22-Day Challenge
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I want to invite you on an exciting journey to intersect your life with the truths of the Bible. Why 22? Because that’s how many letters are in the Hebrew alphabet. Now don’t worry, we are not going to study the Hebrew alphabet. The real reason behind the 22-Day Challenge is that there is a wonderful psalm in the Bible, Psalm 119, which is broken down into 22 sections. The psalmists used the Hebrew alphabet to create one of the most poetic psalms in the Bible, extolling the beauty of God’s Word. This joy-filled challenge invites you to read a short section of Psalm 119 each day and consider its truths. My hope is that as you take this challenge, you will catch the passion of the psalmists and grow to delight in God’s Word in an even deeper way than you have ever experienced before in your life.

Starting Date: Monday, September 22

Here’s the plan; for 22 days you will progressively read through Psalm 119, one section per day. Each day as you read a section, answer the following questions. You may want to use a journal for the challenge or you can mark in your Bible. Ask some friends to join you on the challenge. It’s fun and easy (won’t take over five minutes of your day) and will increase your love for God and for His Word. I’ve added the first section of Psalm 119 below to help you get started. If you don’t have a Bible, I encourage you to purchase one. I suggest NIV, ESV, New Living or HCSB translations. Are you ready to start? Here are the steps:

1. Read a section of Psalm119 and determine what the overall theme is for that group of verses. What key words do you notice? For example in the first section (Aleph) the psalmist seems to lean toward a theme of walking in obedience. Key words are: obey, blessed and ways.
2. Use a highlighter to mark the benefits of reading and mediating on God’s Word. (example: will be happy and blessed, not be put to shame, etc.)
3. Underline every mention of our responsibility as the reader (example: those whose ways are blameless, walk according to the law, keep his statutes).
4. Circle each reference to God’s Word or God’s Laws (example: statutes, precepts, ways)
5. Now insert the name of Jesus for each of the circled phrases as you read the section again. In the New Testament, John says that Jesus is the Word. He was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Write down everything you learn about Jesus as you read the passage again.

א Aleph
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

So there you have it! I know you will have a great time taking on this delightful challenge. I’ll be posting my thoughts every day on my Facebook Author Page, click here to join me.

This challenge is from my book, Becoming a Woman of the Word. To learn more about the book and growing to understand God’s Word click here.

Getting Ready for School
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As the beginning of school peeks around the corner, I want to encourage you to start off the year on a positive note, giving your kids the best advantage they can have as they enter the classroom. Here are a few Positive Mom tips to consider:

• Build the excitement as you approach the first day of school. Your attitude as a parent is contagious, so be enthusiastic about the school, the teachers and the new friends your kids will make during the course of the year. Make it a fun outing to gather school clothes and supplies in preparation for the start of school. Guard against your own grumbling or complaining – that’s contagious too.

• Talk about expectations for the school year. Visit with each child and encourage him or her to set realistic goals for grades for the first semester. Let your kids know your expectations as far as homework, discussing where and when they will work on it each day. Create a homework station (preferably in the kitchen) which has all the supplies for a healthy and happy work environment.

• Be thoughtful and guarded about the amount of activities you sign up for as a parent and the amount of activities you put your kids in as well. There are many wonderful opportunities, but you don’t have to do them all. Keep a healthy balance and don’t sign up for a gazillion things just because everyone else is doing it. Be wise with your calendar.

• Celebrate the first day of school by preparing your kids’ favorite breakfast or making special snacks for them after school. Take time to listen to your kids and ask them questions about what they liked about their first day of school and about the new friends they made in class.

• Pray together as a family as you approach the start of school. Pray for the teachers and for the friends that your kids will be around. Pray for opportunities to learn and grow and for good grades. Pray for eyes to see the kids who need a friend and for courage to reach out to them. Pray for God’s protection and for a healthy year.

A Time for Everything
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“I resolve to live with all my might while I do live. I resolve never to lose one moment of time and to improve my use of time in the most profitable way I possibly can. I resolve never to do anything I wouldn’t do, if it were the last hour of my life.”
Jonathan Edwards

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear own and a time to rebuild.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

“A time for everything,” seems like a simple concept. But it’s not so simple when it comes to the family calendar. It’s amazing how quickly we fill up our time with so many different activities. It is almost as if we believe that we must do everything, and we must do it now! Why do we do it? Maybe it’s because we are afraid of our kids being left out or falling behind in a certain sport or activity. It could be that we do certain things just because we are invited to, and we don’t like to say “no.”
Wisdom tells us that we don’t need to do everything right now. There is a time and a season. So instead of signing the kids up for dance, art lessons, T-ball, gymnastics and scouts, let’s slow down and rethink our schedules for the fall. Let’s take a deliberate look at what is necessary and prudent, and change the pace of life from doing everything all at once, to doing the right things at the right time. Let’s ask the Lord what he would have us do this year, and save the rest for another time.
Prayer: Wise and Loving Shepherd of our Souls, I praise of for caring for me. Thank you for taking an interest in the details of my family’s life. Thank you that as a Good Shepherd you lead me beside the still waters and allow me to rest in the green pastures. Please give me wisdom as to what we should do with our time. Guide me in the right direction, so that I glorify you in what I do. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Taking first things first often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
My Choices:
• This week I will choose to take a deliberate look at my family’s schedule of activities.
• This week I will choose to pray for direction in how we use our time.
• This week I will choose to use my time wisely each day.
Further Reading: Psalm 90
This is an excerpt from Karol’s book, The Power of a Positive Mom Devotional

Taming the Tongue
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This past weekend at our annual Roaring Lambs Writers Conference, our speakers reminded us of the power of our words. Whether we are dealing with our family, friends, neighbors or co-workers, our words have the power to heal and inspire, but they also have the power to tear down and destroy. This week I want to challenge each of us to fiercely guard our communication with others. Let’s face it, gossip, complaints and discouragement easily flow from our lips. It takes deliberate effort to inspire, strengthen and say only kind things about others.

Granted, constructive criticism and wise concern have their place. I’m not saying we ought to be some sort of “Yes” people who always agree with everyone about everything with disingenuous flattery. A true encourager is not only uplifting, but she is also honest, sincere and specific with her comments. She uses her words to help build up and lead others in the direction of their best interest. An encourager is looking out for the good of the other individual and focusing on the possibilities instead of hunting and pecking at what could go wrong and zapping the hope right out of a person.

It is never too late to change our speech habits. Look for opportunities to give a good, sincere word of hope and courage. Think of your uplifting comments as a cup of cool water to a thirsty soul, because we all need a healthy dose of encouragement now and then. Don’t become frustrated with yourself in the struggle to tame your tongue. In fact, the Bible says it is nearly impossible to do. James wrote, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:7-8).” Perhaps you are thinking that if the tongue is impossible to tame, then why try? What’s the use?

Remember my friend, with God all things are possible! What may seem impossible to us, is not impossible for God. We know that He places great value on what comes out of our mouths, so He will help us in taming that restless creature known as the tongue. It begins by asking Him to clean up our hearts, for what comes out of our mouth is usually an overflow of what is in our heart. Our prayer ought to resemble David’s who wrote, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you O Lord my rock and my redeemer.” He is our tongue tamer. As we look to God to clean us up from the inside out, He can clean us up from the hidden motives which tend to make us discouragers rather than encourages.

Some of these insights came from my book Positive Life Principles for Women.

July 1 – 7 Call to Prayer
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Join Anne Graham Lotz and thousands of other followers of Jesus Christ across our nation and around the world, as together we return to the Lord our God, rend our hearts, repent of our sin, and cry out to God for His mercy on behalf of our nation. I hope you will join me.

Pray! in the 7th month, JulyPray! on each of the first 7 days of JulyPray! and fast on July 7th for 7 hours (of your choosing)

The Purpose:
•For God the Father to restrain, protect, and deliver His people from the evil that has come into our world.
•For God the Son to be exalted, magnified, and glorified in His church, in our nation, and in our lives.
•For God the Holy Spirit to fall on us in a fresh way, compelling the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening.

Sign up below to receive prayers Anne has written specifically for each day, July 1 through July 7, that will help us be united with one voice and one spirit as together we cry out to God.

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