I am El-Shaddai - God Almighty. Serve Me faithfully and live a blameless life.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Think about it…
Jesus taught us perfectly how to live in the NOW. Not in the past nor in the future, but in the NOW.
Think about it….
Jesus must have longed for the days before He came to this dusty, sin-filled planet yet He didn't 'dwell' there so that He couldn't be about His Father's business NOW.
Think about it…
Jesus also didn't 'dwell' on what was to unfold for Him in the future - the betrayal, the suffering, His death on a cross. If He had, he wouldn't have been as effective in the NOW of His life and death.
How about you?
Are you 'dwelling' in the past, remembering golden bygone days, longing to be there once again while neglecting the NOW God has given you? Or are you 'dwelling' in the past with regrets and bitterness, unable to even see the NOW?
Are you 'dwelling' in the future with all of its uncertainties so that you are too paralyzed by fears to live in the NOW? Or are you so busy looking to the future that you are neglecting the NOW?
Let's make a renewed commitment to God and His purposes for us in the NOW. He has work for each of us to do, new memories to make, joys to experience. The work, memories and joys can only be experienced if we focus on Him in the NOW.
THIS is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to see what You would have me do NOW. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, November 29, 2010
But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
A few years ago, I created a flower garden in honor of my Mother who had gone home to be with the Lord. Poppy seeds were chosen since they seemed to represent her life - which was so fleeting.
I dug up the soil, prepared it, planted the seeds and waited. Eventually some beautiful poppies appeared - but a strong wind devastated them. What a failure of an attempt, it seemed. How discouraging. All of that work and waiting…and nothing, less than nothing, it seemed, as those beautiful poppy blossoms lay in the dirt and the petals fluttered away in the wind.
Yet I could hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant” - but how could that be? All of that effort and nothing….
Then I thought about Jesus. He came to tend a garden, too.
In His own family - some thought He was crazy.
In His own village as a carpenter - some went to the competition for their needs.
In His nation - some thought He was a failed King.
In His world - some killed Him and thought that was the end of it.
It all seemed such a failure - but look what happened - Jesus arose in triumph! God’s perfect plan was completed after all. What looked like an utter failure was, in reality, the biggest victory ever.
So next time God gives you a garden (your home, your marriage, your children, your job) to tend and it looks like it didn’t turn out as you envisioned it, realize that God sees everything from His point of view and He very well may say to you, no matter how it looks,
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Let’s celebrate!” Matthew 25:23
Monday, October 25, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Recently we have been watching and listening to Susan Boyle’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. There seems to be an important lesson here for all of us - do not judge a person by their appearance because inside that person may just be a treasure, a miracle waiting to be seen and recognized as such.
Yet that isn’t the entire lesson we should see here. If we listen to the song more closely, the ending says “…life killed my dream.”
I don’t know about you, but my dream is alive, overflowing and happening before my eyes. God is turning a dream into a reality.
Sure, all of us have taken hits on our dreams but maybe that was to purify them. Maybe they needed to be more clearly defined. Maybe they needed to stand the test of time…and difficult circumstances.
May I ask - what dreams has God given you? Have they been fulfilled? Which dreams have you already seen come to the light of day? Which dreams have you still to see?
Are you moving in the direction to have your God-given dreams fulfilled or have you given up?
Let’s not give up. Maybe the best part of our lives is ahead. Maybe all we have experienced is just to purify those dreams and to make us more fit to live them.
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men will dream dreams. Joel 2:28
Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
When I was a little girl, my Dad's whistle calling me home for dinner, or for any other reason, was a welcome sound. As I played outside during winter, spring, autumn or summer, my ears were always listening for that beloved sound. I knew when I heard it, I was to yell, "Coming!" and then I was to go directly home.
How about you? Are your ears listening for God's call to you to enter His Presence? When He calls to you, do you immediately call out, "I'm coming!"? Do you then do what you said you'd do, dropping everything to enter His Presence - no matter what He wants?
Let's practice listening for Him and His call - whether He actually whistles for you, calls your name or if He speaks to you in a still small voice within your heart.
When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them.
Heavenly Father, please help me attune my ears and heart to You. Please help me run with willing feet into Your Presence to discover what it is You have for me to be or do. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, August 30, 2010
On the way to work, I noticed an unusual tree - or so I thought. Some of the autumn leaves were an orange-red while other branches held deep red-burgundy leaves. It was stunningly beautiful. (Please see the attached image).
I decided to go explore the next free day I had but before the colors were gone. Were the different leaves all growing on the same tree or were there two different trees growing entwined, intermingling with each other to create a very interesting effect?
I thought of Moses long ago:
Now Moses was keeping the flock...and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and Moses looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush.
How do you handle the burning bushes in your life - you know the places where God wants you to stop and listen to Him?
Do you stop a minute, quickly listen and then scurry along your busy way, never consciously realizing that it was GOD speaking? Or do you not stop at all but keep on your way - never seeing, never hearing, never heeding - GOD!
May we see, stop and listen. Then may we obey what we have heard.
Heavenly Father, please make your Presence known to me. Open my eyes daily to see - YOU and my ears to hear - YOU. Please soften my heart so I turn aside to - YOU.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Have you ever heard this quote:
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” - Author unknown.
Sometimes in life, don’t you just wish you could start over? Maybe in a relationship or in a circumstance?
We know we can’t really start over but we can, in a sense, wipe the slate clean with, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”
Those are big words to say - almost the biggest in the whole world.
Only when forgiveness is sought and given can one truly ‘start over’ - but it is possible!
Try it - see if you can say those big words to someone who needs to hear them from you. See what happens - just maybe there will be a new ending to a story that seemed to never change. Go for it!
So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23
Heavenly Father - if there is someone with whom I need to make peace before I come to You, please give me the courage to make things right - even if that means saying, “I’m sorry.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Recently frustration and anger seemed overwhelming. I struggled with my emotions, trying to make sense of them, trying to get them under control.
The harder I fought to control them, the more those feelings ran rampant, defeating any good thought I’d try to use to control them.
At the height my turbulent feelings, I had agreed to go out to get a bite to eat with a friend. I asked her what she did when such strong emotions threatened.
She smiled and said, “Put them on the train, honey.”
Well, of course!
She went on to explain that one night, while trying to sleep, she was so anxious that sleep would not come. In the distance, she could hear a train coming. Since nothing else had worked to alleviate those anxious thoughts, she decided to put them on the train which would carry those thoughts off into the dark night, never to return.
Scripture tells us to do something similar:
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you. Psalm 55:22
The next time…let’s put those anxieties on the train which, I am thinking, goes right to the throne of God. He will give peace.
Heavenly Father, when emotions want to roll over me and I feel that I am drowning in them, please take each situation which is causing the problem and show me clearly what do to about each - even if means seeming to do nothing except to rest it in Your hands. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Look around - do you have a Bible for almost every room in your house…and in your car? By your bedside are there books pertaining to spiritual growth? By the breakfast table is there a stack of devotional books you religiously read?
This picture reminds me of a computer which continually ‘eats’ data. Continuously being fed, it accumulates piece after piece of information. Yet without a human to put the pieces of information together in a usable form and to use the data…it is just data.
God uses so many ways to give us data (speak to us) - through nature, through His Word, through circumstances, through other people, through our own thoughts. Yet, unless we, as a liviing human beings, take what God says, apply it to our lives and do what He gives us to do, it is just data…data…data - just sitting there waiting to be used.
Be doers of the Word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in the mirror, for he observes himself and goes away and forgets what he was like. James 1:22
Heavenly Father, please keep me from piling up data and never putting it into productive use. Please help me enter data, do the data and then go on to enter more data. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, August 2, 2010
When the wind blows in your life, do you sway in the breeze or do you topple over?
You may be a beautiful tree with lush, green leaves, at your prime. Yet, how deep are your roots so when the gales begin to blow, you remain standing in the strength God gives?
You may have delightful pink flowery blossoms on your branches but how deep are your roots to sustain you in a wind?
The godly have deep roots or, in another translation, The root of the righteous will never be moved. Proverbs 12:3
Well, that’s clear. We want to be godly. We want deep roots. We want to be found standing victoriously no matter what comes our way.
How do we develop deep roots?
For this reason I BOW MY KNEES before the Father, from whom every family on heaven or earth are named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner-man and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE, may have the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD. Ephesians 3:17
As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord so live in Him ROOTED and built up in Him and established in the faith just as you were taught. Colossians 2:7
Growing roots could take a lifetime, don’t you think? Let’s keep on!
Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ dwells in my heart through faith and that my roots can grow down deep into Him. I want the Life He offers, filled to overflowing with the Love of God, with God Himself. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
We’ve all seen it - a perfectly formed pear, hanging on a tree. As the days go by, it becomes more juicy, ripe and colorful. One can just picture it’s usefulness…soon.
We’ve also seen fruit which drops to the ground, never to mature, never to be used.
One pear is plucked, ready to eat or to make into a pie, cobbler or sauce. The other is not even good enough, mature enough, to be of any use, ever.
Let’s look at our own pear-lives. Are we maturing in the Lord nicely for His special purposes? Or are we just barely hanging on, stuck in immaturity, dangling precariously, ready to tumble to the ground?
What will make a difference in our lives between going on to maturity in the Lord or becoming stuck in immaturity?
Just as the tree provides the pear with all it needs to continue to grow into a healthy fruit, so does God provide all we need. Yet, unlike the pear which benefits from just hanging in there, we humans are expected to DO something to keep God’s Life activated in us. To mature us.
For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self control, and self control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness and godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful…. II Peter 1:5-8
We have our work cut out for us, don’t we? God does His part - we must do our part.
The result? Mature lives (beautiful fruit) in the sight of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for providing all I need to grow unto maturity. Please give me the courage and stamina to go on…. To maturity in You. In Jesus name. Amen.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Recently the people of the world braced themselves for another computer virus which threatened to spread, contaminating operating systems as it spread from one computer to another.
Doesn’t this remind you of sin and how it spreads? Just think, sin is such a powerful ‘virus’ that it started with two people (Adam and Eve) and has spread from person to person, from generation to generation. That’s a powerful infection!
Jesus came into the world to stop sin's spread. He gave His own life to stop it. If we so choose, we can live in terms of the cure given but the only way to inoculate ourselves against further infection and spread of the ‘virus’ is to live in love and obedience to the King who died for us.
Actually, God gave us two things which we can do which makes the cure ‘ours’:
1. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-38
Certainly we can do those two things (by God’s enabling grace) so that He may give us Life every day into eternity, beginning now. The disease will be gone and we will be safe.
Heavenly Father, I do not want to be infected by sin which runs rampant through the human race. I am sorry that I have lived an infected life and now receive the cure from Your hand and promise to walk a life that is worthy of Your calling and death for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
We are free - we are healthy - we have long life ahead of us (eternity in fact) as we stay within the boundaries of the cure provided.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Recently two people I know used the words “chewing on” to make the point that they were going to ponder, mull over, think deeply about, meditate on what it was they were searching out to find clarity of thought.
In our world today, there is an abundance of things which can fill up our brain space but most of which we don’t give a second thought to. Something happens or we hear something and it seems to barely touch us, bouncing right off again. We don’t seem, in our busy lives, to stop and ‘chew’ - ponder, mediate on, think about deeply. We are too busy and just go to the next thing…and then the next thing.
Maybe it’s time to learn to ‘chew’. Babies gulp down their milk but no chewing is involved. Even early toddlerhood means little or no chewing. But as we mature (in our spiritual lives), aren’t we expected to chew so that we can be nourished?
Let’s practice some chewing!
I remember the days of old, I meditate on all that Thou has done, I muse on what Thy hands have wrought. Psalm 143:5
I will meditate on Thy precepts, and fix my eyes on Thy ways. Psalm 119:15
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their facilities trained by practice to distinguish between good from evil. Hebrews 5:12
Heavenly Father, please slow me down so that I CHEW on the things in my life I need to think about so I can learn more of You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Do you remember when you were little and your parents would take you into a store to go shopping? Do you remember that when there was a crush of people, you held on to their hand, stayed close and cried out if you and your parent became separated?
For most of us, our lives are a crush of busy-ness and people. We need to be very careful not to lose God in the crowd.
Sure, the things we do are important as are the people in our lives. But we must be careful not to lose sight of God…nor to let go of God.
If we sense something or someone has come between us and God, cry out to Him. He will hear. He will answer.
In my distress I called upon the Lord
To my God I cried for help.
From His temple He heard my voice
And my cry to Him reached His ears.
He reached from on high, He took me,
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me;
For they were too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of my calamity;
But the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth into a broad place,
He delivered me, because He delighted in me.
Psalm 18:6, 16-19
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for drawing near every time I cry out to you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Monday, June 28, 2010
If you have a favorite football, basketball, soccer, hockey or baseball team, you rejoice when training begins. The fans have such hope of the team’s success for the season. Right from the first game, cheers go up for ‘your’ team to be a winner. As the season progresses, the competition heats up until the very final game. Then the season is over, win or lose. The season is over.
Did you ever think about this - the kingdom of heaven, made up of a ‘team’ of people who love God, just keeps going on. The season never ends. Yes, we are never finished. We never put our helmets on the shelf. Our protective gear must always be in place. Our special shoes are in use the entire season while we are on earth. We are to continue trusting God. We are to continue doing good. There is no ‘off’ season to doing either. We are to keep on because scripture admonishes us:
Do not grow weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap, if we do not lose heart.
Keep throwing those passes, sinking those hoops, hitting that ball, running the bases. The season isn’t over. Let’s never act as if it is…retiring to our rocking chairs to rock away our days. We are a team member, never to let up, never to let our team members down because we dropped the ball, fumbled or got tripped up. Focus. Do your best. Play your hardest. Be a part of the team. Trust in God to enable you to finish this skirmish well.
Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28
When the end does finally come, we do win, you know!
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have put everything in place for us to win - because you love us dearly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
A friend of mine spends her days quietly doing good. Whether it’s singing to the glory of God, counseling with someone to encourage them or taking children under her wing, she quietly goes about doing good. The only way you would ever know what good fills her life and overflows to others is if you are the recipient of one of her loving deeds.
The other day I saw her at the grocery store. We stopped to chat a minute. She apologized for her hands being green - she’d been helping some kids with an art project. All I could think of, with a smile, was a scripture I had read that morning:
The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life. Proverbs 11:30
All I could picture was her, kneeling down, planting those seeds of good deeds and, in the process, she herself was becoming part of the life-giving process. Sure, eventually the green will fade from her hands but the good deeds she is doing are eternally recorded.
Heavenly Father, please make clear to me the deeds you want done through me. Please let me be the hands and feet of Jesus in this hurting world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
The older we get, the more ‘baggage‘ it seems that we carry. Our hurts from the past and anxiety of the future seem to fill our suitcases until we can’t stuff another thing in there.
Off we trudge, items falling all around us because, by now we can’t even get the suitcase closed to keep those things hidden. They come out at the most unexpected times - impatience in traffic, anger at a child who accidentally spills their milk, frustration on the job. There is so much baggage that it starts overflowing at the worst of times and at the worst places - causing even more baggage because we feel badly about the baggage we already have. It seems never ending.
What are we to do with all of the accumulating baggage? Scripture is plain:
Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares for you. I Peter 5:7
God does not want us to carry our anxieties and burdens. He wants us to be free to walk with Him while He carries them.
Heavenly Father, please teach me how to let You carry the baggage. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Do you picture yourself as a strong person in God’s sight? How you view yourself will determine how you react in a given situation.
Picture this: Your children are out of sorts. One is coming down with the stomach flu. Another is cranky from lack of sleep. Your husband is stressed and is feeling the pressure of a busy work week. Your mother needs your attention. Your boss at work keeps piling on the work. Friends are calling attention to your lack of availability. You feel pulled in too many directions at once. The breaking point is near.
If you consider yourself with the strength of the Proverbs 31 woman, the word strength will define your every act. You will consistently rely on God’s strength during your busy seasons of life.
May we picture ourselves as God does - strong and competent in Him. Then our actions will follow.
She is clothed with strength and dignity.... Proverbs 31:25
Heavenly Father, please help me picture myself as You see me - clothed in strength because of Your work in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
“Time is so precious that it is dealt out to us only in the smallest possible fractions - a tiny moment at a time." Irish Proverb
How have you used the time God has given you this past year? Have you used it to honor and please God or to honor and please yourself? Or maybe half and half.
In order to take our lives back - to give them back to God who created us, perhaps we need to look at some potential problem areas and learn how we can do better now and into the future:
Have you squandered your time away by:
- Being so worried about a loved one's health, lifestyle or well-being that you have neglected your own health and well-being?
- Being so busy doing good works that you are serving man instead of God?
- Speaking unkind words about others, chipping away at the foundation of your marriage, your family, your church, your very own life?
- Forgetting the principles of good self-care such as nutritious meals, regular exercise and a good dose of fresh air daily?
- Being so concerned about your financial situation that you can no longer hear God’s voice telling you what to do about it?
- Falling into patterns that resemble a rut so there is nothing new, fresh and different about your life?
Enough, you say! Yes, we can all identify with at least one time waster - and we can probably write out some of our own.
Each day we have clean slate of precious minutes. Let’s TAKE BACK OUR LIVES AND GIVE THEM ANEW TO THE GOD WHO CREATED US AND LOVES US BEYOND MEASURE. He has the blueprint for each of our lives. If we follow His blueprint, we will be all He wants us to be - pleasing and honoring Him minute by precious minute.
I appeal to you therefore…by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
, please forgive me for squandering precious minutes, hours and days. Please teach me how to better please You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Do you ever listen to yourself? What do you find yourself talking about usually?
The weather? Financial worries? Your family? Problems at work? How your garden is growing? Your latest love interest? The recent woodworking project you just completed? God?
Is your conversation varied and healthy or do you seem to be stuck on a certain theme that runs through your words?
Are your words encouraging and life giving? Or are they bitter? Are they complaining? Are your words thankful? What is the theme that runs through your words?
We know that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks . . . .
Can we say with the : My heart overflows with a goodly theme . . . . Psalm 45:1?
What is your theme? What is the theme your heart is speaking?
May I encourage you today . . . this week . . . this month to listen to yourself - the actual words, the tone, the intent and see what is in your heart.
Maybe it is time to go to the Father to have him do some housecleaning. A cleansed heart will result in a mouth that praises Him and which pleases Him.
Heavenly Father, please help me hear what my theme is. If it is not pleasing to You, please cleanse my heart of all sin and nonsense so that my theme can be a good theme, pleasing to Your ears. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Around and around we go. There is so much to worry about, isn’t there? We worry about our health, our kids (young or grown), our finances, our leaky roof, our vehicle, our job, our parents, the bank down the street, the national economy . . . the world . . . .
Yes, there is enough to worry about until we reach old age which, if we keep worrying, will come earlier than we want - so we worry about that, too.
So, what’s the solution? Does God want us to live in a constant state of anxiety and near panic? NO, He does not! Let’s listen to what He wants us to know as we live our lives here in this crazy world:
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you . . . . Jesus says in John 14:27
Then, if I have His peace left to me, why do I worry about so many things?
Jesus goes on to say: Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. . . .
Oh, if I’m not to LET my heart be troubled, that must mean I am to DO something when I feel worry even begin to creep in.
What am I, specifically and practically, to do?
Casting all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about (is fond of) you. I Peter 5:7
That’s something that I can picture doing. If I cast all my garbage curbside - it is gone. If I go to the cross and leave my worries, burdens, anxieties, concerns…. there, then they are gone! In fact, when scripture tells us to cast our cares on HIM, that’s an even better solution than just taking them curbside. When cast upon God, He means to carry them away - far away from us because then He will take care of every one of them. Just watch!
Now what? Return to the house after setting the garbage curbside (or laying them at the foot of the cross) to worry about the same old - same old - or even new issues? NO - we are to continuously do what:
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer, supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6 & 7
Heavenly Father, please show me the practical steps I need to take to keep my heart and mind in Christ Jesus - and at peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, May 10, 2010
God is still busily creating. Not only is He busy creating each new person who is born, He is busy creating YOU even now. He is continuing to create who He wants you to be.
Yes, He once upon a time created who you are genetically, including what you look like, but He also wants to continue the process on your inner person.
He wants us to be conformed into the image of Jesus:
Yet, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay and Thou art our potter; we are all the works of Thy hand. Isaiah 64:8
After God has created the outer person, how does He create the inner person? Good question. Have you ever watched a potter at his wheel? He takes a wet, formless glob and ‘throws’ it on his wheel. He begins to turn that wheel around, envisioning what it will become. Once completed, the piece stands - whole and complete but not quite finished.
Now comes the fire. Some pieces are fired again and again, emerging more beautiful with each firing than could be imagined.
Behold, I will refine them and test them. Jeremiah 9:7
Have you noticed that we are going through the fires of life, daily? Little things happens to make it so. Big and bigger things sometimes happen, too. But the Master Potter knows exactly what it will take to make us into who He envisioned from the beginning of time. Are you willing?
Heavenly Father, I surrender myself into Your Potter’s hands. I submit to the firings I need to be beautiful in Your sight, like Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Do you like your life and what it includes right now? Do you like who you have become at this point in your life?
Think about it.
There is Someone who is willing to exchange your life for His, if you so choose. No matter how good or bad your life seems right now, would it be a relief to pour it all out - every bit of it - to the God who created you and knows you better than you know yourself?
Then - since that leaves you empty of yourself, wouldn’t it be wise to ask God to fill you up with Himself - all of His holiness, loving attributes, kindness - all that He is, now becoming a part of you?
Wouldn’t we be better off to live an exchanged life - daily? God has so much more envisioned for us than we can even imagine. But it is only by living an exchanged life that we can even touch upon it and capture His vision of His life within and lived out through us.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Heavenly Father, I come to you to exchange this life for Your life. I empty myself of the life I have now and surrender it to You. Please fill me with Your life to overflowing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I always . . . . I never . . . . Maybe it’s time to explore some of these ‘always’ and ‘never’ things in our lives.
Do we just do some things because we’ve always done them that way? Or are we participating in life under the direction and leadership of the Holy Spirit?
Doing things the same way and acting the same way can be symptoms of inflexibility. Doing and being the same can rule out the Holy Spirit’s ability to bring God’s life to your life.
Do you see it? Are there areas of inflexibility in your life which do not allow for the freedom of the Life of God to flow in and through you?
Let’s look at ourselves sto see where we could be more flexible, williing ot have ourselves and our lives arranged and re-arranged by God Himself
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14
Heavenly Father, we human-sheep tend to get in ruts of inflexibility in what we do and who we are. It seems safer there. Please help me to be open to new ways, new attitudes and fresh paths from You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Who are you going to serve today? Are you going to serve God . . . Or yourself? Are you going to serve healthy food for your body’s nourishment or are you going to serve food which can cause damage? Are you going to serve 80 hours on your job, or stay within healthier time boundaries? Are you going to serve your family and friends in kindness or in abrupt unkindness? Are you going to serve your boss or supervisor wholeheartedly or only as your duty and obligation.
Who we serve and how we serve tells a great deal about us.
What does your serving tell about you?
Choose this day whom you will serve. Joshua 24:15
Therefore are they before the throne of God and serve Him day and night within His temple; and He who sits upon the throne will shelter them with His Presence. Revelation 7:15
Heavenly Father, please help me put on a servant’s apron and do those things You give me to do. Please help me to do those things wholeheartedly and cheerfully, as I know that by doing so, I am serving You in that way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, April 12, 2010
In the spring when the greenhouse opened, it was ablaze with color. Everything was healthy looking and blooming to prove it. Geraniums, petunias, galardias, begonias, allysum, pansies. They were all there having a riot of color amongst themselves.
Carefully considering the plants that were known for loving full sun, I chose those for the east side of my home and for those that loved the the shade during the day, I chose for the west side of my home. I loaded my new friends into my vehicle, transporting them safely, unloading them carefully, hoping they would enjoy their new home.
When the danger of frost was past, I planted them in their new containers and waited. To my surprise, it was like they had run out of steam. It was like they had finished blooming and just sat there in all their green leaf finery. There were no more blossoms, no more color, just green leaf finery from July until frost.
How disappointing, I thought. I began to wonder how God looks at my life - did my life blaze in color for one brief season and then quit? Am I only so much green leaf finery now? Or does my life continue to exhibit life, color, blossoming into new life as He gives it?
And on the morrow Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod . . . had sprouts and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
, I don't want my life to be just nice leafy show - I want it to count in Life-giving color and blessing to others. But most of all, to be a pleasure Your eyes. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Usually daisies grow about knee high and gently sway in the breeze. These, however, were blooming quite low to the ground. Why? Apparently this species of daily adapted to what it had to do to survive and multiply.
How does this apply to our lives? Let's think . . . .
Do we find ourselves in situations in which we must bloom low? Are we taking care of a child or elderly parent who requires constant care - so constant that we must bloom low just to survive it? Or perhaps it is a job which requires long hours and much energy and we find that we must bloom low to get through the busy times. Or it may be just life in general right now which brings us 'low' - we find we are no beauty swaying gently in the breeze but a little wildflower with a tenacious hold, close to the ground - but still in bloom.
Yes, we have been told for years to - Bloom where you are planted. Good advice, and sometimes we must bloom low.
How are you doing with this blooming thing - do you only bloom when the sun shines nicely on your face or can you bloom when you feel that you have been mowed down again and again, unable to change the place where you dwell at present?
Can you say:
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ. 3:8
We can be confident and also say:
And I am sure that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
May we take stock of where we are at this season of our lives - are we popped up with blooms ablaze to the or are we, at this particular time, to bloom low.
Monday, March 29, 2010
One of my Dad’s favorite sayings was, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
If we were to abide by that saying, many of us would be fairly quiet, wouldn’t we?
Let’s take a minute. When we hear a quote - any quote, do we compare it with scripture to see if it is true or false?
How about this particular quote - how does it measure up to the Word"
Do not grumble, brethren, against one another that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. James 5:9
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15
It takes a wise person to know when to be quiet, when to speak up and, if we are to speak, what to say.
Heavenly Father, please help me be more aware of the things I read and hear. Please lead me to Your Word to see if what I hear and see is true. Please help me be quiet when and if You want me to be quiet. Please help me to speak the truth in love, if I am to speak. Please help me to be wise with Your wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Have you ever watched a mountain bike race?
The riders swiftly go around a turn, up a hill, down a hill and around a tight turn once again, pouring it on to get to the finish line - to be first.
One Saturday afternoon, while having lunch, I happened upon a race on TV so stopped to enjoy the skill being displayed. In this particular race, a veteran rider was expected to win over the new kid on the dirt path.
All was going well . . . until . . . the veteran rider, well ahead, missed a jump and landed in a jumble of arms, legs and bike in the dusty dirt.
The reason, they said, was because he took his eyes off his wheel.
How many of us, in the twists and turns of our lives over the dusty path of life, take our eyes off of who we are following (Jesus) and land in a heap.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us . . . looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured th cross despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Heavenly Father, please remind me to keep my eyes on You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Watching a portion of a football game, I was amazed at the tenacity of the ball carrier. He ran with that ball again and again, sometimes only covering inches of ground before he was knocked down. Yet each time he found himself on the ground, his team would re-group and he would go at it once again. Eventually the persistent player reached his goal.
How are you doing this week with tenacity? Have you been knocked down again and again? What are you doing about it? Do you stay down or do you once again get on your feet, determined to continue moving forward, seeking God's best?
Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one wins the prize? So run that you may obtain it. I Corinthians 9:24
Heavenly Father, please give me the courage to keep going, to be tenacious, to reach You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, March 8, 2010
After Hurricane Ike swept through Texas, I heard an interesting comment: The aftermath is always worse.
Yes, it is - loss of electricity, too much water and no running water, loss of life, loss of homes, little food to eat, no hot showers, maybe no showers at all . . . so much loss and devastation becomes apparent in the aftermath.
Isn't that the way life is? The rains, wind and tidal waves of life come in the form of accidents, acute illnesses, divorce, death . . . . Those happenings come like a hurricane - swiftly, sometimes without warning.
Then comes the aftermath - the trauma of looking around at the destruction and devastation caused as a result. It seems overwhelming . . . stunning.
After the initial shock begins to wear off, there are decisions to be made and clean-up begins. Maybe bulldozing the entire mess is the only way to begin anew. It is all so difficult as everything seems changed, forever altering our lives. The aftermath seems worse than the actual event.
Yet in the aftermath there comes a time to begin thinking of re-building. That, too, takes effort to even envision what one wants to build. It takes courage to go to God to get His plan for the rebuilding.
It's messy work, this rebuilding. Slowly and steadily you move forward - sometimes it feels like you take one step forward and two backward. But rebuilding goes on - for years, it seems, until one day you can stand back and view it all more objectively - there was progress. Slow and steady progress.
Yes the hurricane came and went. The aftermath was very difficult as was the rebuilding. Yet God in His mercy had you in His hand all the time - before, during and after - to protect you from the winds of adversity. To give strength to you during the aftermath. To give you a new vision for what can be. To walk with you during the rebuilding.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, establish and strengthen you. I Peter 5:10
Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me during it all - my entire life. Please show me how to walk with You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, March 1, 2010
It was hopeless. His heart was so diseased and weakened, that the ONLY option was to have a total .
After years of use and abuse of his heart, there was no hope of living with the one he had.
He was wheeled into surgery and under the skilled hands of his surgeon, his old heart was removed. Oh, so gently. A new heart was placed in his chest. All of the vital vessels were connected to the new heart and ready to circulate life sustaining blood to all of his organs once again.
Next, a crucial step - the machines which were circulating his blood while the transplant was taking place were stopped. Everyone held their breaths to see if the new heart would begin beating - beating in a rhythm which would provide the man with life.
YES! All was well.
We, too, need . Our hearts, if left to themselves become diseased, filled with unforgiveness, fear, bitterness, anxiety and all sorts of attitudes which do not spring from God. We need a new heart. For a , there is only one place where we can go to have that delicate, life changing procedure done - to God our Father Himself.
Have you gone? Ever? Maybe once? Maybe once upon a time? Maybe the new heart was successfully transplanted into your being, but what is its condition now? Healthy? Diseased? Does it need cleansing? Does it need fresh, new life? A jump start? Consider its condition....and consider the treatment God offers for the healthiest heart ever. Maybe, after all, we are supposed to return to the Father daily for a heart check to keep it always fresh and new.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
, I present myself to You and ask that You give me a new heart. Even if I have been to You before with that request, please hear me today - I need a heart that is continually new. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The call came. My father-in-law was getting worse. He was in the last stages of cancer and it was time to make plans for my mother-in-law. At the age of 78, her children and their spouses were unwilling to have her live alone after her husband died. She wasn't able to even walk to her mailbox. How would she do laundry? Would she even bother to fix meals for herself?
Some of her children suggested that I and my family relocate 150 miles and move in with her. But that meant our son would have to live with an uncle. It didn't make sense to split up the family. Perhaps she could come live with us. How would that work? Our little house had barely enough bedrooms for the four of us. What to do?
While these questions swirled around unanswered, outside on the clothesline sat a sparrow. He was cocking his head this way and that. It was almost like he was saying, "Don't be anxious, our takes good care of me and He will sort it all out for you. Trust Him."
Look at the birds of the air - they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Matthew 6:26
Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach me in such simple ways about Your kind, compassionate care for me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Recently my son told me about a program he had watched on television which detailed the lives of those who were deaf but, due to modern medicine, could now hear.
I don't know about you, but I assumed - how good, now you can hear and life can go on.
No, that is not what happens. Apparently when one has not been able to hear since birth, it takes extreme effort for them to understand the sounds and language they now are able to hear. Often they must continue to see signing so they understand what is being said. From what researchers are finding, it could take years....
Maybe we should not be so hard on ourselves or on others in the spiritual realm. We were born not being able to hear God's voice for ourselves at all. We needed others to translate to us what He was saying. Then one day we hear Him for ourselves but may be unsure of the sound of His voice, exactly what He is saying, how He is saying it and what we are to do about what He is saying. It will take extreme effort and intense practice at listening to Him to get it right.
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still . I Kinds 19:11-12
Let's not only hear His voice. Let's take extreme measures to hear aright and then to obey.
, thank You for speaking clearly to me so I can understand what You are saying. Thank You for being so patient with me until I finally 'get it'. Please instill in me the desire to hear You and to obey You. In Jesus' name. Amen