An Unusual Turkey Give-Away

Between the supermarket discount and the coupon my husband received for volunteering at the hospital, our Thanksgiving turkey cost us very little. Thinking about this, I recalled a favorite memory from childhood—the year my father gave away a free turkey. Not a frozen one. Not a fresh one. A live one!

A few days before Thanksgiving, he purchased a turkey and placed it in the large display window of his grocery store. (To those of you who might be concerned about safety, the turkey could move a bit in the window space but could not roam around the store.) He provided water for it to drink and corn for it to eat. By carefully counting the number of corn kernels he placed in its food container each day, my father knew exactly how many of them this turkey ate.

He promised to give that turkey to the person whose guess came closest to the number of corn kernels it ate. Before long, children and adults in our little village crowded around the window with much laughter and lively competition. Children pressed their nose against the cold glass and tried to count the number of corn kernels the turkey ate. Adults bet with one another and tried to mathematically figure out how much it would eat. Though it was free, the family who received that turkey for dinner needed to do some work before placing it on the dinner table.  

Although of infinite more value than a turkey, like my father’s turkey give-away, God’s gifts of grace are free. Like the work needed to prepare that turkey for dinner, receiving the benefits of God’s grace requires some effort on our part. It’s not that he is watching us and keeping track of our good deeds, counting them like my father counted corn kernels.

We don’t earn God’s grace by our good deeds. The effort God requires of us is to ask. If we pride ourselves in being self-sufficient, asking will be difficult for us. However, if we do not ask or we easily give up, we will not receive.

Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. As we pray, let us be like little children, persistently “pressing our noses on the window of heaven” and expectantly waiting in hopeful assurance that God will answer our prayers. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

This entry was posted on November 16, 2018. 8 Comments

The Awesome Gift of Choice



Do things just happen to you or do you cause things to happen?

Do you make your own choices or do you allow others to choose for you?

Do you feel as if you are in control your life or do you feel as if your life is out of control?

We have the power to choose our destiny

Through the thoughts that we think and the words that we speak, we choose our destiny. God declares this in his message to the Hebrew people, saying, “I have set before you today life and good, death and evil . . . blessing and cursing . . . Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19-20 ESV).

This week I spent some time meditating on this passage and thinking about this awesome gift of choice. In my journal, I wrote the following prayer.


Lord, I thank you that you have given me the power and gift of choice.
Today, I choose life instead of death

I choose love instead of fear
I chose health instead of sickness
I choose gratitude instead of ingratitude (complaining)
I choose joy instead of resentment
I choose self-control instead of anger
I choose forgiveness instead of unforgiveness
I choose mercy instead of revenge
I choose to let go of injury instead of hanging on to grudges
I choose faith instead of guilt
I choose trust instead of despair
I choose self-worth instead of shame
I choose peace instead of anxiety
I choose self-acceptance instead of self-rejection
I choose compassion instead of hatred
I choose righteousness instead of unrighteousness
I choose that which is good instead of that which is evil
I choose diligence instead of laziness
I choose godliness instead of ungodliness
I choose action instead of passivity
I choose to serve instead of to be promoted
I choose self-discipline instead of self-indulgence
I choose generosity instead of greed
I choose your blessing instead of a curse
I choose to obey Jesus instead of Satan, the world, or the flesh

Father, I make these choices intentionally.
Holy Spirit, by your power and grace, empower me to follow through with all of these choices so Jesus will receive the honor he deserves.

Suggested Action:

  • Meditate on the above Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it means for you to choose life instead of death and good instead of evil.
  • Write down the choice(s) you will make this coming week.
  • Share your thoughts with me and/or a friend. 

Read about the relationship between God’s grace and our choices in  my book Emotional Freedom 

Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make by [Ault, Jane]

 

This entry was posted on October 26, 2018. 4 Comments

Something More Important Than Schedules

 



Time management has always been challenging for me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve designed and redesigned schedules. I  don’t stick to any of them very long. A schedule feels like a straight-jacket. A restriction that blocks my creativity.  Yet, I know my time on earth is limited.

The Psalmist said, “the days of our life . . .  contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years”(Psalm 90:10). God has blessed me with eighty years. I want to make the best use of whatever years, days, hours, and moments my generous God continues to give to me.

If schedules don’t work for me, is there a different way for me to manage time? 

Part of the answer to my prayer/question came this week in the words of Dallas Willard. In his book, The Allure of Gentleness, he talks about the concept of redeeming the time, a phrase used in the book of Ephesians.  To redeem something means to cash in, by back, make useful. How can we make the best use of time? Willard’s answer: “by interacting with God where you are”!

Interacting with God means having a 24/7 conversation with Jesus. Isn’t that exciting? It’s another aspect of practicing the presence of God. By keeping that conversation going, I’m able within the boundaries of time to love God and love my neighbor as myself. Is there any better use of time than that? 

Does this mean I can forget about schedules? No. I still schedule my various activities, but as the following poem says, I  don’t watch the hands of the clock. I watch Jesus. 


The clock moves on . . .
but God is still.
Hurried flesh knows not his will.

Like Mary, we must turn aside,
deny ambition,
give up pride,
leave our projects,
choose to wait.

We cannot love unless we hate.
We cannot live unless we die.

God will not rule
while we still try.
He will not force us to repent . . .
but soon our days
will all be spent.

Jesus waits . . .
time hurries on.
Choose Jesus now before time’s gone.

2002 Jane Ault
 


Time

Time is for loving
Time is for caring
Time is for doing God’s will.

Time is for learning
Time is for growing
Time just never stands still.

Time is for daring
Time is for risking
Time is for choosing a yes or a no.

Time is for hoping
Time is for dreaming
Sometimes, time seems too slow.

Time is for singing
Time is for dancing
Time is for praising the Lord.

Time is for sowing
Time is for reaping
Time is for saying a word.

Time is for crying
Time is for weeping
Time is for healing my pain.

Time is for now
Time is for using
Love, done in time, remains.

1995 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on October 12, 2018. 6 Comments

What Does “Being Perfect” Mean?

 



This week several people told me that when they made mistakes, they were very hard on themselves. They wanted to be perfect and they condemned themselves for failures. To live with someone who expects 100% in everything can be very difficult, especially if that person is yourself. 

I know. For years I lived with that self-expectation. The belief that I must be perfect came from a misunderstanding of Jesus’s words, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 ESV). With the help of my theologian husband, I learned the true meaning of Jesus’s words.

Perfection Redefined

The word used by Jesus (that in English is translated ‘perfect’) comes from the Greek word ‘teleios’. Teleios means mature.  When Jesus said, “you must be perfect”, he was talking about inward character change. 

 Character change requires time. There’s no quick fix. No 30-second cure. We don’t become butterflies overnight. We must remain in the cocoon of God’s protective and nourishing love. Taste his goodness. Receive his instruction. Saturate ourselves with his beauty. In doing so, we become like Jesus.

Gradually, we are transformed.

  • We learn to love what Jesus loved (righteousness) and learning to hate what he hated (wickedness). (Hebrews 1:9NIV)
  • We learn to honor our heavenly Father as Jesus did. People rejected him, but he did not care about his own honor. (John 8:49, 50NIV)
  • We learn to value Jesus did. “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being . . . he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8 New Living Translation).
  • We learn to respond in every frustrating, difficult and painful situation like Jesus did. He consistently displayed what the Bible calls the fruit of righteousness: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22, 23 NIV)

As we are learning (growing toward perfection), we will make mistakes.

We will fail. When that happens, these are the choices we make:

  • We face the truth or we deny it.
  • We accept responsibility or we blame others
  • We receive forgiveness or we condemn ourselves

The following poem describes the choices God makes.


God is patient with us when we’re learning new skills.
He gently instructs us to wipe up our spills.
He does not berate us or call us cruel names
But speaks with kindness, remembering our frame.

He shows us the way when knowledge we lack,
He explains by example. He never attacks us,
Because of our ignorance or because of our fear.
He surrounds us with love and fills us with cheer.

With hope, we continue to flourish and grow.
Empowered by faith, we conquer each foe!
Strengthened by grace, our hearts feel secure.
Because of God’s goodness, we can mature!

Jane Ault 

 

This entry was posted on October 5, 2018. 8 Comments

Becoming a Gracious Woman

 



Yesterday, a friend of mine gave me a very kind comment. She said, “You are a gracious woman.” I appreciated the affirmation and thanked her. Is this true? Am I a gracious woman?

When I got up this morning I started thinking about what it means to be gracious. I reviewed the story of Joseph written in the book of Genesis. What an example of graciousness! He suffered abuse and he was falsely accused. Yet, he was neither revengeful nor bitter.  Where did he find the strength to overcome these natural tendencies? He experienced the grace and goodness of God.

God blessed him with a wife and two sons. He named them in honor of God and as a reminder of God’s goodness to him. This is how the story is recorded in the book of Genesis:  

“Two sons were born to Joseph before the famine came. Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, was their mother. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, saying, “Certainly God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” He named the second child Ephraim, saying, “Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:50-52 NET)

God has been as gracious to me as he was to Joseph. He’s given me a compassionate and gracious husband, a precious family, and many dear friends. More than that, he’s given me the companionship and of the Holy Spirit, the Friend whom Jesus said he would send to all of his followers.

Because of his gracious blessings, I am not bitter and angry. I am not focused on inner pain. I am free from shame. I have self-worth. I can look beyond myself and reach out to others.

Does this mean I am a gracious woman?  Sometimes, I am. Sometimes, I am not. God, alone, is gracious 100 percent of the time. My desire is to continue growing in grace, each day to become more and more like Jesus. In the words of this song by BJ Thomas, I want to be more and more like Jesus.

 

This entry was posted on September 29, 2018. 2 Comments

Who is a Safe Shepherd and Who is Not?

 



It’s been distressing to watch the Supreme Court justice nominee’s hearing and the events leading up to it. Issues of personal safety certainly are at stake. I feel very sad. However, I’m not stating my position regarding the people questioned because I want you, my friends and readers, to think for yourselves. I hope you will not stop reading but consider my criteria for making wise decisions about leadership in general.

As the following proverb states, we must all learn to be discerning.  

“A naive person believes everything,
but the shrewd person discerns his steps.”- Proverbs 14:15 NET


Naïve is not a word that I often see on Facebook. I think it deserves some consideration. What does it mean to be naive? This is one dictionary definition: “having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information”.

As the above Proverb tells us, there’s a danger in being naïve.  We have a tendency to take shortcuts and to make quick judgments and hasty decisions without thoughtfully examining evidence and asking pertinent questions.

We can be tricked into believing safe people are dangerous and dangerous people are safe. How do we know who is safe and who is not? Jesus gave us an important clue when he said, “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” He did not say, “Beware of sheep in wolves’ clothing” because a sheep never wears a wolf’s clothing. Sheep are not out to deceive people. They’re just set on following a path and they need guidance in order to find the right path. They need a shepherd.

When Jesus looked at the crowds of people in the world around him, he said that they were like sheep without a shepherd. I don’t think much has changed since his day. The world is full of sheep. Sheep can easily be deceived. They need a shepherd.

That shepherd needs to be a safe person. A safe person is someone with integrity. Someone who never deceives us. Someone who always tells the truth. Someone who is patient, kind, and good. Someone who does not expect perfection. Someone who does not condemn us when we fall down. Someone who walks beside us and helps us recognize dangers, not only points them out but teaches us to recognize the dangers ourselves. Someone who teaches us how to have discernment.

We need to have knowledge and discernment. We need to ask questions. We need to know what questions to ask. Appearances can be deceiving. A safe shepherd does not go around comparing one sheep with other sheep. They are all equally cared for and protected. He or she does not condemn sheep. He or she does not go around causing divisions among the sheep. A safe shepherd brings sheep together and teaches them to live in peace, unity, and understanding.

Because his or her self-worth is settled, a safe shepherd confidently makes decisions. He or she is not looking for approval or even acceptance. Nor is a safe shepherd hungry for power or control. A safe shepherd has control of his or her own life, shows us how to gain control of ourselves, and assists us in escaping the control of abusive shepherds.

When I look at the world today, I’m concerned. I see a lot of naïve sheep and very few safe shepherds. Yet I do not despair because Jesus is still alive. As we look to him, listen to his words, and follow the guidance of the Spirit he has given us, we will gain discernment and not be deceived by wolves dressed as shepherds.  


Prudence and naivety were walking down the road.
Soon they met a stranger who offered them some food.

Naivety just swallowed it; she thought all things were good.
But prudence first examined it; she wisely understood . . .

Appearance can deceive us; we must be very shrewd.
Things, which at first taste sweet, can turn sour when they’re chewed.

Jane Ault 2002 

This entry was posted on September 28, 2018. 8 Comments

The Dynamic Dance of Choosing Grace

 



As followers of Jesus, how do become like him in character? What is our responsibility? Do we actively participate or do we passively receive his grace? In the process of developing spiritual, mental,  and emotional integrity, what is the balance between responsibility and grace?  It’s helpful for me to picture this relationship as a dance, which I’ve not yet perfected! I’m continually learning new versions.

This how I describe it in my book, Emotional Freedom

The Dance  of Choosing Grace

 Jesus does not compel us to obey him. He empowers us to overcome evil and destructive passions, but it does not happen automatically. It’s a shared effort. Eugene Peterson, in The Message, uses the phrase (Matthew 11:28–30) to describe the shared relationship that Jesus invites us to have with him.

I love that “unforced rhythms of grace” phrase. It reminds me of a dance. I’m not a great dancer. My least well-developed intelligence is kinesthetic. When I was in college, I had to take beginning swimming twice in order to pass it. Kinesthetic intelligence is one of my husband’s highest developed abilities. He loves to dance. I love watching him dance. We do it as a part of our worship on Sunday mornings. I managed to dance with him at our daughters’ weddings without crushing his toes.

The concept of dancing with God delights me. I call this dance with Jesus “Choosing Grace.” It has two basic steps—grace and responsibility. Grace is God’s step of love toward me. Responsibility is my step of love toward God. Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love” (John 15:10 MSG). 

Choosing grace is about dancing in such a close relationship with Jesus that his nature becomes a part of us, motivating our decisions and empowering our behavioral changes. Here is a clear Biblical statement describing the interaction between grace and responsibility: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12–13 NIV).

Choosing grace is about acting on our decisions so that our behavior will change. However, it’s much more than a how-to-do list for selecting and practicing new behaviors. Through this dynamic dance with Jesus, we are transformed, and we become like him. How do responsibility and grace work together to bring about character change and freedom from destructive desires and emotions? There are two common misunderstandings.

Problems on the Dance Floor

Some of us focus entirely on God’s grace, and others of us focus entirely on our responsibility. Some of us depend on God to do all the dancing, while others of us leave him standing on the dance floor and take off in our own independent rhythm.

When we place responsibility—as well as grace—totally in God’s lap, our slogan becomes “let go and let God.” God did not design us as robots, and he does not bypass our will. We have the responsibility of choosing whether or not we will rely on God’s empowering grace.

When we place responsibility on our shoulders and forget about grace we take up the “just-say-no!” slogan. Our program of self-reform does not usually work very well or last very long.  The only way we can be successful by just saying no to our destructive desires is by lying to ourselves—overlooking our slip-ups.

On any day, I may deceive myself into thinking I can stay away from the chocolate ice cream which gives me digestive problems. Perhaps by God’s grace, I’ve been successful for a few weeks. Now, I think my willpower is sufficient. I no longer need God’s assistance. What happens? I’m so focused on my performance that my craving takes over.

I tend to swing from one end of the spectrum to the other. Sometimes, I act as if God is totally responsible for my growth. In passive irresponsibility, I refuse to take initiative. I don’t anticipate problems, and I don’t plan how I can obey. I sing “I want what God wants” while waiting for him to exercise the will he gave to me. What’s the result? Nothing happens. Why doesn’t this work?

God will neither take over my will nor override the choices I make. His freedom of choice gift includes responsibility to act and accountability for our action or failure to act. 

Questions for reflection:

On which end of the responsibility/grace spectrum do you tend to swing?
Do you need to take more action steps or do you need to focus on God’s grace?

 

This entry was posted on September 21, 2018. 6 Comments

An Appeal for Graciousness



The conflicts within our nation deeply grieve me. How can blaming, name-calling, and other techniques of evasion affect healing in any of us? There’s no easy and simple solution. As others have notably recognized, it’s only by conquering the enemies within us that we can conquer the enemies outside of us.

When facing an angry crowd of self-righteous people bent on stoning an abused and “sinful” woman, Jesus declared, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the accusers dropped their stones and left.

Who in our day is willing and able to balance truth and grace so effectively? For deep and lasting conflict resolution, both are essential. In his book, Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud offers valuable insights and practical help for gaining and maintaining this truth-grace balance.

Cloud’s description of the “wise”, the “foolish”, and the “evil” person is outstanding. While he points out the necessity of ending some relationships, he does not advocate unnecessary endings. He gives clear guidelines for conflict resolution so that we can cultivate healthy seeds in our souls–gentleness, kindness, goodness, peace, and love.

Neither grace nor truth standing alone can save us from destructive seeds within us, such as arrogance, hatred, revenge, envy, greed, and apathy. 

 Truth, by itself, denounces and destroys persons, yet does nothing to empower healthy change. Grace, by itself, overlooks seeds of destruction and falls prey to its own and others unhealthy tendencies.

In today’s poem, I’ve tried to express my concern in a positive manner. It’s not my intention to name names or take sides in the political arena. It’s my desire and hope that we will all choose to become the kind of citizens that promote greatness in the entire world.


We often hurt each other in unexpected ways;
We don’t mean to do it; disease makes sad our days.

An invasive cancer resides in every soul and spirit;
We may refuse to see this; yet, it is inherent.

Self-righteous denial blinds us to the truth
And foolishly we trust those evil and uncouth.

When arrogant defiance is enthroned in our land
How long can we survive? How long can we stand?

Reconciliation will come when to this we agree:
We all chose foolishness and error to some degree.

Humility is the grace that empowers leadership;
It saves us from harshness; yet, strengthens our grip,

Giving us the courage to remove all cancerous growth;
Let us not resign in despair but retain faith and hope.

9/7/2018 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on September 7, 2018. 4 Comments

What I Learned Through My Summer Scripture Memory Challenge

 



Thanks to all of you who’ve continued to follow my posts during the summer. The challenge I made was more difficult than I expected. I did memorize some Scripture but not as much I expected to. These are the lessons I learned.

I must adjust my challenges to the demands of reality. Being a senior citizen means I can’t memorize something as quickly as I did when I was a teenager. Neither can I retain it as well. It’s information overload. It’s unhelpful when I am traveling and visiting family, to make Scripture memory as much of a priority as it is when I’m at home.  If my focus is on the amount of Scripture I must memorize for the day, I won’t hear what God is saying or doing in a conversation with my family and friends.

The Holy Spirit won’t let me forget the lines of Scripture he knows I need hear. Each moment of the day, he alerts me to the word of comfort, correction, or understanding I need. While my husband and I traveled crowded highways, this phrase that I’d memorized from Psalm 121 kept me from becoming anxious: “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Often during the summer, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this Psalm 15 phrase (referring to the behavior of those who have the privilege of his company): “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others.” In several situations, it helped me to keep my mouth shut!  

Meditation is more valuable than memorization. Mediation is a way of internalizing the truths of Scripture. I discuss them with the Spirit. I make them my own.  I put them into action. Rather than focusing on how much Scripture I can memorize, I need to focus on how well I’m aligning my heart and will with the Scripture I’m memorizing.  How am I responding to God’s messages?

Living according to Scriptural truths is a bigger and better challenge than memorizing it. That’s what will bring me a lasting and satisfying reward. For Jesus said,  “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT).


Will I continue memorizing Scripture? Yes, but in smaller chunks. My focus will be more on responding to what I read. In the last two weeks, I did not memorize any of Psalm 40. Instead, I meditated on it and wrote the following response. It concludes the poem I started a few decades ago. 


A Psalm of Gratitude

Lord, you’ve heard my prayer. I no longer live in the pit of self-destruction. Although at times I still feel depressed, I no longer live there. You’ve freed me from cycles of deep depression. 

Not in the way I wanted, imagined, and expected. Your wisdom is far greater and your ways are far superior to mine (Isaiah 55:9)

I wanted an instant deliverance. You took me on a journey. A journey that will not end until the day you call me home. Every day you teach me something new.

I wanted quick and simple answers; you gave me understanding. You showed me where my patterns of negative thinking began—deep in my heart. You worked with me to uproot firmly established beliefs–lies! You continue to do so. In that way, my mind is being changed for good–transformed!

I wanted you to do all of the work. You were respectful of my personality and gave me choices. You showed me what it means to be responsible. I learned that my freedom is not a passive gift. It must be received.

Jesus, how kind you are! Your words are like gentle raindrops. How patient and humble you are! You do not push and shove me when I’m slow to understand. How merciful and gracious you are! You forgive me for the same error, over and over again.

You do not allow me to remain in bondage to lies! I am a blessed woman!

I want to tell everyone how amazing you are! My heart overflows with joy. Poems and songs fill my journals. If I wrote millions of them, I would only express a tiny fraction of your love, goodness, wisdom, and power.

I want to share the words you’ve given me. Show me how I can best do this. I want many more people to see your magnificence and worship you.

You’ve been constantly paying attention to me, patiently and persistently loving me–for eighty decades!

Take every word of Scripture I’ve memorized and work within me so that I, like Jesus, “delight to do your will”.

8/31/2018 Jane Ault 

This entry was posted on August 31, 2018. 6 Comments

Why I Chose to Memorize Psalms


As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

(Psalm 42: 1-2 NIV)


I am a voracious and fast reader. The problem is: Sometimes, I don’t absorb enough of what I’ve read. I don’t think about it. I don’t ask questions.  This summer, it’s helped me to read less and spend more time thinking about what I’ve read. In particular, it’s been helpful to slow down so I can think about the Psalms I’ve been memorizing. Ask questions. Tune in to the voice of the Spirit. Respond to corrections. Receive comfort.

Psalms have been my go-to source of wisdom, encouragement, and comfort for many years. 

In his book, The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard says this about them: “If you bury yourself in Psalms, you emerge knowing God and understanding life. . .  We drink in God and God’s world from them. They provide a vocabulary for living Godward, one inspired by God himself. They show us who God is, and that expands and lifts and directs our minds and hearts”(TDC p. 65).

Beyond, reading, memorizing, and meditating on the psalms, I invite you to take another step this week. Respond to the psalm you’ve thoughtfully and prayerfully read (and possibly memorized) by writing out your personal prayer. 


Psalm 40, verses 1-8, is the one that I’ve chosen to memorize this week. Here it is as written in the English Standard Version:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, OLord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”


 Years ago, I wrote the following prayer based on the first two verses of Psalm 40. 

A Plea for Deliverance

Lord, lift me out of my pit of destruction.
Free me from the cycles of depression I so frequently experience.

Rescue me from a condemning conscience;
It fills me with doubt and despair.

Change my patterns of negative thinking;
I habitually fall into distrust, worry, and fear.

Stir me from the bog of apathy into which I frequently sink.
Shed your light on my pathway and give me firmness in my footsteps. 


The Lord heard my plea for help; so this week, my plan is to memorize Psalm 40: 3-8 and respond to him with a written prayer based on verses 3-8.

What will you challenge yourself to do?