Friday, June 24, 2016

DAILY DEVO...your feet were made for walking forward

 I am posting Devo's from the past as I recover from my hand surgery. This DEVO was originally written on December 18, 2014:

It isn't easy to navigate your steps well when you walk backwards. I suppose that is because our feet were meant to go forward.

If I were to walk backwards, I would have the need to constantly turn my head and look behind me. Making sure there were no obstacles in my way to trip me or cause me to get off course.

As a Christian, I have to ask you..."are you walking backwards?"

Do you find yourself constantly looking back over the mistakes you have made or are you looking straight ahead, concentrating on the next step you will take?

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize." -Philippians 3:13,14

Paul couldn't of said it more plainly. What is behind us is behind us, you can't do anything about it, so you my as well pick yourself up, brush the past off and keep moving.

Don't let your past prevent you from walking towards the prize. If you need to walk backwards...just keep your eyes on God and let Him steer your steps. Never turn and look back.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DAILY DEVO...what's in your attic?

As I recover from my hand surgery, I will be posting Devo's from the past, today's DAILY is a post originally from December 10, 2010:

Recently I read about a man who found an old blue and white vase while he was cleaning out his attic. Not thinking it was worth too much, he took it to an auction to sell it. He was hoping to get $30 for it, to his amazement, the vase sold for $324,000! It turned out that the old vase that lay in his attic was actually an original fifteenth-century Chinese vase from the Ming dynasty.

Reading this story reminded me about how often people don't see the value they have. Often times I wonder, "Am I making any kind of a difference teaching this class?", or say to myself, "Mary is so much more gifted than me, I don't need to get involved with that, what could I offer that compares to her great talent?" Truth be told, while we are still laying around in the attic, God already sees the fine and rare qualities in us and He knows exactly the vast worth we have!

In 1 Samuel 30, we can read about the story of David and his soldiers who were returning home from a successful battle. The soldiers were met at the gate by those who had remained to guard the camp and the supplies. Some of the soldiers, carrying some of the goods that they had acquired in the battle, announced that they were not going to give any of the wealth to those who stayed behind.

I love David's response:

"As his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies, they shall share alike." (1 Samuel 30:24)

It doesn't matter if you are the preacher or worship leader out front on stage every Sunday or if you are the one who arrives early and turns on the lights and stocks the toilet paper in the bathroom .... each part is important and everyone has a job to do.

Maybe you feel like what you have to offer is not valuable to the Kingdom of God, but I assure you that when you get to heaven, some of us will surprised to see exactly the impact we have had on others here on earth.

1 CORINTHIANS 3:8 "He who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor."

What may not seem valuable now, will later. Until then, we must all remain faithful with what God has given us and let Him worry about what's in the attic. Our junk, when used properly, can serve as His treasure!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DAILY DEVO...the merry go round ride

As I recover from my hand surgery, I will be posting Devo's from the past, today's DAILY is a post originally from December 31, 2010:

As a child I can remember being spun on the merry-go-round. At first, spinning really fast was so much fun. But after awhile, I got dizzy and just wanted to get off. It seems like my life is much like a spin on a merry-go-round … it just goes around faster and faster.

Its hard to not take on too much, but if truth be told, most Christians take on more than they can handle. Many of us are juggling careers, family, hobbies, and doing ministry. The problem with taking on too much at one time is that we cannot enjoy what we are doing and even worse, we do not do the best job that we can because we feel dizzy from the whirlwind. It doesn’t take long before we feel just like riding on the merry-go-round, we get to the point of wanting to throw in the towel and jump off of the ride.

God did not intend for us to take on the world all alone. It is His desire that we slow down, sit at His feet and do what He wants us to do. The problem is we forget to slow down to sit at His feet.

Recently, I came across a poem written by a young girl who was fighting against cancer. The poem did not list her name, so I cannot give her credit but I think the message in her writing is exactly what I need to apply to my life…to slow down and allow God to pace my steps:

"Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s
erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun
into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through
each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die,
Cause you never had time
To call and say,’Hi’

When you run so fast
to get somewhere
You miss half the fun
of getting there.

When you worry and hurry
through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over."

May you slow it down and see God on your merry-go-round ride before the ride is over.

Monday, June 20, 2016

DAILY DEVO...whose in control?

During my recovery time of my hand surgery, I will be reposting older devotions I've written. This one was originally written November 30, 2011...

I wonder how many of you reading this today like to be in control?

There are many things that I like to be in control of... I like being in control of what I eat and what I don't eat. I like being in control of scheduling my day. I like being in control of where I go on vacation. All of these things are important for one to be in control of, but sometimes in life there are circumstances and events that are totally out of our control.

Even though we cannot always control the things that happen in our life, we can control how we react. When our minds are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we have a new sense of what control is. No matter what may come your way, no matter how difficult or dark your situation may seem, having the Holy Spirit in your life will allow you to control your response.

Control really isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Some people like to control people. In your relationships, at your job, even at church. This kind of control is different than what I am talking about though. This kind of control is what I call "manipulation". This kind of control is destructive. Not only in relationships but in ministry.

Having control is not the main issue....it is what you do with your control that is most important. Controlling others is not the same as allowing the Holy Spirit to have control in your life. One is destructive and the other is obedience.

ROMANS 8:6 "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Holy Spirit is life and peace." (NIV)

When it comes to having control in your life, respond with godly thinking and not with sinful instincts such as manipulation. Doing so will take "being in control" to a whole new level.

Friday, June 17, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...fear and I cannot live in this house!

By the time you get online to read my post today, I will have faced my fear.

You see, over my lifetime, I have come to realize that there are some things in life that scare me. For example, when my first born son was two years old, we were alone in the apartment and I saw a mouse scamper across the floor. With anxiety in my heart and a squeal in my voice, I grabbed up my son and climbed to the top of the table. It was there that my husband found us when he arrived home some time later.

Another time recently that fear met me face to face was when I came into the church office to work. As I turned on the lights and went towards the copy room, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. As I looked down to the floor, I saw what looked like a long rope resting up against the floor board. As I approached closer, I realized then what I saw moving was indeed that “rope”! How quickly I was able to run and shut the door to keep that snake from getting me.

As I think about these two personal face to face experiences with fear, I realize that I had a decision to make in both cases. One of us had to go! No snake and no mouse could live in the same house as me!

Fear can be a powerful thing; it can override normal logical thinking and it can produce irrational behavior. (like staying on top of a table for hours). I am thankful that because of God, I do not have to let fear (or anything else) rule my actions. The Psalmist reassures me that…
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in God.” (Psalm 56:3)
There are some things in life that can grip us with fear. Some things are much scarier than a loose mouse or a slithering snake. Cancer is scary. Dying is scary. Divorce is scary. Losing a job is scary. Not knowing where your next dollar will come from is scary. But God does not want us to be scared, He wants us to trust Him!
“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
So today, right this moment as you read this, I have faced my fear. No, I didn’t have a mouse or a snake come across my path. Today I have put my trust in the Lord and in a team of surgeons to reconstruct my hand. You see, for several years I have had arthritis and wear and tear of constant rotation of my hand in my line of  business has took a toll on my joints. In the past year or so, my condition has progressed to the point that I am in pain 24/7, unable to do everyday things like cutting, writing, buttoning my shirt and opening my water bottle. Enduring the pain everyday seemed easier than overcoming my fear of losing my hand all together. But today, I have overcome that fear.

There are so many things in life that I do not understand; like why do people die from cancer? Why do people hurt innocent children? Why are people so mean spirited? And why, Lord, do I have to endure this pain? These things and more may not be God’s plan for us to understand. In fact, He doesn’t ask us to understand it but to simply trust Him.

Today I have decided that both fear and I cannot live at the same house. One of us has to go and it isn’t gonna be me. And it isn’t gonna be the Lord!

So long Fear!

**I will not be able to write any devotions for the next month or so as I recover from my hand reconstruction surgery. Your prayers and support are appreciated and I look forward to telling the “rest of my story”. ((hugs))

Thursday, June 16, 2016

DAILY DEVO...are you an enabler?

Are you an enabler? In other words, the question I have today is, what do you allow to continue to take place that you know you shouldn't?

There are so many scenarios that could take place that makes us enablers. The family member that can't quit a bad habit but we keep making excuses for them. The child that doesn't apply themselves in school but we keep rewarding them anyway. The friend who can't stop gambling but we keep loaning them money.

The possibilities are endless for the many ways that we "help" people with problems, but are we really helping them or are we enabling them, are we contributing to the problem?

Why is it so hard to just say "no" and mean it? When others draw us into their problems, do we feel it is our Christian responsibility to bail them out?

I've got to admit, I have been guilty of being an enabler. Because I am a fixer type of person, I tend to want to fix things. But not everything is in my realm of responsibility.

At the end of the day, God holds me accountable for my responsibilities. Not yours. Not my kids. Not my friends. Just mine.

"For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body." (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Being an enabler only delays the growth of others. If you are an enabler, it is important to set boundaries and learn where your responsibilities begin and where they end.

God wants each of us to grow in Him, while we do have a certain responsibility to encourage our brothers and sisters in the Lord, God doesn't want us to stand in the way of our growth in Him or anyone else's.

Be an encourager not an enabler. Know the difference.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DAILY DEVO...we are ministers!

When God called us to pastor and minister in this small town USA town, He didn't just call us to minister to those within the church walls.

In fact, when I think about the hospital visits that we make, most of them do not attend a Sunday morning service at our church. The grieving families that my husband speaks to at a memorial service, it's likely they never gave in the offering at our church. The towns people we talk to face to face at the dollar store or Young's grocery probably haven't thought about going to church or thought about God in some time.

You see, God called us to minister right where He planted us, He didn't put boundaries up within the church walls. In fact, most ministry will (and should) take place outside the walls of the church. One thing I know about God, He will call us to places and things that are far beyond anything we could ever imagine.

He wants to use each of us, right where we are. He has created all of us for a purpose. No one was created to just eat, breath and take up space. We were not created to take FROM life but to GIVE to life. Each of us can make a difference in a life. Each of us were created to minister and to be a minister.

You don't have to have the title "Pastor" or have clergy credentials to speak a soft word, or come along the hurting with an embrace or buy someone who is hungry a sandwich. These good deeds surface from the depth of your heart and as you serve others, you serve the Lord.

"It is God Himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago He planned that we should spend these lives in helping others." (Ephesians 2:10)

In the Bible, the words "servant" and "minister" are synonyms. If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and when you’re serving, you’re ministering.

God has a ministry for you in His Church and a mission for you in His world. Go out and minister in your mission field!