Thursday, December 15, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Give thanks in everything—1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks for everything—Ephesians 5:20
Pray about everything with thanksgiving—Philippians 4:6
Do all things without murmuring—Philippians 2:14
Thankfulness is the presence of gratitude and the absence of murmuring. Thankfulness is an attitude of appreciation for everything that is received; murmuring is an attitude of complaint for everything that is withheld. Thankfulness is rooted in humility; murmuring is rooted in pride. Thankfulness says, “This is more than I deserve.”; murmuring says, “I deserve more!” Thankfulness is the doorway to contentment; murmuring is the doorway to dissatisfaction. Thankfulness travels on the highway of joy; murmuring travels on the highway of gloom. Thankfulness causes the disposition to be sweet; murmuring causes the disposition to become sour.
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100 NLT
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I'm in the midst of a storm season. All around me the waves are crashing, the winds are howling, and my boat is getting swamped. From finances to critically ill friends, I'm being tossed to and fro, desperately fighting to find a safe harbor. Reading the above devotion gave me new insight into my stormy surroundings. Instead of looking for the refuge of calm seas and safe circumstances I need to get out of my boat and onto my surfboard and ride! Any surfer will tell you they live for the big wave because that's the one that carries you faster and higher. Its the biggest waves in my life that will carry me faster to God and higher with God. The thrill of victory as I stay on top of my troubles instead of buried under them is exhilarating! He has my undivided attention as I see "the big one" approaching! And I never have my ears tuned to His voice as well in calm times as in stormy times. If I can touch bottom in calm seas I have no need to call on Him. But when the tsunami heads my way I am fully focused on Him.
I'm reminded of Peter when he saw Jesus walking on the waves and wanted to run out and walk with Him. He was doing great until he took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking at the storm. Then he began to sink---BEGAN to sink? You mean he didn't drop like a rock? He sloooowly began to slip into the sea? That's just like I am in my trials. I don't suddenly fold up under the pressure; I BEGIN to lose heart; I BEGIN to sink. This gives me time to do what Peter did. He called out "Jesus! Save me!" And Jesus took him by the hand before he went under. He'll do that for me too. But what then? Do I get back into the safety of the boat? I think there's a better choice. Since the Lord has pulled me to the top of the waves again, why not get on my spiritual surfboard and ride? No weapon formed against me shall prosper! All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose! Nothing can separate me from the love of God that's in Christ Jesus! My true riches are in heaven not on earth! And my treasured friend will be there too where we will be reunited one day. Now I'm surfing!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I once attended a funeral for a man who had great accomplishments in life. He was an inventor, a business man, in fact, a millionaire. What was sad was the fact that so few people were there. His family sat there dry eyed looking like they couldn't wait for it to be over so they could go on with their lives. The man had been so busy with his "accomplishments" that he had neglected his wife and kids. They wouldn't miss him because they never knew what it was to be with him.
I compare that to the death of a treasured friend, Judy Holte. You won't find her name in Who's Who, but you'll find it written across the hearts of everyone who knew her. For Judy everyone else came first. She was the first one there when there was a need, big or small, She would laugh with you or cry with you with the same intensity. I don't think I ever heard her say a mean thing about a person. In fact, she was always making excuses for the bad behavior of others. She had a heart of gold---and when she was taken from us suddenly, the church was filled to the brim, and it seated 1300!
The flowers have long since withered, but her sweet fragrance still permeates my life. It is my prayer that I am daily writing my name on the hearts of everyone God allows to enter my life---just like Judy.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
There is a simple truth in that statement that strips the devil of one of his favorite ways to torment us---guilt. I can't tell you how often I used to bemoan the fact that I had "let God down". I could just imagine His profound disappointment in me when I missed the mark---or worse, didn't even aim for the target! Then one day I heard a brilliant radio teacher simply state that since God knew everything about me before the foundation of the earth, since He knows the end from the beginning, since he knows my thoughts before I think them, because of that, I can never disappoint Him. He has always known all about me and chosen to love me anyway. There is such an incredible freedom in that knowledge. It means I don't have to waste time beating myself up. I can confess, receive the grace of His forgivness, and immediately move on with life. He does not fall off His throne when I blow it yet again! He knows I need a Savior; that's why He sent His Son to pay the price for all of my sin, past, present, and future. That causes praise to rise in my heart until it bursts free in songs of joy! There truly is One who will never leave me or forsake me. The security and acceptance of this brings me to my knees in worship and makes me want to live the best life I possibly can as a response to such love.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Your heart is not the compass that God steers by. -- Samuel Rutherford
I think about all of the things my heart has desired over the years and I am so grateful God did NOT give me those things! He is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. I have to confess, there are times when I've read the last chapter of a book before I read the first---I know, shame on me. But sometimes I just have to know everything is going to turn out right or I don't want to waste my time reading it! I HATE unhappy endings!
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"You may not have a lot of money, but you have incredible wealth. You may not have an abundance of things, but you possess more than you could ever ask or think. God has placed within you the greatest treasure anyone can ever possess—it is the life of Jesus Christ. You have, living within you, the beauty of His holiness, the kindness of His grace, the freedom of His truth, the compassion of His mercy, the greatness of His power, and the riches of His love. He has freely lavished upon you a treasure house of blessings that you can freely give away to others." By Ron Lessin
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I received this in my email, but don't know where it originated, at least not humanly. It absolutely originated in the heart of God spiritually. I thank God every day for all of the wonderful, safe people He has placed in my life. As we connect to each other we're like a strong chain link fence that keeps out the things that attempt to defeat us. We form a fabric of intricate and colorful design with our differences contrasting each other, bringing out more beauty than if we were on our own. We become a puzzle that's incomplete with any one piece missing. My safe people connect me not only to them but to God. They encourage me to seek Him always, and often He speaks to me through them.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Who knows? Maybe one day Casey Anthony will teach a women's Bible Study. Now THAT would be a victory.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I guess what I didn't realize is the toll it was taking emotionally. Spiritually I was doing fine, but the slow drip, drip, drip, of constant pressure was making its mark. There was one more "drip" on Tuesday and it overflowed my emotional basin! I couldn't seem to get a grip on my emotions and I felt like I had fallen in a deep pit and I couldn't get out! I felt overwhelmed, and hopeless, and helpless. I knew the enemy was behind it, and I put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and the shoes of the gospel of peace; I took up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit and I tried to stand---but I couldn't.
Then it dawned on me that if I was in a battle I needed more troops to fight with me, so I put out a prayer request. I also prayed and asked the Lord to send me someone who could encourage me and help me get back on my spiritual feet. The difference was almost instantaneous. My phone rang and a precious friend offered to leave work and come be with me. Another emailed me that she wanted to come over, give me a hug, and leave! By email and text I started to receive scripture and encouragement, and compassion and love.
My sweet daughter-in-law, who wasn't even aware of what was going on, "decided" to swing by the house after an appointment (that "decision" was made by God for sure!) and we talked and laughed over iced tea for three hours! Meanwhile, the phone in our home-based business stopped ringing so we weren't interrupted. My husband was out on an appointment that lasted the entire day. By the time she left I was a different person. It wasn't just her visit, it was everything. It was feeling cherished. It was knowing Jesus saw my need and heard my prayer and answered in the most tangible way.
My situation didn't change a bit, but I did. It was such a beautiful example of what the Body of Christ, the unity of Believers, is all about. But there's more, and I'll share it in my next post. In the meantime, if you're feeling overwhelmed by life, don't try to face it alone. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two for a reason. Reach out to your friends and be lifted.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The best over the acceptable, the right over the popular, the true over the questionable, the light over the shadowed, the extraordinary over the mediocre, the eternal over the momentary, the pure over the tainted, Jesus over all!
What a powerful declaration! I can't add anything to it except to turn it into a prayer to start my day. By the power of God's Spirit within me, may I chose as wisely today.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
"If we were to put the entire world's knowledge from the beginning of time until 1845 on a graph it would measure only one inch tall. From 1845 to 1945--just 100 years--the graph would measure three inches tall. But from 1945 until today the graph would be as tall as [or much taller than] the Washington monument in Washington, DC."
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
It wasn't until I got back home that I realized every day is an opportunity to enter a place of peace. Jesus promises to be our peace and offers us peace that passes understanding, and peace that's not as the world gives. As I walked through my own garden of beautiful roses lovingly tended by my green thumbed husband, I realized that my peace comes from remembering who is in control. When I see the beauty and symmetry of a rose, when I take in its fragrance, I can't help but think, "If my Father in heaven took that much time to create such beauty in something that lives for only days and then is gone, won't He take so much more time with me to make me a creation of spiritual beauty in His Kingdom? Will anything in all creation come to me that hasn't gone through His hands first? And if He allows it, can I believe anything else other than it will be used somehow for my good, even if it isn't "good" in itself?"
I don't like the way things are right now because its painful. Pruning always is. I'm going to remember that as I walk through my own God-given garden each day. God is in control. He loves me, and He's doing a work in me. I will look back on all of this one day and be amazed at His wisdom and love. And He didn't leave me to walk the path alone. He has given me cherished friends to walk life's path with me.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I received an email today that I found disturbing. It spoke about praying a specific scripture for President Obama---Psalm 109:8---which says,
I get the joke, and while I'm not a fan of the current president, I am commanded to pray for him.
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth ." 1 Timothy 2:1
" Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. " 1 Peter 2:17
However, I doubt Psalm 109 is what God had in mind! In Matthew 5 we're told:
"...that (President Obama) may be filled with the knowledge of (God's) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding ." Col 1:9
"...that (President Obama) may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God ." Col 4:12
"...that our God would count (President Obama) worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power ." 2 Thess 11
Every book of the Bible has something you could pray for our President, things that could change our whole nation. As you find them, post them under "comments" so I can pray them with you!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who offered their wisdom in response to my last post. I not only had comments on this page, but also through personal emails. Believe me, I shed tears over each one and counted the blessing of having so many loving people in my life. But one analogy really hit home with me and then the Lord confirmed it. One of the greatest luxuries of my money problem-free days was spa hopping. One of my favorite spas was Burke-Williams where they had a treatment called "Hunter's Retreat". Here's the description:
Created by Burke Williams to soothe and replenish not only your body, but your spirit as well, this body treatment is one of life’s truly calming experiences. It begins with the application of an exfoliating granular scrub rhythmically massaged into your skin. Then, you are thoroughly cleansed with wheat stalks soaked in exotic, essential oils. All the while, cascades of warm water immerse your entire body. After being toweled dry, a light moisturizing oil is kneaded into your skin. There’s only one word to describe the feeling: reborn.
But just like a spa treatment can leave your skin overly sensitive, so my spiritual pampering left me feeling spiritually sensitive and all of the things of the world that were waiting for me at home in my "real life" hurt! Back in my spa days I made a habit of purchasing some of the oils and lotions used on me so I could continue to moisturize my skin at home until a time when I could return to the spa for another treatment. That's what I needed to do SPIRITUALLY.
God had shown me during my beach retreat that I needed more time with my godly friends to keep me soft and smelling of Jesus; I needed more time alone in His presence where He could examine my heart and " sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word" (Ephesians 5:26); I needed to take time to worship Him in song so the Holy Spirit could anoint me with oil that would bring His power back into my life. I had jumped right back into my routine without taking time to do at home all He had shown me at my Spiritual Spa.
The funny thing is, after speaking on a retreat I ALWAYS warn the women to prepare for the valley as they leave the mountain top. But I had neglected to remind myself to prepare for the desert as I left the beach. Thank You Jesus, Lord of my life, Lover of my soul, for reminding me through the wisdom of precious friends.