Unplugged

It seems like forever since I sat down and blogged but that is an over-exaggeration.  It was a purposeful absence for me as I went on a bit of a media fast this summer and re-evaluated some of my goals in writing and using social media in general.  Going on a long vacation, away from WiFi and the inability to connect online was just the break I needed to appreciate the value of unplugging more often.  Instead, connecting with my husband and family re-energized me as we gathered at the lake and spent great quality time together.  Face-face conversations rather than the daily quick texts and playful emojis made me once again remember to cherish the interpersonal connections I have in my life.  I laughed at my grandchildren’s antics as they splashed in the lake, chased bubbles, or climbed trees.  I could tell that they too benefitted from a break from their usual screen-time overload.  Although this was the first vacation that I did not curl up with a book for long periods of time, the family activity around me kept me thoroughly entertained.

Although unplugged from electronics and the internet, I was thoroughly connected to God.  In fact, I spent quality time building my relationship with Him and spending time with Him.  I waste so much time online scrolling through posts that have no eternal value but always seem to rile me up.  Being unplugged from news reports and political upheaval, and opinionated gossip that permeates Twitter and Facebook for the most part, allowed me to instead find peace that is only found in the Word of God.  It was such a welcome rest from the discouragement that always assaults me on social media platforms.

It also made me very much aware that when I am online, I need to be a voice of encouragement rather than allow myself to get caught up again in the controversies, and conversations that pit people against one another.  Journey Thoughts is all about joining God on this incredible journey of LIFE.  Life is found in Him alone.  I needed this break this summer to be reminded once again that writing this blog is to encourage believers and point others to Jesus Christ.  I may have my opinions about social issues and political actions that affect me, but I need to stay focused on my main purpose in blogging.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the “bad” news, and the divisiveness of opinions that permeate the media these days?  Are you feeling weighted down, and overwhelmed by life circumstances?

Here are some practical ways to connect to God:

  1. Unplug.  Purposefully fast from social media, television, and electronic games, computer etc.  Try it for one day.  For those who must use a computer in the work place, consider fasting from Instagram, or Twitter or Facebook for an extended period of time.  Replace the time spent online connecting with God.
  2. Read your Bible.  On Journey Thoughts I’ve compiled topical lists of Scripture.  These verses can be used as a starting point if you have trouble following a Bible reading plan, but ensure that you don’t just read snippets of Scripture without reading them in context.  Start with these familiar passages: https://lynndove.com/2014/01/08/25-encouraging-scripture-verses-for-every-day/
  3. Pray.  Praying is talking with God.  God already knows what you want to talk about, did you know that?  He wants the conversation.  Don’t do all the talking.  Listen.
  4. Connect with others.  God speaks through those He brings across our path.  Some relationships challenge us in our faith either by being contrary and difficult, or to mentor and encourage us.  In either case, God loves each and every person and we need to see them through God’s eyes.
  5. When you are online, focus on the positive not the negative.  A good rule I follow is, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it”.  God wants us to build up the Body of Christ and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world.  I have created two great Facebook pages, Encouraging Bible Verses and Quotes and Word Salt that share daily encouragement.  Feel free to follow and share!

 

 

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In Holiday Mode

This Alberta gal has been enjoying a week spent on the west coast. It was a working trip for my husband but in between meetings he took me out for meals and long drives along the ocean shoreline roads.

I love the ocean spray, the smell at high tide and at low tide. I spend a good part of my sight seeing keeping my eyes peeled for any marine life in the ocean. I’m generally rewarded with seeing a seal or two frolic in the surf but my goal is to catch sight of an orca. In all my years of living and visiting Vancouver Island, I’ve only spotted a killer whale once offshore. I have been more inclined to see them from the deck of a fishing boat or during a ferry crossing from the mainland to the island. Still, I keep searching for those black and white markings in the water whenever I am beachcombing.

As much as I love the Ponderosa homestead and the stunning view of the Rockies from our acreage, being near the water, especially the ocean, rejuvenates me! I suppose the ocean is one of my “happy places”.

I would be interested to know where your “happy place” is. It is for an article I plan on writing in the future. Leave a brief comment where you find rest and relaxation, and I may use your comment in that article.

Posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts | 1 Comment

25 Encouraging Scripture Verses to Pray for Our Nation(s)

On July 1st, 2017, Canada celebrated it’s 150th birthday, or as some people call it, the anniversary of it’s Confederation.  Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  Canada and the United States are close neighbours, geographically as well as being allies and friends.  That said, these are challenging times for our nations.  Both nations were founded by men and women who believed God was Sovereign.  As Canadians and Americans, celebrating with our own distinct patriotic fervor, Canada on July 1st and the U.S. on July 4th, I pray that our two nations will continue to lean on the sovereignty of God.  I hope we will also pray for one another in a spirit of unity and peace throughout the year!

2 Chronicles 7:14  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

1 Timothy 2:1-2  “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

1 Kings 8:28  “Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”

Matthew 6:9-13  “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Psalm 33: 6-12  “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.  The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

Acts 17:26  “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”

Isaiah 2:4  “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

Psalms 22:27-28  “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.”

Romans 13:1  “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Jeremiah 29:7  “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Prov. 21:1  “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.”

1 Peter 2:17  “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Job 12:23-24  “He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.  He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste.”

Proverbs 11:14  “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

Proverbs 14:34  “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.”

Proverbs 9:10  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

1 Peter 2:9  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Philippians 2:5-11  “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature  God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Psalm 2  “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”  The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”  I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.  Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”  Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.  Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.  Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.  Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Daniel 2:44  ““In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

Matthew 25:32-34  “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

Daniel 7:27  “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.”

Psalm 47: 2-9  “For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.  He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.  He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.  God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.  Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.  For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.  God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.  The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.”

Psalm 102:15  “The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.”

Isaiah 43:5-10  “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’  Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.  All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble.  Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things?  Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”  “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.  Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

 

 

 

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