Captive Thoughts

Lately it seems like I’ve had more opportunity to dwell on the wrong things and to let my thinking get out of line with the truth. For one thing, feeling nauseous constantly makes it really easy to slip into self-pity and ungratefulness. I’ve realized in fresh ways that it takes hard work and conscious effort to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). This is always true, but the issue of selfish thinking is more glaring when I’m faced with something difficult. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve been loving 1 John and 1 Peter for my quiet times. I like being able to grab one verse or passage that I try to take with me throughoutshoes the day. It’s what I go back to when I catch my thoughts drifting in a direction that does not bring glory to God.

I’ve also appreciated solid Christian music to fill my mind with truth. For a year or so now, I’ve listened to far less secular music because I find the uplifting, Scripture-filled quality of worship music to be so much more beneficial. (I haven’t gone cold turkey. I still enjoy Taylor Swift and others, but in moderation.) Earlier this morning I was struggling with a situation I am currently working through, and I was so thankful that the Lord brought Fernando Ortega’s musical rendition of Psalm 19:14 to my mind, which I sang as a prayer while I worked in the kitchen.

Let the words of my mouth
Be pleasing to You, pleasing to You
The meditation of my heart
Be pleasing to you, pleasing to You
Oh Lord, my strength
And my Redeemer

Right thinking does not come naturally to me, but it is so worth the effort to drag myself back to the Lord for the mind-makeover I need at every moment. When I draw near to Him, He is faithful to use His Word to encourage my heart and correct my thinking.

“I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.” (Ps. 119:11)

{Marriage Journal} The Best 15 Minutes of My Day

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Here we are almost halfway through the semester and I haven’t written anything but book reviews! I thought I’d share a brief post about my favorite thing about this semester.

I haven’t been able to join Andrew for his prayer class, but I’ve reaped some of the benefits nonetheless. His main assignment is to pray for an hour every day, seven days a week. He is allowed to pray with me for part of that time.

Every evening, probably six out of the seven nights, we spend 15 minutes praising and thanking our Savior together, and then offering supplication for one another, family, and friends. I can’t tell you how incredibly sweet and rewarding this time has been. And we don’t run out of things to pray about, we run out of time! I’ve requested a few times recently that he save 30 minutes for us instead of 15. It’s humbling to admit, but we have never had a regular, scheduled time of prayer together. We usually prayed before going to sleep, and of course before meals, or when specific situations came up, but it’s been a tremendous blessing to devote special time almost daily to come before the throne of grace as a couple. It’s my favorite thing about this semester and my favorite 15 minutes of every day.

It’s also grown my individual prayer life as I recognize how little time I intentionally give to praying. I “talk to God” throughout my day, but there is such a sweetness to setting aside everything else and just zeroing in on communion with Him.

I am praying (no really, I am) that we would continue to make regular prayer time together a priority going forward, after it is no longer “homework”. This has to be the most rewarding and wonderful assignment ever! And it complements my study of Hebrews perfectly as I am reminded of what a privilege it is to come straight to God through Jesus Christ, instead of through priests. What a loving and gracious Heavenly Father we serve!

Prayer for the Philippines Day 10

Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk.

Photo courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 10

Today is our last day in our 10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines project. Thank you to anyone who prayed along any of the days. If nothing else, this served as a personal reminder not to so quickly forget those who are hurting in other parts of the world. I have been working harder at stopping to pray when I hear about tragedy, instead of just being sad and moving on. It’s a discipline I want to cultivate…that prayer would be my automatic response to the suffering of others.

Dear Lord, we pray that You would continue to minister to the thousands of Filipinos who have lost family, friends, and homes to Typhoon Haiyan. Please watch over each one and care for them in a special way. Work in the governing officials to bring about efficient, effective restoration. Give the relief organization workers stamina and perseverance as they do what they can to help. Give boldness to believers who have survived, bringing them opportunities to share the hope they have in Jesus Christ with the hurting people around them. Use this terrible trial to spread Your gospel throughout the Philippines and build up Your church. Thank You that we can be a part of Your truth going out simply by praying, no matter where we are. Make us more faithful to bring others before Your throne of grace in their time of need. Give us love and concern for people we haven’t even met, and fill us with gratitude for the undeserved blessings You’ve allowed us to enjoy. Thank You that we know that You hear and work through our prayers. 

Prayer for the Philippines Day 9

Photo courtesy of theguardian.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 9

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Dear Lord, we continue to pray for Filipinos who are in just the beginning stages of the long road to restoration after Typhoon Haiyan. We pray that You would help believers around the globe to reach out in prayer and other means of support. Give US churches who support missionaries in the Philippines opportunities to use that connection as a way of helping some of the families affected. Please give wisdom to pastors as to how to most effectively use the resources donated for their congregations and other people nearby. Please encourage the Filipinos with letters and emails from people elsewhere who are praying for them. Thank You for modern technology and how it enables us to stay connected.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 8

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 8

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:23-25)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your mercy toward sinners and Your incredible offer of forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ. Thank You that Your gift of salvation is available to everyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. Thank You that You have the power to reach each heart that You choose to, know matter where it is. We pray for those who You physically rescued from Typhoon Haiyan, that You would bring the gospel to them and give spiritual salvation. We pray that this tragedy would cause Your truth to spread throughout the Philippines, and that it would fall on hearts that are ready to repent and turn to You.  

Prayer for the Philippines Day 7

Photo courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za.

Photo courtesy of http://www.timeslive.co.za.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 7

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. Isaiah 46:9-10

Dear Lord, we continue to lift up the people ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Please be with those working through the rubble, recovering survivors and bodies. Give them stamina and emotional strength as they do this heartbreaking work day after day. We pray that you would provide wisdom and efficiency to the crews working on the restoration process. We also pray that as much as possible, you would protect little eyes from the gruesome sights being uncovered, and that you would shelter them from some of the devastation. Thank You for caring about each person involved. We continue to pray that the gospel would go forward in the midst of this tragedy.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 6

Photo courtesy of mashable.com.

Photo courtesy of mashable.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 6

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

Dear Father, we know that some of the people who lost their lives due to the typhoon are now with you, experiencing perfection and complete joy. We thank You that for the believer, to live is Christ and to die is gain. We pray that you would minister to church bodies who have lost precious brothers and sisters. Comfort them with the reality that Heaven is for all of Your children. Give them an eternal mindset even as they grieve, and use their loss to spark anew a desire to glorify You every day, knowing that our time here on earth is short. Inspire them to more faithful evangelism and give them boldness to share the hope You have given them. 

Prayer for the Philippines Day 5

Photo courtesy of www.nydailynews.com.

Photo courtesy of http://www.nydailynews.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 5

We’re halfway through our 10 days of prayer for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. I hope God has used this as a tool to remind some of us to be in prayer for people who are experiencing great trials. It is a blessing to bring these requests to Him.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Dear Lord, today we pray for the people who are grieving the loss of family. For parents who have lost their children, for men and women who have lost their spouses, for boys and girls who have lost their parents or siblings. For those who do not know you, we pray that their grief would drive them to You, the only source of real hope and comfort, and that they would surrender their lives to You. For Christians who have experienced tragic loss, we ask that You enable them to mediate on what is true in the midst of their sorrow. Please keep them from doubting your faithfulness and love. May they cling to You and Your Word during this difficult time, and may others who watch their response to tragedy be drawn to the gospel because of their example. 

Prayer for the Philippines Day 4

Photo courtesy of www.theguardian.com.

Photo courtesy of http://www.theguardian.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines
Day 4

You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9:6)

Dear Lord, we praise You for Your amazing creation and how You use it to bless us with food and many good things. Today we pray for the Filipinos who are without food. Poverty was already so prevalent in the Philippines, and now after the typhoon there are even more people in need of basic provisions. We pray that those who have would share, and those who do not would find their way to aid. Please be with fathers and mothers who are desperate to nourish their children, and give them wisdom in where to go to find help. Please help believers there to show the love of Christ by sharing what they can and reaching out wherever there is opportunity. We thank You that not one person in need has escaped Your sight. 

Prayer for the Philippines Day 3

Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk.

Photo courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are sovereign over everything in life. Even rulers and authorities can do nothing apart from Your control. We pray that You would move in the hearts of those in the Filipino government at all levels, that each one would have wisdom in the aftermath of the typhoon. Please give them genuine care for those under them and help them to make compassionate choices in the best interest of their people. Cause them to use their resources wisely and implement practical plans for restoration and rebuilding of communities in the Philippines. Please work in their hearts, as well, and show them their need for a Savior so that they might love and serve their country to Your glory.