)
    • Packets of paper sold for that style of binder
    • Scrapbook paper
    • You can design and print your own pages
    • Some pages can be cardstock
    • “Extra” pages can be glued into a spiral notebook or bound journal
  • Sticky divider tabs OR can make your own out of cardstock, and glue to pages
    • Divider tabs can go along the side and/or the top
  • Sturdy elastic headband or other method to keep your journal closed and secure
  • Binder pockets
  • Divider pages OR make your own
  • Different kinds and colors of pens and pencils
  • Eraser
  • Sticky notes of all sizes, shapes and colors
  • Calendar pages
  • Clipart
  • Hole reinforcers
  • Fun paper clips & binder clips
  • Page protectors / sheet protectors
  • Glue stick / double-sided tape / glue pen
  • Pen & pencil pocket (big enough to keep sticky notes, etc)
  • Scissors
  • Cutting board / paper cutter
  • Hole punch
  • Label-maker
  • Fabric
  • Hot glue gun
  • (Pretty) envelopes
  • Scrapbooking supplies
    • Lettering & numbering
    • Stickers
    • Pockets / pocket pages
    • Colored or patterned tape or sticky strips
    • Scrapbook paper
    • Cardstock
    • Stencils
  • Washi-tape (Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, dollar stores)
  • Sheet protectors for your-size binder
  • Old books to include pages (see what the library is giving away or very cheap; Goodwill; Salvation Army; second-hand stores)
    • Bible pages
    • Hymnals
    • Pictures you can cut out and glue in
    • You can separate whole books from their bindings and include some or all pages, or make a separate binder. Hole punch the pages to insert into a binder.

Online Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ft87GqgETs  How to Make Your Own Prayer Journal!        Stacey Johnson      41:12       spiral-bound student notebook w/ dividers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElRJCoBvQNo  My Prayer Binder: Flip Through and Thoughts               Cori Spieker      1:01:35       3-ring ½ size binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D9S6Yq6zBY  WAR BINDER PRAYER JOURNAL SETUP- How to Make Your Own DIY Faith Journal | Ideas and Flip Through         Kaye Lean Ramos     20:04     3-ring ½ size binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hmy3Dd9Djc  Bible Study Binder & Prayer Journal Notebook: How to DIY       Crazy Simple Truth, Nicki Drake    11:57       3-ring binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7chAgKsfVE Prayer Binder flip through with Dawne!     Kari Denker (with Stone Soup for Five)         45:30             3-ring, ½ – size binder

https://www.pinterest.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFKLXz1Cdkk Recycle your Toilet Roll Cores into Pretty Pockets!      Angela Kerr     44:11 and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6z_xI894c    Recycle and Reuse Toilet Roll Tubes   Gi Kerr      25:07

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15BoCfZK0Ew  Prayer Journal Set Up / War Binder DIY        Annie Smith      28:40      spiral-bound sketchbook

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPqnhlAX35M&t=0s  Prayer Notebook     Gina Garland           8:45      3-ring ½ size   binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRh8QBuTWTA Prayer Binder Walkthrough           Kari Denker      11:19           3-ring ½ size binder

https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/p/tutorials.html

https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/2014/11/a-walk-through-my-prayer-binder.html

https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/2018/05/all-things-prayer-binder.html  homepage https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/

https://www.dailydwelling.com/prayer-journal-printables-updated/

http://www.dailydwelling.com/prayer-journal-printables/

https://www.dailydwelling.com/category/printable/

https://hosannasmom.wordpress.com/tag/word-cloud/

http://inspiredtoaction.com/resources/

https://ifapray.org/resources/prayer-guides-and-resources/

https://www.josh.org/resources/spiritual-growth/attributes-of-god/

https://banneroftruth.org/us/devotional/a-disciples-renewal/  https://www.chapellibrary.org/book/dado/doctrine-and-duty-of-self_examination

http://storage.cloversites.com/arkansasbaptiststateconvention2/documents/Design%20Guide%20-%20Prayer%20-%20Long%20(Final)_2.pdf  Scroll down to Appendix A (pg 6) for a list of convicting questions

http://pdfcalendar.com/  create your own calendar

https://lovinglifeathome.com/

https://www.angellabundz.com/free-printables

https://latoyaedwards.net/notebook

https://momsinprayer.org/group-leaders/

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/prayer-resources/

Recipe Friday: Praying for Your Pastor and Church Leaders

This week’s recipe is a prayer list for our Pastor and church leaders, all over the world. I took notes from a pastor’s wife’s presentation, then ran it by my pastor for editing and input. Please, please, pray for our pastors and church leaders; pray also for leaders of households; and for leaders in our communities, states, nations, and world. Prayer WORKS: it is work to pray, so put in the effort and see what miracles God will work on our behalf.

Feel free to print this out. You can copy it into a word processing document, then print in portrait; or split into columns and print landscape.

Another prayer resource is Supplications, which can also be printed.

May Pastor and Leaders fully accept and appropriate all God’s gifts, and use them for His eternal glory.

Protect Pastor and Leaders from:

  • Weariness
  • Frustration
  • Attacks from the enemy in thought, word, and deed
  • Fleshly temptations
  • Worldly pressures

May Pastor and Leaders receive from people of their congregation:

  • Words of encouragement
  • Prayer
  • Wise counsel
  • Tokens of appreciation
  • Palpable love

May Pastor’s and Leaders’ eyes be open (enlightened) to the next move, season; to attacks, not caught off-guard. May he see people as God sees, each sheep as worthy of God’s love and grace

Give Pastor and Leaders hearts free, pure, full of God’s agape love

Instill in Pastor and Leaders a spirit of excellence, of joy in their work

Inspiration

May Pastor and Leaders receive as from the Lord lessons of humility

Pray for direction in decision-making and for confirmation of decisions

God continually give Pastor and Leaders ears to hear what His Holy Spirit has to say through them to others, the congregation, and their families

And the other way around: ears to hear the Holy Spirit speak to them through others, the congregation, and their family

Flourishing, deep, fruitful, restorative, refreshing prayer life

Give Pastor and Leaders strength to carry out God’s special work

Pray for patience, understanding, timing; with that, that their time will be spent being productive, rather than just busy.

A stable mind: free of anger & bitterness, renewed day by day in the mind of Christ, centered on God’s Truth

Pray for the Holy Spirit’s perfect unity among church leaders; for love, understanding, compassion, empathy, inspiration, patience, direction

Pray for Pastors and Leaders to be good husbands and fathers, tenderhearted and loving toward their families.

Pray for Pastor’s and Leaders’ wives: protection, sustenance, purpose, patience and understanding, joy, peace.

And for their children, that they will grow in the nurture and understanding of the Lord, raised unto salvation.

Ephesians 6.18, 19 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel

National Day of Prayer

Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer for the US. Below is information I received in an e-mail from IFA (Intercessors for America). When you click on a link for a resource, it asks for your e-mail. This has been safe for me, no sharing of info or spam. There is also an option to login and to sign up to pray. Those with accounts have access to all the resources. I have used several of their resources in guiding me to fervent, authentic prayer for my country.

To pray for specific legislative updates: https://prayforamericasleaders.com/legislative-updates/

MAKE THE MOST OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
For the first time in 70 years the National Day of Prayer observance will not happen on Capitol Hill.But barricades, security, and politics in Washington, D.C. cannot stop Americans from observing this day and praying for our nation.How can you participate? Here are three ways:First, we encourage you to join us on our National Day of Prayer webcast on Thursday at 12:15pm ET (details below).Second,  many of the people you know who celebrate the National Day of Prayer may be encouraged to know that praying for the nation is something IFA intercessors do year round. It is more than just a day. Take this opportunity to introduce the Intercessors for America network to your praying friendsClick here for a great download to share with others in response to this day of prayer. And third, stay on top of what is happening in your state with Pray for America’s Leaders new Legislative Updates. Click below and see what needs prayer in your state today! 
GO THERE NOW

We encourage you to join us on our National Day of Prayer webcast, featuring Pam Pryor, former State Department official, who will be sharing about prayer in government. Dave Kubal, IFA President and CEO, will be on-site in D.C. to offer live, up-to-the-minute observances and commentary. Click here to watch IFA’s National Day of Prayer program on Thursday at 12:15pm ET or you can connect by phone at (712) 775-7430.
May America Bless God!


Dave Kubal
President/CEO




INTERCESSORS FOR AMERICA
IFApray.org

Serving One Another in God’s Love

Some days ago, during devotions and prayer, my Lord planted this in my heart. As I meditate on it daily, it grows and grows:

It’s not about me:

You will do Your work in me as I do Your work in serving others.

Several Bible verses support this. I leave one passage here, and ask that you leave your thoughts and pertaining verses in the comments.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2.3, 4

God bless you.

Nothing Can Change Until I do

I was reading through Facebook, and someone shared a nice post about what a privilege it is to be a mom, how all the hard work is worth it, etc. One woman responded with bitterness, saying that in the old days women had all day to take care of the house and kids, but modern day requires both man and wife to work; and it must be nice if both of them pitched in with the kids and housework, but her husband never lifts a finger around the house and she has to do it all.

My first response was to pray for her (“Emily”). Then I thought, “Nothing can change until we do.” I can see that God must be working on her heart, giving her life lessons to cleanse her bitterness. But she won’t learn those lessons until she receives the position where God put her, and thanks Him for it.

Psalm 16.  5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

God always has a good reason for where we are. We might not like it; in fact, if it’s a hard lesson we’ll probably hate it. But God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. And – here’s the important part: He’s right. God is always right, and He always loves us.

Lord God Almighty, You created Heaven and Earth, and You designed and created us, each individual Us. Thank you. You work from Love, and You continue in Love. You desire us to live Your abundant life; but we cannot accept and live that out until You show us our sin, we repent, and You cleanse us from sin. Thank You for Your Life Lessons, for Your gifts. Teach us to forgive, Lord, and increase our faith (Luke 17.1 – 5). May we accept You and Your ways with grateful hearts. Please bless us with teachable spirits. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Recipe Friday: Peace and Joy Essential Oil Diffuser Blend

Pretty much every day, and certainly every evening, I put essential oils in my diffuser. My daytime diffuser sits in our kitchen, which is an open space to the dining area. I spend a lot of time around there, so I like to enhance my moods and physical health with the benefits of essential oils

The essential oils, and their benefits, in my daytime favorite, which I name Peace and Joy are as follows. Benefits and other information are listed for use in diffusing (inhaling), topical application, and ingestion.

  • Lemon: cleaning, lymph drainage, cleanses the body, antibacterial, antitumoral, antiseptic, improves microcirculation, immune stimulant (increases white blood cells), improves memory; use for circulatory problems, arteriosclerosis, obesity, parasites, urinary tract infections, varicose veins, anxiety, hypertension, digestive problems; acne; use with local honey to treat/sooth a sore throat; drink in water to promote weight loss; detox for gallbladder and lymphatic system (drink in water)
    • Other info:
      • topical, inhale, diffuse, ingest
      • citrus family
      • Caution: avoid applying to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 24 hours
      • Made from the peel
  • Sweet orange: eases stress and anxiety (when used as aromatherapy); Improves digestion and helps to relieve constipation; Nourishes dry, irritated and acne-prone skin when mixed with a carrier oil and applied as a cream; Promotes a feeling of happiness and warmth when used in aromatherapy; Helps to eliminate toxins from the body; Helps in stimulating lymphatic action to promote balance in water processes and detoxification of the body; antimicrobial properties; may prevent the proliferation of E. coli bacteria; Natural remedy for high blood pressure; anti-inflammatory; Reduces anxiety and boosts mood; Natural anti-depressant; mild tranquilizer
    • Comes from Citrus sinensis, the oranges you are used to eating. It is derived from the fruit, especially the rind.
  • Grapefruit: supports metabolism, cellulite reduction, antitumoral, metabolic stimulant, antiseptic, detoxifying, diuretic, fat-dissolving, cleansing for kidneys, lymphatic and vascular system, antidepressant. Rich in limonene, which has been studied for its ability to combat tumor growth. Used for Alzheimer’s, fluid retention, depression, obesity, liver disorders, anxiety
    • Other info:
      • Mix with coconut oil and rub on areas of cellulite, or take a few drops internally with water
      • topical, inhale, diffuse, ingest
      • citrus family
      • Caution: avoid applying to skin that will be exposed to sunlight w/in 24 hours
  • Frankincense: reduces inflammation, destroys cancer, spiritual awareness; boosts immune system, treats autoimmune disorders, fights infections, improves anxiety ,heals skin (acne, scars), balances hormone levels, regulates estrogen production, eases digestion (helps produce bowel movements), beneficial in reducing symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, sleep aid, antiviral; contains sesquiterpenes which stimulate the limbic system of the brain (the center of memory and emotions) and the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. (The hypothalamus is the master gland of the body, producing many vital hormones including thyroid and growth hormone.)
    • Other info:
      • Breathe it for immune, colon, lungs
      • Apply to neck and feet to boost immune system
      • sometimes referred to as olibanum
      • topically, inhale, diffuse, or ingest
      • This is a potent oil: if you ingest, dilute it first, and do not ingest large quantities.
      • Mix 6 drops to one ounce of carrier oil and apply to the skin to fight
      • sagging, wrinkling (helps tighten skin)
      • Helps speed digestion, like digestive enzymes (modulates the gut)
      • Add a few drops to a cloth and inhale for respiratory assistance (good for asthma or allergies); or an oil diffuser.
      • Inhaling also helps relieve muscle aches, stress, and negative emotions.
  • Rosemary: thickens hair, improves brain function and memory; good for Alzheimer’s, soothes aches and pains, balances androgen and estrogen, liver detox and gall bladder function (benefits bile flow, reduces plasma liver enzymes), lowers cortisol (lowers stress), protects the liver, anti-tumoral, antifungal, antibacterial, antiparasitic, enhances mental clarity & concentration, relieves throat & lung infections
    • Other info:
      • an evergreen oil
      • from labiatae family
      • part of the “four thieves” formula
      • add a drop to shampoo for healthy hair
      • dilute to apply topically, directly inhale, diffuse, ingest
      • Cautions: do not use on children under 4 years of age; avoid using on persons with high blood pressure
  • Peppermint: digestion, aids in absorption, cools heat in the digestive lining; focus, energy booster, fever reducer, relieves headaches and body/muscle aches. Anti-inflammatory, antitumoral, antiparasitic (worms), antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, gallbladder/digestive stimulant, pain-relieving, curbs appetite, helps with irritable bowel system; improves focus, improves breathing (bronchitis, pneumonia, allergies); relieves headaches (2 drops peppermint + 2 drops lavender, rub on forehead)
    • Other info:
      • Can rub right on the stomach to relieve symptoms; also rub on bug bites for a few days to relieve itch
      • topical, inhale, diffuse, ingest
      • inhale 5-10 x/day to curb appetite
      • do not apply to infants younger than 18 mo
  • Eucalyptus: good for respiratory issues like bronchitis, sinusitis and allergies; insect repellent (helps block malaria), expectorant, mucolytic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-aging; respiratory/sinus infections, decongestant, rheumatism/arthritis
    • Other info:
      • can use the leaves to cover wounds, to disinfect
      • a spray of 2% eucalyptus oil will kill 70% of airborne staph bacteria
      • topical, inhale, diffuse, ingest
      • myrtle family

Just think of all the health benefits we get from essential oils!

To make Peace and Joy Blend:

Ingredients:

  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 3 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil OR eucalyptus essential oil

Directions:

Fill diffuser to manufacturer’s instructions with tap water (mine holds 2 oz, or ¼ cup).

Drop essential oils into the water. (Amounts are really up to you.)

Replace diffuser lid.

Turn diffuser on.

What Kind of Fruit?

*

John 15.1-8  1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

From this passage I understand that I am grafted into the perfect vine of Jesus. With that life force flowing through me (the Holy Spirit working through me), I am to produce fruit. The fruit of Jesus is bountiful and nutritious and refreshing, and useful for many things.

Mark 12.1-9 1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. 5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others

From this passage, I understand that God gives me choice. I can decide how to manage my vineyard. He planted wonderful seed in me (His Holy Spirit), and I have the ability to access that life force for growing wonderful fruit. But I can also decide to keep that fruit to myself and / or to grow that fruit in a different way. My way of growing fruit is not good, as God’s is; therefore, I will produce poison or malnourishing fruit.

From this same passage, I understand that God sends people to me to collect His fruit. Again enters choice: How do I treat those whom God sends?

What kind of fruit am I producing, and what am I doing with it???

Good fruit from the vine of Jesus vs worldly fruit is like eating real food vs junk food. Worldly works “taste” good to the world, but there’s no nutrition, and leaves you wanting more of the junk. Jesus’ fruit is real, and it is satisfying.

As new or immature Christians, coming from the world, we may still like the worldly fruit better. Often, this bad fruit gets pruned away and it hurts.

  • John 15. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and
  • v6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered
  • Isaiah 64.6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses areas filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

As Christians we yearn more and more for the nutritious fruit of the vine.

How do we get fed the nutritious “fertilizer” and nutrients to produce good fruit? Connect to the Source:

  • Jesus is the Living Water
  • Jesus is the True Vine
  • God’s Holy Spirit abides in us
  • God’s Word is Truth: read it

Romans 5.8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – and – Ephesians 3.20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us  — Did you get that? The power that worketh IN US. That’s God’s power IN US!

This is the mystery and miracle of God working through us: We are to be channels of God unto others – we commend God’s love to others while they (we) are sinners. To do this, we must die to ourselves. We allow God to take away all those branches and leaves that are our flesh; and we step aside to let Him live through us. Then we will bear His fruit, and it will be so abundant and good that there will be plenty for ourselves and to share with all those whom God puts in our paths. And we will give God the glory!

Galatians 5.22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

Philippians 1.11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

* images collected from google images

Recipe Friday: Leftover Turkey or Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Serves: 5

Yield: 1.5 qt baking dish
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min

I pulled our leftover Christmas turkey from the freezer this week. It was more than enough for one meal. I served it with mashed potatoes and gravy (chicken bone broth, thickened with some cornstarch), and we had more leftovers. I didn’t want anything (again) that smacked of Christmas or Thanksgiving, so I browsed the Internet for ideas, and came up with this alteration.
I made this with leftover turkey, but any kind of cooked meat would do: chicken, canned chicken, beef, venison, buffalo, pork, etc.
The measurements for all the ingredients are just suggestions; but this amount fit easily into a 1.5-quart baking dish.
If you want to stretch this, you can add corn, peas, and/or green beans to the top of the pie before you put on the mashed potatoes.
As for the mashed potatoes: we like potatoes in this house, so 3 cups was just right. If you like potatoes even more than we do, pile ’em on!
I used a sour cream and chives mixture to add to the mashed potatoes. Any kind of cheese would be a nice substitute (I’m thinking cream cheese…yum).
As we ate it, I thought that perhaps mushrooms would be a good addition in the sauté. Also, I have another Shepherd’s Pie recipe for beef, and it includes a dash of ground clove. I had my doubts about that, but after tasting it, I now add a bit of clove to many of my beef dishes.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons     butter

1                            medium onion, peeled and chopped

3                            stalks celery, with leaves, chopped

2                            medium carrots, sliced

1 teaspoon          minced garlic

2 1/2 cups           leftover meat, such as turkey, chicken, or pork; cut to bite-size pieces

                              salt, to taste

                              black pepper, to taste

1/4 teaspoon       dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon       dried basil

2 cups                  gravy, more or less to appearance, texture, and taste

3 cups                  mashed potatoes, more or less to taste

1/4 cup                 sour cream

                              corn, green beans, peas; optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, celery and carrots, cooking until onions are translucent.


Gently heat mashed potatoes until stir-able, and stir in the sour cream.
Add turkey, seasonings, and garlic, cook 2 minutes.
Add gravy, cooking until heated through. Transfer to a 1.5-quart baking dish.


Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the meat mixture
If your meat mixture is pretty runny, leave the dish uncovered as it bakes. If it’s dry, cover it.
Bake for 30 minutes.

His Blood Be on Us

*

Matthew 27.25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

As we approach Easter, let us consider the crowds that demanded that Jesus be crucified. Barely a week prior, this crowd had hailed Jesus as He rode on a donkey, as their Messiah and King. They were right about that. But they had not eyes to see from God’s perspective. They had only human, earthly perspective. They wanted a political king; they wanted to be saved from their current predicament.

Before Pilate, the crowd asked for Barabbas to be released, and for Jesus to be crucified (under the chief priests’ and elders’ persuasion). Pilate washed his hands and declared himself “innocent of the blood of this just person.” The crowd replied, “His blood be on us, and on our children.”

They were right about that, too.

In the book of Acts, Peter set them straight about what, exactly, happened. Acts 5.27-30 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28Saying, you… intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said… 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree

All humanity were a part of that crowd – we were a part of that crowd. In our flesh, we want nothing to do with the Holy and Righteous Son of God. Just as Eve decided in the Garden, we prefer to be our own gods and decide for ourselves how we want to live.

But God had a different plan, and a different love.

Jesus’ blood, that blood that we spilled, the blood on our hands: That blood is the same blood that God planned all along to save us. He used that blood to cleanse us from the sin of desiring that blood.

Ephesians 1.7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. John 3.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

*image from google images