Establishing a Routine

Researches say that it takes 21 days to establish a habit.  So, here we are in the final days of January, after many of us committed to some new habits and lifestyle changes for the new year, and I wonder….

How are you doing?

Are you on track or are you already behind in your efforts, close to giving up completely?

As you might remember, I committed to two things this year, reading through my Bible and writing letters to my family.  I just finished up the book of Genesis and I’ve sent out 4 letters.  But now comes the rough part….the next 21 days.

Genesis was fairly easy to read since most of the stories were familiar, basic Sunday School lessons that I’ve read many times before. The letter writing was pretty easy since it was my closest family members that I wrote to.  However yesterday, reading chronologically, I was supposed to start reading Job and I haven’t written the hardest letter yet because of some relationship issues with the person.

So….time to just call it quits?  Maybe skip a week or that person on my list?  That would make it a whole lot easier….like just skipping over those names in Genesis of who begat whom.  Who’s going to know that I didn’t really read those names, but more or less scanned them? Or that I didn’t write a letter to that  particular person, since they aren’t expecting it anyway?

God would know.

You see, I made my commitments to God…not man.  He likes to gently nudge me in the right direction….toward my Bible, toward the stationary.  If I resist, He does a little more than nudges…He pushes.  God can push pretty hard, you know!

So when I was reading all those “begats” , I started thinking of them more as people than just names.  They were someone’s grandfather.  I want to remember my grandfathers, I want their names to be familiar, know who they were, what they did, how they played a part in my life.  I want my children to remember them too, even though they never met one of my grandfathers.  I think that is what God is wanting me to do too, with all those names.  They were people that lived, laughed, loved, hated, cried, hurt, played jokes, messed up miserably…you get the picture…they mattered to God.

It helps me to make a list, a family tree so to speak.  If I write it down, I have a tendency to remember it better…so I write their names down.  Of course that can get a little confusing and if you don’t like history, it may not be your thing.  I did find a website that has the family tree of Jesus.  It starts with Adam & Eve and goes as far as you want to take it, all you have to do is click on a name.   (Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with this website.  I found it through a word search on Google.  Part of the website is in a different language, of which I could not read.  Some of the names are spelled differently, but I did find it a helpful tool, but use it at your own risk.)

And if I get behind in my reading, those nudges from God have helped me to turn off the TV or the computer and pick up my Bible.    However, if you are way behind, like not even reading, starting with today….just read!  I have tried setting my alarm clock to go off 20 minutes earlier than normal.  That sometimes work, but I personally do better by setting aside some time during the day after my brain wakes up, so I can retain and comprehend what I’m reading and studying.  Whenever, however you do it, God just wants you in His Word, not so you can put a check mark down as a task finished, but so He can talk to you.

About that letter….it’s hard.  I had committed to telling my family that I was praying for them, specifically for their spiritual growth, encouraging them in their journey with God.  However, with this family member….I have issues.  Every time I sit down to write, negative thoughts and emotions pour out.  I don’t want to send that kind of letter.  Yes, there are issues that need to be dealt with…but that is not what God is wanting me to do with this letter.  He is wanting me to love and encourage them.  I want to nag.

Photo by Rowdy Kittens on Flickr

So, the stationary comes out.  The words will be filtered through God’s love for them and for me.  The issues will still be there, but I’ll pray about them on my own and then when God wants them to be dealt with, I’ll have already been in a prayerful attitude about them.   Of course I won’t be surprised if God reveals that the issues just might be with me!!!

To prepare for the time when I can send a note, it really helps me to keep my journal and stationary together.  I pull out the addresses of the people I will be writing to and keep them with my stationary along with a supply of stamps.  I don’t want any other excuses to not send the notes.  The reason for my journal….as I’m writing the letters, I make notes of the Bibles verses I include in their letter and any prayer thoughts that may come to mind while I’m writing.  Then during my own prayer time, I use the journal to help me focus on my family.

So, how are you changing up your routine to make time for the new or refreshed lifestyle changes you committed to?  Please share with us what you are focusing on this year and how you are making time for this focus in your daily life. 

But one thing is needful:  and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

-Luke 10:42 (KJV)


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The Lord is My Shepherd

I don’t think that there are a lot of differences between being a shepherd and being a cattleman…the animals they both deal with are dumb either way.  Sheep or cattle, left to their own devices, will wonder off and get themselves into fixes they can’t get out of….much like people.  We all need a shepherd.

My knowledge, what little I have, is in cattle.  My father was the “shepherd”.  The cows would hear him open the back door to the house and they would come to the barn.  Now he wasn’t always on his way to feed them, but they still came because he had trained them to come when he called….so they started coming before he called.

They knew his voice.  Daddy could just walk to the fence, give a call, and they would come running.  The cattle expected something from him….and he gave what they expected.    I have to share a quick story about a mule my father sold to a lady in another state.  He warned her that she would need to keep the mule in the barn until he got used to her, but she didn’t listen and let it out into a big field….at which point the mule refused to come near her again.

After numerous failed attempts to coax the mule into their barn, the new owner finally called my father and asked him to do something he has never done before….over the phone (taken to the fence of the field where the mule was running free), my father called to the mule…..and the mule responded, came, pretty as you please to the fence and allowed the new owner to catch him.

The animal knew the voice of his shepherd and responded.

Well….the Lord is my Shepherd….He provides all my needs…He gives me rest in quiet places, by the still waters where my soul is restored.  For His sake, He leads me to righteousness.  When I walk down the valleys that scare me to death, I can fear no evil, He has already been there and cleared the path for me.  When I’m the dumb animal, I sometimes lose sight of my Shepherd and wander away, but He comes and gets me, with prodding, and comforts me with His love, protection, and even correction.  While in the midst of my enemies, He prepares for me a table where He anoints me to do His work.  He is so good to me, it’s unbelievable.  I know without a shadow of doubt that His goodness and mercy will always be with me.  And one day…one glorious day…I will dwell with Him in His house for all eternity.

Thank you, Lord, for being my Shepherd, for leading and guiding me, through every situation.  For Your correction, for Your love.  I love to hear Your voice call to me.  I long for the day that we will see each other face to face.  Amen

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Elohim – Mighty Creator

“God is Who He says He is.” ~ Beth Moore

The very first name God uses to introduce Himself to us is found, literally, in the beginning.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -Genesis 1:1

The name God in this verse is actually the Hebrew name Elohim. In the traditional Jewish view, Elohim is the name for God as Creator and Judge of the universe.

Remembering that God is the Mighty Creator of the universe is very comforting to me. Looking around at His creation reminds me that He is in control, He is omnipotent, and there is nothing that comes into my life that He can’t take care of.  If He can make the mountains, the ocean, the sun, moon, stars, the entire universe and Heaven itself, He is powerful enough to take care of me and my family. No matter what!

Heavenly Father, You are the Almighty Creator of the universe. You made the heavens and the earth, and you made me in Your image. You love me and care for me more than I will ever understand until I get to heaven. There is nothing that happens to me or my loved ones that is too big for You to handle. Just as You had a plan for creation, You have a plan for me. Help me to trust You even when I can’t see the path You have created for me.



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El Roi– The God Who Sees Me

When I think of God’s name El Roi (meaning the God Who Sees Me), I feel mixed emotions. Some days I feel cleaner at heart than others. When that’s the case, I don’t mind God peeking in on me. Other days I feel like hiding, and so knowing He sees me can be quite unnerving. I can’t hide from God. And then there are the days when I feel invisible or wounded. I find comfort in knowing God sees me. Yes, me, one among billions. Wow! That makes me smile.

God, I so love Your names. I love knowing You are El Roi, the God who sees me. No matter where I am, I am never hidden from You. You see me. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking me. Thank You for embracing me when I try to run and hide. You see more than I can see. And I believe You see actually beauty in me: Your son, Jesus. Amen.

(for reading on El Roi, please read Genesis 16:13-14. Or better yet, read the whole chapter.)

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Jehovah Shalom

The Lord is Peace.

When you read that, what comes to mind? When I close my eyes and I think of that statement, the Lord is Peace, I picture a vast ocean with waves crashing all around, however, in the midst of all that–I find peace.

That is the meaning of Jehovah Shalom.

God–our Peace–is what we feel when everything around us is complete and total chaos. The house is a mess, the kids are a mess, the marriage is strained, yet through it all we find Jehovah Shalom–the Lord is Peace.

If you are missing that peace today, I encourage you to read Judges 6 regarding Gideon. Everything was crazy around him, but God chose him as a might warrior and let him know that He would be there through it all. Gideon named that place The Lord is Peace for that reason. Your life may be in turmoil, but know sister–God is there. He is full of peace and He will give it to you if you ask!

Jehovah Shalom–my Lord You are peace. Thank You so much for the peace You have bestowed on my life in the last two years. I have never been more at peace with all the “junk” I have been through. I can step back and look at it all and know without a shadow of a doubt Lord that You are at work in all the chaos. Thank You for stilling my heart, and teaching me to trust in the peace that You offer. Help me to continue to trust that peace as I go throughout this year.

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El Roi, The God Who Sees

She is alone. She is running. She is scared. In the wilderness, where she has come to hide, she meets El Roi, The God Who Sees. (Genesis 16)

Father God, I thank You so much that You are the God Who Sees. You are the strong One Who sees. You are the One Who lives and sees. The One who sees through all my issues and drama, through my insecurities and fears, and what you see is me. Me, when I struggle in silence and I am alone. Me, when I break down in public and I run to hide my brokenness. You see me when I celebrate small victories in the quiet of my own heart. You see me when I shout it from the roof tops. You see potential in me when I don’t see it in myself. You see my shortcomings and call them what they are in truth and in love. I am most thankful for the fact that You see me as what I can be through Christ, and You love me enough to see me through until I am there.  In Jesus precious name, Amen.

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El Shaddai

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon Na Adonai,
Age to age You’re still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka Na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of Abraham;
Through the power of your hand,
Turned the sea into dry land.
To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God who really sees,
And by your might,
You set your children free.

Word and music by Amy Grant

The first time I heard the name El Shaddai was when I sang this song by Amy Grant at church. It really struck me as powerful because it was right after God had restored my marriage and literally rescued me from the depths of despair.

Today as you contemplate the things that God has rescued you from, remember that El Shaddai–God Almighty–never changes. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever.

El Shaddai–thank You so much for rescuing me so many times over the years. You are definitely God Almighty–the One Who provides the ram when we need it, the One Who can remove the enemy when we think there is no escape. Lord, help us to trust you as El Shaddai–our provider.

Amen and Amen.

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The God Who Delights to Create

Elohim, God, Mighty Creator

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth….

Genesis 1:31  And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

In C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, the Creator God is pictured as the mighty lion, Aslan, singing creation, the creation of Narnia, into existence.  I love this picture because it gives glory to the enjoyment Aslan experiences as he brings forth animals and plants, of all shapes, colors and kind – in much the same way I can imagine our own God, Creator, experiencing enjoyment at the creation of our world.  The Scripture is clear in telling us that God very much delighted in His work, so much so that He declared it very good.

Father, You are wondrous and wonderful!  Your imagination expressed in the glorious artwork of Creation amazes me when I think about it.  Forgive me for taking your work for granted and simply not seeing.  For being too wrapped up in myself to not notice the geese flying south in an amazing V-formation, made instinctive by You, or the beauty of the freshly fallen snow, or the way the sun sets over the mountains in a glory of orange and pink. I want to not take for granted Your gift of Creation, or Your heart as Creator, my Creator.  Lord, open my eyes to the wonders of Your imagination and help me to delight, as You delight, in these good gifts.  In Jesus name, amen.

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More of Jehovah Rophe

Taking from yesterday’s topic of Jehovah Rophe, the Lord Your Health, here are some Scriptures to meditate on:

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. – Matthew 4:23

While he [Jesus] was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.’ And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him. – Luke 5:12-13

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all this is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 130:1-5

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. – Jeremiah 17:14

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

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