Tag Archives: Janet Sketchley

What is Meditation on God’s Law?

What is Meditation on God’s Law?

by Janet Sketchley

What-is-meditation-

Thanks to Free Digital Photos.net

 

But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night (Psalm 1:2, NLT*).

Surely the psalmist doesn’t expect us to go around mentally reciting the Ten Commandments and all the extra bits of legalese that Moses added?

That doesn’t sound like something we could delight in. It sounds… like cramming for a test. Dry. To be honest, it sounds boring. And discouraging. After all, looking at all those requirements, knowing we’re human and can never satisfy the Law… not a good scene. It reminds me of another verse:

The human spirit can endure a sick body,
but who can bear a crushed spirit (Proverbs 18:14, NLT*)?

Let’s think for a minute.

What is the law of the Lord?

If it’s not the list of dos and don’ts, what is it?

I think in this context, it’s the very character of God. It’s who He is, how He conducts Himself, and yes, what He requires of us if we’re living for His glory.

Doesn’t that change the picture? Doesn’t it sound like prayer? Like something we can delight in?

There’s no hardship in spending time thinking about the God who loves us, remembering different aspects of who He is and what He’s done for us. It leads naturally into worship and prayer. It draws us nearer to Him and strengthens our faith.

Meditating on God can also lead to examining our own lives, seeing where we need to realign ourselves to His ways.

It might even hurt a bit when we recognize how far off-track some parts of our lives may be, but it’s not the spirit-crushing sense of failure I mentioned above.

It can’t be, because we’re also looking at who God is. That means we’ll remember His promise to forgive our sins and clean us up. We’ll remember His faithfulness, and that He’ll never leave us. We’ll remember He loves us.

That kind of meditating on God’s law is something delightful indeed!

Tweetables: 

Meditating on God’s law doesn’t have to be boring. (tweet this)

It’s good to think about the God who loves us. (tweet this)

Meditating on God can also lead to examining our own lives, seeing where we need to realign ourselves to His ways. (tweet this)

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Janet Sketchley

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Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

Do You Feel Surrounded?

Today we have a post from Janet Sketchley. Very timely as I have been a little “surrounded” myself and forgot to post until now. I find God really does have a sense of humour.

Do You Feel Surrounded?

by Janet Sketchley

Help me O Lord

O LORD, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!”
Psalm 3:1, NLT*

Do you ever feel this way, not about physical enemies, but about the pressures, the “stuff” of your life? About the obligations, real or perceived, that loom around you like mountains? They block the light, and it feels like they’re closing in.

I try to be organized and manage my time, but my to-do list can turn into an overwhelming monster. The details paralyze me and I get further behind.

I forget I have a Good Shepherd, and
I hear those “enemy voices” saying I’ll never make it.

Psalm 3 is a perfect prayer when we’re overwhelmed. In eight verses, it lets me articulate the problem, it focuses on God my defender and source of hope, and it cries out to God for rescue.

Do you feel surrounded? Pray Psalm 3.

Fear may whisper that God will never rescue us—or that He can’t—but He can. He will. We just need to ask Him, and to believe His word.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Tweetables:

I forget I have a Good Shepherd, and I hear those “enemy voices” saying I’ll never make it. (tweet this)

Do you feel surrounded? Pray Psalm 3. (tweet this)

Janet Sketchley

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Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

Prayer for Our Enemies? Really?

Pray for Our Enemies? Really?

by Janet Sketchley

prayer_requests-1024x768 www.teampossabilities.org

With permission from Team Possibilities

Do news stories cause you to pray for people? For the hurt, the poor, the oppressed? Even just a quick “God, please help them know Your presence”?

Sometimes the need is so great.

When I hear about an accident or crime, as well as praying for the victim I often pray for the one who did it. In some cases I relate to the fear of “what if I messed up and something awful happened?” Other times, the deliberate offender and offense are so bad that if God doesn’t get through to the person, he or she is lost.

The human response is “S/he deserves it. Good riddance.” But Jesus would pray for them all. He didn’t come to save the “pretty good” and let the “rejects” go to eternal darkness. We were all rejects.

So sometimes I pray for the bad guys as well as the good guys. It’s easy when they’re locked away in prison somewhere, or when we’re safe at home watching the news. We don’t have to meet their eyes, hear their venom, risk emotional or physical danger.

But what if we did meet them face to face? The Bible does say to demonstrate  Christ’s love even to our enemies, but could we?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44, KJV).

What if? This came to me as a story idea, almost 20 years ago: a woman abducted by the serial killer she’d been praying for. I didn’t want it in my head, so I wrote it out. Over time, it expanded, changed, and became my novel, Heaven’s Prey.

In the novel, Ruth and Tony Warner are devastated when their niece, Susan, becomes the victim of a serial rapist-murderer. Ruth only survives her grief through prayer: first for Susan’s family and for the families of the other victims. She refuses her pastor’s advice to pray for the killer, Harry Silver. Who wouldn’t?

But a string of nightmares push her to pray for him, and that’s where the healing really happens, as she learns to forgive. Not to forget, but not to let the hurt keep poisoning her. If you met Ruth as the story opens, she’d tell you that God led her into prayer for this killer for her own healing. She hopes Harry will somehow open his heart to the Lord, but that’s out of her control.

She has no idea that God is preparing Harry’s heart and is also preparing her to meet him. In person. Alone.

Heavens_Prey_Front_Cover 302x468

Heaven’s Prey is about a villain’s last chance at redemption and a vulnerable woman’s obedience to pray for her enemy—not the gentle inspirational read many associate with the Christian genre. Even though the subject matter makes it pretty intense in places, at the core it’s about God’s tenacity—in reaching out, and in holding onto His own.

Tweetable:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you ~ Matthew 5:44

Janet Sketchley

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Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

Why Pray for our Leaders?

Why Pray for our Leaders?

by Janet Sketchley

English: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the...

Do you ever look at world or civic government leaders and despair that things will never change?

The Bible instructs us to pray for our leaders, but do we? And if so, do we have any hope it’ll make a difference?

God can influence leaders, even those who don’t know Him. Scripture gives us some examples:

  •  Pharaoh Neco of Egypt brought his armies near the territory of Judah, claiming he was on a mission from God to fight another nation. King Josiah, a godly man, didn’t believe him, fought him, and died. (Read the account in 2 Chronicles 35:20-23 including verse 22, which begins “But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken.”)
  • Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon saw God’s power protecting the prophet Daniel as well as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (fiery furnace) but then he got distracted by his own sense of greatness. God sent him into madness until he could realize the truth—and then brought him to his senses. (Daniel 4 tells the story.)
  • King Cyrus of Babylon is mentioned in prophecy as the restorer of the Temple over 100 years in advance (Isaiah 45:13, before Jeremiah even prophesied the 70 years of exile). The Book of Ezra says God put it in Cyrus’ heart to do this, and then moved the hearts of the Babylonian citizens, and then of the exiled Israelites themselves, to support the work.

These stories encourage me to pray regularly for our leaders (as the Bible urges), and to pray with more confidence that God can and may influence them. If He doesn’t, we can trust Him to work in and through the situations, however bad they may be.

Our job is to pray. (tweetable)

For world leaders, national, local, even down to leaders in business, education and health care. Instead of getting cynical or hopeless, we can make a difference by inviting God into the mess.

If God can change the heart of a heathen king and use him for His purposes, how much more scope will He have to work in the hearts of leaders if we’re praying for them?

Other related posts:

Praying for Governments
Supplications for Governing Authorities
Prayers for Governing Authorities
Thanksgiving for Governing Authorities

Janet Sketchley

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Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, releases November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

Heaven’s Prey Blog Chase

Heaven’s Prey Blog Chase

Heaven's Prey Blog Chase graphic

Heaven’s Prey is a novel of suspense and redemption, so let’s have some fun with a “blog chase.” Follow the trail between Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, 2013 for a chance to win a print copy of Heaven’s Prey.

You’re at the fourth stop in the chase. Welcome! You’ll need to visit each stop so you’ll know the answers for the quiz at the end … that’s how you enter the prize draw. To start at the beginning, click the arrow:

Arrow to the beginning of the blog chase

Back to the start

Let’s peek into the story world:

Pastor Linton cleared his throat. “Ruth, does God want anyone to perish?”

Ruth scuffed the carpet with her toe. “No.”

“How many people do you suppose are praying for Harry Silver right now?”

“I don’t know.” Probably none.

In the seat beside hers, Tony snorted. “Who’d waste their breath?”

Pale grey eyes held Ruth’s. “Somebody’d better pray for him, don’t you think? He is a lost soul.”

Ruth wanted to deny his words, to shout the impossibility of what he asked. She couldn’t think of Harry Silver being prayed for, being saved. Escaping judgment. The pressure inside her grew until she could hear her heartbeat. Her face burned.

So many people were hurt by this monster, and she’d let herself feel like the only one. John was right. Praying for the others would help her too.

But as for the rest of her pastor’s words … A steel certainty lodged in her heart. She would never pray for Harry Silver.

Stepping out of the story …

Did you know? The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, is a popular tourist destination. Some claim it’s the most photographed lighthouse in Canada, or even in the world. Trivia tidbit I didn’t know: it’s properly called the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. (This and more information from Nova Scotia Tourism.)

Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove

Photo credit: Janice Keats. Used with permission.

Heaven’s Prey releases November 1, 2013. Visit Choose NOW Publishing to read a sample chapter … just don’t forget to come back to the chase! Preorder links are on the Choose NOW site as well.

arrow to next stop

Next stop on the blog chase

Heaven's Prey book blitz click here

60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children – book review

60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children – book review60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children

by Roy Lessin (Summerside Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Janet Sketchley

This hard-bound gift book is a great resource for any praying parent. Each prayer is matched with a Scripture verse and a brief inspirational quote, and a green satin ribbon lets you mark your progress through the pages.

Nine sections focus prayers in the areas of blessing, protection, character, community, praise, growth, courage, purpose and knowing God. The prayers are written from a point of view that says “my children” but are easily customizable to “our” and/or “child” … or, for that matter, “grandchild” or “niece/nephew.”

I made a point in each prayer to include my children’s names, and when I reached the end of the book, I began again. The prayers apply to any age of child as well, and again, are customizable. For example, if a reader has a child who’s ignoring the Lord, instead of thanking God for a faith relationship, the reader could thank Him for desiring such a relationship with the child, and pray for the Holy Spirit to draw him/her.

I’ve long been a fan of Roy Lessin’s verse and his devotional website, Meet Me in the Meadow. His words in these carefully-crafted prayers can aid us in regular prayer for the children (of all ages) in our lives.

Amazon link 

[Review copy from my personal library. Amazon link is an affiliate link for The Word Guild.]

Janet Sketchley

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Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, releases November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

HOW CAN I FIND QUIET TIMES WITH GOD?

How Can I find Quiet Times with God?

by Janet Sketchley

Quiet Times with God

Quiet Times with God

Relationship is pretty shallow if we don’t spend time with the person we love: talking, listening, working together, crying together. Being quiet together.

If we’re not doing that, I’d argue we’re not in relationship. We may have “collected” a contact with that person, but how deep is the connection? How long will it last?

Just like we need intentional time with our loved ones and close friends, sharing our hearts and weaving together our lives, we need a daily quiet time with God. Time to read, pray, listen and learn.

It’s not enough to know about God.
We need to know Him. Tweet this.

Daily quiet times require self-discipline. Like any positive habit, they’re hard to establish and easy to break. We can be tempted to get legalistic over them or to load guilt on ourselves when we get off-track, but that’s not the point. They’re an invitation to be alone with the God who made us.

Find even five minutes to get alone with God.
You’ll be the richer for it. Tweet this.

The time and place don’t matter as much as that it happens. Consistency does help, but not if a rigid schedule strangles you. Think of time with God as the most valuable “rock” you’ll put in the daily jar. Make sure it gets in there at some point.

If you’re easily distracted like me, first thing in the  morning may be best. I can’t do the “somewhere in the day” option because I forget. At one point when that wasn’t an option, I aimed for “tea with the Lord” right after lunch. Some people mark “appointment with God” in their daily planners, which could have the added bonus of startling friends or co-workers who happen to snoop.

One warning: establishing the routine of a daily quiet time is about quieting ourselves before the God of the universe and allowing Him to shape and grow us. Yes, we’ll be better off for it because we’ll be growing spiritually and better equipped to face what comes at us. But it is not a means of bribing God to give us easy, pleasant days. He’s still the Shepherd, we’re still the sheep.

And relationship with Him is still the best.

Related articles

Janet Sketchley

Janet SKetchley 2013

Janet is an east coast Canadian writer working to break into print in novel-length fiction. In the mean time, she writes weekly book reviews, devotionals and features on her blog, ”Tenacity“.

HOW CAN I PIERCE THE GLOOM?

Piercing the Gloom

by Janet Sketchley

crying

After an evening struggling with discouragement, I woke the next morning from a dream about outnumbered soldiers in a battle where miracles were the only thing keeping them safe, where the final defenses were nearly breached but where victory may have happened at the end. And where the stakes were higher than the soldiers’ lives—where God had a higher purpose.

Lying in bed, thinking about my dream, I got a song: the Newsboys’ “Never Surrender, Never Say Die.”

Then my morning reading included this verse:

As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.
Psalm 138:3, NLT

Wow… I’d been praying for help, for focus and encouragement. I’d been doing my feeble best to keep my thoughts God-centered in the gloom.

This verse tells me God heard. And He answered as soon as I prayed.

Not that I experienced the answer then, but I wonder how much easier the night would have been if I’d counted the prayer answered as soon as I prayed it—if I’d begun to thank Him for what He was in the process of doing, instead of waiting until I saw for myself.

Encouraged? Yes.

Challenged? Yes.

Thank You, God, and please help me be ready for next time.

Take it to the Lord in prayer

Janet Sketchley

Janet SKetchley 2013

Janet is an east coast Canadian writer working to break into print in novel-length fiction. In the mean time, she writes weekly book reviews, devotionals and features on her blog, ”Tenacity“.

WHAT ARE THOUGHTS THAT STING?

Thoughts that Sting

by Janet Sketchley

Satah

What are Thoughts that Sting?

Choose…

which thoughts to

dwell on,

entertain,

agree with,

feed.

Choose life.

God has been reclaiming the garden of my heart from an infestation of negative thoughts. I had no idea how many of the enemy’s lies I’d bought, nor how deeply they’d rooted. I’m so grateful that He loves me enough to confront me with the problem, and to forgive me when I acknowledged my part in letting them take hold.

Listen to the father of lies?

Believe what he says?

Why in the world would a person do that?

But he makes them sound so reasonable, and they attach to our fears and masquerade as truth. Maybe that’s how to discern the difference: does the thought seem to confirm my fears, stir my anxiety? Or does it resonate with my spirit? I really need to check each thought at the mental garden gate and ask for ID. Friend, or foe? Prove it. 

Wasp Nest

Not long ago, I was outside in a quiet spot, pondering what I’m learning. A wasp flew into my space, September-stupid and slow. Instead of retreating like I’d do in with an aggressive summer wasp, I shooed it away with my hand.

It came back; I shooed it again. After a few times, it went away.

In the stillness, it seemed like God was asking, “Did you get that?”

I think I did.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

Related Posts
 

How Can Satan Get a Hold of a Believer  underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com

Janet Sketchley

Janet is an east coast Canadian writer working to break into print in novel-length fiction. In the mean time, she writes weekly book reviews, devotionals and features on her blog, “Tenacity“.