Keep Your Eyes and Focus on Jesus

Keep Your Eyes and Focus on Jesus

Keep Your Eyes and Focus on Jesus

It’s easy to lose spiritual focus and get distracted when things don’t seem to be going our way. It’s especially true when we see or experience injustices, trouble, unethical behavior or wrongdoing. However, the Bible encourages us that even, and especially in those times, we should keep our focus and our eyes fixed on Jesus.

God has been showing me some of that lately. I tend to get more frustrated and discouraged when I rely on myself and my own strength instead of remembering that I have a God that will give me the strength I need to handle and endure anything that comes my way if I’ll just look to him.

Sometimes things just get under our skin so much that we forget about God’s role and ability in the whole process. For example, state budget cuts and administrative changes have completely affected education where I live. I teach at a local community college, and we’ve experienced some significant negative effects as well.

Take this upcoming semester, for instance…

In my department alone, over half of the classes have been canceled, instructors are receiving fewer teaching assignments but still have increased workloads, and a tremendous amount of autonomy has been eliminated. It’s super frustrating for both professors and students alike. I had a class canceled this semester, and a good friend of mine did as well, even though she was guaranteed a certain number of classes in return for some uncompensated work that she did.

In these situations it’s extremely easy to focus on the injustice. It’s easy to spend time stewing and trying to think of ways that we can make things right, change our circumstances, and/or make people see the error of their ways. What I should be doing instead is just focusing on God and the things that are in my control. I have to choose to shift my focus from the negative to God. 

Park’s tree

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Funny Friday: One Fast Roller Coaster

Funny Friday: One Fast Roller Coaster

This one was courtesy of my sister’s Instagram post this week. 🙂 She wrote “mmmmmm think I’ll pass on this ride”!

“…for they surely make wings for themselves, and fly off into the sky like an eagle! ” Proverbs 23:5 (NET)

Prayer for You This Year–2018

Prayer for You This Year 2018

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

Prayer for You This Year–2018

As many people start the year with a fresh start and New Year’s Resolutions, it’s a time to look toward the upcoming year. The same is true for me. I’ll be participating with my church in a 21 day challenge involving 21 days of prayer, discipline and bible study. During the month of January, I will be spending some time in concentrated prayer. As part of my prayer time, I will be spending time praying for my blog, readers, and subscribers. I plan on praying for each person on my subscriber list individually.

There will be some general areas that I will be praying for each of you, which I’ll detail below. However, I’d also like to take this opportunity to reach out to you and see if you have any specific needs or prayer requests that you would like me to pray about. I would love to hear from you!

You can let me know your requests by:

  1. Posting a comment below (at the bottom of this page)
  2. Sending a message through my contact page by clicking here
  3. Sending me an email at tracy at happyhealthyandprosperous dot com (I have to list the email this way to avoid those crazy spam robots! :P)

I will add your specific requests to my list, and I will commit to praying for you and your needs. If you don’t have any specific needs, please know that you are still being prayed for by name anyway!

General areas I’ll be praying for

  • Spiritual growth and relationship with God and for you to also grow in wisdom stature and favor like Jesus did
  • Health, healing and emotional well-being
  • Relationships with others in your life
  • Work
  • Finances and prosperity
  • Gifts, calling and purpose
  • Direction
  • Strength and courage
  • Peace
  • Open doors for you this year and close the wrong ones
  • Experience God’s love this year

My prayer for you this year…

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Funny Friday: Winter Decor

Winter decor

Funny Friday: Winter Decor

This winter decor window display is priceless! Apparently autocorrect even affects snowmen. I didn’t take this photo so I’m not sure which store deserves the credit. Super creative and relevant though! Good on them. 🙂

“…Our brothers have made our hearts melt…” Deuteronomy 1:28 (NIV)

Top 10 Posts of 2017

Top 10 Posts of 2017

“Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” Psalms 105:5 (ESV)

This week I’m sharing the Top 10 Posts of 2017.  I always like to take the first of the year to recount some of the top or most popular posts of the previous year.  I like to share them for a few reasons…

First, there are several new subscribers/followers who may not have seen or read these posts and might find some of them to be helpful.

Secondly, looking back also helps me to remember what God has done and is still doing through this website. I continue to hope and pray that I am making an impact with what I write and share.

Lastly, it helps me (and hopefully you too) have ideas of how to pray based on what the current need or demand is, and when I know that I know how to continue to pray for others.  What people are frequently searching or clicking on can be an indicator of some of their needs. Whether it’s a need for spiritual growth, leading others to Christ or overcoming personal struggles, I can pray more specifically based on these posts and their popularity.

Take Some Practical Steps:

  • As you look through this list of most popular posts, please stop and take a minute to pray for one or more of the topics that stand out to you.
  • Please click on and read or re-read one or more of the posts from which you feel you may be able to receive some benefit or of which you might need some reminding.
  • Pay it forward…if one or more of the following posts has benefited you, please consider sharing the post on Facebook and/or your other social media channels (sharing links are available at the end of each post). You can also forward posts to specific people you know who might benefit (you might prayerfully consider who to share them with).
  • Lastly, please pray for me this year to #1-continue to help others, #2-for me to have to right words at the right time, and #3-for the right people to be directed to my site for God to help them.

Top 10 Posts of 2017

How to Pray for Unsaved Loved Ones...specific things to pray and what to expect

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #1

  1. How to Pray for Unsaved Loved Ones

We are instructed to pray for our unsaved loved ones. Sometimes it’s hard to know how/what to pray. This post will give you some specific things to pray and give you an idea of what to expect when you start praying.

Learn How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #2

  1. How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted

Feeling unloved or unwanted is a common cause of insecurity.  This post covers how to overcome feeling unloved by following some practical steps.  It also includes a prayer straight from the bible to help overcome these feelings.

9 Common Causes of Insecurity

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #3

  1. 9 Common Causes of Insecurity

Most people deal with insecurity in one form or another.  This post addresses 9 common causes of insecurity with examples of each in scripture.  I share some of my personal struggles with insecurity.

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #4

  1. Name Meanings: How is Your Name Prophetic?

Your name and its meanings might have more to do with your life than you think.  Your name meanings might actually describe some of your character traits and/or the traits that God will use in you to accomplish His will for your future.  This post discusses how your name might be prophetic.

Learn how to lead someone to Christ here...

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #5

  1. How to Lead Someone to Christ

Knowing how to lead someone to Christ may seem nerve-wracking.  It’s not as hard as you might think.  This post includes 4 easy steps to follow to lead someone to Christ with links to follow-up posts about the next steps they need to take to further their walk with God.

Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt?

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #6

  1. Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 1

Part 1 of this post on being “salty” helps you to learn some of the qualities of salt and how you can use these qualities to make a difference in the world around you & in your spheres of influence. In short, it’s a few tips on how to walk the walk of a Christian in a sometimes not-so-friendly-to-Christians world.

Do you have children or people that you care for that are making bad choices? Try this Prayer For Those Who Make Bad Choices...

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #7

  1. Prayer for Those Who Make Bad Choices

When people you care about are making bad choices, the most important thing to do is to pray. Prayer is extremely powerful and produces results (James 5:16). This post has a prayer you can pray for people making bad choices, as well as including several scriptures upon which the prayer is based.

What 15 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me...Just a few things we've learned over the years

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #8

  1. What 15 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me…

My husband, Eric, and I wrote this post together after we celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary in 2014.  We thought we’d have some fun sharing what 15 years of marriage has taught us.  Check this post out for some funny and some serious tips.

Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #9

  1. Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Do you ever just feel attacked? Maybe it’s time to fight back…in the right way. I do believe there is a time and a place to endure attacks, but I also firmly believe that God never intended for us to be doormats to be walked on by people. This post has a prayer to go on the offensive when you’re being verbally attacked by people.

Scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted…

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #10

  1. Scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted …

This post contains some scriptures for when you feel attacked or persecuted. It’s helpful that God has given us some encouragement & direction on this topic. These scriptures are helpful and comforting to let us know that we’re not alone, that God is our avenger, and that we will be blessed and graced when enduring persecution.

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement in 2017!  Praying for you to be very Happy, Healthy & Prosperous in 2018 and all the years to come!

“Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.” 3 John 1:2 (HCSB) 

P.S.  If you are not currently subscribed and liked any of these posts, you might enjoy receiving new posts delivered right to your inbox each week!  Sign up here

Also, if you have benefited from any of these posts or if you know anyone that could benefit from them, please pay it forward and share them via the sharing links below! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

 

Funny Friday: Gingerbread House

Gingerbread house

Funny Friday: Gingerbread House

Ran across this clever “gingerbread house” meme the other day. I think I might actually be able to make this one!

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)

Christmas Geese

Christmas Geese

A few years ago I heard this story as an analogy of why Jesus came to earth. I thought it was a perfect explanation that makes Jesus incarnation (becoming human) easier to understand. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas this year and a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2018!

Here is a longer, written version of the story that I found–the author is unknown:

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God and didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife did believe and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked her husband to come, but he refused as usual, “The Christmas story is nonsense!” he exclaimed. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!”

She and the children went, and he stayed home.

That night the wind began to blow and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he could see was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down before the fireplace to relax. Suddenly, there was a loud thump. Something had hit the window.

Then, a second thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet because of the blinding snow.

When the storm let up a little, he ventured out to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near the house was a flock of wild geese. Apparently they were flying south when they were caught in the blizzard and couldn’t go on.

They were lost and stranded on his farm, without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they aimlessly flew around the field in low circles. Some had apparently flown into his window.

The man felt concern for the geese and wanted to help them.

The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It was warm and safe. They would be saved if they spent the night there waiting out the storm.

He opened the barn doors wide. Then he watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and enter. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention by waving a lantern, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and brought out some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became frightened and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be safe. “Why don’t they follow me?” he puzzled. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.

Suddenly, he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. When he released his goose, it flew through the flock and straight into the safety of the barn. One by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed loudly in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!” Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier that evening, “Why would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly, it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first real prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for coming in human form to get me out of this world and leading me to a better one.”

Funny Friday: Unicorn for Christmas

Unicorn for Christmas

Funny Friday: Unicorn for Christmas

Me: Santa, I want a magical unicorn for Christmas.

Santa: Be realistic.

Me: OK. Then, I want 5 minutes to myself each day to drink hot coffee and pee in peace.

Santa: What color unicorn would you like?

“Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow?” Job 39:10 (KJV)