Important Suggestion to my fellow Journalers

If these posts are too long for you to complete, I suggest that you print off the prompt that is of current interest to you and then tape it into your journal for future reference. The prompts are such that you can do it in one sitting or you can break each idea down and use them as separate prompts. There is no set rule on how to use these prompts. They can be used as lessons for your auxiliaries too. Hope you enjoy them and may they glorify the Lord in all the ways you use them. God bless your writing experiences.

Important Note:

Most of these prompts will come from my own thoughts, but there may some that I have found from other people and want to share with you. Some of the prompts may be repeats to some of you who are members of the same online groups I am in, but I will include them for the new journalers out there reading this blog. And sometimes prompts are so good they are worth repeating. You may use a prompt over and over again and reply to it differently each time. I will give credit to prompts I find when I know the person who submitted the prompt or gave it to me by other means. If I find a journaling site that has prompts I will include them too. Thank you for your understanding.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A to Z of Gifts, Presents, and Surprises

I did this topic as a lesson plan for my preschool children one year.  It was so much fun.  We discussed the meanings of each word and then we discussed when we would receive or give them.  I wrapped boxes and have different activities inside for them to do. It was fun unwrapping the boxes.  Well, I was able to turn this topic into a prompt for us to do as a writing assignment.  It is more detailed than my preschoolers was, but will be just as fun while participating in it. 

Here is a sentence I wrote using all three words:  I am surprised at the gift that was presented to me.  The words are similar in meaning, but also different at the same time.  Let's do some writing using these words.

A.  Write the definition of each word.
B.  Write why we interchange them in our conversations.  (Some times we say "My friend gave me a gift."  "My friend gave me a present."  "My friend gave me a surprise.")
C.  Here is a list the different times, activities, or events that would be for exchanging of gifts, presents, and surprises: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, congratulations, housewarmings, welcoming to the community or club, etc., secret sisters, friend exchanges, just because, milestones, missing you, thinking of you and salvation/baptisms.  Can you think of other times we would give or receive a gift, present, or surprise?  Use the different words to write a memory you recall when you either received or gave someone something during that particular time.

My example:  I had never had a surprise birthday party before and when my daughter was in first grade she told her teacher this and they managed to give me a surprise party.  Her best friend was my best friend's daughter and between the girls, the teacher, and my friend they arranged it.  I showed up at my friend's house to pick up my daughter and there they sat with balloons, cake, and party favors.  I started crying because it was a wonderful surprise.  They had a gift for me.  And well it was just a great time.  Now the one part that was difficult is the teacher made the cake and it was chocolate.  I can't eat chocolate.  My daughter did not even think to tell the teacher.  So, I took my piece and ate one bite and then talked and opened the gift and I think they did not realize I did not finish my piece.  I did not want to be rude and I did not want to upset my daughter.  It is one of the best memories I have with my daughter. 

Another example:  One year my secret sister gave me two of the most unique gifts.  For Groundhog Day she left me a note on the pew that said my present was in the fridge.  It was a pound roll of breakfast sausage - ground hog.  And for Martin Luther King Jr's birthday she gave me a pillow so I could have my own dreams. Those were some of my most memorable presents from secret sisters.

D.  There are special ways in which we can give people the gifts, presents, and surprises: through the postal system, a delivery company, a floral shop delivery, in person, and secretively.  Write of a memory that each way brings to mind. 
E.  Fill in the following sentences:
     1.  I am surprised that _________.
     2.  I am surprised how _________.
     3.  I am surprised what _________.
     4.  I am surprised when _________.
     5.  I am surprised who ________.
     6.  I am surprised where _______.
F.  Have you ever given yourself a gift, present, or surprise?  Write about it and why you did.
G.  Did you ever receive a duplicate of a gift?  How did you handle it?  Have you ever returned a gift?  Have you ever put a gift in a yard sale and the person who gave it showed up for the sale?  Write about it and what happened. 
H.  Do you always get something from your family and friends for your birthday and Christmas?  Or do they neglect you during these times.  Write how this makes you feel.
I.  When you are watching someone else get a gift do you feel left out?  Do you covet it?  Do you act happy for her/him or can others tell you aren't as happy as you want to be about it? 
     My sisters are jealous of one another.  If I get one a surprise and the other one finds out it can make for an argument.  I have always had to spend the same amount on them and buy the same amount of items.  I got where I would just buy them the same identical thing to avoid any trouble.
J.  Are there times you want to give someone something but afraid it would not be received so well? 
    I learned how to crotchet lapkhans.  My first one was far from perfect.  My mother and I had not spoken for many years and the Lord impressed upon me to make amends with her because the gap of unforgiveness was keeping me from giving my whole heart to the Lord.  So, I decided to give my mother the first lapkhan

K.  Are you in a situation where you can't give someone a tangible gift?  Here is a list of ways you can give a gift without spending any money: 
    make a greeting card with left over craft material you have
    give your time, such as visit the person or do her dishes, etc.
    make a phone call
    send a thinking of you email note
    send a free ecard
    give an item from your own home or collection
    paint a picture
    make a craft such as needlework
    make a bookmarker for her Bible

and many other ways to give of yourself without spending money.  Write of the different times you have done something for someone and it did not cost anything.  For one of my secret sisters I gave her a gift that to this day she says is her most prized ones.  The year when the Gulf War started her brother was the sent over there and they had put his picture in the paper of the family waving good bye to him.  I was able to get the proof of that picture from the newspaper and gave it to her.  She cried and said it meant so much to her.

L.  Would you prefer a store bought gift or a treasure found from a yard sale or thrift store?
M.  Are you a benevolent card sender?  Do you send cards to people all the time?  Do you send birthday and thank you cards diligently?  Or are you lacking in the benevolence area?  Write about the type of card sender you are.
N.  Here is a unique way to give someone something special.  Give a gift of one to one of the event.  For example my friend and I turned 50 the same year.  For our birthdays we sent 50 items to one another.  I mailed all 50 of hers in time for her birthday.  And for mine she sent mine in 50 days.  That was so much fun.  A friend made me a nativity set of ceramic pieces that she painted herself.  But I got it all in a box on Dec 1.  And each piece was marked when to open.  There were 25 pieces.  And on Christmas the last piece I opened was of baby Jesus.  It was so special  and I still have it 27 years later.  You could send someone verses to match the event.  Like for a 16th birthday send 16 verses to the person.  There is so many ways you could do this type of gift giving.

O.  Write of a time you...
      gave as a random act of kindness.
      could not give at all.
      gave abundantly.
      received something you disliked.
      got exactly what you wanted.
      went into debt in order to give a gift.
      received more than you gave.
P.  At a special party write about it in terms of the scenery.  What was the event?  Where was it?  Who was all there?  Was there decorations?  Describe it in detail so if someone were to read it they would be able to "see" it through your eyes. 
Q.  Describe one of your favorite gifts.  Your least favorite.  Describe the paper or the bag.  Do you reuse the bags, bows, ribbon, or wrapping paper?
R.  Did you ever give a surprise party to someone?  Describe it.
S.  Write about your most memorable party you went to as a child.  As an adult. 
T.  Read in the Bible of the times someone was given a gift.  The most told event is when the wisemen brought gifts to Jesus.  Write as if you were there.  Describe it through the eyes of the wisemen, the shepherds, or even if you were one of the animals.
U.  The Bible speaks of the unspeakable gift.  Look up the verses that mention this.  Write them out. 
V.  The Bible is full of events when someone gave up something for someone or was the reason someone gave up something.  Tell of times you gave up something for someone as an ultimate gift. 
W.  There was the most sacrificial gift given to you and me.  It is mentioned in John 3:16.  Write how you felt when you first realized the true meaning of that verse.  Write of you salvation experience.
X.   Write of different ways you could give a gift to Jesus for His birthday celebration.
Y.   Write of the ways you were blessed this past year.
Z.  Describe how the presence of the Lord is in your life.

To wrap this prompt up, when you are wrapping a gift pray for the person it is for.  When unwrapping a gift someone has given you, pray for the person to receive a blessing too. 

May you be surprised at how this prompt has been a blessing to you.

Just for fun.

Let's play "Homonym Thinking Game"

This is just for fun and to keep your thinking skills fresh.  We journal our daily activities.  We journal using many prompts.  We write for many reasons.  Let's use this prompt to just write for fun.

I am giving you a list of words that sound the same or spelled the same but have different meanings.They are also used improperly at times.  You are to do the following with the words:

1) Write a sentence using each word separately. 
2) Write a sentence or paragraph using all three words.

List of words:

A.  to, too, two
B.  for, fore, four
C. hem, him, hymn
D. be, Bea, bee
E. dew, do, due
F. wait, weight
G. so, sew
H. sea, see
I.  read, reed
J.  knead, need
K. real, reel
L. your, you're
M. quiet, quite
N. bark, bark
O. live, live
P. read, read

Can you think of more words to fit the list?  This was just an exercise to keep your thinking skills fresh and a prompt that doesn't take too much time or too much writing.  You can even use the list of words to do other kind of writing.  Have fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Need to gain more "wait".

I have several friends who are on diets.  I hear a lot of talk about how much weight they are losing etc.  So, I started thinking about my own weight (I am not fat, I am just too short for my weight).  And then the thoughts turned into a prompt.  I got to thinking about the words"weight" and "wait".  This prompt is for the active as well as the couch potato.  The only thing you are required to do for this type of diet is to be a journaler.  You can use your own taste in the type of journal you use.  The only utensils you need in order to consume this prompt is writing utensils.  You will not have to report your responses to the group.  It will not be made public.  This is a prompt to help you gain more wait and lose some unnecessary pounds that are loading you down.  You will be able to write if you are becoming obese in some areas and if you are anorexic in others.  Let's get going and start to feel the burn of negativity and remember "no pain, no gain."

What is the main objective for a person to want to go on a diet?  They are overweight. 
What if you are a person who is overweight in negative routines?  You may need to go on a diet if you are exercising in any of these activities:

Holding grudges - this will not make your arms stronger.  You will find yourself not being able to hug someone while you are holding onto a grudge.  You will not be able to reach your hand out to someone in need if you continue to hold onto a grudge.  "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned."  James 4:9 Write about a grudge you have been holding onto.  Ask the Lord to help you let go, to drop it, and never to pick it up again.  Are you unable to forgive someone?  This will cause you to become obese  and suffer from physical ailments that need not be, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, headaches, depression and fatigue.  Journal how this verse may heal you of holding onto to grudges and unforgiveness:  Ephesians 4:31-32 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Twisting negative thoughts - Do you participate in gossip, slander, judging others wrongly, worry, anxiety, fear, and other negative thinking?  Untangle your twisted mess of thoughts and allow the Lord to be in your thoughts.  Instead of thinking negatively, go to the Word of God and write out what the Lord has to say about them.  In Hebrews 4:12 it states, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Carrying worries and stress -  I Timothy 6:7-8 says "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."  We need to turn our worries and all that is causing us to be stressed to the Lord and He will take care of these things.  Sing the song "He Will Take Care of You" and let it soothe your spirit.  Remember worry is of the devil and we should "submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  James 4:7.  Find the story of Footprints in the Sand.  Write this in your journal.  And then write about the different times in your life when "there were only one set of footprints."  Carry your worries to the altar and leave them there.

Hanging onto to resentment, guilt, past hurts, offenses of others and bitterness - You need to let go of the things you are hanging onto that keep you from taking the Lord's hand and trust Him. "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."  Psalm 16:8  In Hebrew 12:15 it states "looking diligently lest any man fall of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."  If you hang onto those things and anything else from trusting God you will also become a stumbling block for others.  Discover ways you can overcome hanging onto them and learn to trust the Lord.  Write out 5 verses on the word "trust" each day.  There are 134 verses in the N.T.  Be doing this exercise you will have written all of the verses found in the N.T. in a month.  Don't become lax in writing out verses.  Make it a journaling habit and it will aid in memorizing God's Word when you find yourself in need of hearing God speak to you and you are without a Bible.

Lifting up covetness -  Psalm 38:4  says, "For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me."  Are you finding yourself practicing some of the "thy shall nots" in the worldly exercise program of going against the Ten Commandments?  Do a research on the actions taken against those who broke those commandments in the Bible.  What are the consequences of not heeding to God's warnings?  Do a study on the words sin, transgression, and iniquity.  When you find yourself lifting up sinful thoughts, lifting up sinful ways repeat the following verse and let the Lord be your exercise partner - "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."  James 4:10

There are healthy exercises you can participate in that will be beneficial to your spiritual health.  Some of those are "Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  James 5:16  "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is nigh."  James 4:6  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14. 

What kind of diet should one partake in when shedding the unhealthy practices of the world?  Your diet should consist of "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."  Ephesians 5:11.  Ephesians 4:27 says "neither give place to the devil."  It continues to give you a diet of things you should not partake in - read Ephesians 5:25 - 30.  Your diet should be one that allows you to "be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, whcih after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."  If you remind yourself every time you are tempted to try a crash diet of ungodly ways, remember what God's Word says:  "Be not ye therefore partakers with them."  Ephesians 6:7.   Research scripture for the side effects of such crash diets.  You may feel better for awhile or feel as if you can overcome them, but you will soon see the unhealthy side effects, such as restlessness, anxiety, or insomnia.  When those invade your body, your spiritual antibodies will not be able to fight against the wiles of the devil and you will fall victim to sinfulness.

When you concentrate on a steady diet of God's Word, you will be able to shed those unwanted pounds of depression, discouragement, ungratefulness, frustration, confusion, etc.  You will be able to lose grievances. overcome temptation, and not feel the burn of the consequences of sin.  Read Lamentations 3:40, write it in your journal and let it become your way of dieting and exercising - "Let us search and try our ways and turn again to the Lord."  Let your diet consist of the fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23.  Do a word study on each one mentioned.  Write how you can feed on God's Word and apply it to your daily exercise program.

How can you free yourself of the heavy load you are handling alone?  Are you juggling a load of burdens?  Scripture says, "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22.   Participate in the exercise program as outlined in the Bible.  Look up the verses in your concordances that are this type of program's objective - casteth and casting.  Is your heart overwhelmed with those burdens?  Do the following heart smart exercise - "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."  Lamentations 3:41  And remember God wants us to "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2.

After doing the exercises discussed above have you reached your ideal weight?  Are you reaching your goal of becoming Christ-like?  Did you decide this exercise program is not for you at this time in your life?  Are you suffering from a spiritual form of anorexia?  Do you find yourself underweight in these areas- Bible reading, devotional time with the Lord and with your family, prayer time?  You need to gain more wait.  Do you feel spiritually drained?  Are you suffering from spiritual weakness syndrome due to lack of listening to the Lord?  You need to take a dose of God's Word and you will gain in wait. "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31  Other areas you will gain in is wisdom and knowledge.  The Bible is full of ways to gain in these areas.  "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."  Proverbs 4:7  Where one must learn about a physical diet so must one learn about their spiritual diet.  Along with daily Bible reading, devotional time, prayer time, and fellowship with other Christians remember to attend church services in order to gain strenght in your Christian walk and benefit from your spiritual diet.  Let this be part of your spiritual  exercise to continue a life time - "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."  Hebrews 10:25.

Losing the weight of the world and gaining in the wait for the Lord is the goal of this prompt.  May you find this prompt healthy for your journaling routine.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Remember falling in love...

     Awhile back I was waiting, not so patiently, to drive in front of the WalMart so I could go down the row and find a parking place.  Have you ever noticed that the people exit the doors and walk out in front of the cars without looking either way.  I suppose they think that the drivers will look out for the pedestrians.  Well, sometimes I get a little irritated at this.  This particular time was no exception.  Only something caught my eye and immediately took my mind off my irritation and brought my thoughts back to God.

     A young couple, probably in their late teens, was walking towards the entrance of the store.  Now, I normally would've gotten upset because they had no idea they had just walked out in front of a car.  They were so engrossed in one another's company.  So why was this different than the other times I would get irritated?  I noticed something about the girl that I hadn't seen in myself in a very long time.  She had her arm intertwined in his.  She was looking up at him with such adoration.  And she was captivated in whatever he was saying.  Of course I started to think to myself - "yeah, you probably don't have any idea about the sports or cars he is talking about, but you love him so much you would never let on you don't care about the things he is saying.  You only care about him at this moment."  Then another fleeting thought came to mind.  "Boy, are you in for a rude awakening."  BUT! The Lord stopped my thoughts and I dismissed the negative thoughts immediately.  The wonderful thing that the Lord wanted me to notice about this relationship was the fact that "they enjoyed one another's company so much that they were unaware of their surroundings and the people watching them."  So, how did this relate to something I haven't seen in myself in such a long time?  Yes, it could be I haven't felt such adoration for my husband like that for the longest time.  I haven't always enjoyed his company.  We don't have stimulating conversations.  And we never walk arm in arm or even beside one another in public.  I need to work on finding those feelings again.  You know the ones when you look forward with anticipation to his arrival.  You hang onto his every word, even if what he says is not the least important to you.  You yearn for his companionship.  Your heart skips a beat or two just from the sight of your husband. 

     I would like to say that is what the Lord had me realize while watching the love struck couple.  But it is not so.  What the Lord had me realize was that I have not felt that way about HIM in a very long time.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the Lord.  I enjoy my time I make for Him (caught that didn't you?).  I long to hear what He has to say.  Only, it has been quite awhile since I gazingly looked up to my Heavenly Father with adoration.  I haven't been such a wonderful companion to Him.  I do more talking (rather arguing and asking- or is it more demanding?) than I do listening to the Lord.  I mope, moan, groan, and complain, just like I do  in my marriage, in my relationship with the Lord.  No wonder He had that couple cross my path.  It took strangers to make me realize I have been estranged from the Lord.

     When did I fall out of love with the Lord?  When did I stop looking forward to His arrival and His conversations?  When did I lose the skipping of the heartbeats upon seeing Him?  When did I leave the Lord in our relationship?  I have not severed myself from Him.  I still love the Lord, but sometime or another my part of our relationship became estranged.  I am still faithful to my Heavenly Father, but I am somewhat liken to a teenager.  I know everything and my Father can't teach or tell me anything new.  I stopped being "daddy's little girl" and went on my own merry way.  I haven't left Him, just "lost that loving feeling."  I don't have time to maintain the relationship we once had.  The relationship one has when they first get saved.  That this is the best feeling in the world and this is the best thing that has ever happened  to me feeling.  But through the irritation of a young couple, the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that the feeling is still there for Him.  He has never stopped loving me nor yearning for my company.  He has never stopped listening to me with sincerity.  He has never stopped caring about me.  He has not fallen out of love with me.  He longs for us to have that relationship we had in the beginning of our journey together.  He wants me to walk hand in hand or arm in arm with Him.  He longs for me to be engrossed only in Him, not so busy in my worldly duties and activities.  He has been looking forward with anticipation of my arrival back to Him.  He has not been too busy to visit with me or just listen to me in my time of need.  He has made time for me because He loves me unconditionally, but, it must sadden Him so to know that I neglect Him so often.  I don't mean to.  I really have every intention to spend time with Him.  I really do... Have your ever been to that point where the Lord has to put a stranger in your path and cause great irritation before you will listen to what He has to say?

     I realize that it is a busy time and one probably says to oneself several times a day - "where has the time went?"  And then one probably says - "I didn't get half of what I wanted to get done today, Or I didn't have time for myself today."   But more truthfully, one probably has said more than once today - "I didn't have time to open my Bible; I didn't have time to spend any devotional time with the Lord."  And most honestly, "I didn't make time for the Lord today, even though He has given me 24 hours to work with."  I can testify to that most definitely.

     Do you yearn for more time with the Lord?  Do you want to walk with Him down the pathway of life, arm in arm?  Do you need to rekindle your feelings and put the joy back into your relationship with the Lord?  Do you long for a loving relationship with Him?  Do you desire the Lord to be in your life 100%?  Are you willing to fall back in love with Him as you first did the day you got saved?  First things first.  You must come to realize that Jesus says in I Jn 2:15-17 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

     It is God's will for us to return the love He has for us.  To know what God's will is for your life you must read His Word.  And more than that, you must as James tells us in Jms 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."  Once one realizes what God wants from her, it is her responsibility to go and do what the Lord wants.  In this case that we are discussing - loving the Lord thy God "with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. 6:6), that is the will of God.    Scripture says, I Jn 2:3-6 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

     We can begin this new walk in our relationship with the Lord together.  He doesn't want us to go alone.  He wants us to  have a relationship with one another also.  One that will uplift us in our walk with the Lord.  Mt 5:6 says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."  Do you hunger and thirst after God's righteousness?  The Lord will fulfill that hunger.  A verse you can reflect on in your journal writing is found in Ps 107:9 "For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." 

     It is so good to be able to share with you in your journaling experiences.  We can write about our desires and how our soul longs to have a righteous relationship with the Lord. We can write about how He fills our lives with such wonderful friends.  That is the "goodness" part you can look forward to Him filling your life with.  One may never be a millionaire, but when you have friends and family who will support you and pray for you and love you, that my friend is priceless.  You can find satisfaction through Jesus Christ.  Give it a try.  Show the Lord as much love as you first did when you accepted Him into your heart and found true salvation.  Begin that rebuilding of a relationship with Him that you had in the beginning.  He will satisfy your longing.  He will fill your hunger.  And this is what the Lord had me realize on my trip to WalMart that day.  Thank you for letting me share this with you.  I love you dearly.  Let's walk in love with the Lord together. 

     I hope you have been prompted to write about how you remember falling in love with Lord.  You can also write about when you first fell in love with your husband.  Remember looking at your newborn for the first time? You immediately fell in love with him/her.  Write about that.  Write about others you love dearly such as family members and friends. 

     If you haven't been writing in your journals lately, may you be prompted to fall back in love with journaling again.  God be with you as you journey down memory lane with your pen and paper today...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are you an ethical person?

I had an assignment this week in my corporate finance class where I had to answer two questions.  After answering them I got to thinking of how they would make good prompts for journaling.  I have included my actual post to the homework assignment.  After reading it you will find the questions that the homework discussion questions prompted me to write...

What is ethics?This article summarized what ethics is in such a way that it was easy to understand...
Some years ago, sociologist Raymond Baumhart asked business people, "What does ethics mean to you?" Among their replies were the following:
"Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong.""Ethics has to do with my religious beliefs.""Being ethical is doing what the law requires.""Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts."
"I don't know what the word means."
A person following his or her feelings may recoil from doing what is right. In fact, feelings frequently deviate from what is ethical. Nor should one identify ethics with religion. Most religions, of course, advocate high ethical standards. Yet if ethics were confined to religion, then ethics would apply only to religious people. Being ethical is also not the same as following the law. The law often incorporates ethical standards to which most citizens subscribe. But laws, like feelings, can deviate from what is ethical.  Finally, being ethical is not the same as doing "whatever society accepts." In any society, most people accept standards that are, in fact, ethical. But standards of behavior in society can deviate from what is ethical.

What, then, is ethics? Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.
Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.

If you follow all applicable rules and regulations, are you an ethical person?
Marshel's response:
It depends on what who is setting the rules and regulations.  What if you were to join an organization that had in their bylaws "to be a member of this elite group of individuals you must participate in the illegal selling of your prescription drugs."  If you have a legitimate prescription for your medicine than it would not be unethical to take that said "drug".  But it is against the law to sell your prescription drugs to other individuals.  So, that is not ethical because you are breaking the laws of your governmental body.  But, now to the organization you are wanting to join.  To be a member you must participate in selling of prescription drugs.  That is their rule and regulation.  Following what is required of you to be a member would be ethical.  But the organization is unethical.  I believe an ethical person would not join such an organization. 

I consider myself an ethical person.  I try my very best to follow the rules of the land, but I have been distracted before and ran a red light.  I have accidentally neglected to stop at a stop sign.  I catch myself going over the speed limit at times.  So, even an ethical person will unintentionally break the rules occasionally.

Those are just examples of an ethical person following the rules and regulations. 
Again, I consider myself an ethical person, but if rules and regulations cause me to be unethical, than I would not work for that company long nor join an organization.  I also do not keep company with unethical people but I know many.  Am I unfriendly to every person who is unethical?  No, but I do not want to be associated with their behavior or ways.  I know people who follow many rules and regulations while they are in public, but participate in illegal behavior "secretly".  They are ethical in the eyes of public, but not behind closed doors.

That question in my opinion cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.

Now for the prompts... These are to be recorded in your personal journal and not shared on public domain.

In your own words, what are ethics?
What are your moral beliefs?

Do you have religious beliefs and what are they?
Have you ever done anything immoral, illegal, or unethical?
Does your church have a covenant of what is expected of the members?  Do you adhere to each and every one of the statements in the covenant?
Are there things you would do if you knew you would not get caught?
If you know a family member or friend was doing something illegal would you inform the proper officials?
Do you find yourself having to resist temptation in certain areas of your life?
Do you still participate in sinful acts that you committed before you were a born-again Christian?
Are you suffering consequences of your sinful behavior even though you no longer are participating in those behaviors?
Are you an ethical person when people are watching but guilty of unethical behavior behind closed doors?
Has your unethical behavior in the past never been discovered by anyone?
Do you continue to feel guilty of your past even though you have asked the Lord to forgive you of it?
Do you know of people who seem to get away with being unethical or immoral?  What if you did the same thing?  What do you, as a child of God, think would happen to you?
Have you "thought" of being unethical before, but never acted upon it?
Would you ever step over the line if you were ever tempted?
Do you find yourself wishing you could do something ethically wrong just once?
Do you break any of the Ten Commandments?
The most important question though is:
Would Jesus consider you an ethical person?

These prompts are on a very personal level.  They are to prompt you to write in your personal journal only.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Did you catch that?

Lately I have been saying "what?" or "huh?" more than usual.  I have had my hearing checked back when I had that rhinoplasty (never again...). The ENT doctor said my hearing was fine.  So, has it changed and getting bad or am I just not listening and comprehending what people are saying?  Well, the other day my grandson was telling me something and I was not paying attention right away and he had to repeat himself.  Finally after saying what? so many times, he said, "grandma did you catch that?"  And from that question I started getting into prompt mode and came up with this one...

He had asked me if I caught what he was saying?  Did he actually throw the words at me to catch?  No, it is just a saying.  Look up the origin of that saying (or others that interest you).  Record the meaning.  Then write how it relates to your situation.

There are other things people can catch, such as a ball.  Think back on when your children play ball or when you, yourself, played ball.  There are many types of "playing ball".  Bouncey balls, baseball, basketball, football, tennis ball, tether ball, volleyball, ping pong ball, and so on.  I have memory or more of each one of those types of balls mentioned.  I could spend many hours just writing those memories.  Choose a memory from someone playing ball and write about it. Make a new memory and play ball with your grandchildren or other children in your life.  Something about a ball and children make for happy times.

We can catch a cold.  Now there is something we don't want to catch.  But it is one of the easiest things to catch.  Do you have memory you could write about that came about during a time you had a cold or someone else may have had a cold.  Good ole chicken soup and lying in bed resting type of memories.  The only time my mother paid attention to me was when I was sick.  I got pneumonia every year and would be hospitalized.  So, a cold definitely provided me with better memories of my mother.  What good memories could a cold provide a person to write about?  Here in Oklahoma we suffer from many environmental allergies and that offers many chances to say "bless you" to the chronic sufferers of allergies.  Do you have any memories of sneezing and people offering a bless you?

Have you ever tried to catch a falling star?  Now there is something I have tried to do.  Falling stars are hard to catch as a child but tremendously hard to do as an adult.  But I keep trying.  My very favorite quote came from a Reader's Digest entry by a child about the age of 7 or 9 maybe.  I do not recall his name anymore because I found the quote my senior year and that was in 1977.  Anyway, I just have to claim it as borrowed and here it is:
I saw a star.
I reached for it.
I missed.
So, I accepted the sky.

I have many memories of trying to catch a star and watching falling stars and wishing upon them.  I watched many meteorite showers in my time.  Do you have any memories like that to write about?  Have you ever tried to catch one with your grandchildren?  Just looking at the stars can provide many prompts for writing.  Afterall it is the Lord who made such a wonderful creation.  If He can make them shine years and years and years then He is capable of making you shine too.  Do you know the names of some of the constellations?  Have you ever tried to count the stars?  What about the nights when it is too light to see the stars?  Or so dark you needed to find a star?  Trying to catching a falling star is very good memory exercise.  Try it sometime.

Catching diseases is something people do.  And that is things we don't want to catch.  Do you have memories of times when you may have been exposed to a communicable disease?  I have had measles and mumps and I can write about those times.  Not so fun times but nonetheless something to remember.  I can write about the times I tried to teach children the importance of washing their hands and the silly things they do or say when washing them.  We also teach them to sang happy birthday twice while washing them to wash those nasty germs away.  Write about the ways you taught your children to keep germs away.  Write about the times you may have been worried about catching a disease and what you felt about it.  Are you suffering from a disease and it is causing you undo stress and physical harm?  Write about how you handle it and how others can learn from it.  Do an extensive study in the Bible of the diseases that the Lord helped people get well from.  Sometimes people are stricken with diseases that no matter how much we pray they still do not get healed from that disease.  Write about people you know who are ill and pray for them to be healed or for them to have comfort during the trying times of the disease.  Write out prayers for people you do not know but are suffering from diseases.  Send cards to people you know who are in the hospital and will not be able to come home or send get well cards to friends and family that you know are ill but do not have an opportunity to visit.  Use this as a time to do some "catching up" and thought I would send you a "how are you doing" card.

And as my grandson reminded me, there are the expressions that people say that we can catch.  There are such a vast amount of things I could write that my students have said over all of these years.  And my grandchildren are always providing me with things they say that I include in my journal writing and with you all too at times.  Did you catch that?  Next time you hear someone say something cute or silly or just downright important write it down for later.  People say the greatest things for prompts.  And advertisements provide prompts for writing.  Church marquees provide sayings worth writing about.  Do some active listening and you will surely catch something to write about.

Now we have discussed things that people catch.  But what about the things people drop?  That could provide many things to write about.  We drop items in our hands.  We drop hints or clues in our conversations or even in our writing (read between the lines).  We drop bad relationships/friendships.  We drop mail in the mailbox.  Those examples can provide you many prompts.  I know I have written many, and I do many journals on relationships and friendships that I have had to drop or been dropped from. 

To catch something that thing must be thrown first.  Can you think of things to write about that are thrown?  How about snowballs?  Now that could be some fun memories for those of us who live in areas that get snow.  But here are two things that people throw and shouldn't - hurtful words and insults.  I have spent many hours writing about this in my journals.  The Lord was there while I was writing about it wiping the tears from my eyes so I could see the pages I was writing on.  Are there situations like that when someone threw you hurtful accusations or words or insults and it just hurt really really bad?  If you are still suffering from those memories ask the Lord to help you get over them so you can move on with your life.  Write about how you were able to overcome situations like that and become victorious in the Lord.

If you don't catch something you end up having to pick it up.  Write about things you pick up.  We pick up our children when they fall or just want to be held. We pick up the yard of debris or weeds.  We pick people up from places to take them somewhere else.  We pick up the house when it is cleaning time.  We pick up a card during card games.  I know those examples provide me with lots of memories to write about.  But here is one thing we don't want to pick up.  People's bad habits. Or maybe people don't want to pick up your bad habits.  Do you have any thing like that you could write about and change? 

Well, I hope that you have caught on to how "catchy phrases" can provide you with many prompts to write about.  I have to go now I will "catch you later".  Or as I sign off in my buddy journal entries "ketcha later"...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Trust and Obey

August is the month that children are preparing to go off to school once again.  Parents are having to buy school supplies, new clothes, enroll their children, make arrangements for them to get to and from school and so on.  But what is more important than all of that is are the parents preparing their children to learn more than academics?  They need to learn social skills, self-help skills, and citizenship skills.  As Christian parents they should be teaching their children how to obey the Word of God and grow up in a scripturally sound church.  For those who have to send their children to public schools, parents have to learn to trust the school system and those who care for the children.  So, this prompt will be based on trusting and obeying those who are in authority in school and trusting the Lord to care for your children first and foremost.

As a parent start now and pray for your child's safety.  Before school even starts write out prayers for your child to stay out of harm's way.  Write out prayers for each of the staff at the school.  Pray for all who will be of an influence to your child.  Pray for all who will touch your child's life throughout the school year.  Continue to hold the school system, administration, and staff in prayer daily.

It is hard for parents of preschool-aged children to send them off to school at such an early age.  If you have to send your child to preschool, write out your concerns and share them with the Lord.  Pray that you will be able to trust the teacher and other staff to properly care for your child.  And write out your prayers for the Lord to help you deal with detachment issues.  Find other parents that you know and discuss the concerns of leaving your young child at school.  You will make it through the school year, but writing about the different problems you may have with the school or teacher will help you put the matter in perspective.  You can also reread what you wrote at the end of the year and see how the Lord provided help all along.

As a teacher I have witnessed many times children who have no respect for authority.  Teach your children to respect those in authority at school.  Explain how important it is for them to obey the teacher and other staff.  Start a journal with your child and write the names of all the people who are involved with your child on a daily basis at school.  Let them know how they can pray for them too.  No matter how old a child is, he/she can pray for others.  Take time to pray together about matters at school.  This will show your child how when things get rough or things don't go right that he/she can always pray and depend on the Lord to help them at school.  If there is not an adult to pray with them, they can learn to pray by him/herself.

If a child disobeys in school there are consequences.  It may be a check mark, loss of privilege or tangible item, or other disciplinary action.  Explain to your child that when one disobeys they must suffer some form of discipline.  Share with your child how the Lord will also chastise His children if they disobey.  When you must administer discipline explain it where the child will understand.  And always let them know that they are loved.  It is the misbehavior that you do not love.  Write the incident down in a journal and how you handled it whether it was positive or negative.  Write how the child responded.  Pray that the misbehavior will turn into appropriate behavior.  Praise your child for good behavior.

If you have not raised your child in a Christian home, it is never too late to begin.  Turn to the book of Proverbs for wisdom on life's issues.  Go to your pastor and ask for help in being a Christian parent.  Read godly books on parenting.  And pray for your child to accept Jesus as his/her Savior and to grow into a Christ-Like Christian.  We trust their lives with school caretakers, but more importantly we must trust our children's lives in the care of the Lord.  We need to trust them to Jesus.  Pray for their salvation as well as their safe protection.  Record these prayers and trust the Lord to answer them.  Write your prayers about being a good parent and how you need the Lord to help you raise your children in church and that you will be a godly example.  Your children will follow in your footsteps.  Pray that you are walking in the way of the Lord so your children will not fall, stumble, slip, or go off the strait and narrow path.

Discuss with your children the type of people they should be aware of and the inappropriate actions some adults will do.  Record these discussions in your journal and pray that your child will be spared from the destructive behavior some adults participate in.  They are out there and it is our duty to protect our children by making them aware of the evil that lurks out there.  We should not go about mistrusting everyone, but we should always pray that we are surrounded by trustworthy caretakers.

For further writing activities, do a word study on trust, trustful, trusting, trustworthy.  Do another word study on obey, obedient, obedience.

Here are some verses on trust and obey that you can write out.  Ask the Lord to let you know which ones you should memorize:
Ps 25:3; 31:6; 40:3; 55:23; 62:8; 115:9; 118:8; 143:8; 144:2; Prov 28:26; Is 30:10; Nah 1:7
Deut 11:27; Josh 24:24; ISam 15:22; Jer 7:23; Acts 5:29; Ro 6:16; Ep 6:1; Col 3:22; II Thes 1:8; Heb 13:17; IPet 1:22; IPet 4:17

Here are synonyms you can write out in your journal:
Trust - confidence, faith, belief, assuredness, reliance, certainty, sureness, conviction, responsibility, charge, care, obligation, custody, guardianship, safekeeping, protection
Obey - comply with, be ruled by, follow orders, submit to respect, observe, be regulated, abide by, be governed by, mind, heed, submit to, bow to.

Record antonyms in your journal and write statements on how you will commit your ways unto the Lord and not be like - insubordinate, rebellious, resistant, disobedient, revolting, mutiny, mistrustful, distrustful, doubtful, disbelieving, discredited, questionable, uncertain.

Questions to answer in your journal -
As a student was there a teacher you trusted?  Was there other staff you trusted?  Write what made them special to you.
Write about the different friends you had in school.  Was there one particular friend you could trust above all of the rest? 
Did your parents support you and your career throughout your school years? 
Write about your grades, the extra-curricular activities you were involved in.  How did these prepare you for adulthood? 
Did you obey your school authority?  
Write what characteristics you believe make a good teacher.  Pray that those are the same characteristics your child's teacher possesses. 

Read the different parables Jesus told in the Bible.  Write about the different ways Jesus taught people.  Write how Jesus is the greatest teacher of all times.

Remember to encourage your child to trust and obey.  And remember your child is watching you to see if you are trusting and obeying.  I have seen too many times where the obedient child will end up following the disobedient child and start getting into trouble.  Start praying now for your child's future friends.  Pray that as they grow up and go into the higher grades that they will make right choices in friendships and other decisions they will have to make.  Pray that each year the teachers will show love and respect to your child.  Pray that the school system will be a positive influence to your family and that your child will grow up to be a productive citizen and will be a positive example to others. 

Here are some songs you can write the lyrics out in your journal and commit them to heart:
Trust and Obey
Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Many Best Friends

My five year old granddaughter's circle of friends are always saying "she's not my best friend anymore."  And this is really traumatizing to them. I got to thinking that about best friends.  And I realized that the word "best" means one.  That none other can compare or come close to being that one best.  Only I can't say I have only one best friend.  I have many best friends.  And so a prompt came from that idea.

For a new journal you can divide it into a timeline of recording your many best friends.

In grade school you have many best friends.  You may have "Sally" as your best friend on Monday and on Tuesday you have "Trisha" then on Wednesday "Penny" is your best friend.  Well, Sally starts being best friends with Trisha and Penny wants to play with "Linda" so you don't have a best friend on Thursday.  And so on and so on.  Write about the many best friends you had in grade school.  Each year you move up a grade and each year you have a one best friend in that grade.  Do you remember your friends from grade school?  Write of some of the fond memories you have playing with them.  Are you still friends with anyone from those early school years?  If you haven't corresponded with some of them for long periods of time, send a card and let them know you were reminiscing and wanted to say hello.

In Junior High having more than one friend can be a little dramatic at times.  Each person wants to be accepted by one special best friend and if that person shows an interest in making new friends you may get upset.  Junior High and adolescence is a rough time for friendships.  Did you have a friendship that was unbreakable?  Or did you have a friendship during that period that "someone or something" came between you?  Is that relationship still estranged?  Pray about it and if it was meant to be reunited the Lord will provide the path to renewing your friendship.  Write about what may have caused your bond to be broken.  If you are still friends with your Junior High friend write about what makes it still a special bond.

High School is a time of busyness.  You have a lot of friends doing many different things.  Write about your friendships during these grades.  Write of the things you did that made it a special time.  Were there times that being friends with someone may have caused you distress?  Did you ever experience situations where your "best" friend did not actually consider you her best friend?  Were you in a circle of friends that if one was mad at someone or did not like what someone was wearing you could not talk to that person who she is mad at or you couldn't talk to the person wearing the wrong clothes?  Do you have a long lasting friendship that was established in High School?  Write about these many best friends in High School.

Write about the many best friends you have had that may no longer be in your life.  Write about those reasons why they haven't been a part of your life any longer.  People come and go and some stay.  Write about those people who were important at one time but for whatever reason are no longer on your list of people who are your best friends.

There are other types of best friends you can journal about:
Best friends at church
Best friends at work
Best friends in the neighborhood
Best friends from online groups

Did or do you have pen pal friends?  Have you have an opportunity to meet that person?  Write about your experience meeting your pen pal.  Or have you met anyone that is an online friend?  Record that meeting.
Did you go to church camps when you were younger?  Write about those friendships.
Did you stay with a relative in another town or state during the summer months and strike up a friendship there?  Write about those summer friendships.

Did you have friendships that were not accepted by the popular crowd in school?  Write how these friendships effected your life.

Best friends can also be relatives.  Do you have a cousin who is your best friend?  Or is your sister or brother your best friend?  Is your husband your best friend?  Write about these different best friends in your life and how important they are to you.  

Now, there is someone who wants to be your best friend.  He is Jesus Christ.  Look up verses about friends found in the Bible.  Write about the ways Jesus IS your best friend.  Write about the ways you need to be able to honestly say I am a friend to Jesus Christ. 

Search the different friendships found in the Bible.  Write about failed relationships in the Bible.  Write about the characteristics of being a friend as mentioned throughout the Bible. 

If you could have been friends with anyone in the Bible who would you call friend?

Does anyone call you her/his best friend?  Are you a good best friend?  What makes you others would want to have a friendship with?  Could you be a better best friend? 

What are the different things you have learned from your many best friends? 

Do you correspond with your friends on the phone?  on the Internet?  Via snailmail?  Write about the different ways you keep your friendships alive. 

Find poems about friends.  Search blogs that are you haven't read and can make the blogger your new friend.  Join online groups and make new friends in the virtual world that can very well turn into a real life friendship.

And very important:  pray for your past friends, your current friends, and your friends you have yet to meet.

May you know how blessed you are to have many best friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A "Door" Beyond Describing...

Working at a retail store, I am required to greet each person when they come into the store.  When I hear the doorbell ring no matter what I am doing I am supposed to tell the person entering "hello" or some form of that greeting.  If I am stocking merchandise in the back, I am to stop and go to the front and greet my customers.  So, I listen for the doorbell.  It is more of a bell chiming.  Whatever the sound, it is there to alert me of customers entering the store.  Now, why would such a small gesture be of a requirement?  First, it is to let the customers know we are glad they are visiting our store.  But, one more reason... it is to let potential shoplifters know we are aware they are in our store and we will be watching them.  That being said, I started thinking of how important doors are and from that well, you guessed it, I developed another prompt.  This prompt is about doors, but more importantly, about doors mentioned in the Bible.

The following are types of doors mentioned in the Bible and the verses where they can be found.  Write the verse and record what kind of door it is.  Do a research of the different types of other doors you can find in the Bible.  Record what the door represents.  Are these any doors you have come in contact with yourself?  Write about the many doors and what they mean.

Door of opportunity  IICor 2:12
Door of heaven  Ps 78:23
Door of hope  Hos 2:15
Door of faith  Acts 14:27
Door of my lips  Ps 141:3
Door of utterance  Col 4:3

Other verses relating to doors are:
God's doorkeeper  Ps 84:10   Write why you think God would need a doorkeeper?  What if God would ask you to be His doorkeeper?  A

There is a door of the gate in Ezek 9:14.  Do a word study on gates too.

Let's discuss rooms that have doors:

We are familiar with the prayer closet mentioned in Mt 6:6.  Do you have a special place that you use for a prayer closet?  Describe it in your journal.  Is this a place you frequent daily? or occasionally?  Is this a place of reverence to the Lord or a place you go to to murmur, gripe, and complain?  Do you enter the closet in haste or for quality time with the Lord?  Do you avoid entering the closet?  Do you keep the door closed or is there a "open for business" sign on all the time?  Is there a door that needs to be oiled because it's hinges have not been opened in some time?  Is there a special time you enter the door to your prayer closet?  Discuss your time inside of the closet with the Lord.

There are doors to your house.  Your front door, back door, garage door, kitchen door, bathroom door, office door, craft room door, playroom door, den door, and bedroom door.  Describe in your journal what we will find if we were to enter through those particular doors as a visitor to your home.  Now, think of those doorways as an opportunity to pray.  Pray for those people that go through those doors.  Pray for what the people who use those doors daily.  An example:  when you go through the bedroom doors pray for the person who sleeps there.  Pray for the person to have rest and peace while sleeping.  Going through the kitchen door, pray for each person who will be eating there that day.  Entering the bathroom pray for each person in your household to remain healthy.  When going through your garage door to get into your car, pray for a safe trip for you and your family.  Do you have a special place that you sit and journal?  When entering through that door, pray that the Lord will provide you with opportunities to write things that will glorify Him. 

There are other doors you can use as opportunities to pray.  Grocery store doors, convenient store doors, retail doors, hospital and medical clinic doors and restaurant doors.  My favorite door is to a library door or a used book store door.  Use these doors mentioned and others you can think of as a prompt to write out prayers for those who enter them.  List other doors that you may enter.  Describe the people who enter them.  Describe what you expect to happen when going through those doors.

Let's discuss four types of doors: 
The traditional wooden - you cannot see through it.  Look at the door and think of what others may expect to see through that door.  Example:  does the person expect to see a clean house?  Does the person expect to find shelter on the other side of that door?  Now ponder on this:  if the person were standing on the other side of the door and could not see through it, but could hear what was being said on the other side, what would she/he hear?  Would there be words that are expressing love?  Would the person hear screaming and yelling?   Would there be laughter from the children?  Would the Lord feel ashamed of what He heard while standing there listening?  Write what people would hear on the other side of your wooden door?  Now is what you have written something you need to change? 

The door with glass inlay designs:  These are doors that are beautiful for the eye to behold.  From the outside they are a work of art.  But when you try to peer through it to see inside the things you see will be distorted.  Is this how others see you?  A Christian on the outside, but when one tries to befriend you do they see a more distorted you?  One of standoffish?  One who has no sympathy for others?  One who feels they are better than others?  Worse off, would that distorted picture be one of hypocrisy?  Or would what the person see through that beautiful glass be one that is inviting and the person wants to enter the room?

A screen door:  one can see through it but yet it offers some security.  The images can still be distorted but you are able to make out them better.  And you are able to hear more clearly what is being said.  The screen door is used more for allowing the fresh air in and keeping the flies and other creatures out.  Is your life like the screen door.  One that allows for fresh information to penetrate your thinking?  Does it provide security to keep out the unwanted things that may enter if the door were open?  Such as, sinful things, sinful thoughts, sinful actions? 

The half-door;  this door is for people to be able to stand and see in the other room and to be able to openly talk to the people in it?  But the bottom part is closed so other things like small children or animals will not enter it.  Now look at your you use the half door?  Do you let others see into your life only half way?  Do you only let the Lord talk to you at the half door and keep Him from entering?  Describe what makes your life like the half door.  What could cause you to open the bottom half?

Occasionally doors need to be cleaned.  The wooden door must be cleaned with a cleaner specially made for wood.  The glass door uses glass cleaner.  There are doors that need to have a power sprayer taken to it.  Whatever the type of door, there are special cleaners made just for that type of door.  Does the door to your life need cleaning?  Do you daily ask the Lord to clean you of your sins?  Does He need to use a more powerful cleaner at times?  Does He use only need to use a soft paper towel at other times?  Do you feel that He needs to use a power sprayer on things you have not forgiven yourself of yet?  Describe how you feel the Lord needs to clean you of your sinful ways.  If you have not sinned today, then your door does not need cleaning.  But what if someone else has entered through that door and is a sinner?  That person needs cleaning and since she/he has entered through your door as a sinner it is your responsibility to pray for that person's salvation.  Lead her/him to the Lord.

There are verses that discuss doors where the Lord is present.  Stand at the door Rev 3:20.  Jms 5:9
Open doors: Rev 3:8, Rev 4:1, Col 4:3, Mk 2:2 and 2 Cor 2:12  Everlasting door  Ps 24:7  A great and effective door I Cor 16:9

How do we know there is someone at the door?  Door bells, door chimes, and door knockers are helpful.  Occasionally you will hear someone yell "hello is anyone there?"  Write of times you know the Lord was knocking and you did not open that door.  Write of times that someone was at your door but you did not answer it.  Write of times when you went to a friend's house and knocked and they weren't there.  Write about that same friend who's car was in the driveway but did not answer.  How did that make you feel?  How do you think the Lord feels when you ignore His knocking? 

There are many people who come to our doors but never enter them.  Some would be your mail carrier, the delivery person, church people, strangers, politicians, utility workers.  Pray for these people.  Write a thank you note to your mail carrier and leave in the mail box.  Use those people as a part of your prayer list.

There are people who should never enter your doors.  Thieves, scam artists, drug addicts, etc.  Pray that your home will be protected and that no harm will come to those who enter and leave from those doors.  Pray for those who should not enter in your home.   Read Jn 10:12.  Do you know anyone like this?

Read Mk 16:3  Is there a stone in the door of your life that needs rolled away in order for Jesus to enter in?  Write of this rock and what needs to be done for the rock to be rolled away.

Write out the 10th chapter of John and how Jesus is the Door and how the door is the Shepherd.  Is this true of your life?

Doors have to be physically opened and closed, but there are time that the wind can swing a door open or close it.  Is the door to your life easily opened or does it take a strong force to open it?  Does sin enter through that door as invisible as the wind?  Describe how one needs to enter your life's door.

In Jms 5:9 it discusses the judge's door.  Are you the judge or should you be judged?  There are many who live behind prison doors (Act 5:19)  Are you living in bondage to something?  Are you looking through a prison door of sin?  Have you found yourself guilty of something for which you cannot forgive yourself? Allow the Lord to use a battering ram and knock that door down and allow you freedom to pass through it. 

There are things people put on their doors, such as decorative wreaths, golden door knockers, etc.  When one goes to your door of your heart is there a "keep away" sign there?  Or is there a "welcome" sign there? 

How often do you go to a stranger's or a neighbor's door and knock to visit or ask if there is something you could do for them?  My husband knocks at stranger's doors and ask if he could haul off their junk for free.  How often do you share with others that the Lord is knocking at their heart and offers salvation for free? 

There are doors you should avoid.  Doors to bar establishments.  Doors to pornography stores.  Doors when someone wants privacy.  Do you find yourself turning the handles of doors you should not enter?  Are there things you are doing behind closed doors in private you should not be doing?  Write these things down for only your eyes and ask the Lord for forgiveness.  Tear it up and praise the Lord for helping you gain victory over these sins. 

This has been a long prompt about a simple inaminate object called a door.  One more question:  Are you a friendly door greeter or are you the mean guard dog who growls at whoever comes to the door? 

May you never close the door to your heart for others who need Jesus in their life. 

Vist these sites for devotionals relating to doors...

find other blogs that you could share with us that have articles about door devotionals.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Finding Victory in Jesus

Independence Day is our nation's celebration of a great victory won to start a nation under God and not be under the rule of a king.  But there is a greater victory that was won recorded in the Bible.  This month let's journal about how the Bible is filled with many victories over satan's rule.  Our king is Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.  We were victorious when we accepted Christ.  When was the last time you shared your salvation testimony with someone?  Journal about how the person responded to your testimony.  Was the person interested?  Did the person listen attentively?  Or was the person just pacifying you?  Now record why did you share your testimony?  So that the Lord will be glorified?  Did you share that time in order to plant seeds of faith?  Praise the Lord for the victory over sin.  Praise the Lord for saving your soul.  Write these praises down.  Record your salvation experience so others may find Jesus too.

Research the different times that the Bible has recorded victories over satan's evil hold.  Record how the people handled each incident and how the Lord was the Victor.  During these times take note what happened to the people who did not listen to God and do as He directed them. 

Now, think of the times in your life when you were battling satan.  Record the times you followed the Lord's direction during your trial and tribulation.  Write about how the Lord brought you through these times and the battle was won victoriously.  Were there times though you went into battle and did not rely on the Lord to be your commanding officer?  Did you enter into the battle and not consult the Lord's direction?  What victories were won during these times?  In the end, did you call on Jesus for help?  Record these different times and compare the outcomes.  Memorize the following verse and carry it as you go into life's battles:

Prov 3:5-6   Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Write the lessons you learned from the times you did not let the Lord direct your path and you went into the battle on your own.  Write how you learned to understand the importance to trust in the Lord first with your life battle you are experiencing.

Praise the Lord for the times He forgave you for not taking Him with you as you marched head on into a particular battle.  Those times you went "alone" you were not really alone.  Write how you came to that understanding.

There are many battles we all must fight in this world.  Depression, financial struggles, relationships, jobs, strangers, mistakes in general,  all are different kinds of battles.  Are you experiencing a war of your own right now?  Are you currently battling one of satan's deceptive lies?  Record this war you are in and pray for the Lord's guidance to overcome it and then record how the Lord helped you come out victoriously.

Journal the different times you know the Lord won the victory over one of your friends' battles.  Record how the Lord was victorious in your family's life.  Write these victories down so that others may learn from them one day.  You will have them recorded and will be able to use them to help others.  This is how our generals of our armed services go into battles today.  They read and study up on battles/wars from the past and take note how they were won.  We have something to rely on in battles and can learn from history.  It is the Bible.  Let the recordings of the Lord's many victories be your example to win your personal battles. 

Record the lyrics to "Victory in Jesus".  Now journal how that song can be your own personal story. 

Make a list of the different battles you have been through.  Record how the Lord helped you win them.
Now make a list of the battles you are currently experiencing.  Record your prayer on how you will seek the Lord's direction in each of these battles.
Record prayers of how you will rely on the Lord for battles you may encounter in the future.

Do a word study on victory, victorious, victoriously, and victor.
Record verses that have "victory" in them.

Extend your word study on synonyms of victory:  triumph, conquer, success, win.  A couple antonyms of victory are defeated, beaten.  Write how these words relate to incidents in your life.  Record how the Lord helped you overcome them.

July 4th may be a day to celebrate "independence", but we must go through each and every day "dependent" on the Lord.  Depend on the Lord as your commander-in-chief. 

An extension activity:  Do a word study on depend.  Record the different people who depend on you.  Remember the one thing you must take into battle for these people - prayer.  Can people depend on you to pray for them?  Start a prayer journal for your family and friends.  May you become their prayer warrior. 

This Independence Day make a commitment to depend on Jesus. May you be victorious knowing the Lord is on your side.  Fight the enemy, satan, the devil with God's Word.  Use Scripture as your weapon.  The Bible is your sword in this war called life.  You will always win when you have Jesus to guide you through whatever struggle you are experiencing. 

Have a safe holiday and remember to celebrate your dependence on the Lord everyday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Let's Do Some "Light" Exercises Together

Word Study:  Light
Write verses with the word "light" in them.  Record what the Lord means by them.
Read books relating to "light" or with the word "light" in the title.  Example: Traveling Light by Max Lucado

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  Genesis 1:3
Research different time recorded in the OT when God spoke or in the NT when Jesus spoke and things happened.
Record John 8:12 in your journal.  Jesus is the Light of the World.  Describe how He is the Light of your world.  Record times when you walked in darkness and how the Lord brought you out of that dark time.

More writing exercises using words with the root word "light".

"Don't be so serious, lighten up."  Record times in your life when things weren't so serious. 
"On a more lighter note."  Record times when you felt things were serious, but later you found out it wasn't really that serious after all.
Record Matthew 11:30.  Are you burdened with too many problems?  What can you do to "lighten your load?"
"Light as a feather."  Write about things happening this moment in your life that make you feel as if a load had been removed from your shoulders.
"See the light of day."  Write your burdens and concerns down in a prayer journal and thank the Lord for helping you see there is a tomorrow.
"Don't take things so lightly." Record moments when you should have taken things more seriously, but didn't.
"Don't be such a lightweight."  Are there times when you should have been more courageous, but wasn't?  Record these times and write how things might have turned out if you showed more bravery.  Example: opportunity to witness and didn't.
"You are so lighthearted."  Do you take things for granted?  Do you under react to things?  Are you more optimistic than others?  Do you accept things easily?  Write what it means to be lighthearted.

Sing the song "This Lil Light of Mine."  Record how you can make this child's song become a reality in your adult life.  Sing the song "I Saw the Light" and record how it makes you feel when singing it.

Research "lighthouses".
Research how life was "before electricity".  How did people journal then?  Have you ever written in your journal as Abe Lincoln did - by candlelight or lanterns?

Do a word study on the words - enlighten and enlightenment.

The word "light" can be a noun, verb, and adjective.  Write 3 sentences using the word "light" in it as the 3 parts of speech.

Do an opposite word study:  light/heavy; light/dark.

Do a study of the word "lighter".   Relate the word to color, weight, and a flame.

Do a synonym word study:  star, beacon, lamp, lantern, torch, candle.

Do a study on what happened when the Lord created night and day.

Follow the light... Record times you were in darkness in your life and you followed the light to Jesus.

If a light bulb was powered by the energy you put off doing the work for the Lord, would that energy be enough to burn a 100 watt bulb?  Or only enough to burn a 40 or 60 watt bulb?  Or is it just enough to burn a refrigerator bulb?  Write about the work you do for the Lord and how you can make it be more powerful.

Write of someone who "lights up your life."

Memorize Psalm 119:105.  Write the different paths you have been on in your life.  Record the times you walked the path without the Lord and times you walked them with the Lord.  Praise the Lord for carrying you on the path of life during those times you were not walking with the Lord.

I hope you enjoyed this light exercise we have done together and have been enlightened by the different prompts relating to the word 'light'.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Help Comes From The Lord

Do you work in a service industry type job?  I do.  I work in retail.  All day long I ask, "May I help you?"  "Can I help you find something?"  I also work in fast food.  We are helping people order their food.  I am a teacher.  I help children learn.  Throughout the day I will hear myself ask someone if I can help them, including my family.  I also find myself asking my family or friends to help me.  Help me with prayers.  Help me get something off the top shelf.  Help me take care of a sick child.  Help, help, help.  Well, the other day I realized I do this so often and I started praying for the Lord to help me.  Help me with my job situation.  Help me with finances.  Help me with my house problem.  Help me with my health.  And so on.  Then instead of asking and asking I started praising the Lord for all of the things He has already helped me with and will in the future provide His help.  I became so overwhelmed.  All I could do was sing "my help comes from the Lord."  Over and over.  And I continue to do that a week later.  When I get discouraged or worried or upset, I sing to myself "my help comes from the Lord."  It is helping relieve some of the stress and pressure.  Then, as usual, my mind started thinking in prompts and this song and answer to prayer has turned into a prompt that I want to share with you.

Of course you can do a verse study and record all of the verses that include the word "help".  But read on for a more lengthy prompt about the word.  Help. Helping. Helped. Helper.

Research assignment:  find the many ways the Lord helped people in the Bible.  Record them and write your response to the different ways He helped people and how it could be of help to you.  Find people who blog about how the Lord helped them.  Listen to your family and friends discuss how the Lord helped them in different situations.  Record them for reading in your times of needing encouragement or reassurance.

Write ways you can help other people.  When you are able to do these different ways of helping, record them and praise the Lord you were able to help others.  Write ways that you need help.  When someone helps you, record the situation and how you were helped.  Praise the Lord for this person who helped you. 

Do you get upset when you help someone and that person doesn't say thank you?  Write how that makes you feel.  Ask the Lord to help you be able to deal with the situation and find peace.  Has someone helped you and you forgot to say thank you?  If you are able to go ahead and tell that person thank you now.  If that person is no longer approachable or living, tell Jesus about it. 

Are there things you should ask help for, but don't?  Are there areas in your life you ask help for, but really could do it without someone helping you?  Write of these things.

Do you ever do random acts of kindness?  Record them and praise the Lord you were able to help someone without requiring a thank you.

Jesus Christ asked for help throughout the Bible.  Do you realize at times He has asked you for help?  Record the times you know the Lord used you as an instrument for helping someone.  Record the times you did not pay attention the Lord's call for help. 

Do you believe in angels unaware.  Record times you realized you had just experienced such a time of meeting an angel unaware.  Did you help him/her?  Or was that a time you were helped?

Every day you have opportunities to help others.  You may not be able to physically help the person, or financially help a person, but you can pray.  Pray.  Pray. Pray.  That my friends is the one way you can help others.  When you think all is hopeless and you are in need of help, you can pray.  Pray. Pray. Pray.

Remember your help comes from the Lord.  Let's sing together.  My help comes from the Lord.

Extension Assignment:  create a handmade card and make it a thank you card.  This card is for Jesus.  Write Him a thank you card.  Place the thank you card in your Bible.

Find thank you cards and address them to people who have helped you this week.  Mail them a card.  Ecards are nice to receive in your email, but a handwritten card helps the receiver in ways you would not believe.  Try to commit to sending one thank you card a week to someone that has helped you. 

I hope this prompt was helpful.  Thank you for reading my blog.  God Bless You.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Using a thesaurus...

I have a very thick book I use often.  It is a dictionary and thesaurus in one.  It has 960 pages.  It has been a companion to my journaling experience for years.  I recommend everyone get a thesaurus.  There are pocketbook sizes.  Find one you can use easily and see how journaling will become a whole new experience.

Let me show you how this wonderful book filled with words can be a prompt.

I take one word and then look up the definition and then I write each of the synonyms found in the thesaurus.  And then I go from there and continue the process for each word.  This can be done in as many intervals as needed.   

You can just do the words as a prompt individually.  I let the words stand alone sometimes.  Or I allow the word to lead me in directions I am not even sure where that will be.  Or I take control of the word and use it in a dictated way that lends itself to deeper journaling.  Words are magic.  Words are special.  Words are powerful.  Sometimes we are limited by our own list of vocabulary.  That is where the thesaurus comes in handy.  It can be a powerful tool.  Allow it to aid in your writing.  It is definitely handy for writing poetry too.  And if you are in need of an adjective it is there in the book.  Also, if you find yourself using the same word over and over, the thesaurus will allow you to stop being so redundant in your using the same word over and over (could not resist). 

Now that we have talked about the many uses of a thesaurus, let me put my idea into action.

Today my word is awesome. 

Awesome:  adjective.  inspiring awe; informal use - marvelous, terrific
Awe: noun. a mixed feeling of fear, wonder, and dread.  transitive verb use - to fill with awe.
(For a later word study and definitions I will look up marvelous, terrific, fear, wonder, and dread)

Now let's concentrate on this word AWESOME.

I will take one page and write awesome on it.  I will use that page for the word to stand alone and have it suggests to me what to write.  I may write it in my regular handwriting.  Or I may draw little circles around it or curly q's around it.  I may just leave it all by itself and let the word be the only thing on the page.  The word will be the prompt.  I don't know how I will use it but the word itself is awesome, don't you think?

Then I will continue the exercise with the word.  I will use it in a sentence: I have an awesome set of friends.  I will use it in a sentence to describe the Lord:  Our God is an awesome God.  I will use it in relation to someone or something:  My granddaughter's favorite word to use in a sentence is "awesome".   I will use it to describe how I feel about something or someone:  The way the Lord shows Himself to be real is awesome.  I will use it for impact in my writing:  The Lord knew that I was feeling discouraged.  He showed me that He was real and that He was listening to my cries.  He used the internet to answer prayer.  The power of the Lord is so awesome.  I do not have enough words to describe how awesome the Lord is. 

I also like to take the word and do an anagram of it sometimes. 
A ll of my friends
W ill know that I am
E xcited about
S omething in my post
O ver the next few weeks.
M ay you
E xpect to be surprised.

Or I will use the letters to describe a person or myself:

Marshel is:

A - absentminded at times.
W- willing to be a friend
E - easy going
S - sincere
O - observant
M - mother to three; grandmother to four
E - earnest

You can use the questions "who, what, where, when, why, and how" to use with your word you have chosen. 

Who is awesome?
What is awesome?
Where is something awesome?
When did something happen to you that was awesome?
How can the word awesome relate to your life?

And that is some of the ways I use one word to prompt me to write in my journal. 

Do you not know what word to use?  It could be a word that stands out to you in a magazine.  It could be a word that you don't know the meaning of and need to look it up in the dictionary.  Or the word may be one that is used throughout the day and you just need to write about it.  You could just use words that sound neat, pretty, funny, or powerful.  I have even opened the dictionary, let the pages fall open to where it wants, and then close my eyes and point to a word.  (That was how the singing group "Commodores" got their name.  The person finger fell on that word, it could have fell on the word commode).  Let the word come to you however it may.  The way I chose "awesome" was not because I did not already use it.  It is a word that is overused I think.  I chose it today because during the night when I could not fall back to sleep I kept thinking of how awesome the Lord was and knew that I needed to write that word today.  Also it was important to share with you also a way to use words and to relate it to the glory of the Lord. 

May you be prompted to use a thesaurus in your writing if you don't already. 

Happy writing.  I am curious to learn of the words you will be using.  Share them with me and I bet I will be prompted by your word too.