My 2019 Lent journey – week seven

Image by Aaron Cabrera from Pixabay 

Here we are, y’all – the final week! I hope that you’ve followed along with me on this journey but if not, please check out my previous weeks in March and April to see how this book has unfolded for me. Just in case you haven’t picked up your own copy, I’d encourage you to do so. Amazon offers both digital and hard copies of the book. I’m typically a digital reader but I did this study through our church and ended up with a hard copy. I’ve enjoyed reading through it each day and meditating on the different topics. Here’s a link through my affiliate site (for which I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you) if you’d like to get your own copy.

Day 35: We’re reminded today that revival frequently has humble beginnings. That is encouraging to this small-town gal with my little country Church. I know my Church can have a big impact – I’ve experienced it personally! Yesterday was Palm Sunday and I was asked to read a passage from the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31-46. I won’t transcribe it in it’s entirety here but you can click the link in the previous sentence to read the full verses. Basically it spells out the way we demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s simple really – feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, show compassion to the stranger, clothe the poor, comfort the sick, and visit those in prison. I’m being very literal here but I think the Lord wants us to be literal sometimes. We don’t need to think really hard on this. If you love Jesus, show your love to the lost and hurting around us. I’ve been making little changes in my life the past week. I’ve re-started my daily Bible reading and every morning am hitting my knees for a few minutes to start my day in communion with my Creator. I already feel the effects and positive impact on my life. I was also struck with the parallel in my own life about visiting those in prison as I shared with you last week that I visited my ex-husband with our children last Saturday. My pastor had asked me to read the passage early last week but I didn’t actually read through it until Sunday morning. I want to be among the sheep, not the goats so even though it’s hard, I will keep doing what He commands us to do.

Day 36: The gift of enough – we so often take it for granted (and I’m talking to myself here)! What a testimony Mr. Tam’s life has been and oh how we can aspire to be like him. Tithing is something I was taught to do by my parents. My Dad was reluctant at first because he wasn’t raised to tithe as my Mom was but one morning he heard our pastor preach a sermon about tithing being a demonstration of your faith in the Lord. My Dad said, I have faith so why wouldn’t I be faithful in trusting God with what’s already His? And he passed that legacy down to me. Now y’all already know finances are a struggle for me but God has always helped us make ends meet. And that’s with four children we sponsor as part of our tithe and other giving that we do and I absolutely trust that He will continue to do so. I talked yesterday about my belief that God wants us to take Him at His Word. We don’t have to overthink or theorize what God meant by many passages of the Bible. If we’d focus on what we know to be true and believe it, life would be a lot simpler. I love this sentiment…every prayer we pray, every gift we give, every sacrifice we make, and every step of faith we take is an inheritance left to the next generation. And our prayers live on, long after we die, in their lives. Oh what a glorious promise. I can’t wait to see it all unfold in Glory.

Day 37: Binding our prayers sounds a bit foreign to me, I must admit but it makes sense that if we claim something that is already God’s Will, He will open the doors necessary to make it happen. This is why it is so important to me to be attuned to the Lord’s Will for my life. I can pray all day long but if it for something that isn’t what he has destined for me, it will never happen. I come back to the place of what does God intend for me? Not only in my financial situation which has been what I feel primarily focused on during this study but for my relationships, my spiritual journey, and everything else in my life. As His child, I belong to Him and I want to bring glory and honor to my Father. Mark reiterates the importance of our goals aligning with His Word and I’m very glad I’ve recommitted to spending more time in Biblical study. I know this is how I can rest assured that what I’m dreaming about, planning and working towards is in His Will if I will stay in His presence.

Day 38: I’ve been trying to pray each morning when I wake up and each evening walk around mine and my parent’s homes (we live next door to one another) and spend time in prayer about the issues facing my family. It hasn’t been the easiest 40 days (well, 38 as of today) but I feel a renewed sense of commitment to the Lord. I know that I have strayed and backslid in recent months and it has been detrimental to my children and my own psyche. I believe God brought someone very unexpected into my life to help lead me back to Him and I don’t even think this person realizes the impact they’ve had on me returning to the Lord. My divorce is just days away from being final and although my heart is broken facing this event I never believed I would go through, I trust that the Lord has something better for me. Things have settled out with my ex and we have agreed to be respectful and courteous to one another and I am grateful for that because I know that is much healthier for our children. I know I need prayer. I need to spend time in prayer and I need others to pray for me. If you’ve been following along this journey, please pray for me and my family and send me any prayer requests you might have. We all need to circle one another in prayer.

Day 39: Have you ever had one of those goosebump inducing, heart pounding, could-only-be-the-Holy-Spirit encounters Mark describes today? Though I have felt the presence of the Lord on many occasions I can’t say that I’ve ever had a divine encounter such as the one he describes with the chaplain or the author but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in divine appointments. The Lord has brought too many people into my life at just the right moment for me to ever believe otherwise. When I was 15 I rolled a crew-cab pickup driving my mother and brother to school one morning. A week before, to the day, I had told a friend I had this very weird feeling that I or someone close to me was about to die. I prayed that God would not take anyone away from me that I loved and He answered my prayer. What could have easily resulted in any one or all three of us being killed, God snatched us from the claws of death. I had a nasty gash that required 90 some-odd stitches and staples on my head, my brother had a concussion and two sprained ankles and a bad laceration on his thigh and my mother was thrown from the truck and broke her collarbone, neck and back and had amnesia for two and half weeks. The most miraculous thing is she was thrown into a thicket of Chinaberry saplings and where we lived is the desert, where trees do not really grow! A foot to the left or right and she would have hit concrete and surely been killed. We all have fully recovered and I know God answered a prayer that I didn’t even know the implications for at the time I prayed it! Sometimes you just have to trust that God is giving you prompting for a reason and be obedient to follow His direction, no matter how weird it may seem.

Day 40: Today is the last day and I feel really encouraged! This morning as I knelt by my bed I felt a little inept; ill-equipped to say what I really want to say and feeling like I was just regurgitating the same old prayers I’ve always prayed. To hear that the author, who has written multiple books on prayer, feels similar makes me feel like maybe I have a fighting chance at learning to pray effectively if I just keep keeping on and asking the Lord to help me. I feel so much more in His presence just because I’m back in the Word and I know if I’m persistent, He will help me. Some days, I get it all wrong but each day is a new day, a new opportunity to follow the Lord, to repent and turn away from sin, to delve more wholly into His presence. I am so glad we serve a forgiving and patient Savior. Lord, lead me each day into your presence and guide me in my steps. Make my will match Your will and help me to bring glory and honor to You in all things.

I thank each one of you who’ve taken the time to read my thoughts about this book. It has been quite the journey and I welcome your thoughts and feedback in the comments section. If you haven’t done so already, please check out my social media feeds. I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and would love to hear from you! If you’d like to join in my mission, please visit my Patreon page for more details.

Stay salty, brothers and sisters,

-Lacie

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