Showing items filed under “Dee Schneider”
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Did you enjoy the holidays?  Did you see friends and family members you rarely see?  Was it exciting to hear all about what they are doing and share with them what is going on in your life?  Were there so many things to talk about and so much to catch up on that you could hardly wait for your time with them to begin?  Do you feel your time together ended all too quickly? 

How about our time with God?  Do we feel the same excitement?  Do we come to Him expectantly, joyfully, believing we will hear God speak to us through His written word?  Do we have an “I-just-can’t-wait-to-tell-Him” eagerness?  Or, is our time with God routine, programmed, and just something to check off our “to-do” list?  Are we sometimes shocked when we lay our heads on our pillows at night and suddenly realize we did not spend any time at all in God’s Word or in prayer that entire day?  And then, so the day isn’t a total loss, do we quickly send up our token prayers to God and give Him the leftovers of our day? 

Well, guess what?  We do not have to continue the same old ways or repeat the same old failures.  We have now moved into the year 2018, and we can do better.  It is so comforting to know that one of the many wonderful things about God is when we confess our sin, He forgivescleanses and restores us.  We can start over.  We can leave our past failures with Him.  We can make a brand new start!  We can ask God through the power of the Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus.   

One of the things many of us want to improve in 2018 is our prayer life.  In today’s world, there are so many things to pray about that sometimes we become overwhelmed and discouraged.  How can we pray for all of these things?  Paul writes in Philippians 4:6:  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  God wants us to come to Him and talk with Him about every detail of our lives. 

 Just recently, I read the following prayer that English minister and author John Stott prayed each morning: 

Good morning heavenly Father, 
good morning Lord Jesus, 
good morning Holy Spirit. 

Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
 

Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world. 
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God. 
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. 

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more.
 

Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you. 

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness 
and self-control. 

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,  have mercy upon me.
 
Amen. 

 

While I am not suggesting a memorized or recited prayer, there are so many good things in Stott’s prayer that could be incorporated into our own prayer time with God. 

 Here are some suggestions for prayer in 2018:      

  1. Pray for God to enable you to love Him with all your heart, mind and soul. 
  2. Pray against distractions that interfere with your time with God. 
  3. Pray for God to give you a thankful heart. 
  4. Pray for your families to remain close to God. 
  5. Pray for all believers to remain strong and be Christ-like examples to those around them. 
  6. Pray for pastorsstaff membersand their families. 
  7. Pray for missionaries both home and abroad. 
  8. Pray for the unsaved and for God’s guidance and boldness to share the Gospel with them. 
  9. Pray for our country to return to God—for revival in our country and throughout the world.   
  10. Pray for our leaders to make wise, godly decisions. 
  11. Pray for first responders. 
  12. Pray for the homeless. 

 

Remember—God is always available.  He is never too busy.  He is never too tired.  He always listens, and He wants His children to spend time with Him.  Let’s do better.  Let’s spend a lot of time with God in 2018! 

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In 2015, Mason, my third grandson, graduated high school and began preparations to attend a university later that same year.  I thought about his ‘mostly’ sheltered life up to that point—Christian family, private Christian school for grades 1-8, and primarily Christian friends.  Then, I began to envision the very different environment he would soon be entering (statistics show we lose so many of our young people when they enter college).  Other than prayer, what tangible thing could I do to make this transition easier and help Mason keep his focus on God’s plan for his life?

A plan evolved that included separately wrapping 30 small gifts—one for each day of the first month he would be away.  The gifts were numbered and packed in a large box so that Gift #1 was on top.  His instructions were to open one gift each day either at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day.  These were to remind him that his family loved him and were praying for him and also that God loved him.  Inside each gift were two small cards, each with a Bible verse (or verses) on one side and on the other side a short prayer.  There was a note on the outside of the entire package which gave the following instructions:

Mason,

There are 30 packages in this box, one for each day of your first month in college.  These packages are numbered, and I want you to open them in numerical order.  At the bottom of each package are two cards.  The rule is that you read both cards, Bible verse first and then the prayer on the back, BEFORE you enjoy the treats inside (ha, ha)!!!

I hope you enjoy these little surprises.  God loves you, we love you, and we know you are going to do really well in this next chapter of your life.

Below are some scripture and prayer examples:

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous be shaken.

(Psalm 55:22)

Oh God, let my trust be in you.

Let me never give in to discouragement.

(Prayer)

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

(Proverbs 3:6)

Father, help me to put you first in my life today and always,

and let me walk the path You have for me.

(Prayer)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

(Isaiah 41:10)

Help me overcome my fears by filling my mind with positive thoughts and my life with positive actions.  Thank You for always being with me to give me the strength and wisdom I need

to make wise decisions and to overcome the challenges of each day.

(Prayer)

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power

through His Spirit in your inner being.

(Ephesians 3:16)

Oh God, let my heart be flooded with light so that I will grow in my knowledge of You

and better understand the greatness of Your almighty power.

(Prayer)

These cards can be purchased or handwritten, and the gifts do not need to be expensive.  For instance, one day for Mason was two of the protein bars he likes.  Another day was a package of microwave kettle corn.  One day we put in a package of Puffs (a baby food snack that his little niece Summer was always trying to feed him), thinking the memory would brighten his day.  On some days, the gift was enough to share with a friend or roommate.  When we ran out of ideas, we repeated some of his favorite things.  Everyone said that Mason would open the gifts all at one time, but he actually opened one each day for 30 days.  In fact, when his Mom went to pack him up and bring him back home for the summer of 2016, Mason had all the cards in one place and she reminded him that he could use the cards over and over again.

Mason has now completed his second year of college.  He still has the cards, he still attends church, and God even provided a Christian roommate this past year.

This fall, my granddaughter Camille will also leave home and go away to a university in Illinois.  I plan to do the same thing for her, selecting the scriptures and prayers as God leads.  Will these cards help my two grandchildren stay on God’s path?  Only God knows, but He tells us in Isaiah 55:11:

So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

 

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