ACT before you ASK – Contrition/Confession tab

Do you have a routine for your prayer time?  I’d love to peek in on your prayer closet.  I’m still tweaking this system, and still haven’t made up my mind if I want to continue to use a bound book, or go to a three ring binder.  I’m leaning toward the 3 ring binder for a variety of reasons, but have committed to keep the beta version until school supplies go on sale…what is that, August/September? I may do a trial run of a 3 ring binder at that time…one of the perks of that system is that I can add pages at will, and in a bound book, I’m bound to the number of pages I allotted myself at the beginning…I’m running into that issue right now in my journal.  I’m trying to be patient with myself for now, and ride it out.  What do you think?

Anyway…back to the journal:

As you may have guessed, I also have made a tab for my Contrition/Confession section (note:  My tab says “confession” on the front, but if I had it to do over, I’d use the word contrition instead.  When I was making it, I could not for the life of me remember the word “contrition”, which I believe is a better word for the “C” part of my system, as it involves confession but goes deeper, and brings about a godly sorrow over sin and it’s effects.

Put off Put on

Spirit fruit

This is my “confession” tab.  I chose the verse from Psalm 139:43 and a word picture from a recent study of Colossians chapter 3.

Since these are areas that I personally struggle with in my everyday life, I like to have a visual prompt of what each looks like.  I envision a literal removing of an old, tattered and dirty garment, and the putting on of a new, shiny, valuable one.

On the backside, I have a prompt for the fruits of the Spirit.  If I am in a place of being continually filled with the Spirit, my life will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, and self control.  If I’m finding myself lacking in any of these, and I do, often, then I know and remind myself that this is not from the Spirit of God, but works of my own old nature, and/or willful sinfulness, and I want to confess and rid myself of that right away.

After the adoration portion of my quiet time, while I am focused on who God is, and His attributes, I become keenly aware of the striking contrast of His glory and the state of my heart.  I am convicted in my spirit of the areas that I fall short, as I focus on His faithfulness, and see my unfaithfulness; as I focus on His patience and lovingkindness, and remember my impatience and harsh tone taken with my loved ones…see what I mean?  It is a very vulnerable time…open before the Maker of the Universe, the King of kings, and the One I bow to and call “Lord”; the One of whom I live to imitate, the One I wish to be like.  While I am here, in this revelation of the areas that I fall short, and those areas that He wishes to transform to His image, I become contrite; that is full of sorrow and remorse for my failures and sins.  I weep over my inadequacies, and lack of holiness, and I fly to Him who I know is full of mercy and pardon; here in my private prayer closet, at this time, I pray:

O Lord, You know how many and how great are my failings. You know how often I sin, from day to day, from hour to hour, in what I do, and in what I fail to do. O Lord my God, I resolve no more to provoke You, and to desire nothing more than You, for You are alone truly lovable. If I should offend You again, please grant me the strength to find favor anew in Your eyes and to lead a life more pleasing to You. Amen.

I know that the Lord forgives me when I ask, because I am told so in His Word (1 John 1:9).   I also know that there are deep seated habits and reasons for my failings, there are areas that I need the accountability that comes with confessing our sins to one another.  When the Lord reveals these to me, I write them down on a sticky note, that I take with me to Reconciliation.  If I don’t write it down, I forget it, and that sin or weakness or stronghold and its memory gets buried.  It might not show up again until I am in a similar situation, and because there is sin that has not been reconciled to God, I can trip over it again.  Going to confession and bringing these weaknesses into accountability with another is embarrassing, and a deterrent to the sin in itself (at least for me it is).

When I have confessed, and done my penance, and received absolution for my sin(s), that sticky note has completed its task, and is destroyed.  Burning it, tearing it into tiny bits, or even flushing it are effective ways of visualizing that sin has been purged and removed from my life.  I am forgiven, and it is no longer held against me.  I think it’s important to mention here that God does not hold it against me, but He often does not remove the consequences of those sins from me.  While I enjoy sweet fellowship with God, I may still have the consequence of a strained relationship with someone who I have hurt with my choices, or other consequences that come from my missing the mark.

Act Before You Ask – Adoration Tab

Adoration:  noun

  1. the act of paying honor, as to a divine being; worship.
  2. reverent homage.
  3. fervent and devoted love.
  4. (as it was defined for me as a child) praising God for who He is.  Actually, the definition for adoration that I was taught at summer camp is a better definition for the word “ascribe”: though, as an adult, I can see how the two of them can go hand in hand, so maybe I missed something in the translation done by a 12 year old mind.

We are commanded in Scripture to “ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name”.
Ascribe:  verb
 (used with object), 
as·cribed, as·crib·ing.

  1. to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute.  ex:  The alphabet is usually ascribed to the Phoenicians.
  2. to attribute or thing of as belonging, as a quality or characteristic.  ex:  They ascribed courage to me for something I did out of sheer panic.  Source:
When we ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name (1 Chron 16:29), we remind Him who He is…as He has revealed Himself to us, and when we adore Him, we pay Him special honor, and homage (bowing down to Him, recognizing His position and authority, placing ourselves in submission to Him as subservient), and respond to Him in love and devotion.  In a simple term, we “worship” Him.I use a couple different tools to prompt me during this part of my quiet time.The first is music.   It is said that when we sing, we pray twice.  I love that thought.  I have collected about forty minutes’ worth of songs that lead my spirit into a time of worship and adoration.   The songs that I have on my playlist are songs about the attributes, glory, and names of God.

The second is a tabbed divider.  On the front, I have listed some of the Hebrew names of God as He has come to me.  I love to use the names of Jehovah that describe His attributes.  There are a lot more than this, and one of these days I’m going to break down and do a whole study on them.  On the back, I have the ABC’s of worship…which is just more of God’s attributes that I can take with me in my Bible or bag if I’m going to be away from home.

I keep my journal at home in my prayer closet, and I only take it with me if I’m going to be away from home for any length of time…for the most part, it is a tool for private, devotions in the privacy of my own home.  My adoration section is at the front of my journal, and I have labeled the first thirteen pages with the ABC’s.  On page one is A and B, page two is C and D, and so on through the alphabet.  Underneath each letter’s heading are names of God that I have found in my quiet times.  While my playlist is playing, I read through these attributes and names of God, and praise Him in worship for who He is.  If he has answered a prayer of provision, I may be stuck on the name “Jehovah Jireh”, which means “The Lord will provide”.  If He has answered a prayer for healing, I may focus on the name “Jehovah Rapha”, which means “the Lord heals”.  Often, attributes will come to me through my Bible reading, or through music I”m listening to (outside of my quiet time), and I will pull out my book and add them in to have on hand next time I am in the adoration and ascribe zone.


balanceThis word, how I wish for it, and chase it, and fail at it.  I call it the “b” word, because it is the nasty word that always springs up when I feel like I have lost it.  I’ve been thinking of this “b” word a lot lately, as I have time to think and plan, and dream.  I came up with an acronym for it, as a follower of Christ, I see “balance” being defined as the Beautiful Arrangement (of) Life Activities, Necessary Commitments, (and) Emotions.  It is the ability to arrange, prioritize, and joyfully accomplish the Lord’s calling and will for our lives.

In other words, if I’m happy at home, keep an immaculate house, have clothed and fed my family, but don’t follow through on the outside things I’ve committed to do, I’m imbalanced.  If I joyfully serve and busy myself with the Lord’s work, but neglect the needs of my family, I’m out of balance.   I can have the perfect plan, and can make it to all my appointments on time, but, if I’m out of control and angry all the time, I’ve lost that balance.  And it’s important to remember, that God has not called me to the same commitments to which he has called my sister, neighbor, daughter, or friend.  Comparing myself with them is an effort in futility, it will not get me where I need to be in accomplishing His will for my life.  My eyes need to stay on Him, for focus, balance and peace.

I would appreciate your prayers for the development of balance in my life…because this season of waiting is quickly coming to an end, and I’m going to need it!




Smile and shake it off, or embrace it and offer it up

wpid-IMG_20131206_133926.jpgWas visiting with my daughter #2 today, and she quoted my favorite mantra:  Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without.  “It” being what I already have, what has been provided, or what’s on hand at the time.  I’ve heard that necessity is the mother of invention…I say that necessity is a mother, for sure…but I major in flexibility, and I think I do a great job at making do.

There are times, however, that I haven’t been able to make it do…and have had to do without.  It’s a little harder to be flexible when doing without.  No one is immune to suffering…whether it is illness, loss, or financial  difficulties.

My granddaughters have a sweet little ritual when they suffer a fall, or a hangnail, or any other myriad of “owies”.  They take it to Momma (or Grammie if I’m lucky 😉 ) for acknowledgment, kisses and encouragement.  When they’ve been affirmed, Momma (or I) will urge them “now, shake it off”, at which point, they will do a sweet little shimmy, smile and run off and play.  I have seriously taken this advice to heart.  I wish I could say it was my own wonderful idea, or even one that has been passed down for generations, but…that would be untrue.  Even though I can’t claim it as my own family secret to happiness, I have adopted it as my own, and pass it on to others now, with an added piece of advice that almost rhymes, my new favorite mantra is:  “If you can’t smile and shake it off, then embrace it and offer it up.”

A strange thing happens when I welcome and embrace opportunities to suffer.  I feel empowered somehow, I feel strengthened, even in the knowledge of my weakness;  Acceptance comes with a deep sense of purpose when I see myself as part of that mystical body of Christ, and envision myself carrying that cross, willing myself to share in His sufferings for his sake…for the purpose of participating with Him in His passion.  I can relate to Paul when he said this:

“Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11)

…and this:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.  (Colossians 1:24-27)

What I’ve been up to in my spare time


wpid-IMG_20131119_152848.jpgMade my own daily and weekly dockets…laminated and ready to use…now need to find good wipe off markers.  You like?

I”ve used a planner on and off since I was a young Momma, but have never found one that really suits me.  I was looking again online the other day and saw how several people had made their own, and I thought “My gosh…I could do that!”  So…here they are.  Because I hate to buy things to throw away, I laminated daily on one side, weekly on the flip side.  I’ll purchase a generic monthly calendar, if I can find one that starts with Sunday…if not,,,maybe Ill make a matching one for my set.