A Spirit-Filled Home – Week 5

A Spirit-Filled Home - Week 5 - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“Spread love everywhere, but first of all in your own house.” Mother Theresa

This week I surprised my husband with lemon bars. I didn’t make lemon bars because they were my favorite. I prefer peanut butter, chocolate, or something pumpkinlicious. So why did I make lemon bars? They are Tim’s favorite. And what did I get for this effort? He called me “the best wife ever”! Sometimes I get it right : )

Then there are times I don’t. I offer bright smiles to the stranger on the street and get home and put up my feet. That’s when these words from Karen Ehman from her book A Life That Says Welcome* go straight to my heart: “Focus your time and energies on making those closest to you sense your desire to be one who displays the love of Christ through her attitudes and actions.”

Part of creating a Spirit-filled home is removing the clutter so our homes become places where the love of Christ is displayed. I’m doing Ruth’s 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life challenge, and this week I worked on my office.

Objective:  A beautiful and inviting workspace where you can address work quickly and efficiently.”

It amazed me how clearing the surface areas gave the room a fresh, clean look. Even though the stacks of papers were neatly piled, having them gone made a big difference. To decorate I took some old frames I wasn’t using and framed my daily schedule and today’s printable to hang over my craft table. Then for a pop of color, I draped a piece of fabric over my blinds.

In this week’s challenge to Make Your Home a Haven, Courtney challenges us to:

  • “Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home.
  • Cook things with pleasant aromas like homemade bread, pies, and cookies. Don’t wait to have a reason to make something special – do it simply to show love to your family.
  • Work on showing love, goodness and faithfulness to your family this week.”

If you’re looking for a way to bless your family, here’s my recipe for 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Bread that is both easy and delicious.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

To end this series, I want to give you a free printable to remind you to keep your candles burning as a prompt to pray. As we live out the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, we will create Spirit-filled homes that shine for the glory of God. We will display His peace, patience, gentleness, self-control, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and faithfulness to those around us.

  • Right-click to save image to your computer. Size can be changed
  • Or click on the link below the image for the pdf.

You can also find this image on the Free Resources page. More items coming soon : )

A Spirit-Filled Home printable

A Spirit-Filled Home printable pdf

*Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support : )

Title image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Other posts in this series on A Spirit-Filled Home: Week 1Week 2Week 3, and Week 4.

Rest in His presence.

By His Side

By His Side - IntentionallyPursuing.com
“Can’t you just sit still and eat dinner with me?” he asked. From my husband’s perspective it seemed like such a simple request to sit quietly by his side and set aside the noise of the world.

Just to sit still is hard for me though because I try to maximize every moment possible. I declutter during the four minutes it takes to make my afternoon tea. I get the coffee maker ready for the morning while my popcorn pops in the air popper. One of the reasons I love running is because I can listen to podcasts while I run.

Most mornings I catch up on my email while I eat breakfast. Then I have what I call “lunch with Jesus” which is when I work on my current Bible study.

Any strength carried to an extreme can become a weakness.

It’s not that I never just sit still. I don’t even want to know the hours I’ve spent on Pinterest looking for a recipe, a craft, or just to see what’s new. I lose track of time reading email, articles, or just looking something up.

When he asked me to sit still and eat dinner with him, what he wanted to know was could I set aside the gadgets and just sit quietly while we ate our dinner. The sitting quietly part is where I struggled.

At first I tried to engage him in conversation. I asked him about his day. Then when that didn’t work, I started to tell him about mine, but I could tell he wasn’t really listening. I even suggested playing a game while we ate dinner, but he would have none of it.

Now, he’s not always so intent on eating his dinner and savoring every bite. Sometimes we have the most delightful conversations over dinner. During those times I set it all aside to be by his side.

I can get so caught up with being productive and what’s next on my schedule that I can forget to be present with those around me. Setting it all aside to be by his side is a choice I can make even when it’s quiet. I can shut off the noise of the world and be present with the one who brings joy to my world.

Image courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God – Blessed

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Blessed - IntentionallyPursuing.com
This year we are looking to the Word of God to uncover truths (50 in all) of how God sees each one of us. If this is your first time here or you simply need a reminder of how God sees you, click here to begin reading through the series.

Seeing Ourselves as Blessed Through the Eyes of God

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)

Looking back on the situation, from the outside everything was going wrong. I understood the words Paul spoke when he wrote, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV).

Yet in the middle of the trial, I could see God’s blessings in my life. Like the $10 off store coupon that extended the grocery budget. Or the extra commission check that made it so we could pay to get the oil changed in the car. The Bible verse that reminded me God was with me as I walked through the trial.

I found the more I counted God’s blessings in my life, the more blessings there were to count. My marriage grew stronger through the trial because we learned to work as a team. God’s Word became alive to me because I could see how His Word strengthened and encouraged me.

Because of God’s faithfulness through that situation, I was ready when the next challenge came my way. I knew God would see me through. Instead of being fearful, I was peaceful … well, most of the time. I still had to remind myself of God’s faithfulness. I had to keep my eyes directed to Him. I had to place my trust in God and make Him my confidence.

“Our thanks are due to God for all temporal blessings; they are more than we deserve. But our thanks ought to go to God in thunders of hallelujahs for spiritual blessings. A new heart is better than a new coat. To feed on Christ is better than to have the best earthly food.” Charles Spurgeon

These words by Charles Spurgeon remind me spiritual blessings far outweigh the benefits of temporal earthly blessings. God has blessed us with acceptance, an inheritance, peace, joy, and so much more.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Blessed - IntentionallyPursuing.com
Even when I’m hard pressed, I know I’m still blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing me with Your Son. When I go through challenges, remind me of Your past faithfulness. Help me to see Your hand in my life and hold on to You because You will carry me through. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

“I am blessed because I trust in the Lord. My confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7 personalized)

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

Jeremiah 42:7 – How Will You Wait?

Jeremiah 42:7 - How Will You Wait? - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.” Jeremiah 42:7 (NIV)

Ten days after Jeremiah sought the Lord for a word of direction for the people of Israel, the Lord answered him. Ten days the prophet Jeremiah waited on a word from the Lord. Ten days the people waited to hear what the Lord had to say to them through Jeremiah.

As I read this verse the other night, I was at first struck by the fact a prophet in the Old Testament had to wait ten days to hear from God. I guess I didn’t picture prophets waiting to hear from God like you and I do.

What surprised me the most was the change in the hearts of the people during those ten days. In Jeremiah 42:3 the people approach Jeremiah and say to him, “Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”

They promise to follow through with whatever God tells them to do. “‘Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.'” (Jeremiah 42:6)

The people wanted to know if they should stay in the land they were in or go to Egypt. “Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 42:7). God promised to be with the people and protect them if they stayed in the land, but He warned them that if they went to Egypt the very things they feared would overtake them.

After hearing the word of the Lord given by the prophet Jeremiah, the people accused Jeremiah of lying. Instead of following the word of God, they disobeyed God and were determined to follow their own plan. They were headed to Egypt.

So how did the people go from a willingness to obey God no matter the consequence to being determined to follow their own path? Would they have obeyed the Lord if He had answered them after one day? three days? five days? a week?

A. R. Fausset writes this about the ten days, “Jeremiah did not speak of himself, but waited on God’s time and revelation, showing the reality of his inspiration. Man left to himself would have given an immediate response to the people, who were impatient of delay. The delay was designed to test the sincerity of their professed willingness to obey, and that they should have full time to deliberate (Deuteronomy 8:2). True obedience bows to God’s time, as well as His way and will.

The Bible doesn’t say what Jeremiah did while he waited on a word from the Lord. We can guess the people were pressuring Jeremiah for an answer from the Lord, but Jeremiah held steady and waited on the Lord. Some things that help me wait on the Lord are:

  • Seeking God through prayer.
  • Setting my focus on God, rather than what or who is around me.
  • Seeking God through His Word.
  • Spending time in worship.
  • Seeking God through fasting.

What would you add to the list? What do you do that helps you wait on God?

Image courtesy of mach2happy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

A Spirit-Filled Home – Week 4

A Spirit-Filled Home - Week 4 - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“Offering hospitality is much more about the condition of your heart than the condition of your home.” Karen Ehman, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others*

Karen is reminding me that in my quest to create a spirit-filled home, the condition of my heart is of greater importance than the condition of my home. And while I still have plans for painting and decorating my home, my first priority will always be the condition of God’s home, my heart.

Myquillyn shared a beautiful quote by Charles Henry Parkhurst in her book The Nesting Place,* “Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.” Our homes are an expression of who we are. Home is the place we open up to welcome others in. Our homes allow us to be a vessel for God’s goodness to those He places in our path.

And part of creating a spirit-filled home is removing the clutter, so home is a place of rest and peace. I’m doing Ruth’s 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life challenge. And this week I worked on my closet following her suggestions of “keeping only items that:

  • Fit, flatter and make you feel great
  • Are in good to excellent condition
  • Are part of an outfit or “go” with other items you own
  • Are classic cuts, stylish and well-made”

One other guide I used when evaluating what clothes to keep or get rid of is: Would I buy this item today? I don’t know where I read that idea, but I found it to be so helpful in deciding what should go. It was hard getting rid of clothes that were in great condition, but having too many choices makes it hard to decide what to wear.

In this week’s challenge on Making Your Home a Haven, Courtney encourages us to:

  • “Keep your candle burning, the music playing and plan a Family Fun Night.
  • … take the time to savor these moments with your loved ones.
  • Work on kindness and joy this week.”

Most dinners together are at the table, but Sunday nights we pull out the TV trays and eat dinner while watching our favorite show. And because we enjoy the time together and it’s a little different, it’s one of my favorite nights of the week.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

Just as I get dressed in the morning, I need to clothe myself in God’s Word so I can put on His character. And after an encounter with the holy One, I can choose to by joyful no matter the circumstance and exhibit kindness to those around me.

I can be joyous and exhibit kindness because of an encounter with God’s holiness.

*Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support : )

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Other posts in this series on A Spirit-Filled Home: Week 1Week 2, Week 3.

Rest in His presence.

When You Don’t Hear Those Three Little Words

When You Don't Hear Those Three Little Words
To the woman who doesn’t hear those three little words she needs to hear:

Last week I wrote a message titled The Two Words He Needs to Hear. And I shared a quote from Shaunti Feldhahn how “thank you” to a guy is the same as “I love you” to a girl.

But in that post I assumed you heard those three little words. And after hitting publish, my heart was burdened with the pain of those who desperately want to hear him say “I love you.”

Maybe he just doesn’t use words like that, but you know he loves you. Or maybe it’s just been too long since he’s said “I love you.” Or maybe like me he says the words, but you question if he really means them.

In over 19 years of marriage, Tim has never failed to say “I love you” to me each and every day. But there was a time his words felt hollow. And though his lips uttered the words my heart longed to hear, they were empty words.

One particularly hard night after Tim said “I love you” and then rolled away from me, my heart ached. It literally felt like it was breaking in two.

So that next morning I was determined to make sure my heart never caused me that much pain again. I went to the kitchen and pulled out the biggest knife I could find and returned to our bedroom intending to cut our bed in two. And that is where Tim found me.

Now, I’ll be honest and admit this story could have ended much differently. But God gave Tim words to say that brought peace to my heart. And though both the bed and my heart were wounded, neither were broken in two.

Since that time God has restored our marriage, but it was in that season I learned God was enough for me. And that was something I couldn’t have learned any other way. Because even though God was always enough, it wasn’t until He was all I had I learned to fully lean on Him.

And God knows how it feels to hear the words but know they lack meaning. For through the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me …'” (Isaiah 29:13 NIV)

If my words last week brought you pain, I am sorry. I pray you will hear him say those three little words. But more importantly I pray you will discover God is enough for you and you will remember you are His beloved.

Rest in His presence.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God – Secure

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Secure - IntentionallyPursuing.com
This year we are looking to the Word of God to uncover truths (50 in all) of how God sees each one of us. If this is your first time here or you simply need a reminder of how God sees you, click here to begin reading through the series.

Seeing Ourselves as Secure Through the Eyes of God

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” Job 11:18 (NIV)

I imagined the perfect afternoon on the water. We were bringing our boat to the place where they said the fish were biting. And while I wasn’t counting on eating fish for dinner, I did expect to get some reading in while the waves gently rocked the boat.

My husband turned off the engine, and we cast our lines and waited for the fish to nibble on the bait. But there was one thing missing, an anchor for the boat. And without an anchor to securely hold the boat in place, we just drifted wherever the current carried us.

I had only read a couple of pages when I was startled by the sound of the engine starting and my husband maneuvering the boat away from the rocks we were drifting towards. I could tell by Tim’s expression we needed to pull our lines and get away quickly. And though Tim drove the boat well away from the rocks, the current was too strong, and it didn’t take long before we were headed that way again.

Our key verse reminds us we are secure because we have hope. And Paul explains our hope is Jesus. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf …” (Hebrews 6:19-20 NIV).

The Greek word for “secure” here is bebaios (Strong’s G949) which is translated as steadfast, stable, and secure. With Jesus as our anchor, we can remain stable no matter the circumstances. We don’t need to fear the waves and rocks that surround us because we know Jesus will hold us firm and secure.  

In fact, 2 Samuel 22:33 says He “keeps my way secure.” We don’t have to worry about losing Jesus as our Anchor. But we can rest secure in Him, knowing we are anchored to Jesus, who is our hope.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Secure - IntentionallyPursuing.com
I’m no longer scared and unsure because Jesus keeps my way secure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my Hope. And with You as my Anchor, I no longer have to feel scared and unsure because You hold me steady and keep my way secure. Help me share my hope in You with those around me. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” 2 Samuel 22:33 (NIV)

Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

Psalm 50:23 – Sacrifice of Thanks

Psalm 50:23 - Sacrifice of Thanks - IntentionallyPursuing.com
“‘Anyone who sacrifices thank offerings to me honors me. He makes it possible for me to show him that I am the God who saves.’” Psalm 50:23 (NIRV)

God is good and what He does is good. But sometimes bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. But in the middle of our brokenness, we are to praise Him. In our difficult seasons, we are to bring God a sacrifice of praise.

Merriam defines a sacrifice as “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.”

“The act of giving up something that you want to keep …” – In the middle of hard times, we will want to hold onto our pain, our anger, our bitterness. But in order to bring a sacrifice of praise to God, we need to do the exact opposite of what our emotions are telling us to do. And we begin by sacrificing our emotions at His feet and then praising Him.

Why do we bring God a sacrifice of thanks?

  1. Bringing God a sacrifice of thanks brings Him honor and glory.
  2. Bringing God a sacrifice of thanks makes it possible for God to save us.
  3. Bringing God a sacrifice of thanks turns our emotions around.

When we sacrifice thank offerings, God says that act “makes it possible for Me to show him I am the God who saves.” Our sacrifices of praise open the door for God’s salvation and deliverance.

He is waiting for us to praise Him in the middle of your troubles. When our circumstances don’t make sense and the road seems long, that is when we need to say “Thank You, God.” We may not understand the journey we are on, but we can trust the One who holds our hand.

And that sacrifice of thanks shows God we trust Him because “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). Not some things does God work for our good but ALL things. But first we have to open the door for God to work in our lives by praising Him even when things don’t look so good.

But here’s something I love about God: after we take that first step, He gives us strength that carries us through to the end. Here’s a prayer to get you started if you’re in the middle of a difficult season:

Dear Heavenly Father, what I’m going though is hard. And I don’t know how to give You this pain. But I place my life in Your hands and trust Your mighty Name. I know You love me and are walking through this with me. Help me to see You in the middle of my hurt. Help me to see Your hand that reaches out to me. Thank You for using this difficult season to draw me closer to You because I can’t get through this without You. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re going through a difficult season, I would love to pray for you. You don’t have to leave the details of your hurt. But if you leave your name, I will stand with you and lift you up in prayer.

Rest in His presence.

A Spirit-Filled Home – Week 3

A Spirit-Filled Home - Week 3 - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“Creating a beautiful home starts in your head, not in the furniture store. With any project, you don’t begin by focusing on what you need; you begin with recognizing what you already have.” Myquillyn Smith, The Nesting Place*

First of all, “The Nesting Place” should come with a warning label. Because with every page I read I begin to envision how I will paint, cover, and decorate all the items in my home. I have already warned my husband I am going to need paint from the hardware store soon. The good thing for him is I haven’t gotten far enough in the book to know what kind of paint I want to buy yet : )

That being said before I can begin to recognize the beauty in what I already have, I need to clear out the clutter. And as Ruth is reminding me in the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life challenge, I need to “keep only items that:

  • Are currently useful
  • Are in good working order
  • I absolutely love and want to display”

I am slowly going through my home and getting rid of items even when the voices in my head say things like “it was expensive” or “a gift” or for whatever “I should like it.” But to make things a little easier to part with, eBay is doing a promo where you can list up to 100 auctions per day for free from October 15 – 21 (not an affiliate link). Maybe this will be the push I need to get rid of a few more items and a way to help me buy some paint : )

Morning, noon, and night the flicker of the light reminds me to pray as I go through my day.

In this week’s challenge to Make Your Home A Haven, Courtney encourages us to:

  • “Keep our candles burning, our prayers going, and add soft music in your home.
  • Choose worship, classical, jazz or another form of peaceful music that the family enjoys. Focus on using peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships.
  • Work on gentleness and self-control this week.”

The first part of this challenge is an easy one for me because I keep Christian instrumental music continuously playing in my home. Music soothes my soul and helps me maintain my peace as I go about my day. My favorite instrumental CD is Song of Prayer* by Chad Lawson. (It’s only $.89 on Amazon for the MP3.) I was introduced to Chad Lawson’s music when I did A Confident Heart Bible study with its author Renee Swope.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere.” James 3:17 (TLB)

Keeping a peaceful gentle tongue is a little bit more of a challenge. I can only do that when I maintain a Spirit-controlled tongue. Because when my tongue is flesh controlled, I can be careless with my words and find myself saying things I regret and need to apologize for.

But Philippians 4:5 reminds me the Lord is near. With His help I can be gentle and self-controlled. In the Lord’s strength the law of kindness is always on my tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

*Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support : )

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Other posts in this series on A Spirit-Filled Home: Week 1, Week 2.

Rest in His presence.

The Two Words He Needs to Hear

The Two Words He Needs to Hear - IntentionallyPursuing.com
Friends, do you know what those two words are? The two words he needs to hear that let him know you love him. Those two little words that mean the world to him.

Those two little words are “thank you.” Of course, we all like to be given a “thank you” now and again, to know we’re appreciated, and that someone values our effort. But according to Shaunti Feldhahn, “Saying ‘thank you’ to a guy is the emotional equivalent of him saying ‘I love you’ to you.”

Now, I can’t even imagine going a day without hearing Tim say “I love you” to me. In fact, it’s so important to me to hear those three little words that we have a special way we say good-bye just in case those three little words are the last words I hear Tim say to me.

But I am sure I have gone a day without saying “thank you” to him, thanking him for all he does for me.

Now, you may have your own list of things you have done for your husband in which you have not received a “thank you” or even the slightest bit of appreciation. I know I can definitely relate. It’s not too often I get a “thank you” for the clean clothes in the closet, the clean dishes in the cupboard, or the freshly laundered towels waiting for him after his shower.

But this message isn’t for the men in our lives. This reminder is for us, you know, the ones who hear those three little words we need to hear : )

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

“Overflowing with thankfulness” – Now, of course this verse is talking about overflowing with thankfulness to God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift. But stop for a moment and imagine a home where you overflow with thanksgiving. The words “please” and “thank you” just seem to flow from your tongue.

Now, maybe you are already expressing your appreciation for your husband. But I know I need a reminder to say “thank you” and tell him the two words he needs to hear.

  • Thank you for filling the car with gas before I need to drive it.
  • Thank you for holding me as I fall asleep.
  • Thank you for working so hard to provide for me.
  • Thank you for protecting me.
  • Thank you for telling me “I love you” every single day.

And if you’re wondering how we say good-bye … “Bye for now. I love you.”

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.