Challenge Day 2 (& Why, Personally)

Good morning, good morning … 🎵

Happy August morning, friends! Today is a new day, and the second day of the Writing Life Challenge. What’s that, you say? A challenge? Yes, for the month of August I decided to post daily challenges in hopes of building an online community of people dedicated to encouraging each other daily and challenging each other to grown in our faith in Jesus. If you’re just coming to the blog—or coming back to the blog after a hiatus—you can read about it in my previous posts, and you can access any of the challenge posts in the August Challenge menu (👈🏻 in a computer or tablet, 👆🏻on a phone). I hope you’ll consider joining the challenge. But if challenges aren’t your thing, don’t worry—I’ll still be writing regular devotional posts weekly-ish.

In Challenge Me…, I wrote a bit more about my vision for the challenge itself, but when I prepared for this challenge post I realized I never explained why, personally, I decided to do something like this. I’d like to take the time to explain that here, but if you’re in a hurry and just need to get to the challenge, you’ll find that below 👇🏻.

Besides the fact that I just love a challenge—a fact I wrote about earlier this week—my heart’s desire for this blog lately has been to share how to grow in one’s faith. The easiest way I know how to do that is to think about what has helped me to grow—spending time in God’s word and in prayer on a consistent basis—and take that experience and simplify it to fit in a few minutes of your already busy day. Even if you are already consistent about spending time with God, I’m hoping these prompts will help open your hearts to what God is speaking to you. That, in a nutshell, is the most important reason I decided to start a challenge.

But on to today’s challenge…

Inspiration. Yesterday, I introduced the idea of communication and its importance, whether on a vertical level (individual to God, God to individual) or a horizontal level (person to person). The fact is that God wants to be in relationship and fellowship with us, but in order to communicate with God we have to actually talk to—and listen to—him. That talking to piece is called prayer. (Probably obvious to most of you, but some readers may need to know this so please don’t take offense if it is!) The verse that inspired the first few days of this challenge, then, is Colossians 4:2:

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (NIV)

Yesterday we focused on that little word thankful. We’ll continue with that today, but add in the natural response when we recognize we are thankful for something: praise.

Challenge. Read one of the Psalms of praise: 18, 32, 41, 95, 96, 98, 103, 104, 106, 111, 112, 113, 117, 118, or 145-150. As you read, consider both what the Psalmist was praising God for, and what about God it is that evoked this praise. In other words, take some time to think about who God is. Then, take a few minutes to pray and acknowledge who God is—tell him that you know this about him, and thank him for it. The very act of acknowledging the truths God tells us about himself is an act of worship.

Purple flower. Photo Text: Challenge Day 2—Praise & Prayer

Participate. Comment below or on the Instagram post (@rhondalorraineblog) and tell us what you read and what it taught you or reminded you about who God is. Or if you’d like, take a photo that represents something you have to praise God for, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #writinglifeaugustchallenge, and use the caption to provide your explanation. (If you have a private Instagram account and aren’t friends with me, I won’t see it but feel free to post anyway!)

God-Moments to Remember

Seven people around a table. Night fell, turning an inky black occasionally broken by the headlights of distant, passing cars outside the windows. Tears coursed down cheeks and laughter broke through smiling lips. Hearts broke and healing began, and through it all, God whispered.

God whispered love, in and to and through us.
God whispered release, unknotting old wounds from our heartstrings.
God whispered revelation, speaking to our hearts and spirits.
God whispered healing, sealing over tears in hearts and making them new.
God whispered inspiration, nudging us forward with his creativity.
God whispered friendship, bonding our spirits through his.
God whispered thanks, acknowledging our hearts desires to glorify him.
God whispered affirmation.
God whispered YES.

Sometimes, God grants us God-moments on earth.

Thursday night, around that table, was full of God-moments. What a blessing. What a blessing those moments were, and what a blessing each of you are in my life.

I believe God put us together and gave us those moments for a purpose. He planted seeds of love, of inspiration, of creativity in us to prepare us for what is to come. When God whispered to Elijah, he ministered to his spirit and then gave him his orders: Now GO (I Kings 19). Elijah’s orders were to go back. I think our orders, as a growing group of creatives (including those who couldn’t be with us that night) were spoken months ago and only reinforced that night: Go. Work together and use your talents, use your creativity, and make an impact. Do it for and with me.

Let’s do this!

Gift tag with the words “Make an impact” alongside a book with a photo of coffee mugs on the cover and a half-full coffee mug

And for all of you—the creatives I’ve met over the past year and those who were there Thursday night, I have a message and a prayer:

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way … (I Corinthians 1:4-5)

I continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

❣️What an unusual post—it’s a very personal message to a very personal (and much narrower than usual) audience. But it’s also one I struggled over and soaked in prayer, and the message God whispered to my heart this afternoon. I trust that God will lead those who need this message—whether a part of Thursday night’s group, my larger creative group, or not—to reading it, and whisper his message to your hearts. I’m praying that he will grant you God moments, precious times with him in which he speaks and ministers to you and changes your hearts forever.

❣️For my creative groups past and present, you are my people. I can’t express enough how much I love each of you and am thankful for being even a small part of your lives. Martha, Charlie, Lani, Wendy, Quezia, David, Myriam, Marian, Valerie, Lori, Jean, Jon, Megan, Jeremiah, and Kelly—yes, I mean you! For those I haven’t yet met, I look forward to meeting you someday soon.