It’s Personal Prayer Journal Review

Hello Ministry Mamas! I was scrolling through Facebook one day when a friend of mine, Lauren, mentioned how much she was enjoying her daily prayer journal. I knew that if it was a blessing to her then it would be something that may benefit your life, so I asked her to give us a review of the It’s Personal Daily Journal by Steven B. Curington and sold by Reformer’s Unanimous.CE-111-2TYou can follow this link to the journals or click on the picture above to take you to the website where the prayer journal is sold. This article does not contain affiliate links.

Rating: Whole Heart

Cost: $15 for most of the personal journals, which is a price that is well worth it! 16 different cover choices are available ranging from $12.00-$17.00.

I love my “It’s Personal” journal. It has changed my walk with God dramatically. Instead of asking God for all the things I think I need and adding ‘if it is your will’ at the end, I now know how to properly pray the Lord’s will for each day of my life. The main purpose of this journal is to teach you how to ask the Lord what He wants you to pray for and then listen to the Holy Spirit as He guides you in prayer.

There are 5 main categories each day for your personal time with God:

  1. Notes from your daily Bible reading as well as notes for your daily Proverb.
  2. A place to record what God showed you through the preaching and teaching of His Word.
  3. Prayer time. This is broken up into four different sections-Praises, Needs, Forgiveness, and Protection.
  4. Questions for which you are seeking wisdom or advice.
  5. A place to record how the Lord leads or convicts you.

This is where you can record how God used you to encourage someone or how He moved in your life throughout the previous day. This sounds like a lot to do each day but it usually take about 45 minutes to an hour. There is an instruction CD that comes with the book that is VERY helpful in studying with this journal. On the CD it explains one way to use the journal if you are short on time is spend time in prayer in the morning and time reading at night. That way you get all of your personal time with the Lord, even if it is split up.

It's Personal Daily Journal Review

Benefits of using the prayer journal:

  • The journal has helped me to develop a more meaningful walk with God. I know how to listen to what He wants for me each day instead of guessing what I think I’m supposed to do and hoping it’s His will. Prayer becomes a conversation between two people instead of one person listing off their needs and running out of the door.
  • The double blessing of encouraging the right people. The encouragement section has been one of my most favorites in that there is a place where you ask God who HE wants you to encourage and how each day. I have had so many people come to me in tears, telling me that they needed encouragement the exact day and time that I gave it. Even people who I am close enough to know a lot about their lives-they were going through something that I had no idea about and the Lord used me to encourage them because I asked Him who needed it. In the past I have tried to encourage people and it seemed like they didn’t quite need it so much, that’s because they were people I wanted to encourage and not who needed it. Now the Lord tells me who and I get the blessing of helping people who truly need the help. It’s such a sweet thing to be blessed by trying to be a blessing to others.
  • The time spent with God’s teachers has been a blessing. So often I tend to only listen to sermons or lessons when I am in the church setting, but this journal showed me that I need to be doing that daily. Otherwise, it is to my spiritual life what missing a meal each day would be to my physical life.

Lauren's Bio Pic  More about Lauren:
Lauren and I went to the same church for many years and her brother and I were in the same grade. She was the little sister and was so cute (and still is!). She made me promise that I would not tell any embarrassing stories about her… and upon reflection I do not have any! Lauren could probably tell some stuff about me, that I hope will never resurface from the depths of my teenage years. If she ever does tell you anything embarrassing about me, it’s not true! I remember she had a sweet spirit and it is obvious that she still does. She was born and raised in Texas. She boasts she was “blessed with the most wise and loving parents on the planet!” (They are great people who I admire dearly.) She was saved as a girl after they came home from church one night and the Holy Spirit was convicting her about her sin and my need for the Savior. Lying in bed she asked the Lord for forgiveness from her sin and to be her Savior. Now she is married and work as a church secretary. Her husband is the youth pastor at her church and owns his own business. She enjoys working with her husband and for fun she likes to plan parties!

Book Ratings Explained

Ratings:
Whole Heart – This book is a book that is recommended with the reviewer’s whole heart.

Guard Your Heart – This book is a book we recommend with reservation. Reservation means that the reader is made aware of any ideas that are not consistent with the Word of God and by any non-Biblical doctrine.
No Heart – This book is not recommended.
Reader Alert – A “Reader Alert” means the book contains Bible verses quoted from other versions of the Bible. With this rating we encourage the reader to look up the verses in the King James Version of the Bible as you read this book.

 

The Tongue: a Tool for a Fool or a Device to be Nice? Guest Post by Karen Finn

Ministry Mamas, I want to introduce you to my new friend Karen Finn. She is the author of Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?, a teen-girl Bible study about their spiritual fruit. In the near future, we will be seeing a review of her book here at the blog. But until then,  I won’t keep you from reading this great post!               ~The Ministry Mama

Karen Finn - Tongue Guest Post 2
Next month, I will be speaking at a Ladies meeting on taming the tongue. I’m not sure why my pastor’s wife asked me to be the spokeswoman for such a tricky topic; I am certainly not an expert on the matter! But then again… who is?

Here’s a fun fact you may or may not be aware of: the female gender is known for its chattiness. A study conducted by the University of Maryland’s College of Medicine in 2013, found that on average, women speak about 20,000 words per day, while men speak only 7,000 words per day. This statistic is probably not all that surprising. Most women would agree that it’s fairly accurate. A woman’s ability to talk….and talk….is commonly joked about in social circles and portrayed in cartoons, television sit-coms, etc.

It doesn’t matter what career you have, what ministry you’re involved in or whether you are at home raising your children. As a child of God, you are responsible for your words–every single one of them. Your speech identifies you as a fool or a follower. And this “little member” (James 3:5) can be the tool for a fool or used as a device to be nice.

If you could calculate the amount of words you’ve spoken in one day, how would you categorize them? Are most of your conversations repetitive or insignificant? Does your communication with others generate laughter or a positive response? Have you used your words to encourage or bring restoration? Did you engage in a hearty discussion with a stranger, learning something new about that person? (I found out today that my cashier at Wal-Mart is a fellow chocoholic!)

First Peter 1:15-17 states, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” The word conversation in this passage is translated in the Greek as “behavior.” Our actions and attitudes are reflected by what we say, how we say it and why we say it.

Before you open your mouth to say something, please consider following these points:

1. Say what you mean. A.K.A.: “Think before you speak.”

I like the instruction given in Psalm 15:1, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Our impulse to respond abruptly or harshly to a comment can instigate a raging war; a verbal one, that is. Frequently, someone’s feelings get hurt and friendships are broken— all because one of the parties involved failed to be more patient with their tongue. It’s best for us women to think soft so that we can talk soft.

In the Bible, there is much to be said about the danger of a misused tongue. It’s been compared to a raging fire (James 3:6), a poison (James 3:8) and a razor (Psalm 52:2). Choose your words carefully; knowing that once they have been uttered, you cannot take them back. The wrong choice of dialogue can inflict much pain and heartache.

Having a discerning spirit to recognize what should or should not be said, will also be a testimony to others. Consider this statement: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26) It requires quite a bit of strength of character to NOT say what’s on your mind. What comes out of our mouths should honor God. We ought to always strive to make a good impression with what we say.

2. Mean what you say.

No one likes or respects a hypocrite and a liar. But, that is exactly how you will appear to others, if you are loose-lipped, full of gossip and known to give a false compliment or statement. Ouch.

First Peter 2:1 says, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in Chapter 4:31 gives a similar command: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” It takes a conscious effort to perform this act of “laying aside” or “putting away” the culprits of a tainted tongue.

I am so thankful that we have a God who loves us and is always ready and willing to forgive us! We don’t have to stay in bondage to our sin, but can rely on His perfect and precious promises to cleanse us and give us a fresh start. Colossians 3:9-10 explains it this way, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” This newly established relationship with our Heavenly Father is what should motivate us to speak honestly and honorably to others!

3. Don’t say it mean.

Have you ever been offended by someone’s tone of voice? It wasn’t so much what they said, but how they said it. Was the person speaking even aware that they had a poor attitude or a brusque manner in dealing with you?

Our speech has to have balance-not too hot (words of anger and rage); not too cold (rude, course talking). And, as described in Colossians 4:6, our conversations should possess grace: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Just like salt is used to flavor and enhance the taste of a food item (if used in the correct proportions), we must remember to interject a bit of grace into our speech. Grace is representative of that which is beauty, elegance and charm. When we keep this Scripture truth at the forefront of our minds (and our mouths), we will ultimately see the benefits and blessings that God bestows.

Here are some suggestions for a grace-flavored conversation:
-Be a peacemaker. Allow your words to be soothing and pleasant to hear.
-Encourage your listener by noticing a job well done or pay them a compliment.
-Try not to focus the entire discussion on your interests; share the dialogue.
-Take the time to discover another’s opinion on a matter.
-Learn to be a good listener.
-Illustrate an attitude of gratitude in all things.
-Smile and make lots of eye contact!
-Give God the glory for what He has done and is doing in your life.

As mentioned earlier in this article, a woman will speak, on average, 20,000 words a day. Rather than counting the number of words spoken, why not make your words count?

More about Karen: After years of freelance writing for both secular and Christian publications, Karen bravely ventured into the world of self-publishing and Precept Publishing was born! Karen has been involved in youth and women’s ministries for more than 20 years. As she became more familiar with teaching teen girls, Karen developed a desire to see more fundamental material provided for young women. “Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?” is much more than a Bible study book. It is a resource for women of all ages, which shows them the importance of feeding upon God’s Word daily. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Karen resides in the sunny South (South Carolina to be exact) with her family. Please visit her website at www.PreceptPublishing.com or her own personal blog called “Because The Heart Matters.”

 

Down Home Hospitality ~Guest Post~

 

Down Home Hospitality 2

Hello all! I want to introduce you to Tricia, who is a pastor’s wife in Kansas. She and her husband have been in full-time ministry for only 15 months. Tricia’s new ministry in Kansas has changed her outlook on hospitality and that is why I wanted to share her testimony and hospitality tips with you.

From Tricia:

Hospitality according to the Webster’s Dictionary, is “the generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.” According to the Apostle Paul, we, as saints, should be “given to hospitality” (Rom 12:13). In our busy and hectic lives, have we forgotten the Lord’s command to love and serve one another?

I have to be honest, I did not learn hospitality from my mother. Don’t get me wrong, my mother loved to cook and bake. She was generous with her creativity and loved to coordinate parties and get-togethers. But stop by my house unannounced, and my mother would refuse to open the door. Have you been there? The house  in chaos, the kids having toys all over the living room, unfolded laundry on the couch, dishes undone, and there is no way you are opening that door to anyone!?

I actually learned the true meaning of hospitality from my father. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, we lived about 10 miles from the Mexican border. Back then, the border was very “liquid.” People passed back and forth fairly easily, so very often, we would find people passing through our neighborhood on foot looking for work. And very often, I would find people sitting in our front yard under the shade of our mulberry tree. My father served them sandwiches and talked to them in broken Spanish. Most had walked all day, having crossed the Rio Grande early in the morning, with no food. Watching my Dad, I asked him why he would feed them, and he replied, “I have to give them bread to give them THE Bread,” speaking of the Spanish gospel tracts in his pocket.

Yes, we are to show hospitality to ALL. Not just fellow saints, but to sinners, to show them the love of Christ. Isn’t that what Christ did when he fed the 5,000? Granted, He was on a hillside and not in a home, but whereever you are, we are called to be hospitable to all.

Last year, the Lord moved us to a small town in Kansas for my husband to Pastor. I was not used to the small-town etiquette that does not require a phone call before a visit. My first inclination was to not open the door, but then I remembered the generosity of my father and the encouragement of the Apostle Paul who would open the door to all. It took some swallowing of pride and a new perspective, but now I enjoy those “drop-ins.”

6 Tips on Becoming More Hospitable

  • Don’t make hospitality hard. You don’t have to have a formal dinner party for twenty, deck your house out for the holidays so that it looks like Martha Stewart lives there, or keep your house immaculately clean all the time. Relax. Just be open and welcoming!
  • Make an effort to show hospitality regularly. Flex those hospitality muscles! Maybe once a month, invite a family from your church over for a meal. If that is too much, make it dessert and coffee. The more you are hospitable the more you will look forward to those times of fellowship!
  • Put your home in perspective. Are you paranoid about dust bunnies under the couch or dog hair on the carpet? Most visitors won’t even notice because they are there to connect with you, not to judge your housekeeping. If you are self-conscious, make it a habit to keep the room where visitors enter your home as neat as possible. Take ten minutes to declutter daily and it will help you feel more confident when people come by.
  • Be aware of how your children see you deal with visitors. Do they see you warmly welcoming people into your home, or hiding out when the doorbell rings? It will affect their thoughts on loving and serving others.
  • Extend hospitality to your church. Are you welcoming to new families and visitors? Many times, what makes your church stand out will be your show of hospitality. Do you greet people? Do you show an interest in meeting people’s needs?
  • Pray and ask the Lord to grow you in this area. Think of examples of people you know who are examples of hospitality “masters.” How do they make you feel when in their homes? How can you do the same for others?

 Final Thoughts from The Ministry Mama

My favorite quote in Tricia’s tips is, “Flex those hospitality muscles!” If opening your home is hard for you, then start small and work up to bigger things. When you are comfortable with doing something small like actually opening the door when unannounced guests arrive, then take the next step to have people over for dessert, and then a bigger step to the next thing God prompts you to do. Certainly ask God to help you, His help is the biggest key in allowing you to be successful at having down home hospitality!

More about the author:

Tricia and her family have been servants in their churches throughout the years by teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, and she even taught in a Christian school. Her husband served in the Army for 20 years and she also worked at the VA. Her 5 children are ages 11-21. She is a down home kind of gal who loves gardening, tending her little flock of 20 chickens, painting, and decorating. Tricia’s favorite ministry is ladies ministry where she loves fellowshipping and spending time with her sisters in Christ.