Today’s Devotions – Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Good morning! There have been many times when life wallops me and surprises or even hurts me, and sometimes terribly. Most of us have probably experienced this to some degree or worse at some point in our lives. I know that I have called out to the Lord many times, praying, crying for understanding, for relief.

Isn’t it wonderful to know, beyond everything else, that there is ONE, our Creator, our Father; who would never hurt us and only want the absolute best for us? And even better? He created it (and us) all! Nothing is a surprise, nothing that happens, no mistake or path we take; it is all, every single moment, part of His grand and perfect plan.

This scripture represents hope for me. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. A feeling of trust. Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me, when I become headstrong and decide to take the reins of control out of God’s hands, that I am being childish again. Who else but a child would see the magic that is our world and our very lives and not understand where it all comes from?

This is Today’s Devotion. I will meditate and pray Jeremiah 29:11 so that it will become a living piece of me and how I choose to live in God’s love.

Surrender It All

My mind has been overwhelmed with one word, one feeling so strong it fills every bit of me. I have been trying to find the words to share this with you for weeks now. It is so much more in every way than anything I have ever consciously been sure of, wanted or decided.

As I pray each morning, usually as I am walking to work, I ask God the Father to guide me as I carry my cross and to remind myself to call out if ever and whenever I feel overwhelmed by thoughts or feelings that I do not want. But for weeks now, maybe even longer, and recently insistently, I ask myself, “Have I ever truly surrendered to God?” My intention is to always, forevermore going forward to be completely surrendered to God.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Surrender to God; every moment of every day. I want and pray to our heavenly Father to help me not only to surrender but to keep me from doing what I have done in the past; surrender pieces of me, then snatch back what I have handed over to our Lord, thinking “I can do this now”, yeah, not so much.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33-34

Without fail my past has proven the sequence of what will unfold: I hand everything over to God, start to feel rejuvenated and as if I am now or once again on the right path and without realizing what’s happening (what I am doing), I run and snatch it all back out of the Father’s hands and take off (usually at a sprint). Running ahead, once again, with no conscious thought of anything but carrying my own load (in my mind, “as I should be”).

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

Well, we here know how that works out for us. Without God in control, there is no control. Oh sure, there are fleeting moments that feel like happiness and we can still see the beauty of the world God gave us. Eventually though, for myself, I look around and peer ahead and behind searching for the familiar and realize that once again, I am lost.

How many times has the Lord come searching for me, calling my name, leading me (sometimes carrying me) back to the path He has made? The old me would feel shame, but I feel no shame. All my mistakes, all my failings; all were planned and known long ago by my Creator. I am new.

And 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

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

I want to fully and permanently surrender my mind, my body and my will back to my Father in heaven, my Creator. I want to be fully His to use as He created me to be! Don’t we all? To be completely and utterly filled with the joy that we are promised? To truly be what each of us, as parts of one body, were created to be?

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:4-6

With Hope & Joy is here to offer you hope and joy. We could help each other along on this momentous and glorious choice and finally give over to the only One who has true control. The Father who loves us so dearly and has a much better plan for each of us than any of us could possibly hope to imagine.

Today’s Devotions – Mark 16:15

Good morning! Today’s Devotions is my way of sharing my own meaningful interaction with God. As I have mentioned to you in past posts, I have this joyful and overflowing need to share with you the happiness I have experienced being forgiven and loved by our heavenly Father.

Today was my first full day off in, well… it seems like ages. I spent the day today making more changes to With Hope & Joy and to improve the entire look, linking and polishing. It’s an ongoing improvement but one I love deeply.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15

I work 7 days a week (one full time, one part time job) and am raising my incredibly sweet and talented 12 year old daughter alone, and I know I am not the only one hustling, burning the midnight oil to keep it all moving. But I have found, if I wait until I have “time” to spend time with God and His Word, I don’t.

Spending time with God is my priority. So I decided Today’s Devotions would be another way we (you and I) could do just that. Sharing the peace and comfort that we all need and is found in the Word.

Each of Today’s Devotions will focus on one or more, if need be, scripture(s) to pray and meditate with that day, throughout the day. I hope Today’s Devotions does for you what they do for me; bringing God closer each day and having something so perfect, right leading our thoughts each moment.

Now that I have introduced Today’s Devotions, (this was originally the first post of the Today’s Devotions) I would like to share with you the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ, on a mountain in Galilee, to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

The Great Commission is important because the glory of God is important. The word “commission” is the act of passing a responsibility to someone else. I feel that responsibility. I am a sinner and I am forgiven. I spent my life chasing and searching, and yet I was found. I’ve been in pain, felt utter loneliness and confusion and now daily, I feel the radiant joy of the Holy Spirit.

With Hope & Joy is that commission for me. A way to share my own experience with the hope and joy that fills me when I keep my eyes on our Lord. There are many improvements to both this website and most importantly the hastily transcribed Bible studies, broken down into readable sizes. When the thought of sharing my studies and love of our Lord Father online, I couldn’t slow down.

Stick with me, we shall have it all smoothed out and peaceful in no time at all. Please feel welcome to comment or share your own thoughts here or you can leave me a private message through the Contact Me page or on my About Me page.

Discipleship, Serving

Discipleship, s a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

Discipleship, Serving is Part 13 and the final post in our series towards transformation to be more like Jesus, on purpose.

Serving, like love, is the foundation of all that discipleship means to me. Jesus came into the world to offer us everything, to offer us forgiveness and redemption and to serve.

What can I do for you? It is that simple, when so much is so complicated at times. What can I do for you?

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.

Mark 10:45

To follow Jesus is to live a life where we are always looking for ways to meet the needs of others, through our talents, gifts, and abilities. It is a lifestyle of putting others first, not thinking about ourselves and our own desires, but also about what others lack and that we can provide.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve on another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:9-10

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24

Serving others is hard sometimes. We are commanded to serve others, and yet, Jesus doesn’t want for us to see serving as a burden. The Word tell us that Christ’s followers will be rewarded for our actions in the name of Jesus on earth. It also tells us that our goal is to please Jesus with our lives. These lessons may be misunderstood as motivation through guilt. Sometimes, this may be how we feel when serving as Christians. God demands servitude from us.

But the reality is that there is nothing we can do for God that He really needs us to do. And there is nothing we have done and could ever do to earn or work our way to our salvation.  God’s love, His grace, poured out on us. His love for us does not fluctuate based on our service to Him.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;

Romans 12:6-7

In all the things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35

We are created to serve God with our whole being. It is not a burden. It is a blessing. So let us not serve God out of guilt, for there is not payment in work that we owe God for anything. Rather, let us all serve joyfully, knowing that because we are free from sin, we can serve God fully, freely and eternally.

And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 9:35

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Hebrews 13:16

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.

Philippians 2:4

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.

Romans 12:9-13

Dear Lord, please help me to be like Jesus. To focus only on You and the Word. Please help me to carry my cross with perseverance and with only love in my heart. Help me to not hear the enemy that whispers at me and to only feel and think of You.

Please Lord, help me to wash away the sins that live inside of me and steal joy. Help me to live as I have been crucified with Christ Jesus and am brand new.

Please Lord, direct my steps leading me back to the path You have laid out for me so that I might be used as a beacon to come closer to You and the joy and happiness that is being loved by You.

Please help me to make good decisions and take good care with the responsibilities you have blessed and trusted me with.

In Your name I pray,

Amen.

Discipleship, Living Unashamed, Forgiven and Beautiful

Discipleship, is a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

It isn’t easy in the beginning, and it isn’t easy at any random spot in our journey that begins when we are saved to fully let go of the shame that lives in the deep secret places that we hide from the world and even ourselves.

These feelings and memories keep popping up when we least expect them to. The beautiful freedom and joyful life we now experience is an exciting adventure every single day, walking with Jesus and sharing every thought and moment with Him. Even during those moments (or sometimes, days) that life seems really hard and hurtful, I can step back and immerse myself in God’s love and Word and it brings the sparkle back, every time.

But sometimes, those dark memories, past sins and pain, come back and I can feel the worry. How can I ever not be ashamed, guilty and ugly with all the ways and times I have failed?

By believing in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. By believing that Jesus was born, lived and bled and died on a cross for my sins so that I might be forgiven. Believing that I was washed clean and born again to a new life of love.

By believing in God, His plan and His all-knowing of everything, always. God makes no mistakes. He is perfection.

His perfection. This is important. God doesn’t make mistakes. I am a child of God. I am not ashamed. I am forgiven and I am beautiful. God sees me, He knows me, He loves me.

~ I am a child of God.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Galatians 3:26

~ I am a friend of Christ Jesus.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15

~ I am a whole new person with a whole new life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

~ I am God’s incredible work of art.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

~ I am totally and completely forgiven.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

1 John 1:9

~ I am a citizen of heaven.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:20

~ I am greatly loved.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Discipleship, Relationships

Discipleship, is a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

The most important of God’s laws is to love one another. To build stronger, personal, deepening, supportive, and faith-building relationships with God, our family and friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers is following the example set for us both in the Word and by Jesus’s own living example to us.

For me the lessons of God’s love, the real-sinking-in-lessons for me, came from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

“God wants you to be in regular, close fellowship with other believers so you can develop the skill of loving. Love cannot be learned in isolation. You have to be around people – irritating, imperfect, frustrating people. Through fellowship we learn three important truths.” – Rick Warren

Rick Warren goes on in his life-changing book to explain those three truths:

  • The Best Use of Life is Love
  • The Best Expression of Love is Time
  • The Best Time to Love is Now

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

1 John 4:11-13

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 13:34

A relationship is the state of being connected. Some people are starving for relationships of love. Others are terrified of true relationships, connections, and want to keep others at a distance to protect themselves.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2

As we become more like Jesus and grow into our own discipleship, God’s own love will shine through us brighter than ever, drawing others to the warmth and joy of His bright light and love. The compassion and peacefulness of the Holy Spirit will comfort those that are in turmoil or afraid.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21

And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.

Hebrews 10:24

Bear with one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. As we build new and strengthen relationships, we also want to be always deepening these manifestations of God’s love. A “deepening” because time passes and and more moments are shared with sincere interest and empathy, our relationships are always deepening.

Galatians 6:2

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

1 Peter 3:8

Relationships, in our walk with Jesus as His disciple, go hand in hand with the most important of God’s laws; Love. We want this discipleship. We feel God’s love and want to walk with Him and share His love with others. We have daily epiphanies reading His Word, then turn around and do exactly the opposite!

My example is Proverbs 12:16 ~ A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. Ok! This is my day, and within an hour at the office, I was insulted and annoyed. (My total fail.)

All of the good spiritual input that we receive and enjoy is put to the test as we relate to other people. Our real growth comes not from the marvelous reading that morning. The real growth comes from failing to put it into action and calling out to our Father, “Lord, forgive me. Please bring me another test and help me to respond properly with love.”

That is the growth.

Discipleship, Seeking God

Discipleship, is a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

Seeking God is the most rewarding effort I have ever in my life put forth. Without fail, seeking God brings a peace to my soul, settles my personal chaos and highlights the beauty and joy that so often become hidden in or behind the worries and concerns of the moments or days.

This is the 10th post in the Discipleship series and again, I want to remind you that these Bible studies are simply my way of sharing my own journey with Christ and an offering of my own inspiration to you.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and all your soul.

Deuteronomy 4:29

I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently find me.

Proverbs 8:17

Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!

1 Chronicles 16:11

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:25

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

Psalm 119:10

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:9-10

Choosing God by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ; loving God by putting Him first in my life; and loving my neighbors by placing their needs over my own. This is the fulfillment of God’s law.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8:39

There are so many wonderful books and TED talks about coming closer to Jesus, my Savior, but nowhere do I find greater instruction, encouragement and love than in His Holy Word, the Bible.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:35

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

1 John 3:14

In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:3-4

What matters more than anything? Love!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8

Discipleship, Exercising Faith

Discipleship, is a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

Faith is a muscle that needs exercise to be strong. Faith is the gift of God. It doesn’t come from me, it is a gift from God. It is the special work of the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to who Jesus is and to show my need for Him and to create the capacity to trust in Him.

God is the God of anything, everything, that seems impossible. With God all things are possible.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.

Romans 10:17

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.

Jeremiah 17:7-10

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:20-24

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

Proverbs 17:3

How might I, exercise my faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?

~ Wait on God.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Draw strength from God, and not my own self-reliance. While waiting, do not fall into a frustrated mind-set, thinking, “I have to do something!”

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes

Ephesians 6:10-11

~ Focus completely, exclusively on God.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished the race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: the cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

Hebrews 12:2 (The Message)

Discipleship, Growing, Affirmation and Acceptance

Discipleship, is a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself. “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

Lamentations 3:21-24

~ I am good.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:4-6

~ I am lovable.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

John 15:9

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly beloved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

~ I am a responsible person.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

~ I am a valuable and important person.

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ dies and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Romans 14:7-9

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

~ I am capable of doing great things.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deed is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be fulfilled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

Grace is the limitless and undeserved kindness and mercy of God that is freely given to human beings. Jesus Christ’s being was full of divine goodness and favor which ws intended for the blessing of God’s people.

I do not proclaim Jesus Christ as my lord with my mouth, but with my life.

Discipleship, Dying to Self

Discipleship, is a journey I hope you will join me on. Being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, on purpose.

Previously:

When I am forgotten or neglected and I am not hurt with the insult, my heart remains happy ~ that is dying to self.

When my advice is disregarded, my opinions ridiculed, and I refuse to let anger dwell in my heart and take it all in patient, loving silence ~ that is dying to self.

When I lovingly and patiently bear disorder, irregularity, tardiness and annoyances, and endure it as Jesus endured it ~ that is dying to self.

When I never care to refer to myself in conversation or have any record of my own good works, or crave praise after an accomplishment and can truly love be unknown ~ that is dying to self.

When I see a brother or sister prosper and can honestly rejoice with them, and feel no envy even if my own needs are greater ~ that is dying to self.

When I can take correction, when I can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, with no rebellion or resentment rising up within my heart ~ that is dying to self.

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:1-15

I have a prayer, written out and on the wall that my desk is against that I pray often.

Dear Lord, prune me that I may ask for Your Holy Spirit to fill me.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may not be attached to the perishable things of this world but seek only the things that are eternal.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Right Judgment that I may choose the surest way of pleasing You.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Courage that I may bear my cross with you and that I may overcome all the obstacles that oppose my salvation.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself in You.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Reverence that I may find service to You sweet and attractive.

Please Lord, grant me the Spirit of Wonder and Awe that I may be filled with loving reverence towards you and may avoid anything that would displease You.

Mark me, dear Lord, animate me in all things with Your Spirit.

Amen