Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sticky Note Prayers

Have you had a lot of requests for prayer lately? I sure have. The degree of urgency is different but the need is deep for each. A while back I wrote an article on ways to remember and consistently pray for prayer requests. I'd like to share it with you tonight.


How can we “be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10) as it relates to praying for the requests of friends and family? One effective technique I’ve found is the sticky note system. There are nine (9) places you can attach a note that will remind you who to pray for and what the request involves.

Alarm Clock. If someone has an urgent or time-sensitive request, place a sticky note on your alarm clock. It is one of the first things you see in the morning. A alarm clock sticky note provides an opportunity to pray before your day gets busy and the window of time during which the prayer is needed has passed.

Mirror. Mirrors provide a reflection of ourselves. Requests that involve things like relationship issues or something personal with which the person is struggling go on the mirror.

Phone (Land line or Cell). We use the phone for communication. This is a good place to remind you to pray for a friend, neighbor or family member who is waiting on an answer. Perhaps they are waiting to hear about test results or if they got the job. A note here can also be a reminder to pray over situations where the person needs to confront someone about something.

Steering Wheel. Since we use our car to travel places, this is the perfect place for a traveling mercies prayer reminder.

Radio (car or home). The radio fills our ears with spoken words in addition to music. Leave a note here remind you to pray for the person who needs to clearly hear God’s voice about a situation.

Television. Many of us have found that the television can really distract us from other things we need to do. If someone needs focus in a particular area, a reminder on one of this country’s biggest distractions will work well.

Checkbook or wallet. Placing a note in your wallet or checkbook will remind you to pray about those struggling with their finances. Place the note on your next check or in part of your wallet you see when you first open it.

Calendar. Does someone have an upcoming event they would like prayer for? Why not place a sticky note on your own calendar so that when you look at your own schedule, you are reminded of theirs.

Refrigerator or pantry door. Since we use food to nourish our bodies and keep us healthy, either of these locations serves as a great reminder for prayer requests about health issues.

You may simply write the person’s name on the sticky note. If the request also involves another person, you can include either their name or their relationship to the person. The combination of the name and location will help you remember the specifics of the request. This is particularly important when you have the “curious eyes” of children around. You want to maintain a level of confidentiality. Throughout the week as you encounter each note, you can briefly pray for that person’s request. This method ensures that you are following Paul’s exhortation to “…pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). Here is example of a brief but effective prayer:

Lord you know Mary’s financial needs. I pray Father that you will work in this situation. Help her husband find stable work. Your will be done in this family Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Though brief we know that God will hear and honor this prayer because it states in Psalm 4:3 “Know that God has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.” When you next talk to or see your friend, family member or neighbor, you can rest assured that you have upheld your promise to lift them up in prayer.
As always be blessed my friends!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ms. Spirtuality

Another bible study week people! Today we are dissecting, umm, I mean discussing Ms. Spirituality from Behind Those Eyes, Lisa Whittle's book. Orange items are direct quotes from Lisa's book.

Ms. Spirituality. She could make you think yourself a slacker. Really, she could. Here are her "merit badges of honor" when she's really "dressed to impress" (combined lists from pg 78)

  • Attends church, Sunday school and mid week services and leads at least one ministry

  • Volunteers for nonprofits, Christian organizations and starts up a Christian organization

  • Knows proper "Christianese" and uses it frequently in her journals, blogs and her own devotionals (authored by her of course)

  • Collects money from others and gives away her own money to the less fortunate

  • Listens to Christian music and Christian radio and watches only Chrsitian TV . **On a normal week that is. On a dressed to impress week the list reads like this**: Has no cable or XM radio..and if she's really spiritual, she has no TV!

  • Often wears a Christian pin or T-shirt and has a Christian bumper sticker oe=r emblem on her car and has a personalized Christian license plate

  • Attends more than two women's conferenes a year, or coordinates at least one

  • Prays for missionaries faithfully and goes on overseas mission trips each year.

Anyone have a pillow and blanket. I need a nap. I'm worn out just reading this list. Whew!

Lisa point sout that "Ms. Spirituality doesn't pick and choose, but rather does all of them. And most of the time, she does all these things well." One word in a critical phrase struck me. Most of the time. I pondered that word most. That meant sometimes she did not do them well. She was probably overworked, stretched too thin, worn out. You know what? That's not what God requires of us. He's not looking for performance. Does He want us to do good deeds? Yes. Does He want us to serve the Body? Yes. Does He want us to use our giftedness? YES.

It reminds me of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-41). Mari, I mean Martha would be Ms. Spirituality. She was there running around cleaning, cooking, decorating, passing judgement. Yep, I said it. She passed judgement on her sister Mary. "I'm doing all this very important stuff and what is she doing, nothing. "

Jesus' response to Martha is the same response He has for us today. "...only one thing is needed." What??!! One thing? ONE thing? But don't you see my list LORD, how much I do for you and your kingdom. I mean surely You can't mean ONE thing. (Oh yeah, that's me talking to God this time last year.)

What's the one thing? Relationship/fellowship with Him. Lisa states: "He is seeking today what He has always been interested in getting from us: a relationship with Him that is pure of heart and motive, the only goal in mind being to honor Him by doing His will."

In Ms. Spirituality's list above, where is the "sit down and pour out your heart to God"? Where is the "read the Word just because and let it settle in your heart and mind afresh"? Where is the "be still and know that He is God"? Where is the" I will listen for Your still small voice LORD speaking directly to me"? Where are those things?

I submit to you that they are not there. There is no time for that. You're too busy at the next performance to make the practice session for what He really wants you to do. I know. I was Ms. Spirituality. But God....

Knocked me on my behind and said "Listen! I want you to want me, not the approval and admiration of others. When I call you to do something, it won't go off well. It will be spectacular because I'll be in charge. In the mean time, know ME, love ME, seek approval from ME. I promise you will never regret it." It was the hardest lecture I ever listened to. Why? Because I had been misguided and left my first love, Jesus, for the love of performance, adulation and admiration. I was ashamed and repentant.

I gave up a lot of good things to be obedient to my God. And you know what, He has, as always, kept His promise. I don't regret it. Do I long for it sometimes? Sure, Ms. Spirituality tries to rear her head from time to time. She does make a cameo here and there. But I'm learning to tell her that all God wants is me.

Before you head over to Lelia our wonderful bible study leader's blog and join in with the other ladies participating in this study, let me leave you with one last thought. Lisa introduced us to a real spiritual woman, the woman with the blood problem (Luke 8:42-28). Allow me to introduce her to you in a different way. Enjoy and as always be blessed!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ms. Happiness

So this week we are looking at Ms. Happiness from Behind Those Eyes, Lisa Whittle's book. Orange items are direct quotes from Lisa's book.

What incredible timing. Today I put on my fake smile and went to work. No one had any idea my fibromyalgia was flaring up and I was in a lot of pain. No one knew that I was tired of dealing with my clients who tell blatant lies to get their way. I was Ms. Happiness today, as I am many other days.

May I share something? Pretending to be Ms. Happiness is not fun. Lisa said "someone can easily impersonate happiness without having it." Personally I think she's a cousin of Ms. Perfection! We pretend to be happy because we want everyone to think good things about us. We want to look like we "have it all together".

Lisa points out "Ms Happiness's A-plus efforts just aren't enough to produce the results she desperately desires." Ahem! Mrs. Whittle those are my toes you are stepping on.

Did my plastic grin make my pain go away? No. Did it make my fibromyalgia go into remission? Absolutely not. what about my client, were they any better. Umm, that would be a no as well. So all I did was waste energy trying to make other people think all was well. It wasn't.

So how do we get out of this fakeness, this happiness pretense? Get joy. I know, I know. You want to know how you can "get" joy. Lisa has the answer. "True joy comes from within when we are operating in our life in the way that pleases God."

So the very simplified steps are:

  • Make sure you have the Holy Spirit living inside you (if you are not sure about that visit here)
  • Find out what pleases God (i.e. read your Bible and pray)
  • Apply those principles in your life consistently

Pretty simple huh? Let me close with what I think is Lisa's most important sentence in this chapter.

"When we go to the real Source of joy, we find the answers we need to secure our contentment in life forever."

As always, be blessed and from now on, be joyful!

Be sure to stop by Lelia's for more great insight and to fellowship with other's doing this study with us.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


God is so very good and gracious to me! The storm is over. I am still employed. I want to just shout for joy and happiness! Many less people affected than anticipated as far as us non-execs can tell. I am extremely grateful to God for His grace, not just to me, but others. I am still praying for those who were not so fortunate. I just hold on to the knowledge that God has something else planned for them.

Monday brings the real change for those of us still employed there. Merging two companies who have competed strongly against each other is tough business. I pray God's hand in it all as we move forward as one company.

I'll be back later to finally post my bible study insights for this week. I just wanted to hop on and say, THANK YOU! Thank you for lifting me and others up in prayer this week. I truly appreciate you all.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Requesting Prayer

I plan to post on this week's chapter from Behind Those Eyes later this week.

Right now I must focus on praying for the people being affected by activities going on for my company's merger.

I am simply sick because I know some of these people. I am praying for them.

I pray I do not become one of them. That seems completely selfish but I must think of my family.

Please join me in praying for the families affected. God's will be done and may they know He is sovereign and will work it for good. For some that may be to get to know Him for the first time. For others it will be to draw them closer to Him.

Whatever the case, please pray.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Worshipping Jesus the Christ

I *heart* Gospel Music Channel. Tonight they had a premiere concert of Mary Mary on Front Row Live. Now let me just tell you I absolutely love these ladies. If you aren't familiar with them, they are sisters. And they love themselves some Jesus! Furthermore, they really know how to worship our King. They have a new album due out October 14. Can I just tell you - it's on my calendar. I'll be at Family Christian ASAP. 'Nuf said.

I've included a video of the performance of the last song from the Front Row Live performance. I was originally going to include the first single they will release from the album. But God....had them do another song right at the end. So tonight, I share it with you. It's almost 10 minutes long but please, hang on until the end. You will definitely see why I am still weeping over it. I'm going to bed worshipping my Jesus with new enthusiasm thanks to Tina and Erica (Mary Mary). I pray it does as much for you as it did for me. As always, be blessed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And God Was Pleased With Me Blog Book Tour

Today we have a treat. I am featuring a interview with author Ava Semerau. Here is little bit about Ava:

Ava Semerau is an award-winning journalist and author, American expat and Christian success coach who has lived, worked and worshipped in some of the most alien landscapes on earth, including the Middle East and South Pacific.

Her experiences in those places have given her a unique and distinctive perspective on living a worthy life, loving one another and Christian success through pleasing God

Semerau has been a professional writer for more than two decades. She currently lives in Texas and Australia with her husband and four children.

She can be reached at or via her Web site at

Welcome Ava today to my humble little blog :)

Q: Hi Ava, and thanks for sitting down with me today! Tell us a little about how you came up with the idea for your latest book, And God Was Pleased

A: First off, thanks for letting me join your blog for the day and talk about And God Was Pleased. The book came about as a result of my own search for a better definition of success. As a practicing Christian, I’d grown uneasy with the definition the world put out there – you know, the three-car garage, money in the bank scenario. It seemed hollow and unfulfilling, and I knew God had something else in mind for His people. I started reading the Bible specifically seeking a Godly definition and found it in, among other places,
Colossians 1:10-12 which defines success as living a life worthy of God and pleasing Him in all ways.

Q:The book outline 17
principles for achieving that success. Where did those principles come from and what are they?

A: The principles are all found in the Bible and are repeated in various ways and through various examples and incidents. I didn’t start out looking for a specific number of principles, these 17 just sort of jumped out as being foundational to creating Christian success. Those principles include; Know the goodness of God, Walk by Faith, Train for Godliness, Do something bold, Pray ceaselessly, Be kind, Think praiseworthy thoughts, Prove all things, Pay more careful attention, Live with care, Be transformed and renewed, Go the extra mile, Let your light shine, Learn from adversity, Put your treasure where your heart is, Share the work and Sharpen one another.

Q: In talking about the
principle you call Walk by Faith, you use a story about your husband and tin doors to highlight the importance of hearing the message. It’s a cute little story, by the way. Is it true and what do you mean when you write, “We use past experience and expectations to decode messages rather than seeking new meaning.”

A: (Laughs) Yes, it is a true story and one I love telling on my Texas husband! He insists I’m the one with the accent, but we all know better. I think the story clearly illustrates what can happen when we stick to what we know or expect in interpreting new information. We assume something means one thing, and don’t bother looking at other options. This happens all the time and it can happen when we’re seeking God’s will. We can be so convinced our way is the right way, that we fail to heed the signs that God has other plans in mind. He says one thing and we hear something totally different. Listening to the message is definitely something we have to be careful about.

Q: Throughout the book, you seem to be reminding Christians to be more attentive and accurate in their thinking. Why is that and what are the principles involved?

A: There’s no doubt that what we think about influences who we are, how we act and react and ultimately how pleasing we are to God. As Christians, I say we need to live by the Carpenter’s rule: measure twice, cut once; thinking carefully before we act, making sure our action will measure up to God’s expectations.

principles directly address the connection between what we think and how we behave, including Prove all things, Pay more careful attention and Live with care.

Prove all things reminds us to think clearly and accurately, and to weigh everything against the balance of God’s words. Pay more careful attention reminds us to know what God requires of us; and Live with care reminds us to use what we know to avoid doing the things that displease God and concentrate instead on doing the things that please Him.

Q: Many of the stories you share in And God Was Pleased are from your years in Saudi Arabia, including a time when you say, “God wanted me to love my neighbor. But at that moment and in that place, it just seemed too much to ask.” Tell us a little about that experience.

A: That was really an ah-ha moment in my Christian journey, and I talk about it in the chapter about Sharpening One Another. The principle is based on Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend and that’s just what happened in that instance. A good friend sat down with me and walked me through Scripture, challenging my recent thoughts and actions toward my Muslim neighbors. His insistence, patience and candor allowed me to see that my behaviors were unpleasing to God and needed to be changed. I truly believe that frank talk between believers is a basic ingredient in creating Christian success, and it’s something we can all do for others and for ourselves.

Q: Each chapter ends with the same verse. What is it and why the repetition?

A: The verse is one of my favorites and comes from James 1:22, Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourself; Do what it says. Being a successful Christian isn’t about knowing what God wants as much as about living the life He wants us to live. And that’s only possible if we act, if we do what God says. I really wanted And God Was Pleased to provide practical encouragement and to offer actionable ways of pleasing God more. Every chapter ends with five specific things we can do to live by the principle described.

Q: What’s next for Ava Semerau?

A: My current project is an entire book devoted to the ideas of James 1:22. The book explores doing what it says through the lives of real people, and offers additional suggestions on how we can live to please God more. I’ve also been working on a book about my years in Saudi Arabia and how God used that experience to shape my beliefs and faith. Both will be out by the end of 2008.

I'll also be doing some book signings in Minnesota, Illinois and Texas during December.

Q: That’s all the time we have today, Ava. Thanks again for visiting with me. But before we go, how can readers learn more about you and your latest book,
And God Was Pleased

A: Thanks so much for having me and letting me share a message I feel very strongly about. Readers seeking more information can visit my Web site ( There they’ll find more information about me and about the principles.

And God Was Pleasedis available at bookstores around the world and online at
Amazon It’s also available at Amazon in the new Kindle format.

So that you can get a better idea of how this book can impact your life, Ava will take over the blog today and tell us a bit more about the book.

Seasoned with Salt by Ava Semerau

How many kinds of salt do you have in your pantry?

I checked the other day, and I have six – probably five more than I need! I have table salt (with and without added iodine), coarse salt, grinder salt, sea salt and even grey salt.

You could say I got hooked on salt a few years ago when a friend gifted me a fancy salt grinder. The gift came with a small bag of chunky coarse salt. As the saying goes, I tried it and I liked it!

It wasn’t long and another friend gave me a bag of sparkling white sea salt for my new grinder.

And then one day at the local market, I found a bag of funny-looking grey salt and had to try it, as well. Grey salt looks like sea salt only dirtier and tastes more bitter. It’s an acquired taste, I guess.

I like salt a lot. Probably too much, but I love what it does to food. It takes away the bitterness of an eggplant and adds to the sweetness of a melon. It brings out the flavor of pork chops and turns even a bland hard-boiled egg into something spectacular.

Salt just brings out the best in things.

That’s probably one of the reasons Paul referred to salt when he was telling the Colossians how to behave around non-believers.

Season your conversations with salt, he told them. Remove the bitterness, enhance the sweetness. Give the things you say more tang, more texture. Turn the average into the unforgettable!

In other words, bring out the best in others – and for others.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:5-6 NIV)

Be kind, Paul reminds us.

Lift others up instead of running them down. Let your words reflect Christ in your life.

Show consistency between what you believe and who you are, and follow the advice of James 1:22: Don't let the word of God go in one ear and out the other. Do what it says.

Act on what you know to be pleasing to God and, as my favorite recipes all say, salt to taste.

Paul’s advice to “season with salt” hits equally hard on two different Biblical principles, Be Kind and Think More Praiseworthy Thoughts.

Be Kind tells us: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV). Be Kind is exemplified in the Beatitudes, and it reminds us to treat others the way we want to be treated.

Thinking Praiseworthy Thoughts encourages us: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.(Philippians 4:8 ). Thinking Praiseworthy thoughts is all about staying positive – in the things we think and say, and the things we pay attention to.

These two principles together help us to keep a positive mental attitude toward others as well as ourselves, and form the basis of a God-pleasing life.

For more information on these principles, as well as the other 15 Biblical principles for creating Christian success, pick up a copy of book
And God Was Pleased by Ava Semerau. The book is available online at in both paperback and Kindle versions, and is also available at fine booksellers around the globe. To learn more about Ava Semerau, visit her site at, or simply send her an email.