Praying the Word

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NASB);

Father God, it often seems like complaining comes more naturally to us than rejoicing. Thank You for saying it twice to make sure we know the importance of our attitude. Today we will rejoice in who You are. Today we will rejoice in what You do. Today we will rejoice because our hope is in You. Today we choose rejoicing over complaining.

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. (Philippians 4:5a, NASB)

Gracious Lord, in this age of political division and social media, it is easy for “all men” to know our preferences, opinions, and thoughts. But do they know our gentle spirit? We are easily provoked to become argumentative or defensive. It is hard to be gentle or a peacemaker. It is hard to refrain from sharing our opinions that will offend and divide us from our brothers and sisters in You. As Your kindness led us to repentance (Romans 2:4), may our gentle spirit open doors for Your truth and grace — the objects of our hope — to be shared with gentleness and respect at the right time (I Peter 3:15).

The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5b, NASB)

Almighty God, thank You for remaining near Your children. We need You. Help us remember to turn to You. Help us to see You clearly so we value Your nearness. Thank You that nothing can separate us from You and Your love (Romans 8:38-39). We are glad that You will remain near us for all eternity (Revelation 21:3).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Revelation 4:6-7, NASB)

Loving Lord, what a privilege it is to be invited — instructed, actually — to share our troubles, concerns, and requests with You! There is no one in the universe better equipped to receive them. When we lay them at Your throne, we can be confident that You hear and act on them (Proverbs 15:29). Thank You for blessing us with peace as we await Your answer. Your peace is like a hug that enfolds us, warms us, steadies us, and strengthens us. Our hearts and minds can stand strong against anxiety and worry after we give You everything. You truly love us in wonderful and practical ways!

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8, NASB)

Holy God, thank You for telling us what to think about once our minds have been emptied of concerns and worries. Following Your instruction keeps us at peace. Thinking about these things helps us “rejoice always”. Focusing on these enables us to remain in the gentleness of Your Spirit. As our minds dwell on what is holy, our thoughts and actions remain holy. Thank you for graciously and lovingly guiding us in the way of righteousness!

…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (Philippians 4:11-12, NASB)

Generous Provider, thank You for giving us contentment that supersedes our circumstances. Whether we have little or much, we will always have You. And that is what we need most. Help us focus on You, not what we have or do not have. Open our eyes to Your purpose for us, Your provision in every circumstance, and Your constant presence. Reveal Your secrets to us, so our hearts are filled even if other aspects of life are empty. Fill us up as only You can with what we truly need.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, NASB)

All-powerful God, thank you for equipping us to do all You call us to do. Thank you for being strong when we are weak. Thank You for empowering us to be Your representatives. Thank You that no righteous thought, action, or attitude is too difficult for us when we rely on You. Give us strength to be bold. Give us strength to be silent. Give us strength to act. Give us strength to wait on You. Give us strength to love You completely and share that love with others.

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, NASB)

Creator and Owner of all, thank You for generously sharing Your riches with us. We are grateful that You fill us with Your Spirit so we can have the peace, patience, joy, love, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control necessary for every moment of every day. You could have hoarded those or reserved them until heaven. But we are thankful that You have chosen to shower them on us so we can righteously follow and serve You.

Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:20, NASB)

Amen.

Sisters,
Which verse(s) resonate with you? Pray those words back to God, then share your thoughts about them. He loves to hear from you!
Thank Him for far more life!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso

Numbered Days

I have heard many people express eagerness to say, “Good riddance!” to 2020. Although there are no guarantees that changing the calendar will improve our lives, they hope the coming year brings fewer challenges. Hope is a powerful force in our lives, but it is not like a free-floating balloon. It must be tethered to an object or person; we hope in something or someone. The days on the calendar are powerless to bring good or prevent bad. Far more life hopes in the character of God and His promises recorded in the Bible every day.

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. (Psalm 90:12, TLB)

Most years, including 2021, offer us 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, or 13,536,000 seconds. Each of those moments is like a gift, waiting to be unwrapped. Some of those gifts will be wonderful, exciting, or lovely. Others will be unpleasant, difficult, or sad. As we open each gift, we have to decide what value it offers and what to do with it. We can: keep it (in our memories or the forefront of our mind); give it to someone else (by sharing the experience in the moment or later telling them about it); or throw it in the garbage (move on or choose to not think about it). We are wise to look below the surface before deciding what to do with each gift. Sometimes the best gifts appear undesirable at first glance. I have experienced this with difficult conversations that, when resolved, led to personal growth and deeper relationships. I have also experienced this with potential friendships that I did not pursue and later regretted. Far more life unwraps and examines each gift, each day, in order to spend it as we should.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)

Every sunrise serves as a reminder of God’s love and faithfulness. Whether we judge a day to be good or bad, His compassion goes with His children into every situation we face. Far more life greets each new day expectantly, looking for God’s work in and around us. We are never alone (Deuteronomy 31:8). We are never forgotten (Isaiah 49:15-16). He will not allow us to be spiritually destroyed (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9). He will give us all we need for that day. (Philippians 4:19). If you doubt these promises, consider starting a journal to record how you experience God’s compassion and faithfulness each day. Some days you will record one or more good things that happened. Other days You will see His provision through things that could have been worse. We are tempted to focus on our circumstances, but also look for His spiritual provision — times where you experience or share love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and forgiveness. Living in the fruit of His Spirit always makes it a good day!

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. (Zechariah 4:10, ESV)

The tallest trees on earth, Sequoia sempervirens aka California redwoods, begin as a tiny seed. The largest animals on earth, blue whales, grow from the union of a single egg and tiny sperm. We tend to marvel on the full-grown majesty but forget to be amazed at the beginnings. Similarly, the day a venture begins — and each day of growth along the way — is also a cause for rejoicing. There will come a time when the progress will become obvious and even those who started with a critical attitude will rejoice; as the verse above states, those who were discouraged at the slow work of laying the temple foundation rejoiced when a plumb line was required to ensure the rising walls were built straight. We are wise to value the days of small things, too. There is reason to rejoice in the beginning of a friendship, the first step away from addictive behavior, or a righteous choice on a small matter. Far more life recognizes that each day offers opportunities for rejoicing over small things. Because much of life is small things.

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:5, NIV)

…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16, NIV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

Our days on earth are numbered and God has plans for each one! You will find far more life as you search for and embrace His purpose for you each day.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. (Psalm 116:15, NIV)

When our time on earth is over, those who have accepted Christ will be taken Home. What a wonderful day it will be when we are united with our Creator and Savior! Each day we spend on earth is a day with Him in Spirit that brings us closer to the day we will be with Him physically. Since each day offers far more life, we can count them all as good days!

Sisters,
In what or who do you place your hope?
How do you decide which “gifts” from your day to keep, which to share, and which to throw out?
Do you regularly take stock of your daily blessings? If not, consider writing them down this year to have a record of God’s faithfulness.
What do you need to remember or do to make the most of each day God gives you on earth?
Thank God that far more life starts with numbered days on earth but continues for an infinite number of days in Heaven!
-Shari

Copyright 2020, Shari Damaso