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Tuesday Tidbit- Growing in Prayer

I have the privilege of leading a weekly woman’s Bible study.  We are currently going through Stormie Omartian’s book and study guide “Prayer Warrior”.    I don’t think many people regularly put these two words together, so it might seem like a strange book title to you.  Either way  I hope you will grow in prayer with me as I share how I’m growing in this study.

In the first chapter Stormie shares why our attitude toward prayer needs to be deeper than the basic morning, night time, and meal time prayers.  Life as a follower of Christ places us in the middle of a unseen battle that calls us to live as prayer warriors in Christ’s army. The apostle Paul writes about this battle in the book of Ephesians and goes into detail of our response in Ephesians 6:10 -18.  Where he describes the Armor of God we are given and the two weapons his warriors are given the sword of the Spirit(the word of God) and prayer guided by the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).   If you are not familiar with Ephesians 6 take some time to read it.  I believe it is foundational for recognizing the battle of good and evil is real and continues daily.

Do believe there is an devil?  Do you believe he has plans for the destruction of you and your loved ones?  The most dangerous position to be in a battle is in-between two fighting forces- the impact zone.  We can find ourself there when we live our life in blissful ignorance.  Choosing to ignore the warning signs that we are entering a danger zone.  Please don’t ignore this sign today.  Step into the protected zone.  You might still be wondering what is a prayer warrior?

Stormie defines it as a person who “has a heart of compassion for suffering people and bad situations, and desires to do something to make a difference.”  The heart of a prayer warrior fulfills Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  It is a person who prays for others using the truth of God’s Word lead and prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Here are Seven questions from “Prayer Warrior” that  Stormie proposes as insights into the heart of of prayer warrior.

Do you have the heart of a prayer warrior:

  1. See suffering and it bothers you?
  2. Recognize evil proliferating the world?
  3. Experienced injustice in your life or identify it in the lives of others?
  4. Observe wrong things happening around you and want to right them?
  5. Have certain people heavy on your heart and it concerns you but are unsure why?
  6. Observe tragic situations happening to others and feel helpless to to anything to stop it?
  7. Become grieved in your spirit when you see blatant disregard for God and His ways?

If you said “yes” to any of the questions you have the heart of a prayer warrior.  Are you surprised?   I’m not, I think because as God’s children, who are being transformed into Christ’s image we can’t help but have heart of prayer warrior.  Christ was a prayer warrior in John 17:6 -26 he prays for his followers both current and yet to come.  I don’t know about you but I think it is pretty clear we all have a role a prayer warrior.  The question is will we answer the call?

When we say “yes Lord I am willing to be your prayer warrior” we are taking a step closer to the Lord so we can hear his heartbeat.  I hope you are taking that step.  I know it is a scary one.  It might be overwhelming because you don’t feel prepared or ready to pray in this new way.   We can grow together.  Keep meeting me here as I share insights from my experience and the book.

Call to Action:

Read Ephesians 6: 10 -18

What verse stands out to you today?

Who or what are you burdened to pray for today?

Personalize this scripture as a prayer for you today:

Prayer adapted from Ephesians 6: 10-12; 18

” Lord help me be strong in You Lord and in Your mighty power.  Remind me to daily put on the full armor of God, so that  I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes.  For my struggle’s are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, again the powers of the dark world and again the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  “Please Lord teach me to pray according to your Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  Keep me alert and always praying for the Lord’s people.”  In Jesus precious name, Amen

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3

 

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Week # 21 Ephesians 2: 8-10

Did you have an opportunity to share your story last week?  If not, I’m sure an occasion will be presented soon.  I love the way last weeks verse, Matthew 28: 19-20, compliments  Ephesians 2:8-10(if this is your first time joining us click here to read more).  Both of these scriptures direct the focus in our life to Christ working in us for the purposes of God’s kingdom.  How does your story boast of God’s handiwork?

Sometimes that is an easy question to answer and other times it is difficult depending on the season of life we are in.  When our answer doesn’t come easy we should take time to reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives in the past.  A purposeful pause might be just what we need right now as we are on the edge of entering the second half of 2017.

A good place to start might be with asking ourselves how has God’s free gift of grace impacted our lives?  Our answer to this question will reveal if we are accepting His grace freely and are living according to what He has created us, in Christ Jesus, to do.  An honest reflection requires us to start by defining God’s grace according to His standards.  Why?  Because, it tends to get muddled up when we try to define it within human parameters.  What do I mean by muddled up?

Well, we tend to want to continuously tie an “if– then” condition to grace.  For example, in my Sunday School Class, an illustration of restaurant tipping is often used to differentiate between God’s grace and an individual’s grace standard.  God’s grace standard is given freely without connection to if the individual deserves His grace.  God graciously provided salvation for us before we did anything to deserve it.  We receive God’s grace through faith, of any size, by accepting His offer and trusting His ability to freely gift us eternal salvation.

The tipping illustration places us in a service providing restaurant.  The person serving our table has a level of faith that their customer will provide a “monetary tip” for services rendered to the best of their ability.  What should our standard for tipping our server be?  As a paying customer we have been conditioned to measure the service provided by various personal standards.  How often are we trapped by our engrained service standards and “tip” based more on what they deserve rather than freely tipping with grace to bless our server?  From the conversations in my class I can tell you grace tipping is more of an acceptation rather than the standard. This topic is met by  some of the following comments:   “If I get bad service how is the person ever going to know they are terrible?”  or “I only give what they deserve, I shouldn’t have to tip, it’s the owners job to pay their staff.” This is meant only as an example— please don’t feel judged if your not a grace tipper.

I hope you didn’t get lost in this illustration.  The point I hope we will all take away is—- grace is given without consideration of merit and in many cases extended when by all measure when not deserved.  God’s free grace is absent of any “if or then” calculations.   But,  if we are focused on living life still trying to “deserve or earn” God’s grace.  Then, our understanding could be compared to believing that God is more like the paying customer who gives grace based on what we have done or are doing.  Does this belief align with scripture?  According to Ephesians 2:8-10 the answer is, no.  Paul states very clearly that we are saved by grace through our faith in God NOT by anything we do beyond freely receiveing it all, because even our faith comes from God.

If our very faith, is the basis of receiving grace, comes from the Lord what is our role?   I propose that it is to act on the faith we are given through belief in Christ and to obey his commands.  Jesus gave us our first step when he revealed the greatest commands of the Lord in Matthew 22:36 -40—  first, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and second to love your neighbor like you love yourself.  When we obey these commands(John 14: 23 -24) it leads us into deep relationship with the Lord, increases our faith, and pours out into our love for him, ourselves, and our neighbors.  When we embrace the faith He has given to us we are able to live out His commands in love through His free grace.

Personally the concept of free grace was not one that I embraced immediately when I first believed Jesus is my Savior.  I spent many years believing that I had to earn God’s grace.  As I held onto this belief I felt like I couldn’t measure up or do enough for God and others.  My feelings of inadequacy became the substance of the walls that I built.  Barriers that separated me from experiencing God’s free grace and who He wanted to be in my life.  I blocked His love because I didn’t feel like I was good enough.  I couldn’t forgive myself, so I questioned  how or why the God of the universe would forgive me, love me, or even listen to me?  It breaks my heart to think of all the time I wasted behind a wall of unbelief, fear, and insecurity.  Maybe you can relate to the walls I built in my life or maybe you have other walls built to keep God at a distance.  If you do and are still struggling with this belief my prayer is that you will chose to believe in His unconditional love for you, as His child.  That you will act on the mustard seed of faith He has given you to receive His free gift of grace today.  It is as simple as us telling Him we believe in Jesus His Son and we receive His gift of grace— the key that brings us freedom from our sin.  After that we are free to continue to act on our faith and seek His help to obey His commands.  Now, let the boasting begin— of how God’s grace has invaded our life and caused us to live as the handiwork God created us to be in Christ!

Does boasting always mean through words?  Let’s consider how we can boast of God’s grace by extending grace to others through forgiveness, unconditional love, kindness, and maybe even some grace tipping.

How will you express the free grace you have been given this week?

Who needs to hear your story of grace and freedom?

Join the conversation I would love to hear your ideas!

**If you find your mind wondering back to the question of our source of faith being God himself?  I encourage you to answer your questions.   Here are some digging deeper scriptures for personal study. (Acts 3:16, Acts 15:9-11, Acts 26:18, Romans 1:17, Romans 4: 1-8, Romans 4:16-17, Romans 5:1-2, James 2:21-22) **

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #18 Colossians 3:17

Living a life with a thankful harvest!

Colossians 3:17

” And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Do all things for Christ with thanksgiving.  So what does that look like in our lives?  This thought made me pause to take inventory of the things I have said and done today.  Would my inventory reveal a Christ focused motivation weaving throughout my interactions and activities?   What would your personal inventory reveal today?

Here are the basic results of my inventory(On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 equal to all Christ focused).

Spoken Word Related Inventory:

  • My prayers~ 7
  • My family ~ 5
  • My friends ~ 5
  • My texts ~ 3
  • My dogs ~ 3

My honest inventory revealed that I have room for improvement.  I recognized that some of my words were spoken after I actually paused to choose wisely my tone, my words, and my motivation.  The times I did this I actually considered if my words were representing the Lord well.  I have to admit the sad truth is I spoke on my own accord most of the time.

Deeds Related Inventory:

  • My prayers and devotion ~6
  • My workout~ 6
  • My meal prep and consumption ~ 4
  • My house cleaning ~ 3
  • My flowerbed weeding ~ 7

No surprise my deeds matched my spoken word.  I’m left with the realization that I’m not purposeful in my doing daily life for Christ.  Even when I sit down to do prayers and devotion I struggle with complete focus on Christ.  During my inventory this question spoke softly to my heart~ “But even in your devotion time is your motivation and attention ALL on Christ with thankfulness?”  The honest answer is no.  There are times when I am more focused on what I want Christ to do for me than on strengthening my relationship with Christ in prayer and his word.  So is it possible to “do all things for Christ with thanksgiving”?  This side of heaven there is a slim possibility to do all things Christ focused, but each day provides another opportunity for improvement.  Our ability to gain ground in this struggle depends on our cooperation in God’s sanctification process(2 Thessalonians 2:13-17).  Notice it isn’t dependent on us trying harder.  It is God’s process that he leads us through.   Our part is trusting and obeying him day by day.

Sanctification is the process where the Lord teaches us and empowers us to become like Christ as his witness to the world.  The Holy Spirit, which we each receive as believers in Jesus, is our teacher(John 14:26) and our power source(Acts 1:8) that helps us bear fruit that blossoms through the things we say and do for Christ with thanksgiving.  This is living life by the Spirit.  Which is what the Apostle Paul was talking about in Galatians 5: 13 – 26.  When we stay in step with the Holy Spirits teaching and walk in his power we live for Christ not ourself and the evidence is our changed lives that are full of Christ’s love~ the fruit of the Spirt and thankfulness.

Galatians 5:22-24

“The fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” 

How inviting is our fruit basket today?  If we are living in step with the Spirit our fruit will be fresh and inviting.  If we do ALL things for Christ with a thankful heart.  Then, others will be nourished by the abundant fruit produced in our life by the Spirit working through us.  Our attitude of thankfulness is what helps to keep our fruit fresh.   If we are full of thanksgiving we recognize that the purpose of producing fruit in and through our words and deeds is to glorify God who makes it all possible.

What are you thankful for today?

Are you living your life with a thankful harvest?

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #10 Wisdom Builder Romans 5:8

This weeks treasure verse is Romans 5:8.  Here we are reminded of God’s demonstration of his love for us.  He chose the proof of his extravagant, never ending love to be one matchless in cost,  immeasurable in accomplishment, and pure perfection all in one.  The one true God displayed his enduring love for sinful humanity when he provided the only acceptable sacrifice— his very own sinless Son, Jesus Christ– required for the canceling out of all the sins of humanity.  God did not wait for us to recognize our sin and then demonstrate his love for us.  No, he showed “his love while we were still sinners”.   This kindness extended by the Lord was done with the purpose of leading humanity to repentance(Romans 2:4) and reconciliation with himself to experience intimate relationship with him once again. A relationship like he shared with Adam and Eve before sin entered our world(Genesis 3:1-24).  I encourage us each to take a moment to reflect on the extravagance of the Lord’s sacrifice to reestablish a direct

personal relationship with us.  How does his sacrifice speak to your heart?

Lent season, a time to reflect on our lives in light of the meaning and results of Jesus sacrifice, started last Wednesday.  Some choose to set aside this 40 days before resurrection Sunday(Easter April 16th,2017) to reflect and even to partake in honoring the sacrifice of Christ with a personally fasting or giving up something to demonstrate their love and appreciation for Christ’s love for them.  (If the concept of lent is new to you find out more at this link http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/lent-101-honoring-the-sacrafice-of-jesus-1382259.html )  

As you have been reading this  reflection, you may be feeling the Lord nudge your heart or even have feelings that you need to do something as your personal demonstration of your love for your Savior.   That is lovely and beautiful.   A good scripture to keep in mind as you reflect on how you will express your love is Psalm 51: 16 -17 “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring you it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My scarf, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

 

Lord I pray that we will present to  you the delight of your heart with a personal sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart before you.  A heart that responds to your kindness that leads to repentance and a desire to live in an intimate love relationship with you through the indwelling of your spirit in our hearts.  Thank you Lord for your matchless expression of love toward us while we were still sinners.  In Jesus’ Holy name,  Amen.

Is there a word in the dictionary that describes how you feel about God?  I’d love for you to share it with me.  He is my Rock!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring“. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Cooking on the Wrong Burner

Have you ever started preparing a meal and discover you have had your pan on the wrong burner? Once again I found myself wondering how in the world I didn’t notice sooner that nothing was happening in my pot that should be boiling any moment. As I reached for the handle it was very hot to the touch but the rest was not. That’s when I realized I had turned on the wrong burner and proceeded to increase the temperature as required only to succeed in heating the handle not the contents. After rectifying the problem I moved on the next item of importance. But as I looked back at the stove with my hand still stinging from grabbing the piping hot handle, I thought “ispot-820012__340n’t that just like life.” I wake up each morning with a basic plan and focus to spend my time and energy according to what I think is most important. Then I’m off and running.  The next thing I know I’ve turned on the wrong burner!   My energy is not directed where it is required to accomplish the necessary tasks for the day. Can you relate? I also thought of how quickly these “wrong burner days” can easily become weeks, months and sometimes years if I don’t seek daily guidance from the Lord on how to spend my time and energy He has given to me. His word tells me that he has “created me for good works” that He has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10).  I don’t want to focus my time and energy into a burner that isn’t warming His prepared task for me. In order to put the right amount of energy and focus into each burner I have to seek Him first.

Proverbs 16:3
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Shared previously with Planting Roots

Can I get an amen if you can relate???

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Warrior~Princess Reflections

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             “you just need…”

Everywhere we turn from social media, TV, to magazines, and ads we find headlines aimed at self-improvement: “try the latest…”, “how to…”, “you just need ….”.  I’m sure you can add more to the list. We live in a world that bombards us with messages that speak to our desire for more. Do you think we would be constantly exposed to all these suggestions if there weren’t the need to satisfy a craving?  Are you familiar with it-  The unexplainable desire to search for “the answer” that fills the void within your soul?

The answers the world gives are appealing.  They soothe the desperate heart cry for meaningful life.

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Website Scripture Feature Info:

Felt in response to this need and the underlying message sent that we just aren’t good enough yet. One experiences oneself being drawn to each new captivating solution in search of their own  “answer” for them. I have caught myself entranced in the endless search for fulfillment. How about you?  When will this longing and quest be satisfied? What would happen if women were awakened from the trance of the world’s enchantment and recognize that the “answer” lies in  our identity in Christ?

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               Be ready!

Yes I’m guilty. I’ve been known to get caught up in the trance. But thankfully I was awakened to who I am meant to be in Christ- his Warrior-Princess. Not just his daughter or princess but his Warrior-Princess because I’m in a daily battle to walk in the power and truth of whose I am (God’s) and who he has made me to be (his Warrior-Princess). Maybe, like me, you wrestle with questions about God and his plan for you. Some of you might even be asking: “How do I measure up in this world? Or “ Does God really want me?” Or even “Would he ever use me?” Whatever your questions might be let me just say that it is okay to question because that is the beginning of naming “the need” and finding “the answer” to fill the void within.

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          “God doesn’t want me..?”
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Romans 8:38-39

One such question unexpectedly emerged during a heart to heart.  I was listening intently when it came gushing out through sobs that were ushered from the depths of her precious heart- “God doesn’t want me, He doesn’t, He can’t.  How could I be good enough for him?” My precious daughter struggled to speak in the early morning hours. Her words bursting through her apprehension of the reception they might receive from her teary eyed momma.  But she was unable to hold her questioning back any longer. She released the hurt that was tearing at her soul. She collapsed into a tender embrace, reassured that it is okay to question-even question God.  She rediscovered his love and peace in her honest questions.   I encourage you like I did her, to have the courage to believe that nothing can separate us from him or remove his love for us (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing. It takes courage, Warrior-Princess to win each daily battle (Ephesians 6:12).  So take courage because you are never alone!

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“Let’s Journey Together!”

I invite you to join me in my Warrior-Princess journey. A journey I hope will be one of discovery, inspiration, and empowerment. Together we will find strength to live the life we were created to live. I say “together” because my prayer is that we will journey along side one another connecting through our stories. I believe we were created for relationship and need each other for encouragement, growth, and confidence along the way. We might not all be at the same intersection of our journey, or facing the same temptations or trials, but we are able to encourage each other with where we are and where we have been. Together that is what will enrich our life journey.  Let’s journey together!

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Ephesians 6:12

Life has a way for surprising me so to find myself launching a ministry website and on the edge of publishing a Bible study is uncharted territory for me and incredibly unexpected. I am truly humbled with this opportunity just as I was over 15 years ago when I began to serve in women’s ministry leadership roles. These service opportunities have directed my path to this unique threshold. The courage to take the first step into this uncharted territory comes through experiencing the Lord’s direction in my life. He has orchestrated sweet relationships with people who are strong in my areas of weakness and need for growth. It has been a true faith building experience. I’m very thankful for each person’s encouragement and sharing of their gifts and talents to further the Lord’s purposes in my life.

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         “Be a brilliant reflection of God’s love!”

I posed the question in the beginning:“What would happen if women are awakened from the trance of the world’s enchantment and recognize the answer is our identity in Christ?” I believe the answer is -we will live in a brighter world because we will become a brilliant

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Wake up! It’s a new day!

reflection of God’s love in this dim world. In my ministry and military experience I have witnessed first-hand how women strongly influence the spiritual and relational connections within community. “That is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”(Ephesians 5:14)  As the Apostle Paul said we must wake up and live for Christ. When he shines on us he radiates into the world and awakens his people. Arise from your slumber warrior-princess and shine his light!  Our world is desperately searching and in need of “the answer”- Jesus!

Are you ready to live out your identity in Christ: Warrior-Princess?

I’d love to get to know more about you! Will you quickly share a meaningful verse with me?

Psalm 25:4-5 has guided me to this place in my life. “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Can’t wait to hear yours!!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Warrior~Princess Sherrycrown-1539630__340

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