Book Giveaway! Listen, Love, Repeat

christmas-giveawayHow many of you find that listening and loving come naturally? Before you answer, take a quick quiz with me:

  • T/F: I always actively listen when my friends are talking with me, instead of anticipating how I’m going to respond.
  • T/F: I can remember all of the prayer requests from Sunday school class.
  • T/F: If I can remember last week’s requests, I prayed for them regularly throughout the week.
  • T/F: I make a point of being nice to the kid in class who is socially awkward and unpopular.
  • T/F: I welcomed the new student/coworker instead of racing off to my next class/meeting.

I wish I could say “true” to all of those (that apply to me), but the truth is that sometimes, I can’t. And maybe you can’t either.

Perhaps unintentionally, we become so busy with living that we’re swept up in our own little worlds and unaware of the hurts and needs of those around us.

That’s the problem Karen Ehman addresses in her book Listen, Love, Repeat. Her bottom line is that we need to be intentional in listening to and loving others.

About Listen, Love, Repeat

When I first picked up Karen’s book, I was intrigued by the sub-title: Other-centered living in a self-centered world. She talks about our “selfie-centered” culture and sets about to combat this mindset with the challenge to “live alert.”

… to become a person who thinks of others first takes great effort on our part. It requires us to live alert (18). – Ehman

She calls for Christians to cultivate sensitivity to “heart drops” or “when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or heart heart” (15). Do we pay attention when others share their interests and needs, or are we too busy to notice?

Karen builds upon the premise of Matthew 22:36-40 and outlines what she calls a Three-Step Life Plan:

  1. Love God.
  2. Love others.
  3. Love yourself.

Then, she spends the rest of the book outlining the major categories of people who cross our paths and develops ideas for how we give of ourselves to them.

She’s quick to clarify “the why” for loving people. Our motivation shouldn’t be that others notice us but that they notice our Savior.

We need to remember our why: the reason we love and serve and give thoughtful gifts and do good works. It is so that others will see Jesus. They may look at us, but we hope they see him (100). – Ehman

An ideal Christmas gift for Christian women

Are you not sure what to give your mom, sister, or friend for Christmas? I recommend Listen, Love, Repeat for godly women (and godly young women, too) who want to make a difference right where they are but maybe aren’t sure how.

Karen drives home the reality that we pass people every day who are hurting and in need of Jesus’ love. Some of them may even live in the same houses with us.

Blending the biblical with the practical, Karen offers easy recipes to share with hurting families, simple ideas for making someone’s day, and personal stories of victory and failure.

Christian women who love Jesus and lead busy lives will find this book refreshing and challenging. The beauty of Karen’s message is that we can serve God and love others right where we are.

Because Jesus wasn’t about doing big things. He was about doing the right thing. And often for him, the right thing was noticing one simple soul (19).     – Ehman

Listen, Love, Repeat is a book that will keep giving long after Christmas.

Book Pack Giveaway

I’d like for you to have a copy of this resource to use yourself or share with someone you love. It would make a great study for your small group, Bible study, or with your mom or girlfriends.

Merry Christmas early! I’m giving away one gift set, which includes:

  • (1) Copy of Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman
  • (1) Study Pack, complete with a six-session DVD and Study Guide

Four Ways to Enter

To enter, simply do one of the following: 

  • Leave a comment below. (It can be a comment about this post or something as simple as: Please enter me into your drawing.)
  • Subscribe to the Think True Thoughts newsletter.
  • Share this post on Twitter and tag me @kjhogrefe.
  • Share my Facebook post with your friends.

The winner of the random drawing will be announced on this blog next week. I hope this resource will be a blessing to you as it has been to me.

~ Kristen

Special thanks to The Blythe Daniel Agency for making this book pack giveaway possible!

 

Tweetables

Book Giveaway! Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Listen, Love, Repeat is a book that will keep giving long after Christmas. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

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10 Thanksgiving Goals

Last weekend, I made the mistake of entering a craft store full of frantic, pre-Black-Friday-deal shoppers. A kind employee helped plow the aisle so I could reach the two items I needed, and after thanking her, I retreated to the check-out line as quickly as I could.

Sure, the ribbons, dizzying displays, and sparkling bows are pretty, but too many people get wrapped up in the “stuff” of celebrating and miss out on the gravy (i.e. the best part).

What don’t I want to miss this Thanksgiving holiday?

Here are my top 10 goals.

  1. Be thankful for what I have and content with what God’s given (easier said than done).
  2. Spend quality quiet time with God.
  3. Celebrate simply with my favorite people. Bring on the card tables and paper plates, both of which are niece and nephew friendly.
  4. Get on my hands and knees to play with my nieces and nephews who are growing up way too fast.
  5. Enjoy simple pleasures. For me, this might be a bonfire, a sunset, a hot Vanilla Chai tea, or a book next to a fireplace. (This Florida girl gets cold easily!)
  6. Prioritize my time to spend on “legacy” project work.
  7. Revisit my 2016 goals and start planning ahead for the New Year.
  8. Go running in the sunshine. If you don’t enjoy running, do whatever physical activity suits you; just don’t be a couch potato.
  9. Eat in moderation.
  10. Hope to do most of my Christmas shopping online and avoid crazy shoppers.

Ordinary Choices, Eternal Perspective

Perhaps you’re thinking: Kristen, that’s a nice list, but it’s not especially spiritual (minus the quality time with God part). I thought this blog was supposed to provide biblical perspective?

In one sense, I would agree with you. I haven’t listed my Bible study group, service projects, or outreach programs; and those activities certainly have their place.

However, I am becoming more and more convinced that when we seek to make God first in our lives, our ordinary choices take on an eternal significance. Let’s take another look at that list:

  1. Be thankful for what I have and content with what God’s given. Hebrews 13:5 (ESV) says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have …”
  2. Spend quality quiet time with God. Jesus modeled this habit, as recorded several times in the New Testament, when he rose early and spent time with the Father (Mark 1:35).
  3. Celebrate simply with my favorite people. Did not Jesus Himself enjoy time with his close friends, like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 12)? Remember also that He celebrated the Passover with his 12 disciples, not all of his followers.
  4. Get on my hands and knees to play with my nieces and nephews. Jesus welcomed little children to come to him (Matthew 19:14). Enough said.
  5. Enjoy simple pleasures. Mary could have spent all her time busily working in the kitchen with Martha, but she chose instead to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
  6. Prioritize my time to spend on “legacy” project work. God has given each of His children gifts and abilities to use (I Corinthians 12). Whatever your gift, don’t waste it.
  7. Revisit my 2016 goals and start planning ahead for the New Year. James 4:14 reminds us that our time here is short. I want to spend my years well. Don’t you?
  8. Go running in the sunshine. Our bodies are God’s temple, and we need to take care of them (I Corinthians 6:19).
  9. Eat in moderation. Proverbs 25:16 advises, “Eat only as much as you need (NKJV).”
  10. Hope to do most of my Christmas shopping online and avoid crazy shoppers. If Amazon.com had been available in biblical times, the wise men might have purchased their gold, frankincense and myrrh online to save time and reach Bethlehem a few days sooner. It’s a theory anyway.

What are your Thanksgiving goals? I invite you to share in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kristen

 

Tweetables

Don’t get wrapped up in the “stuff” of celebrating and miss out on the gravy. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

10 Thanksgiving Goals – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

Problems from God’s Perspective

Recently, I flew to Georgia to see some of my girlfriends and their families. During my first flight, I was sandwiched in the middle seat, but the returning flight, I reveled in my window seat view.

The day was clear, and as the plane took off, I watched its shadow grow smaller and smaller on the ground until it disappeared from sight. Once we cleared the cloud line, I couldn’t see a trace of it.

God is greater than our shadows.

Do your problems seem larger than life? When we focus on how big they are, we often can’t see anything beyond them.

In those times, we need to step back and ask God to help us see from His perspective. Like a plane’s shadow, our problems become smaller from God’s viewpoint, because His power and plan are much greater.

In John 16, Jesus tries to prepare His disciples for His coming death and the persecution they will face for sharing the gospel. He warns them that they’ll have troubles in this world, but He offers them a greater hope.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (I John 16:33 ESV).

What an amazing truth! Yes, as God’s children, we’ll experience trials and troubles, but be encouraged: He’s already overcome them.

God strengthens us in the shadows.

The Lord can even use problems to strengthen our trust in Him. In 2 Kings 20, we find an incredible story of God’s power and presence in dark times.

King Hezekiah was ill, so ill, in fact, that the Prophet Isaiah told him he needed to get his house in order, because he was going to die. Talk about some bad news!

The king wept and pleaded with God to spare him. God heard and answered his prayer, sending Isaiah to give Hezekiah the message he would live another 15 years. However, the king doubted, asking for a sign or confirmation that he would indeed live.

We’re in no place to judge the king for his doubts, and perhaps he was so ill that he felt as though he were dying! Regardless, God graciously strengthened Hezekiah’s faith by giving him a supernatural sign, literally turning back time or “the day’s shadow” to prove His promise (2 Kings 20:8-11).

God may not turn back time today, and sometimes, He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we ask. However, He does give grace when we need it and hope for eternity.

God sees us through the shadows.

I don’t know what you’re facing today (and I certainly hope it’s nothing as serious as King Hezekiah’s illness), but the words of Psalm 23 remain true. Regardless of how dark and deep your problems look, if you’re God’s child, He’s always with you.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me … (Psalm 23:4a ESV)

In youth group, we sing a song by Chris Tomlin entitled “Our God.” Let the words of the chorus wash over you and help put in perspective whatever you’re facing.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger,
God, You are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, awesome in power,
Our God, Our God.

Yes, He is.

If you’re tempted to become discouraged, remember the plane’s shadow. On the ground, it looks enormous, but from the sky, it’s small.

How has God demonstrated his power and grace in your life? What biblical promises help you keep problems in perspective? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Problems from God’s Perspective – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Keep problems in perspective – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Contentment: Truth and Lies

Fall has officially reached Florida with cooler morning temperatures and lower humidity. Break out the boots, and get ready for bonfires!

Over the weekend, I enjoyed my first smore of the season with some friends. I watched as people piled dry branches onto the bonfire. Almost instantly, flames engulfed the branches, and the radiating heat made me step farther back.

We’ve been talking about contentment here, and as I thought about the weekend, I realized that the bonfire is a perfect analogy. If we’re discontent in one area, that spark will spread to other areas of our lives.

However, the opposite is also true. Remember that song we sang as children? This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.

Contentment can be equally contagious. If we’re grateful, we can challenge others to focus less on what they don’t have and more on what they do.

Today, we’re going to look at a few more truths about contentment that I hope will help spread hope and snuff out guilt for those who struggle in this area.

Where we find contentment

Have I mentioned lately that I love the girls in my youth group? Well, I do. Their sweet attitudes and big hearts refresh my spirit.

One high school student who follows my blog handed me a slip of paper on Wednesday with some verses about contentment she wanted to share with me. One of the verses was Acts 2:28, which paraphrases the Old Testament truth of Psalm 16:11. It spoke to this very question: What is the source of our contentment?

You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence (Acts 2:28 NKJV).

We find true joy and contentment when we live in God’s presence. And not just live as in scrape by and survive. No, live as in abundantly! After all, Jesus Himself said:

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).

The bottom line is that we find contentment when we make Christ our center and stay grounded in His truth. In His presence alone are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

What contentment is not

Some of us will still face the battlegrounds of discontentment. Sometimes, these encounters leave us feeling defeated and ashamed that we grew so easily discouraged.

Satan will try to shame us into believing we’re not enough. This is a dangerous lie, because in one sense, it’s true. In and of ourselves, we always fall short.

But we aren’t the source of our sufficiency. God is. Let the words of these two verses wash over you:

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

And one more:

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Every time you’re tempted to give in to a defeated spirit, remember that God is always more than enough to see you through the struggles you face.

One last truth for the day

My final thought about contentment is this: Wanting something doesn’t equal discontentment. A few years back, I talked about this truth in a post called I shall not want.

Many of us may have unanswered prayers or unmet desires. If that describes you, take heart in these lines penned by R. Leighton, based on Psalm 37:4:

Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desire,—HIMSELF; and then surely thou shalt have all.

Live in abundance,

Kristen

 

Tweetables

Contentment: Truth and Lies – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Spread hope and snuff out guilt for those who struggle with contentment. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Wanting something doesn’t equal discontentment. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

Is Contentment Possible?

A few weeks back in youth group, we were talking about what contentment means. One of the discussion questions asked, “Do you know someone you would describe as content?”

One of my middle school girls looked at me and said, “You’re content, right?”

My words spilled out like a lukewarm apology. “Me? Well, not all the time, but I certainly try to be.”

The struggle between wanting to set an example and being transparent split me in two. In the area of contentment, I sympathize more with the language of “striving after” but not yet “attaining” that Paul uses in Philippians 3:12 to describe the Christian walk.

However, my response seemed to disappoint the teen whose expression suggested: Well, if you’re not content, how can you expect any of us to be?

I thought about the question long after youth group ended: Is true contentment possible?

The next two weeks, we’re going to wrestle with this question. Read on, and let me know your thoughts.

Contentment is possible.

I Timothy 6:6 says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” Contentment is part of sanctification, the growth process of our Christian faith. To have contentment is “gain.” We can’t gain something that’s unattainable.

I also believe contentment is possible, because our God is good. He wouldn’t dangle a worthwhile state before us and yank it away just before we could reach it.

The Apostle Paul declared in Philippians 4:11-12:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (NKJV)

We might be tempted to think, “Easy for him to say. He was an apostle, after all.”

Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s story. I don’t think “easy” was any part of his equation.

Contentment isn’t connected to circumstances.

Remember, Paul (once called Saul) was the man whose life God radically changed. He went from persecuting the church to boldly proclaiming the gospel, even at his own peril.

2 Corinthians 11 recounts some of the trials and hardships he endured:

  • 5x – received 40 stripes minus 1
  • 3x – beaten with rods
  • 1x – stoned
  • 3x – shipwrecked

The list only grows from there. Paul continued his account:

… a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? (2 Corinthians 11:25b-29 NKJV)

Yes, this is the same man who said he learned to be content in any situation! In other words, he was able to experience contentment simultaneously with the following:

  • Weakness
  • Suffering
  • A state of want or need
  • Responsibility and cares
  • Frustration

But wait! Don’t we usually equate those things with discontentment? At least, I do.

Perhaps we’re missing the point. If contentment demanded a perfect set of circumstances, it would be impossible to attain (at least for long).

Much like joy, contentment isn’t grounded in experience. It’s grounded in an eternal perspective, possible only when we fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

I didn’t say contentment was easy. I just said it was possible.

Next week, we’re going to tackle another misconception about contentment, but for now, I’d like to hear from you. Do you agree or disagree that contentment is possible? Why or why not?

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Is Contentment Possible? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Contentment isn’t grounded in experience but in an eternal perspective. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

 

 

Willing Hands Building Fences

Recently, my Bible study group helped build a fence for one of the ladies at church, and a motley group of us arrived early on a Saturday morning to set to work.

As I looked around, I guessed that most of us hadn’t built a fence before. Other than limited experience with a nail gun on few construction projects, I didn’t have much to offer either. But that’s what was so neat about the day. Some ended up working on the fence. Others re-screened the porch. Some helped clean or paint a mailbox.

We didn’t all need the same skills. We just needed to be willing.

The Body of Christ

In I Corinthians 12, Paul compares the body of Christ to the parts of the body. There are many members but one body. All serve differently but for one central purpose.

This truth seems obvious enough, but when we consider human nature and our tendency to exalt or desire certain skills over others, contentment can break down really fast.

That’s why the Apostle Paul resorted to hyperbole or exaggeration to make a point.

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? (I Corinthians 12:17 NKJV)

In other words, if we were all certified fence contractors, the fence might be up in record time, but the floors wouldn’t be vacuumed, and the screens might still be sagging.

What are you building?

I think the point is less what we build and more what we do with the skills and gifts God’s given us. Let’s face it: God hasn’t called all of us to be pastors, missionaries, and certified contractors. He’s called some of us to be students, teachers, businessmen, stay-at-home moms, and a myriad of other roles.

The awesome part is that He’s given us exactly what we need to serve Him right here, right now. Maybe we don’t feel especially qualified. We could make excuses about our lack of experience. We could argue that others would do a better job and that we belong on the sidelines.

Nonsense.

The question we have to ask is: Are we willing to serve God wherever He calls, with whatever skills He gives us?

If you say yes, look at your surroundings this week, and find the fence God wants you to build. It might not require a nail gun, but it will require obedience and a willing spirit.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Willing Hands Building Fences – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Find the fence God wants you to build – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

When God Turns Up the Heat

One of my least favorite chores is ironing. Yes, I would rather scrub the bathroom than iron. As a result, some of my favorite blouses tend to be cotton/poly blends which, if you don’t already know, require almost no ironing. That’s today’s free tip, and you’re welcome. 🙂

I’m much more friendly with the flat iron for my hair, which is a good thing, because the 70s happened before I was born.

What do regular irons and flat irons have in common? They use heat to smooth out wrinkles or straighten stubborn waves.

Sometimes, I think God turns up the “heat” in our personal lives to work out some spiritual wrinkles or use the pressure to mature us. Many times in the Bible, we see fire associated with testing or purification, and I want to look at two of those examples today.

Molding Clay

When I was in middle school, my brothers and I did 4-H for several years. I was even elected to the enviable role of Refreshment Committee member, which essentially meant nothing. Our moms organized everything.

One craft was to shape clay, apply a color coating of choice, and then place our creations in the oven to “set.” Going into the oven, my clay design was rather bland. When it came out of the oven, it was still unimpressive–but it was pretty. The heat had transformed the outer shell’s coating into a deep, glossy blue that was smooth and shiny.

I’m thankful God is a much more skilled Sculptor than I am! He’s at work in your life and mine, molding us to be who He wants us to be. He might have to work out some lumps, and the heat might hurt, but in the end, we will come out vessels for the finer.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 NKJV)

Refining Gold

I know little about metallurgy, the science of working or heating metals, but this basic concept I understand: The way to refine metals is to heat them. The heat purifies the metal, burning off the “dross,” or waste product, and leaving behind the metal.

Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived, observed this truth in Proverbs 25:4.

Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. (KJV)

On a spiritual level, God often refines His children. To remove things that don’t belong in our lives, He puts us through the fire. Or sometimes, He simply wants to make us more like Himself. Conforming to His image doesn’t come naturally but takes some fire and time, as a gospel song says.

Molding and refining aren’t processes we wish upon ourselves, but they deepen our character if we respond to them with a humble heart.

Heat Sensitive

Maybe you’re going through a trial right now, and you wish God would turn off the iron for a while. Perhaps life feels just fine at the moment, but you can look back at a time when God brought you through a tough experience.

Either way, remember this: If God didn’t care about us, He wouldn’t turn up the heat. His hand at work in our lives, even in the tough times, is evidence of His unfailing love.

I like what the Apostle Peter wrote in I Peter 1:7:

… that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ (NKJV)

Wow! Our faith is more precious than gold.

I may never grow fond of ironing, but I recognize its purpose and place. And I may never be especially eager for God’s refining work in my life, but I know He has my best interests in mind.

Dear Father, thank you for caring more about our character than our comfort. Help us trust you in the fires of life, and may you be pleased with the work of your hands. May our faith be found for your glory. Amen.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

When God Turns Up the Heat – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

If God didn’t care about us, He wouldn’t turn up the heat. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

 

Love: Purposing Another’s Good

St Aug

I hesitate even to start this post, feeling completely inadequate. Shakespeare wrote sonnets on love that describe it with beautiful honesty and eloquence. Volumes of books have been published about finding love, being in love, staying in love, the types of love, the languages of love, and on and on the list goes.

But Valentine’s Day is Sunday, so here we go anyway.

If you’re a young adult reading this post, chance are that you’re single (or at least not married yet). Regardless of whether or not you’re in a dating relationship, God’s given all of us people to love.

What is love?

Again, we could get lost in a myriad of definitions. The one that sticks with me year after year is from my college Bible professor Dr. Delnay. I have never heard a better one than his.

Love is purposing the good of another.

It may be a simple definition, but its implications are endless. How do we purpose another’s good in our day-to-day world?

What does love look like?

  1. Love means being happy your friend scored the winning shot instead of you.
  2. Love means taking out the trash even when it’s not your turn.
  3. Love means texting your parents to let them know you reached your friend’s house safely and not staying out past a set time.
  4. Love means respecting your teacher even though you don’t like how she graded your paper.
  5. Love means listening to the chapel speaker instead of studying for a test next period.
  6. Love means biting your tongue after a customer’s rude remark and wishing them a good day anyway.
  7. Love means letting your sibling choose the Friday night movie even though you’d rather see something else.

But Kristen, that’s not love. Love is when Cinderella gets her prince. Love is that fluttering in your chest when a special someone notices you. (May I recommend the recent post by Lauren DeMoss on this subject?)

Maybe yes. But not most of the time.

Love is purposing the good of the people God’s placed in our lives. Day in and day out. Whether we’re wearing glass slippers or penny loafers.

How can we show love this week?

Traditional flowers and chocolate have their place, but I encourage you to get even more creative.

  • What simple acts of kindness can you do to purpose someone else’s good?
  • Do you know someone who is lonely? A relative? A widow or widower in your church? A couple whose children have moved away? What could you do to show them love this week?
  • Whose love do you take for granted at times? How can you make them feel extra special?

Please take a minute and share your ideas in the comments below. Your thoughts may be an inspiration or encouragement to someone else.

May the love of Jesus overflow from our lives this week and always.

~ Kristen

 

 

The Gifts of Stillness and Silence

Sunset Be Still

The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation. – Psalm 118:14 (NKJV)

One of my favorite places is a beach. Any beach will do. A beach with friends and family is even better. A beach at sunset is paradise.

There’s something about a sunset that requires no words. It’s breathtaking all on its own. As a friend of mine remarked, “Sometimes, there’s nothing that needs to be said.” Just be still and enjoy.

How timely that after watching a glorious sunset the night before, my Scripture reading the next morning took me to Psalm 118. The words from verse 14 echo those of Exodus 15, the song of Moses after the Lord delivered Israel from the Egyptians.

All Israel could do was “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13). God didn’t tell them to fight or try to save themselves. He would take care of that. They were just to step back and enjoy a front row seat, watching God work powerfully on their behalf.

Today, I’d like to share a short prayer from my unedited journal in the hopes that you’ll be encouraged to make moments for yourself this week to be still before God and rest in His strength.

Set aside your worries and fears. Have faith that God will work on your behalf. And watch what He’ll do.

***

Jan 31

The Lord is my strength and my song.

Dear God, forgive me when I try to do life in my own strength. Everything you’ve called me to do is a gift entrusted to me for my good, not my worry. I am to be a good steward of it.

Help me be still and know that you are God. Just as when I watch the sunset, silence is all that needs to be said, so in my life, there are times I need to be still. Leave off struggling. And rest in you.

Because You live, I can face tomorrow. I know you hold my life, my future in Your hands.

~ Kristen