Monday, September 26, 2016

DAILY DEVO...watch the roosters in your life

TODAY'S DAILY...
Peter's denial of Jesus did not happen slowly, but within an hour. An hour had passed from the time the first person said, "You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean," to the time Peter made his second denial.

"A curse on me if I'm lying, I do not know that man!" And immediately the rooster crowed." (Matthew 26:74)

He had ample opportunity to hightail it out of there, but Peter chose to remain in this situation. This reminds me of how no one is safe from temptation, except the one who chooses to run from it. Peter should have ran.

Jesus had warned Peter, if he had listened he would have steered clear of any and all roosters after Jesus had mentioned one. Too many people have compromised their standards by standing too close to a rooster.

People like Solomon. And Samson. Even David. They all found out the hard way. Roosters come in different shapes and sizes, we all need to be careful and heed the warning that God gives:

"Bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Peter found himself to be around people who were dragging him down spiritually. Are you in a similar situation today? Are you finding yourself compromising your faith and beliefs because of the influence of others?

Be careful who you allow to influence you. Stand watch and flee if necessary; before the rooster crows.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Friday, September 23, 2016

DAILY DEVO...why do bad things happen to good people?

As Pastors, I would say that the #1 question we are asked is, "why do bad things happen to good people?"

If you are experiencing some bad things in your life, it does not mean you are not a good person! Just yesterday I received 3 messages from 3 different people asking for prayer over bad situations in their life.

Bad things happen. Believe me if any of us could choose, none of us would include in our day a flat tire, or getting sick or a terrible crisis in our family. Oh no, instead we would choose promotions at work, no traffic jams, green lights all the way, no problems, no worries...just clear sailing.

But it just so happens that we are not in charge. Oh sure we can choose when to leave the house and where to eat lunch but God is in charge of everything in-between.

I love what Jeremiah once admitted to the Lord...

"O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." (Jeremiah 10:23)

Jeremiah recognized that his steps were not ordered by man but by God. I do not know why God allows the so called "bad stuff" to happen in our lives but I do know that for me, the significant life lessons usually don't come from the mountaintop. Instead, the greatest lessons come from heartache, pain and difficulties.

Today if you are surrounded by bad things, I want to remind you that these are not just some random things; these are specific times and events that God wants to use to strengthen us and perhaps stretch us to lean upon Him.

We are weak but He is strong! Lean upon God and watch how He turns your bad into something good.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DAY DEVO..making the right choice

Every day we hear about people who make a wrong choice. Just turn on the local news and hear about fraud, murder, and deception. It's really sad that so many people have lost their way and seem to have lost the idea of what the right thing is.

Often, doing the right thing is not always the easiest or most popular thing to do. Society suggests it’s okay to tell little white lies, fudge the numbers, and break commitments. While these actions may make life easier, they lead to the breaking of our integrity.

Doing the right thing is not limited to Christianity. We all were taught right from wrong at a very early age. Doing what is right is within all of us. But something in-between then and now has gone wrong.

So what can we do when doing the right thing is not applauded by others? DO THE RIGHT THING.

"For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)

What others do should not be our standard. What others say should not be our standard. Our standard is Jesus!

Jesus did the right thing with tons of naysayers looking on. When He was brought before Pilate, Jesus could easily of denied who He was but instead He faced the consequences of death.

And for what? For our sin!

His grace and His example is what strengthens us to do right. Do the right thing to please God, not man.

Even when others don't do right; you do! Because you can never go wrong by doing the right thing.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DAILY DEVO...your life is a story!


Have you ever considered that your life is a story, a story worth telling others about?

I enjoy writing. If I were to write about my life, the general points would probably bore you to death. Sure, being married to my high school sweetheart for 35 years is worthy to mention and being a mom, a daughter and a sister could generate a few stories, but is that all there is to tell?

Our life story cannot just be made up of cliff notes; where we work, where we live and who we marry. All of that is important but the stories of our life come from everything that is entangled around those things.

The pain. The joy. The disappointments. The ups. The downs. And all the in betweens.

"Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story-- those He redeemed from the hand of the foe." (Psalm 107:2)

Perhaps somewhere along the course of your life, someone made you feel like your story didn't matter. I assure you for each season, for every chapter lived, God has been penning your wonderful, unique story to be told.

When I see someone who is disgruntled, sad or over the top giddy, I think to myself, "they must have a story".  Everyone has a story to tell, who knows, you and I just might be sitting on the next best seller!

Like any great story, it's only a good read if the reader can connect with the writer. God wants to use all of your story: the joy, the pain, and all the pages in between. So find the essence of your story and share it with someone.

I'm confident it will be a good read.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Thursday, September 15, 2016

DAILY DEVO...can I depend on you?

My study last night with our youth took us into a discussion of what it is like to have a friend who is unreliable.

No doubt all of us at one time or another have been let down because people can disappoint us all of the time. People say one thing but do something else. We all have that friend that said he would come help  but never showed up.

During our youth round table discussion, we determined that anyone can fall, including ourselves, into becoming that unreliable person. Making promises that we can't keep.

Thankfully that is not the case with God. We can be assured that God's word is His Word! The Word of God over and over  declares that God does what He says He will do...

"God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

God is faithful and true, totally trustworthy. And if we are to strive to be like Christ, we too should show ourselves to be dependable. The Bible says for our "yes" to be yes and our "no" to be no. Anything less will leave us to be considered wishy washy or unreliable.

If Jesus is the One friend we can rely on, where does that leave us, can I depend on you?

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DAILY DEVO...are you good enough?

TODAY'S DAILY...

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try, your “good” is just never good enough? No matter how high you jump, it’s not high enough?

These feelings of unworthiness can creep up on us out of nowhere and sometimes the feelings of never measuring up comes at the hand of others speaking it over us.

It is very important that we deal with these emotions in a healthy way so that it doesn't mess us up. I know first hand that when we begin to listen to voices that say we aren't enough, it begins to feel like we are carrying a bag of bricks on our back, weighing us down.

I felt like that not long ago, it seemed no matter how hard I tried, to this particular persons mind and eye, I could never be good enough. They already had me marked and no amount of words or acts could change their view. Not realizing that the bricks they carried now were on my back. It was difficult for me to stand straight up because of the baggage that now weighed me down, the lie that I wasn't good enough was now on me to carry.

Or was it?

Not any more, I've come to realize since then that God is not like man. I don't have to show Him my works to be good enough. I don't have to be the smartest, jump the highest, or be the prettiest to receive His perfect love. I don't have to try to be good enough for Him; I just need to be myself. Be who He created me to be.

The fact is, none of us will ever be good enough for people, we will stumble and fall because none of us are perfect. While we cannot be good enough for each other, finding our worth in Christ alone is where we will see that Gods grace, love and forgiveness IS enough!

If you are telling others that they are not good enough...STOP IT!

If you believe when others say that you are not good enough...STOP IT!

 "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God." (2 Corinthians 3:5)

Our worth is in Christ and that alone makes us good enough!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Friday, September 9, 2016

Daily Devo...speak life not death

Mean girls (and boys). I've been studying and reading about this topic for my upcoming youth series I'm planning to do on bullying. One thing that I've learned, or I should say, I was reminded of because I did indeed already know this is: mean people say mean things!

Their words are like bullets, aimed for the weakest part of our hearts and emotions. I can recall moments of intentional rudeness aimed at me, when I was younger and even now as an adult. Words have such a lasting effect on us and when words are intended to hurt us, well that's just hard to swallow.

God gave each of us the power to say the same amount of words each day. Well, for women it is said they speak 20,000 words a day while men speak under 10,000. Our words have the power to give life or death. Unfortunately, some choose to use a portion of their daily allotment to be rude, disrespectful and just down right mean.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and erase all of the hurt that words have caused, but I can't. But I know Who can. God not only can change your heart but He can change that mean spirited person in your life. God don't like ugly now, so if you are that person speaking words of death upon someone...STOP!

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." (Song of Solomon 4:7)

God sees our beauty, even when we don't. Hurting people often can't see past their hurt, likewise mean people say hurtful things because they themselves are hurt about something.

How to handle the mean one in your family, at your church, in your classroom is to do what Jesus would do; see the beauty that lies under all that stuff and no matter what they do or say; choose life.

Speak words of life. 20,000 words a day: let's use them for good.

(Side note): this is going to be a great study coming up for our youth!! Pray with me for our young people who deal with bullies everyday at school. 🙏

BLESSINGS. Laurie