A Word, Prayers, and A Discipline
1. Pick a word, one word, to be your word for 2022.
- Brain storm through free writing (writing whatever comes to mind and finding the connection), cluster writing (writing main ideas and things that connect to the ideas in clusters), or journal writing the past year and desires for the coming year.
- Prayerfully ask God to give you a word that encapsulates His desires and your desires. 😊
- Post that word where you will see it every day! (i.e., Bible, refrigerator, etc.)
2. Write down some audacious prayers for 2022!
Write down prayers that see impossible and which align with God and His Word.
Determine a day and time to pray. This can be daily, weekly, or monthly. (I try to include a time of preparing my heart through meditating on scripture, confession, and praise to put me in the right place before God before I petition).
Be prepared to act on the promptings you will mostly likely receive through God’s Spirit concerning these.
When God answers, praise Him first and then tell someone of His faithfulness. 😊
3. Adopt a discipline or be more consistent with one!
Daily Bible reading through the Bible or Bible app (I’ve found it best to do this with others to be consistent)
Engagement with scripture and prayer through the Lection 365 app. This is a daily devotional that includes Scripture, prayer and meditation on God.
The Examen Prayer is a daily inventory of the day – evaluating the day through the eyes of Christ.
Anything else that God is laying on your heart. (fasting, silence, simplicity, etc.)
“Remember to say your prayers because God is waiting to hear from you.” – Cindy Reilly
With Much Love & Hope in Christ for the coming year! Christina
I was reading Matthew 5:41 from where we get the expression “go the extra mile” — “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”
It got me thinking about the theme of “Emmanuel, God with us.” God with us brings so much extra that transcends our little worlds, that gives us something more.
What if “going the extra mile” is more than what we can do for someone else? Yes, there is always that. Going the extra the mile is good when serving someone... even someone demanding (as is the Matthew, “Sermon on the Mount” context). But perhaps in reality, it ends up benefiting the one doing the going (aka, serving)?
Going the extra mile serves to offer a new perspective. It creates the space to consider that something more, beyond my little bubble. To experience a broader scope — someone else’s reality. And God gave us an example by coming to dwell in ours.
Emmanuel, left his throne to give us a home forever with him. And isn’t that really why we “go the extra mile” in the first place? Because he is with us in every step along the way?
So going the extra mile can be a gift to the one who goes. It can give empathy, which leads to to compassion. The kind of compassion that loves like Emmanuel. And that kind of love changes everything.
So this Christmas season when you find yourself serving others, perhaps carrying their gear that extra mile… consider the gift you are receiving in doing so. And consider the One with you as you go.
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John 1:14a, NLT)
God with us. How many times have we heard that phrase? Do we truly understand the profound meaning of it? God sent Jesus, his Son, into the world in bodily form to walk with humanity, to be with us. I can’t fathom the idea of sending one of my five sons to a world that would reject him and kill him, let alone my ONLY son. That is how much God loves us and wants to be with us!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“…and they shall call his name Immanuel.” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23
I’ve never been to heaven, but I can imagine if I had been, I would never want to leave. Not only did Jesus leave heaven to be with us, but he came to be like us; to talk with us, have feelings like we do, taste food, be tempted, and share in our humanity in every way possible, apart from sinning. He walked in our shoes so he could meet us face to face and demonstrate the love of God to us. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords left his throne in heaven for a manger bed in a stinky stable- to be with us!
A song we frequently sing in church has been stuck in my head the last few weeks. It’s possible the reason it’s stuck there reveals itself in the first sentence of the chorus- “God with us, God for us.” This theme has weaved its way throughout my life lately.
Chorus of “God with Us” by Jesus Culture
“God with us, God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us
God with us, God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us”
In his book, “Practicing the Presence of God.” Brother Lawrence tells of his quest to live life focused on God’s presence. It has caused me to question daily whether I am keeping the same practice. Life can so easily distract me from God. To “practice” his presence takes deliberate actions; seeking him, talking to him, and turning back to him when I’ve been carried away by other thoughts and other things.
At Christmas time, perhaps more than any other time of year, we have a special opportunity to reset our focus. While we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we can deliberately begin, or continue, practicing the presence of God throughout the hours of each day. He is here, he is working, and he promised to never leave us.
“…behold, I am with you always, to end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
That fills me with great hope, how about you?
Merry Christmas women of Cold Springs Church! It is the month of Our Savior’s birth so the writing team has decided to write about Christmas. Tonight, we kick off the season with “Evening of Inspiration” with the theme: Immanuel. So, I want to kick off the month to tell you a story about Immanuel with me. 😊
A Scripture, A Memorial and A Promise…
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
On November 13th, my younger sister passed away. I reached out to others for support and received much love, condolences and prayer. Prayer. There were over 30 people praying for me and my family and this was the result…
My niece generously gave up her wedding venue for her mom’s memorial – providing a beautiful space.
Family members who were at odds, put them aside to grieve together.
There was an overwhelming feeling of being in a restful “space”.
There was room for everyone to grieve in whatever way was needed.
And everyone remembered the “best” about my sister.
Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving and that it was better that He leave because He was sending His Spirit…
Immanuel, the miracle of Christmas is God sending His Son, Jesus, doing the finished work of restoring our relationship to God, and The Spirit, being sent in His place, to lead us, comfort us, and empower us.
And my sister’s memorial is a beautiful testament of this. Thank you for your prayers.
May God Bless you all with a Very Immauel Christmas!
Thankful. Thank-full. Full of Thanks.
I forget sometimes to be thankful. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at what I don’t have and forget to intentionally see what I do have. God sends reminders my way at times. Like when I see pictures of families in the Compassion International Magazine living in homes that aren’t as nice as my lawn mower shed. Or a picture of a mom with four children rummaging through the garbage dump looking for anything she can sell to feed her family. True stories of real people.
Then I see my blessings more clearly, and how I often throw away things other people look for in the trash. I take for granted the clean water I pour from the tap, forgetting others carry heavy jugs for miles to bring water home to their families. The very smallest of my things are big things to them.
We can be overwhelmed seeing the world’s needs, up close or far away. It’s more than we can fix. But we can do something, even if it seems small. It’s in remembering what we have that brings about the desire to share it with others. When we forget, when I forget, my focus is clouded by my own reflection as I see myself looking back in the mirror of self-centeredness. It’s when I look out, past myself, that I not only see the needs of others, but I see the blessings in my own life- I see abundance.
This past Sunday a group of people got together to pack shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for children in poverty. Many of the things packed were things we all have in our bathroom drawers or medicine cabinets- tooth brushes, combs, soap, washcloths. Pencil bags were also packed, filled with various school supplies. Things we and our own children often take for granted. If enough room was left in the boxes, they added a small toy, stuffed animal, or ball. Such simple gifts, yet treasured beyond what we can imagine, when received by a child who has nothing.
As Thanksgiving approaches, my mind is drawn to what it means to truly be thankful. Do I see my blessings? I want to be full of thanks. Thank-full. When we are full of thanks, it overflows to others. Maybe we can’t fix the world’s problem of poverty, but we can do something, even if it’s small, or fits in a shoebox.
What blessings do you see when you look at your life? Enough to be thank-full?
Let’s overflow with thanks, into a world in need- in Jesus’ name.
Thankful for you,
Thank you for the many blessings you pour out in our lives from your riches in glory, in Christ Jesus. Help us see, acknowledge, and share- with a thank-full heart. Amen.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In this Thanksgiving month the 3 on Thursday team is fittingly writing about gratitude…
“If we’re going to move out of L.A. we might as well go where we already have family.” When I said those words to my husband in late 2004, little did I know that by Spring of 2006 we would be moving to Placerville!
After much prayer, I took a “leap of faith” and agreed to move. I knew this could be good in many ways, but questioned how I would find ministry fulfillment. I gave up much to move to Placerville - one was ministry with my parents (I was a leader in the church my dad pastored). The quality of ministry life I lived in Southern California was a gift. I didn’t expect God to replicate it.
I admit the first 6 months here were challenging. But God’s faithfulness is everlasting, his mercies are new every morning! He met me each day with his powerful presence, reminding me that home is wherever he is, not something determined by earthly situations. We found Cold Springs Church within a month. Yet I felt God nudge me to remain quiet about my call to ministry. So for months we simply attended and fell in love with the people of Cold Springs and Placerville itself.
Long story short, on March 27, 2007, I was invited on staff at Cold Springs. I cannot say enough that I have consistently felt in my “sweet spot” here. Pastor David is not simply a phenomenal preacher and pastor, he is an exceptional leader who brings out the best in those around him. My dad was a tough act to follow. God knew this. God knew the kind of leader I would need before I even thought to go into ministry.
I am so grateful that God knows us better than we know ourselves! If it were solely up to me, I would have never been bold enough to jump into the unknown. We are called to do the things we cannot do without Jesus. That is the only reason I took the leap.
I love the people who call Cold Springs Church their family. I love that. Calling a church your “faith family.” That’s what we are. And I wasn’t sure I would find that with the same depth again. My “leap of faith” wasn’t that big of a leap after all. Because what I forgot was that my little faith was all based upon God’s great faithfulness, not my own! And isn’t that a great relief?!
With much love,
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1, NLT)
When I think of harvest season my mind is flooded with memories of pumpkin farms and little boys hunting for the perfect pumpkin. Each of them having a different idea of what perfection looked like. They didn’t seem to notice the things I saw, like a flat side, a missing stem, or a hole in the bottom where seeds spilled out. They saw something else, as they looked with childlike wonder.
They would carry back their finds dressed in pumpkin patch dust from head to toe and smiles from ear to ear. I can still hear the sound of fallen leaves crunching beneath their little feet, and see the colors of autumn surrounding them, like a picture frame in my mind. Thinking back, I can almost join them and be a child again- in spirit. I could feel the wonder of it all and ignore the imperfections. My heart fills with gratitude for these memories, but also for this present moment.
I only need look out my window today to see the season’s changes taking place in real time. The last of the apples hanging on the tree, reminding me of God’s bountiful provisions, and for me to get picking! I think many of us are happy to see the dry, hot summer make way for fall. I imagine the trees looking forward to dropping their parched leaves in exchange for cooler weather.
It seems God may want us to be familiar with change. Perhaps that’s why He gave us rotating seasons, and children that grow up. There’s no harvest without seasons of growth. Change is good when it comes from Him, but even good change can be hard. Unlike seasons, we don’t always know what’s next. We can be focused on our own ideas of what should happen and miss the wonder of what God is doing. We might walk past people who are broken or messy, like I walked past those pumpkins at the pumpkin farm.
The wrong perspective can miss what God is doing around us, and through us, because we forget to look at our lives with the eyes of a child of God. He placed us here to tend His garden, produce spiritual fruit, and harvest souls into His Kingdom. In Matthew 9:36-37 when Jesus looked around Him and saw all the people, imperfect lost sheep in need of a shepherd, He said-
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”
We can pray that prayer and we can also be the answer to that prayer!
As the winds of change come with the changing season, I pray we let any dry, parched expectations give way to a bit of childlike wonder. May we see the people around us with fresh eyes and extend to them the love and grace of our Heavenly Father. For His kingdom and His glory.
Are you ready? It’s harvest time!
We’re barely out of September and the Christmas decorations are on display in the stores. There’s no denying it: the holidays are coming! Before I find myself knee deep in wrapping paper, shopping and baking, I thought it might be a good idea to stop and consider some tactics for the potentially overwhelming holiday season.
I know many people who find October to be a challenging month. Spiritual battle seems to ramp up more than usual. I heard a great quote recently that said, “Prayer is a war time walkie talkie!” We are in a battle and we need tactics against the enemy. Prayer is an invaluable weapon - it is our direct line to the One who will lead us into victory. Does that mean we won’t experience suffering? It does not. However, our suffering can be a powerful platform to share Jesus - it can actually affirm our faith and cause others reflect on what got us through that challenge. In doing so they’ll discover it was Jesus.
Prayer prepares and softens our hearts as we spend time with challenging family members over the holidays. Prayer change my heart attitude. Jesus gives me the gift of seeing others with compassion and empathy rather than irritability and judgement. A supernatural work for sure!
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:10-18, NLT
***Please be in prayer for the guys who are at the Cold Springs Guys retreat this weekend.
***And don't forget about the Break Free Run this Saturday.
The time of harvest is here! My mother-in-law has been supporting the Salesian Missions Publications for years. They send her cute little books that contain simple poems of God’s goodness. She has passed some of these along to me. When I am in need of a little inspiration and a pretty picture, I pick them up. Here are three poems from these books about The Harvest. I hope that you enjoy them as I have.
The Master’s Miracle
In the Autumn morning’s sunlight
When the air is crystal clear,
Not one “Old Masters” painting
With its beauty could compare.
Each tree is splashed with color
Made not by human brush,
For who of us could capture
The beauty or the hush?
The pale, blue sky’s the background,
My window is the frame…
It’s called “The Master’s Miracle”
Of turning leaves to flame.
Country land and sheltered glen,
Mountain road or town,
With every puff of whistling wind,
The leaves come drifting down.
Rustling through the sunlit wood,
Whirling on the highway,
Rising with a billowy breeze,
Chasing down a byway.
Dressed in amber or in jade,
Crimson, brown or gold,
Leaves are Autumn’s treasure-trove,
God’s shimmering jewels to behold.
Elizabeth Weaver Winstead
The Basket of Harvest
The basket of harvest
Is long and it’s wide;
It’s woven with birdsong
And bright butterflies.
The basket of harvest
Is fragrantly filled
With scent of wildflowers
God planted at will.
The basket of harvest
Is laden with fruit,
With grain and lush berries
For me and for you.
I thank God for giving
This gift of great worth…
The basket of harvest –
The fields of the earth.
Loise Pinkerton Fritz
May God bless the harvest of our lives. If you would like to talk or share a Fall treat with coffee or tea, please give me a call or email.
Sincerely & With Love,