Tuesday, August 30, 2016
I have been asked to give the devotional at the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting this week. I was asked to bring a show and tell item that represented my spiritual treasure. I pondered this for several days before I realized that the my entire spiritual background points back to my dear Granny. She is gone now - and I am certain she is leading Bible study somewhere near the pearly gates - but when she still graced this earth she never missed an opportunity to challenge me about some Bible gem. I remember as a little child Granny would sing Sunday school songs to me and read Bible stories all the time. As I grew a bit older, Granny was the one who bought me a Good News Bible so tthat I could read it for myself and begin to understand. My teenage years gave sweet Granny a chance to remind me that I was a daughter of God and should read His word so I would know how to behave. But the real gift was all the years that I sat at Granny's feet as an adult while we discussed the word of God. Granny had a quiet way of getting me to see scripture in a very deep and revealing manner, and for that I am forever grateful to her. Granny nurtured in me a desire to dig deep into the Bible to find every treasure. But she didn't stop there. Granny challenged me to live what I studied and to share the Word of God with others. One day I know that I will enter the gates of heaven and I can't wait to find Granny and tell her thank you for the best earthly gift I ever received. Psalms 1:2 "but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night."
Monday, August 29, 2016
Mark 14:10-11 "Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray Him." (ESV) How we shudder when we read this scripture. Judas has become the biggest bad guy in the Bible to us. We really hate (yep, that's a strong word.) him for what he did to our Savior, Jesus. We conjure up horrible images of who Judas was and why he did what he did. But, we need to remember that first Jesus chose him to be one of those in the inner circle. Judas must have had some good qualities to be asked by Jesus to "follow Him". Can you see any of yourself in Judas? I sure can! But I don't think I like it! Jesus loves me and asks me to follow Him and I do so willingly. Except when I forget! Except when it is not convenient! Except when others around me are not! I've never equated myself with Judas before, but friends, when I turn my back on Jesus, that IS betrayal! Ouch! In this crazy world we live in, we must all sand firm in the promises of Jesus and give Him all of us, every moment, every day. When we turn away we are jepordizing ourselves and piercing the heart of Jesus as well. Let's never be a judas again! Let's proudly walk the walk and talk the talk and give Jesus the glory!
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Colossians 4:2 "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." This little scripture spoke volumes to me today. I have been in earnest prayer about some pretty big issues over the past several days. Finally today, I really took this verse to heart and gave it all to God. I so believe that He is bigger than all this and I believe He will intervene for me and give me peace. I am going to watch for that promise and wait upon the Lord. Thank you Jesus for your unconditional love and promises.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
I am in a season of anxiety right now. I have two big struggles that I am dealing with and I am beginning to feel a bit weary. It seems that both of these things are encompassing most of my energy and my emotional state is a bit fragile. Have you ever found yourself in that place? It is difficult to find joy in the shadows of turmoil. It is difficult to spread joy in the shadow of turmoil. This is a place where I do not want to be! So what is a girl to do? My best advice is to go to scripture and lean on God's word to get back on track. Just now in Psalms I found a gem that I can claim as my own. Psalms 13:2,5 reads, "How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." Our God is so good! He loves me even when I don't feel very lovable. He loves me even when I am so self absorbed that I am only looking at me and my pain. Our God is bigger than anything that you and I could ever deal with on this earth. I will choose to focus on Him and His steadfast love. Thank you God for changing my focus and reminding me that I am a daughter of the King!
Friday, August 26, 2016
I had a discussion this week with a friend regarding why it is not popular in our present cultue to admit to fearing the Lord. Americans pride themselves in being their own person and not answering to anyone. We are so full of ourselves that we believe we can handle anything and we have the right to behave in any manner we wish. We do not like to bow to any authority and often go so far as to avoid any situation that might put us in a submissive position. We don't even take God seriously in this regard! It seems that we don't trust Him enough to believe that He will do what He says He will do. Friends, we must stop this right now and allow ourselves to be immersed in God's word and His will so that we might find eternity by His side. True wisdom is found when we willingly submit our will and agenda to the One who loves us unconditionally. Proverbs 1:7 reads, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."Let's not be fools! Let's fear the Lord!
Thursday, August 25, 2016
As I was reading the gospels the past few days I have run across Matthew 13:16-17. "But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and hear what you hear, and did not hear it." I so want to be one of those that hears and sees that which the Lord desires that I see and hear. I so want my heart to be open to that message. Sometimes I think that I am so hardened by the world that I have become blind to the spiritual realm that surrounds me. I wonder what I have missed that God would have had me see and hear. Are your eyes open? Do you ears hear? Father, I ask that you bless me with good hearing and sound vision that I may be counted as one that does see and hear all that you intend. I don't want to miss one single thing!
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
2 Chronicles 20:17b "Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you." Have you ever felt attacked because of your faith? Have you ever been misunderstood because of your faith? Do you have family members who do not understand your desire to study the word of God? Do you have friends who have moved on in the realtionship because you have clearly represented your beleifs? Friend, scripture tells us that we have the Lord on our side and we do not have to be discouraged when we are ridiculed. Scripture tells us that we can stand firm against the ignorance because we are on the side of the Lord. Don't you love having God in your corner? How can we possibly fear anything knowing that the Lord is with us? Move forward bodly so that all can see that we are Christians. After all, we never stand alone!
Monday, August 22, 2016
In Sunday school yesterday we were discussing the idea of meditation as a means to listen to God. Some of our class members were very disturbed by the word meditation, and it came to my attention that many see this as a kind of eastern pattern of behavior that does not line up with Christianity. As we worked through the discussion it became apparent that we all reflect on God's word at different times and in different ways. This reflection is what I see as meditation. When we are quiet before the Lord and reflect on Him and His glory, we are in a place of meditation, and God encourages that from us. For some of us just sitting before the Lord and waiting for Him to move is very difficult indeed. For some of us that wait is excrutiating - but oh so worth it in the end. Focusing on the Lord - yes, meditating if you will, is what helps us build relationship with Him and that is what He created us for. Let's give it a try this week. Call it whatever you want, but get on your knees and focus totally on God. Start with just a few minutes and gradullly add a few more each day. I suggest you keep a prayer journal close by too so you will have a written account of all the ways that the Lord is good to you! Meditate on His goodness and life up praises to Him. God is so very good!
Sunday, August 21, 2016
In my study today I have been blessed with this scripture from Psalms 1:2: "but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night." This position is where I want to be. I deeply want to delight in the law of the Lord! I deeply want to meditate on that law night and day! So, why don't I? Well friends, I hate to admit this but real life creeps into my life in a big and crazy busy way. I find myself on my knees but checking my watch to make sure I have enough time to be on my knees. What is that? That, in a very real essence, is Satan. I allow earthly stuff to get in my way. I say I want to focus on the Lord and then I take more time reading my novel than I do reading my Bible. I say I want to have relationship with the Lord and then I sit in front of the tv instead of quietly talking to my God. Right now I ask God to convict me of the need to really delight in His presence. Right now I ask God to fill me up with the desire to reflect on Him and His promises. Satan can not have my attention when I turn my face totally to our Father in heaven. Where do you put your attention?
Saturday, August 20, 2016
I was driving to work this morning enjoying contemprary Christian music and singing along with the radio when I turned the corner and lost everything. Instead of "How Great is our God" all I heard was scratchy, white noise. Then suddenly a different voice barged through my speakers as some loud, obnoxious rap fought with Mercy Me to control my radio. You know how it goes. Snatches of two very different frequencies bounced back and forth, each trying to gain control of the radio waves. Isn't our life like that sometimes? We are going along pretty well. We have the Christian thing working for us and all seems to be good. Then, out of nowhere comes a void. Life gets really noisy and drowns out all the sprituality and we struggle between the hard reality of life and the sweet promises of our King. We fiddle with the dial but can't seem to get the right station fully tuned in. Finally, God's voice comes through loud and clear and we are reminded that we are His daughters and we must be quiet and listen to Him. Beloved, we have to shut out the noise that threatens to overtake His quiet voice and just tune in to Him. Psalm 46:10 reads, "Be still and know that I am God". Thank you Lord!
Friday, August 19, 2016
Jeremiah 29:12 "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." What a fabulous promise from God. He tells us that He will hear us. We can take anything to Him and He will listen. But there is more to this than just expecting God to hear. The scripture says that God tells us we must do something too. Did you see it? God says "call upon me". He desires for us to rely on Him. God is just waiting for us to turn to Him, and call out His name. But friends there is still more. It is not enough to just call upon Him; God wants us to pray to Him as well. When we are face down, humbled before our God and pouring out our souls to Him through prayer, He will hear us. When we are driving down the road and praising God in prayer with music from the radio, He will hear us. When we sit with our babies at day end and pray "Now I lay me down to sleep", He hears our prayer. Every time we cry out; every time we sing His praise; every time we need direction, God hears when we call upon Him. Let's get bsuy and pray!
Thursday, August 18, 2016
This week I was at Bible study with my church sisters and was stopped in my tracks by something that Beth Moore said in the video study. Beth was discussing the need for Christian sisters to encourage and support one another and she said, "we are too busy because we are so important." The context of her statement was that we don't have many true, deep, friendships these days. We have lots of facebook friends and phone contacts but we are missing out on real genuine friendships. I so agree with her as recently I was frustrated with myself because I neglected to find time all summer to visit with a dear friend and now I am back in school and missed the opportunity. Am I so important doing my agenda that I can't find time to reach out to another? That is not the way that God created us. God created us to be social. We should make our sisters and brothers in Christ our focus and priority. This old world we live in is difficult. We deal with health issues, and financial issues, and relationship issues, just to name a few. Let's work hard to encourage and lift up one another in the name of Jesus. Romans 1:11-12 says, "For I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you - that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." (ESV) Girls, find a moment today to reach out to a sister and rebuild those powerful relationships. It will be a blessing to both of you!
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (ESV) Ouch! This is a very convicting scripture. My head reads it and understands that we simply need to forgive and not hold grudges. My heart says ...but sometimes I just want to be mad. Have you ever been faced with the need to forgive someone but can't seem to let go of the offense? Boy I have until I realized that forgiving someone is not at all about them. It is about me and my relationship with my Lord. Forgiving someone frees me to be the Christian person that God expects me to be and allows Him to then grant me grace when I fall short. And boy do I often fall short! We all need to be forgiven. Thankfully God shows us the way to do that. Thank you Father!
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
I am sitting here at my kitchen bar feeling really frustrated because I have been trying to prepare something for school tomorrow and the internet connection is poor, at best, this evening. I have been working for well over an hour on a project that should have taken 15 minutes. I am frustrated because my "to do" list is way longer than the time I have to devote to it. I am frustrated because I have spent all this time and did not get anything done but still have so much to do. URGH! Have you ever been in this place? We are busy. We are stressed. We are so self centered. I realized that everything I was whining about was me, me, me. Yes, it has been a trying few hours but I could have redirected my thoughts in a more positive direction. I know that when I get in this grouchy place, I need to stop and have a chat with my Lord. I need to be reminded that I am worthy of His love. I need to be reminded that His love is not conditional on what I get done or if my list is long. Girls, we are daughters of the King and that makes us His princesses. 2 Corinthians 6:18 "And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Really, with that perspective what do I have to be frustrated about?
Monday, August 15, 2016
In Sunday School we have been studying how to listen to the voice of God and we sure have had some lively discussions. It is difficult to sit and wait for the Lord to speak. Then what happens if He does speak and we mistake His voice for someone else's like Eli did in the Old Testament. Or what if He speaks to use and we don't want to hear the message? There is so much to consider when we begin to realize that hearing the voice of God is a gift but also a responsibility. We must listen for the voice of God as if our very life depends upon it. In 1 Samuel we read that God spoke to Samuel and Samuel replied "Speak for your servant hears." (1Samuel 3:10) I want to be like that. I want to be the servant that hears.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
! John 1:8. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Have you ever felt a little righteous and judgmental regarding a sister or brother in Christ? Have you ever been tempted to bring up someone else's sin and measure it against your own? God says we all have fallen short and sinned against Him in some way. God does not qualify our sins or stack them by severity. God says a sin is a sin, and we are all sinners. Hmmm. Maybe I better quit judging my neighbor and worry about the plank in my own eye!
Saturday, August 13, 2016
I love it when God just reaches down and turns my Bible pages to the perfect scripture for me at a given moment. I love that He knows exactly what I need to read and when I need to read it. Has that ever happened to you? God is so very smart! I think that he totally enjoys giving us the words that we need. I think He is probably thinking, "of course I do that for you beloved!" For me this evening, God graced my reading with 1Peter 3:10. "For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit." You see I have been struggling for several days with a tongue that wants to talk ugly about a situation I am involved in. I keep needing reminders to speak only truth and to speak that truth in love. I keep needing reminders that my words will get me in trouble if I allow ugliness to flow and they will only hurt myself and others. I need to guard my tongue carefully right now as I am vulnerable to talking before I think. God knows my struggle and He quietly reminded me tonight that He knows me and will minister to Me. Thank you God! Thank you for seeing my need even when I don't and for providing me with the answers!
Friday, August 12, 2016
I ran across Psalm 145:8 in my study today. It reads "The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." This verse really resonated with me as I have been working hard to be more gracious with people. That is so very difficult for me some of the time! The last few weeks it seems I have had a very short fuse and get angry way too quickly. Clearly God knows my struggle and He provided the right instruction for me on this hour. If He can be gracious to me in my ungliness, shouldn't I pass that mercy on to the ones in my life situations. Hmm. And the love part. Doesn't our Lord call on us to love our enemies? All these things we can do, but only through our Father's grace. I'll keep trying!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Matthew 4:10 "Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone Satan! For it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve." Do you ever need to order Satan out of your life? Have you ever put aside our Lord and Savior to take up the darkness of our contemporary world? Jesus ordered that Satan be gone and He wants us to do the same. I have struggled a bit this week with neglecting my time with Bible study and building relationship with God. I have had a million and one things that needed to be done. I have had many demands on my time from many different directions. Guess what has suffered? I have completed things for work, given my recuperating mom lots of time, seen my gandbabies, cooked and done laundry, spent time with my husband. Whew! Sadly, though, I have not given God much time. I am very disappointed with myself as I have put the single most important relationship in my life on the back burner to take care of all these worldly issues. Yes, they are important people and activities - but more important than God? Satam wants us to think so but God directs us to send Satan away. Scripture tells us to worship only God. What have you worshipped this week?
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to dispair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ESV). Thank you Jesus! Friend have you found yourself in that place? Have you felt so broken and discouraged that you can't find any joy in anything? This world is a rough place. Satan moves about us with cunning skill waiting to pierce our weak spots. But, we don't have to stay in that pit! We have the promise of Jesus! We know that by the love and grace of Jesus we are free of all that weariness! We will not be crushed! We will not be made to dispair! We will not be destroyed! We will not be forsaken! Glory be to God!!
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Psalm 116:1-2 "I will love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my plea for mercy. Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live." This psalm is dear to me right now because I am in a season when I have been dilligently praying about a couple of people that I love who are experiencing some serious health issues. I know that God has heard and answer my prayer in the last several days. Both situations are improving and all I can say is God is so very good! Thank you Lord for knowing what I need even when I somtimes do not. Thank you for touching those I love with your healing hand and extending your grace when I have cried out to you.
Monday, August 8, 2016
As many teachers and students are heading back to school, I feel compelled to pray that those of us in the classrooms that are Christians have many opportunities to shower God's abundant love on our students. Some of us in public schools have a bit of a challenge as God is not always welcome in our schools. We can, however, be ambassadors of God's word in our actions and reactions. Many people watch us closely and I pray that we can hold our heads up at the end of the day when we say good night to our Lord. We need to pray for each other as we work hard at our jobs, teaching and influencing our young people. Ephesians 6:16-19 finds Paul asking for prayer as he moved about his business of teaching Jesus' way. "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with perservence, making supplication for all the saints and also for me that words may be given to me in opening my mouth to boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel.". If Paul needed this prayer, how much more do we need it? Father, keep us true to you!
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Just this week I was having a friendly discussion with someone about the diversity of Christians and the large number of different denominations in our country. The party I was visiting with was pretty sure that her "home church" was right on with their doctrine. In fact, she stopped just short of challenging that all other churches that are not in line with her denomination are wrong. I was working hard to maintain polite conversation with this woman who I was beginning to have very un-Christian judgements about. I so wanted to remind her of the scripture in Romans that reminds Christians to avoid division. You know the one: Romans 16:17-18 "I appeal to you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive." (ESV) With this in mind, I politely ( and maybe a bit shortly) excused myself from the conversation and headed to the car where I thanked God for giving me the grace and wisdom to hold my tongue so as not to be dragged into her smooth talk. I know that God moved me and kept me silent as I am not one to be still by myself. Thank you God!
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Psalm 66:1-4 "Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name." Sometimes praising the Lord is enough!
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Having recently spent several days at the hospital as my mother had surgery, I am reminded yet again about how wonderful God is. Everyone provided my mother with great care, which one would expect at an accredited hospital. However, a large majority of the caregivers tended to my mother with good humor and a gentle manner as well. These angels had to be extensions of God! Much of what goes on in a hospital is not funny; and many of their tasks are down right nasty. But these folks moved forward as if my mother was a queen. God certainly gifted these medical caregivers and my mother, and so many other patients, benefit from their expertise. I Corinthians 16:15-16 reads, "Now I urge you brothers, you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achia and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints, be subject to such as these and to every fellow worker and laborer." I am so grateful that God has called some to service in this medical field. I, in turn, will praise God for their labor and ask a special belssing on them. Thank you God!
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithgulness." (ESV) Don't you just love that promise? Isn't it comforting to know that even though tomorrow we may wake up with some of the same issues that we went to bed with tonight, the Lord is still in the picture. He does not get tired of helping. He does not get weary of our complaining. He does not get bored with us. Our Lord is the same every day, every moment, every praise and every prayer. And, he is full of love for me and for you always. Wow!
Monday, August 1, 2016
I am atruggling a bit to understand God's timing during this season of my life. It seems that I am praying about situations and have friends praying about other situations and things are not rolling forward. I am certain that God has heard our prayers! Why then have we not seen His action? Have you ever wondered about God's timing in your life? Acts 1:7 (ESV) reads "He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority." God knows the plan and the timing and will lead us along the path, even when we feel that He is not answering prayer. God knows the timeline and his timing is always perfect! This is sometimes difficult to accept when we are in the middle of a rough time, but God will never turn His back on us. We only have to trust in His perfect timing and be ready to patiently accept His blessing. Thank you God for your promises!