YAHOOO! We get to launch a new year today & that makes me very excited!! It’s a new year to try new ideas, meet new people, solidify the lessons of the past & possibly explore some new countries. In Isaiah 43:19 it talks about God doing a new thing. May this year for you & me be full of God’s new & wonderful things – happy New Year!
Loving well can have lots of different expressions: taking someone for coffee, doing grocery shopping for a person, spending time listening, sharing about your thoughts / feelings, having someone over for dinner, giving therapeutic formula for starving babies, giving someone a kind word, staying positive and optimistic in a difficult season, giving a hug or a pat on the shoulder, encouraging someone about their talents or efforts, paying a bill for someone who’s struggling, . . . . .
I think there are a BOATLOAD of ways to love well and when we make it a priority, I think that we can all love well because of how we are so well loved by our heavenly Father 🙂
Do you have some more helpful suggestions of how we can love well? Please share!! 🙂
I really enjoy telling my kids that I love them. I like to tell them in lots of different ways with lots of different adjectives. When they were little, my favorite book I liked to read them was “Guess How Much I Love You”. I like to think of creative ways to let them know that I love them, but I’m not always as creative as I want to be.
I also feel like God is challenging me to love people better. When I think about loving people, sometimes it spins me out because it seems like such a massive impossibility. In truth, without God’s help, it is impossible. But even with God’s help, how do I love people better? Here are some easy ideas that we can all use on a daily basis:
- smile: giving a person a smile is an inexpensive way to brighten someone’s day
- be patient: hold off on honking the horn when you’re driving, let a person being trained in their job make a mistake without magnifying the error
- give the benefit of the doubt – don’t assume that someone in intentionally being malicious, cruel or has harmful motives
- listen – time for many people is the same as love
- drop the sarcasm
- be gracious
- check in with God for His help: there are alot of times when I don’t know how to love a person & I’ll make a quick, silent prayer asking for help & wisdom on how God would have me love that person
The picture below is my Ethiopian friend, Menelik, trying to teach me about Ethiopian culture & protocol before I met the Mayor of Gondar. He did a GREAT job & I didn’t mess things up too much. Because of Menelik’s help, I had a good experience w the Mayor & I am less intimidated because of this good experience.
With fasting, all too often we may have a bad experience, or it didn’t go like we wanted it to, so its easy to quit & not fast again. Ever had this experience? Instead of quitting, could I suggest that you consider learning from the mistakes to grow & try again w God’s leading? Also, I recently spoke in our church about fasting & thought you might find some practical advice below to be useful. Pls be sure to leave a comment above to help others w things you’ve learned as well! 🙂
Mistakes & Suggestions:
Be mentally prepared for possible caffeine / sugar withdrawals
don’t neglect your appearance, Brush your teeth more often
Be mindful of your physical activity level while fasting
Consider pre-fasting: get body ready for fasting (half decaf, cut back on soda)
Be ready to increase your fluid intake
Personal Mistakes: trying to workout, lift heavy, while fasting, trying to snowboard A LOT during a long fast, eating wrong food going into / coming out of a fast
Attitude check: Is 58 says that fasting can be a bright time – even though its uncomfortable to your flesh
do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do,
Motive check: why are you fasting?
Various reasons: to be noticed by people, to lose weight, to manipulate God
Don’t Try to fast more than what your body can handle
Relationships – schedule socializing around coffee / tea & not meals
Ask God to help you!
Plan – look at your calendar & work on a plan
Personal Mistakes: Being sharp & impatient w my kids & husband, trying to fast for dual reasons – lose weight / slim down & sense God, trying to go longer than the grace God had given me, trying to fast when God hadn’t directed me to
It’s really helpful to increase your prayer & Word time during a fast
Keep a journal – questions, thoughts, the things God speaks to you
Personal Mistakes: Not letting God direct me, Not asking God for help during a fast
Fasting Rewards: your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matt 6:18)
Greater clarity w God: Hear Him more clearly, Greater sensitivity / awareness of God’s presence, Decreased self-reliance, Help in coming through tough situations
If you’re reading this, hopefully, you were able to hear tonight’s message. If not, you can snag it at:
Anyways, here are a couple more fuel points to help you with prayer. First, you can check out the comments below, that answer the question, “why I pray”. These comments will not only get some fresh ideas about prayer, but also to get some positive reinforcement, which we all need! Feel free to add your own answer(s) to encourage others as well. Second, you’ll see that I listed some books that I’ve found helpful on the topic of prayer. Again, feel free to add your own suggestions as well. 🙂
· The Power of Prayer & Fasting; Marilyn Hickey
· Rees Howell’s Intercessor; Norman Grubb
· Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret;
· Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home; Richard Foster
· Power Through Prayer; EM Bounds
· Intercessory Prayer; Dutch Sheets
· With Christ in the School of Prayer; Andrew Murray
The Power of Prayer; R.A. Torrey