During the season of Lent it is common practice for people to ‘give up’ something.
I often hear friends speak of ‘giving up’ chocolate, or snacks, or coffee, or Coke.
All good things to sacrifice….if it is indeed a sacrifice.

 

Dramatic deep pink orchids at Phipps Conservatory - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

I must confess that in the past I have never really taken this Lenten sacrifice seriously.
However, this year, I felt like it was something I needed to prayerfully consider.

For a few weeks leading up to Lent, God was nudging me.

And then…just days before…he actually woke me up early.  The same time each morning.  You see, he was getting me ready to get up when the windows of homes on our street are still dark.  He wanted me to sacrifice some sleep to spend extra quiet time with him.

What is most interesting about this is that I don’t need to set an alarm.  He wakes me every morning.  And no matter how late I stayed up the night before, I’m wide awake immediately upon waking.  I think he’s pretty involved in the intimate details of our lives.  Yes?

Previously I had a time of reading and prayer each day.  But this, is different.  It’s like I have an appointment with God.  It feels really special.

I’m glad I took the nudge.
Has God been nudging you?

I’ve been doing a 40-Day devotional also for Lent.  This was the scripture reading for one of the days:

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
   give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
   my King and my God,
   for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
   in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.   Psalm 5:1-3

The psalmist began his day with the Lord.  (I have no intention of heaping on any guilt when I ask this question.) Do you?

I know that I am doing what God wants me to do.
I also know how easy it is to do things in my comfort zone as well.

 

Orchid & White Orchids photographed at Phipps Conservatory - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

What does time with God look like?
A day that goes well, begins well….with a short time of quiet, the Word of God, meditation, and prayer.

  • Begin with silence…time alone, no music, no phone at hand, no talking to Him, just quiet.  Oh..I know it is not easy….it’s a discipline.  God speaks to us in the quiet, when we can hear Him without distraction.
  • Then it’s good to read a few passages in the Bible.  Whole chapters are not necessary.  Mediate on those few verses.
  • Then it’s time to talk.  But, first begin by praising Him for Who is He and thanking Him for what He has done.  After that…”plead your case” to Him.
  • And the best part…”watch.”  Watch to see what God does through your day to express His love for you, to meet your needs, to protect you, to give your wisdom, and lead you all day long.

Is all this standard practice for you? 

If not…
Consider getting up a half hour before everyone else.
Consider having a standing appointment with your Abba Father….who just happens to be the God of the universe.   What an awesome thought.

TIP: If this seems tricky….use a timer and set it for 10 minute increments. 10 minutes for silence, 10 minutes for Bible reading/meditation, 10 minutes for prayer.  It’s a good place to start.  And it is especially helpful so that you aren’t looking at the clock to see when your time of silence will be up.  That is, for most of us with busy minds, the most challenging part of this discipline.

 

Bromeliad at Phipps - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

Today is Joy Day!

It’s the day of the week when we take time to look back over the past week and count seven.  Just seven gifts…the good and maybe the not so good gifts in our lives and give thanks.   

I’ll start!

God, I give thanks for…

  1. friends & flowers & food – what a special day!
  2. YOUR faithfulness in February
  3. no job, yet
  4. never ending snow this week
  5. a warm and cozy house
  6. out-of -the-blue encouragements…immediate answers to prayer
  7. the growth of this blog

 

Will you join me in this?
Please scroll down and share your ‘seven’ in the Share Your Thoughts section below.

I guarantee your Joy meter will rise because of it.  I dare you!!!

 

Joyfully!

Diane

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(Photos were taken at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.)

Comments

  1. 1. A lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures
    2. A night out with new friends
    3. 7 lbs.
    4. An opportunity to be the listener
    5. Coundowns that are getting closer to 0
    6. Good moods
    7. Cravings and the power to say no

    • Hi Jenny! Thank you for taking time to stop by and share your ‘seven.’ We have sooo much to be thankful for each week. May your week be filled with joy moments. [hugs]

  2. Linda Boyte says:

    1. My man, Gary.
    2. My cousins, Charlie and Dianne.
    3. Fellowship with Lou.
    4. Pedi and manni week!
    5. Visit with Sara.
    6. The lake view from my sunroom.
    7. The lit up tug that travels up and down “our” lake.

  3. Daffodils in bloom

    I am certified lay speaker. Spent time with nursing home residents leading them in worship this afternoon.

    Spent yesterday doing chores and laughing with friend.

    Spending mornings with my mom as she (succesfully) heals from knee replacement surgery

    Praying to a listening God about your job situation

    • Thank Gail for taking time to share your ‘seven.’ God is soo good. Yes?
      I am so blessed that you would pray for me. It means more than you know. [hugs]

  4. I’m a recent follower. I used to start my day this way, then got out of the ‘habit’. Thanks to your post, I’ll be getting back into it! My seven:
    1. Granddaughter back in the same state as I am, with Great-grand kids!
    2. Arizona’s perfect ‘winter’ weather
    3. Birds in my backyard.
    4. Having a room for sewing and crafts.
    5. God answering needs before I realize I need!
    6. A wonderful church to attend.
    7. Having my whole family in that church.

    • Hi Dona!
      Habits. They take a while to get into and boy can we fall out of them quickly. That is the good kind. 🙂
      Thank you for taking time to share your ‘seven.’ I especially love #5. God is so good.
      May your week be overflowing with JOY!

  5. What a wonderful post Diane! I also enjoy starting my day with quiet solitude with the Lord before the kids awaken and the day gets going. Such great encouragement you shared today. I am thankful for:
    1. The joy of knowing Jesus
    2. Three wonderful children
    3. Divine clarity from God on some questions that needed answers for the direction of our family.
    4. A pastor who is being used to bring new life and community to our church
    5. My husband
    6. Friends who have sacrificially loved me in times of need
    7. Hobbies and the good health to do them

  6. Oh…Gotta love when arrangements get made, huh?! Creature of habit of the discipline taught me by a wise person in my life…I arise when awakened. Some say it’s an internal alarm…you’ve given me cause to pause and question just HOW that alarm goes off in me. But my time, undisturbed, in the morning is OUR time. To listen, to reflect, to praise, to confess what He already knows. I’m graced to have that time to simply BE. Sounds like you are too.

    And my seven!
    * the unyielding snow that provides me with time to create
    * the outgoing letter received by one who needed to hear the encouragement, unbeknownest to me ( pretty slick timing on G-d’s part, eh!)
    * Visits by the wee thing that colours barns rainbow colours LOL
    * the bag of gluten free goodies some nice fella gifted me…for no reason but to be kind
    * bubble baths with rubber duckies! Woohoo!
    * a dusted study!
    * being joyFILLED …cuz!

  7. Beautiful post, thank you. Here’s my seven:
    1. The love of my life, my husband of 28-1/2 years, Brian.
    2. The 21 years with my oldest son, even though to me, 21 years wasn’t long enough.
    3. The bright sunshine we had yesterday and today.
    4. My husband’s job that provides for our financial needs.
    5. My yoga class, as it keeps my back pain-free. (I have herniated disks.)
    6. My 3 kitties, who provide companionship and unconditional love.
    7. A wonderful friend who hosted girl’s night at her home last night.

    • Thank you Melanie for your kind words and for taking the time to share your ‘seven.’
      I love your grateful heart. Joy shines through each of your seven. I love how God really does redeem and bless.
      May your week be extraordinarily joy-filled!

  8. I loved reading this! Your post was definitely food for thought after a harried, just get the kids out the door, Monday morning. My seven from this past week are:

    1. That we were able to all be here together during most of the snow storm
    2. That we kept our power!
    3. Friends who offer encouragement and understanding
    4. A chance to talk to a couple neighbors instead of just waving hello
    5. A playdate for my youngest son (so often his older brother gets the chance to run off and it was nice to have things the other way and for his brother to get a bit of understanding on the feeling of being the one stuck at home with mom)
    6. A chance to marvel at the developing character of my older son
    7. A phone call from my sister

    • Oh Jean….I’m so glad it was helpful. Glory to God!
      Thanks for taking time to share your ‘seven.’ Trusting that it was a good time to pause and get your joy cup refilled. As long as we don’t lose power and don’t have to go somewhere…it is cozy to be home during a snowstorm. Glad you were safe. Rejoicing with you at God’s goodness.

  9. this is beautiful. We all could benefit from putting God first in the mornings. Stopping by from Ann’s place.

  10. maria jenkins says:

    I accidentally wondered onto your blog & what lovely spot it is. Your seven really gave me pause to think, God works in special ways to capture our attention …
    1. a surprise visit from my brother in Arizona, I live in NC. it was quite a surprise. 6. a warm & cozy home
    2. a surprise mid february snow in eastern NC. 7 a happy marriage (my fave)
    3. I got to see my 17 year old neice. She’s quite a beauty.
    4. My brother bought me a new fancy camera..quite a brother.
    5. My oldest son came home for a visit. ***Thanks for sharing

    • Maria, I’m so blessed that you “accidentally wandered” by. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.
      Oh my…God has my attention and each day brings new surprises–an unpleasant one today, and blessings.
      Thank you for taking time to share your ‘seven.’
      Maria…you have truly had a wonderful week of blessings. Rejoicing with you in God’s goodness and grace. [hugs]

  11. Beautiful post Diane!
    I love to do JOY posts too! And thankfulness posts!
    There is so much for be grateful for.
    1. My sweet husband
    2. My children, oh how I delight in them!
    3. Our home, which really does feel lovely : )
    4. Our health. I am truly grateful!
    5. Beauty! I enjoy the beauty of the earth daily. Seeing the trees, sky, flowers……
    Hugs,
    Terri

    • Thank you Terri for your kind words and for taking time to share your blessings!
      A grateful heart really is a happy heart.
      May your joy-cup overflow!

  12. my amazing husband
    our sweet grandchildren
    our wonderful dog izzy
    every new day
    bloggy friends
    the kindness of others
    laughing until it hurts

    Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

    • I’m so blessed that you would take the time to share your ‘seven’ Katie!
      We have so much for which to be grateful.
      May your weekend be overflowing with JOY!

  13. hmmmm i love lent. we have celebrated and fasted as a family now for five years. it is a powerful way to celebrate the gift that Jesus gave, to glimpse the tiny grains of sacrifice we make compared to the mountains of sacrifice he made.

    • I’m am so grateful for my little bits of sacrifice for him this year and wondering why I didn’t pursue it more in the past (other than the 40-day devotionals).
      Thanks for stopping by Lisa and leaving your thoughtful words. 🙂

  14. 1. A day of rest and worship
    2. Ham in the oven
    3. Dinner with children and grandchildren
    4. Diane, urging thankfulness
    5.Peace in chaos
    6. A pastor who shepherds
    7. A good sugar reading

    • Pamela, thank you for sharing your ‘seven.’
      Joining you in gratitude for each grace…large and small.
      May your day be overflowing with JOY!

  15. Beautiful post and blog!

    Have a great week ahead.

    xo

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