INTERCESSION

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Prayer is so often the tool that we as Christians forget to use. In fact, it’s a powerful tool and one that Satan would hate for us to use.

As Corrine Ten Boom quoted, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” 

I hope that you will be encouraged as you read this guest post by Lauren on how we can help pray for one another. She shares how we can simply do so and you and I can begin today! 

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PASSION

TODAY’s Guest Post is from a college friend of mine. Although I didn’t know much about her then nor was I close to her, I watched her;  I watched how PASSIONATE she was about the things she did. And she came to mind when I wanted a post about the Monthly Word Focus of “Passion.”

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Satisfaction in Your Season of Life

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Spring is here and many are already getting their children’s Easter Baskets ready. I’ll be honest, we haven’t done Easter baskets for our kids but the more I think about it, I figured that this would be a great opportunity for me to share the Gospel with my girls. They may still seem young but I am praying that we can plant these seeds at a young age and see those seeds come to fruition.

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For the month of March, I wanted to focus on one word – SATISFACTION. It’s easy to be satisfied when everything is going well – our health, our finances, our relationships, our jobs, etc. But all of us go through different seasons of life. I may be having the most wonderful season while someone else is going through the most difficult season.  I may be on the mountaintop while another is in the valley. Realizing this truth makes me want to be more considerate and thoughtful of other people.

One can be so joyful on the outside but deep down, they are struggling. Today, I want to talk about having satisfaction in THE SEASON THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN.

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4 Ways to Admire Your Family & Others (Feat. Special Guest)

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For the month of February, the Monthly Word Focus is ADMIRATION. You can read more about that here.

How often do we hear the expression, “It was an accident!” or  how often have we actually been the ones to say that? I can honestly say that I’ve said it more times than I would like to admit. I understand that LIFE is not perfect nor are we perfect as humans. However, imagine how much different and better LIFE would be if we were intentional in our words and actions.

Being intentional will not always guarantee that all will be well, but if we had the mentality of DOING and SAYING things on PURPOSE, I believe we can save ourselves a lot of hurt and heartache. In this post, you will see four ways on how you can admire those closest to you. BEING INTENTIONAL and DOING THINGS INTENTIONALLY  is fundamental to doing the three others mentioned in this post.

I am excited to feature a special lady that I have admired since I started following her on Instagram. She stood out to me because of how real, honest, and loving she was to her spouse and children. And although social media does not prove EVERYTHING or how your life really is ALL THE TIME, her pictures have said a lot.

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Photo cred: https://www.instagram.com/denaejonessa

Meghan lives with her husband and their 5 kids in Minneapolis, MN. She is expecting their 6th child in April 2018 and builds her businesses at home while homeschooling the kids. The family loves low key evenings at home and dinner around the table every night of the week. Meghan’s whole life mantra is “living for today” and shares that on her social media platforms to offer hope to others.

You can follow her on Instagram, @meghanjoytoday and her website, http://www.meghanjoyyancy.com

I sent Meghan a few questions and I have been encouraged by her answers.

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1) How are you as a wife and mom INTENTIONAL in your relationships?

When I am with certain people, I try to avoid any distractions that could be a hinderance (i.e. cell phone). When God lays on my heart to send a text to a friend, I do it. Sometimes someone will just pop into my head and heart and I’ll create a gift package to send them in the mail. I leave my schedule pretty wide open so that I have the capacity to be intentional in relationships. With my children, we try to make time for one-on-one dates so that we get to build on each relationship as a whole family as well as individually. With my husband, I’ll get that inkling like, “Meghan, just put your phone down and be WITH him, right now, in this space in time.” And I try to follow that urge and set all else aside to be with him. We also carve out most evenings to spend together after the kids go to bed.

2) How can we show INTIMACY with our children?

Letting them know that there is always a gate open to be vulnerable. Without judgment or condemnation, we want honesty and accessibility to reign. I’m continually telling the kids not to let their emotions be hindered or to ever have to feel they need to hide them from us but to open the door for that emotional intimacy to be seen and heard.

3) How do you show that you are INTERESTED in others?

I am an encourager at heart, so it’s very easy for me in that aspect. But also, often I fail at investing too much in others because I have to keep a balanced life. And so with having (almost) 6 children, a wonderful husband, homeschooling, housework, plus running multiple businesses from home, my capacity for much more is only so little. That being said, I strive for balance in all areas of life in order to show my concern and interest in others. Oftentimes, in conversations, I tell myself over and over again to just be quiet and listen. And often times, people have A LOT they want to say. And I want them to feel that someone is interested and thus be able to let it out, speak it, and be heard. So really, just listening can be a very good skill to learn.

4) How can you become more INVOLVED with your spouse & children & their interests?

By carving out time to do the things THEY love to do; even if that means sacrificing my own wants and needs. When I was dating my husband, I sat down and watched every basketball game with him. He loves basketball and it makes him happy to have me enjoy that with him. And to be honest, once I wooed him, captured him, and got that ring, I don’t think I’ve watched a single game with him in our almost 10 years of marriage. So sad, I know. I’m just being real. And maybe this was just the prompt I needed to make more of an effort in that area. (At least by sitting down next to him reading my book while he watches his game.) All that being said, it’s about sacrifice and putting others first, which I’m sure most of us can improve in.

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It was a great privilege to have Meghan share her heart about how she ADMIRES or can continue to admire her spouse and children. She hit the sweet spot on answering these questions. These are great reminders to me and it would be selfish not to share them with you all! I sure hope you can get to know her even if it is just through this social media community. Please feel free to let her know how she has blessed or helped you.

Until Next Time,

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ADMIRATION

Welcome to this Month’s Word Focus – ADMIRATION!

Happy February!

We all admire something or someone. It can be a family member, a friend, or a Higher Being. It can be an item, something you possess, or even a place.

According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, admiration is wonder mingled with pleasing emotions, as approbation, esteem, love or veneration; a compound emotion excited by something novel, rare, great, or excellent;

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We may not like to admit it but we can become complacent with those whom we see or associate with all the time; whether they be loved ones, co-workers, or friends, we can lose the “admiration” that we should be maintaining.

This February, I would like to encourage you all to join me as I focus on the word, ADMIRATION, mainly for God and for our families.

We live in a world and a society that is constantly criticizing or belittling God and the roles of fathers and mothers.

Many have lost the “wonder” of who God is, the “wonder” of who fathers and mothers should be, and the roles they were meant to partake in.

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This month can sometimes be considered the “Love Month.”

Many go all out in honoring that special person or persons in their life. This month, I would like to encourage you in four different ways on how you can accomplish that.

 BE INTENTIONAL. 

Do things on purpose. Say things with purpose.

BE INTERESTED. 

Be concerned with what you say, do, or think.

BE INTIMATE. 

Be close, be near, be familiar. 

BE INVOLVED. 

Be enveloped, be entangled, and be all wrapped up. 

I look forward to expounding on these four points this month and hope you come back and see how we can all be a part of this month’s word focus!

 

Until Next Time.

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Definitions taken from Websters1828Dictionary.com

Featured image from Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash.com

 

Cultivating Financially

If you weren’t able to read my last post, I mentioned one of the top 10 resolutions people make for the new year and in this post I will be sharing another one of those resolutions from that top 10.

With the first month of 2018 almost coming to a close, I wanted to share how I have been “cultivating” financially for this month of January.

Also, in case you missed it, this year I started what is called a Monthly Word Focus. Each month, I plan on featuring a special lady who will talk about that specific word for the month. You can read more about it here and here.

No doubt, most if not all of us have been at the place where we might have worried about our finances. You may be reading this as you are currently in debt. Don’t worry, I’m there too. I have been reading Dave Ramsey’s book, “The Total Money Makeover” and I appreciate how he quickly addresses that the book is not a guide to “get rich quick.” So I am doing the same.

Please do not mistake what I share as something that will get you out of debt quickly or even make you rich… In fact, this post is definitely not about how to get rich so if that’s what you’re looking for, then you can just exit out of this page because I would hate to disappoint you.

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Growing up, I didn’t have much. I was raised mainly by my dad from the time I was 5 since my mom and younger siblings stayed behind in the Philippines. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that they were able to come join us here in the states.

My older sister and I didn’t get allowances; we didn’t always have birthday parties; we didn’t receive a lot of presents during Christmas. But one thing is for sure, my dad made sure we were never hungry. In fact, my sister and I are petite so my dad would always try to overfeed us. NO JOKE! (Maybe that is how I got a good appetite!)

Getting money as a gift was a big deal to me. I made sure to make whatever was received last for as long as I could. I’m not the best with money but I can truly say that I have learned to make use with what I have and appreciate the little that I have.

Just like an average family, we have debt. We still have a car payment and loans to pay off. In addition, we have a growing family that we must continually feed and provide for, along with bills to pay So with this new year, our goal is not to pay off our debt completely, but to make sure that we are doing something about it.

Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” So with the paycheck that we’re provided, we are doing what we can to tackle this debt. I have come up with three ways that we can do so.

1. DO A CLOTHES-SHOPPING FAST.

Yup! You read that correctly. As a lady, I find shopping to be therapeutic. (Just ask my husband!) Now, I don’t shop for clothes regularly because I just find it unnecessary. However, I am not judging you or looking down on you if you do. But for me, to shop for clothes on a monthly basis is a WANT, not a NEED. To be honest, it’s a luxury! So I have decided not to shop for clothes for the first 6 months of this year! (eeeeekkkk!) I have gone back and forth with myself and have debated on whether I should change it to just the first month or the first 3 months. BUT I HAVE DECIDED AND DETERMINED not to buy any clothes until after June of this year. (you can send your prayers right about now! haha!)

2. DECREASE EATING OUT.

We live in world where we want things quickly and on-the-go. I am not against eating out. Sometimes, it is more convenient when you’re pressed for time. However, this year we have decided to not eat out for the first 3 months unless it is really, absolutely, no-other-choice necessary. We have been eating mainly from home and it’s been going well. I make a smoothie or two for my husband every week day, (weekends if necessary) just to reduce his temptation to buy a snack elsewhere.

3. DETERMINE TO LIVE SIMPLY.

As a married couple serving in full-time ministry, we can honestly say that living simply is a must. At the end of last year, we began getting rid of stuff – throwing unnecessary things and donating unneeded possessions. But how do we gauge what simple living really is? Does it mean that we live without a tv, or the newest gadget, or only have 10 tops in our closet? Honestly, simple living is different for everyone.

If you want to live simply, you must identify what is truly important to you and eliminate what isn’t important.

Some ways that I, Judylynn, have determined to live simpler this year are by:

        A) Canceling Unnecessary Subscriptions. It wasn’t until last week that I remembered my blog was on a business account but when I checked the price for the whole year, I knew that I had to cancel it. If one of my goals is to help tackle our debt this year, then I have to learn how to say “NO” to some things.

We have subscriptions to HULU and NETFLIX but we are planning on canceling our HULU subscription next month because it isn’t used as much as NETFLIX. (BTW, we don’t really watch regular tv shows).

We cancelled AMAZON prime because we rarely use that and it eliminates our temptation to buy things simply because of free and quick shipping. I’m sure there are more benefits from Prime, but for now, we have that cancelled.

        B) Rejecting Unnecessary Offers.  This can be a vague topic but we have all been at the place where we have had to say no. Saying “no” can honestly be a hard thing to do but also one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Too often, we get invited to go out to eat and although it can be flattering that people would like to spend time with us, we have had to think about what was more important and beneficial for us – our “want” for yummy food and fellowship or our “need” to eliminate our debt.

Some of our closest friends have memberships to the great attractions here in San Diego like the Zoo or Sea World, but we’ve also had to say “no” for this year since our priority is to make sure our family is on the right track financially.

In addition, being on social media and seeing story after story of people promoting a brand or having try-on sessions of their recent best buys can be quite tempting. But as I have mentioned before, I’ve determined and committed myself to do a clothes-shopping fast for the first half of 2018. (Anyone reading this can technically be my accountability partner.)

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One important thing I haven’t expounded on or emphasized is the need for both husband and wife to be on the same page. If you are married, it is vital that you and your spouse are honest with each other and agree on the same goal. Failure to do so will can result in arguments, heartache, and possibly divorce. I have heard that financial problems is one of the top reasons why married couples get divorced.

Money is such a necessity but the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 

Money itself, is not evil but loving it to the point that it is your main focus in life can bring a lot of sorrow and ruin to you and your loved ones.

So friends, whether your goal is to get out of debt or get on the right track financially, three things you can do are:

1) Identify what is important to you.

2) Eliminate what isn’t important to you.

3) Start. (It’s not too late!) All it takes is just a decision to start.

The Lord has been so good in helping me apply the word of the month (Cultivation) and I look forward to sharing what February’s Word Focus is in just a few days!

 

 

Until Next Time,

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Cultivating Spiritually

One of the top 10 resolutions people make for the New Year is to read their Bible or read it through.

I have personally read the Bible through about 4-5 times since I’ve been saved. Throughout the years, I start off excited about improving my walk with God but since I’ve become a working wife and mom, it’s been a little difficult to be consistent. However, I am by no means making that an excuse. I know that if anything, my roles should push me to have a better walk with the Lord for the sake of those that I am ministering to and entrusted with.

I truly believe that there is no better way to get cultivated at the beginning of the year than by doing so spiritually. 

Now, not everyone that will read this blog post will be interested in spiritual matters and I do not want you to feel like I am manipulating or forcing you into whatever I believe in. I simply just want to share how I have been “cultivating” myself spiritually and the benefits of my doing so.

Amazingly, all of us have the same amount of time. It may seem as if some have “more” time than others because of how “un-busy” others may seem. However, being busy doesn’t always guarantee or produce good time management. Someone reminded me to “not be so busy with other people’s business.” With the day and age we live in, it is so easy to get involved with other people’s lives whom we have no business getting involved in.

Instead is us being busy with other peoples’ business, let’s get busy about the Father’s business. 

Three ways I have determined to improve on this month are:

I. SPEND TIME IN GOD’S WORD

Make Bible Reading time a Priority

I have found spending time in Bible Reading to be very encouraging and productive. One choice I made for this month is not to go on social media UNLESS I have already spent time in God’s Word. With two toddlers and a somewhat-demanding job, it is vital, I mean VITAL for me to have that time with Jesus. Does it always guarantee that my day will be great or go smoothly? Absolutely not. But that time spent in God’s Word is necessary in order for me to grow spiritually and to be the Christian, the wife, and the mom that God designed me to be.

Does prioritizing mean ALWAYS doing it in the morning? Honestly, no. I don’t always read my Bible in the morning. Sometimes, I read it in the evening before I go to bed. However, I have found that reading it in the morning is one step closer to having a great day (now, I didn’t say perfect). There have been times when I read my Bible and had a horrible day. Does that mean I blame it on my Bible reading? Of course not! Having a horrible day is a choice. Problems, distractions, or unnecessary situations will come up and they may even be out of our control but how we choose to handle them will determine HOW our day will turn out. Not only is reading the Bible important, but meditating on it as well.

II. STRENGTHEN MY WALK 

Memorize & Meditate on Bible Verses

Memorizing verses is tedious and takes discipline and consistency. If you’re anything like me, it takes a lot of work to memorize. Some have a photographic memory and they can memorize verses in no time. But no matter how hard or easy it is for anyone, we can all benefit from memorizing verses.

Some ways that have helped me with memorizing verses are:

     1) Having Motions. This is especially helpful when my husband and I are working with children because most children love having visuals or something to associate a certain word(s) with.

For example, any time a verse has the word “God” or “Heaven,” I point up.

    2) Walking Around or Making up a Song. Having a rhythm and beat to go with certain words also helps with memorizing. Sometimes, I emphasize by stomping on certain words. Sometimes, I just make a random “song” or remember Scripture songs I learned in church or college (I am definitely not musically-inclined).

    3) Making Time Each Week. Review is key to retaining Bible verses. Now, I can’t say that I have always made time each week for Bible memory.

In fact, I’ll be honest with you. I started memorizing some verses from Psalm 119 towards the end of LAST YEAR but stopped because….LIFE happened (and it will continue to happen so just DON’T GIVE UP!

With this new year, I decided to continue with them instead of starting another set. You can find those verses here!

Memorizing can have amazing rewards and benefits. Psalm 119:11 is one of the verses that I memorized from the set I was working on and if there is anything you would like to get from memorizing verses, it’s mentioned in this verse.

Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” 

In addition, meditating on God’s Word is something that pleases Him.

Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Not only should we make time for Bible reading and Bible memorizing, but lastly, we should spend time in Prayer.

III. SEEK GOD’S FACE

Motivate Through Prayer

As a Christian, I admit that I don’t use this “tool” of prayer as often as I should. Yes, I pray for my food; yes, I pray before I go to sleep; yes, I pray at our church’s midweek prayer meeting; yes, I pray when I’m at my lowest, and I pray whenever people have requests. However, I do realize that sometimes my prayers can be too general or repetitive.

This year, my husband and I have truly enjoyed hearing our older daughter pray. She has learned from us and has even copied our “style” which can be good and bad at the same time. We don’t want her getting used to praying just one certain way. We want her to eventually understand that praying is coming before the very throne of God. Prayer should be a special time because we are seeking the very face of God and are sincere about our prayers. 

Have you ever kept a record of your prayer requests and crossed off those that the Lord answered? My mother-in-law does a great job with this. I remember her showing me a few of her prayer journals – going back to when she would pray for her eldest son (who is my husband now) to find the wife that God had for him. I even saw some silly requests but our God has a sense of humor and can answer even the silliest requests.

Going back and seeing all the prayers through the years and how God was faithful to answer them should motivate us to keep praying. Isn’t our God just awesome to give us what we need and many times what we want? So, may we take advantage of the tool of prayer this year and not underestimate our Almighty, All-Powerful God.

 

Until next time,

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