Monday, November 2, 2015

LACED WITH GRACE ...Everything happens for God's reason!

Today, I have shared this devotion with the readers of Laced with Grace:

As I stepped out into the brisk, cool air this morning, I couldn’t help but think about how Autumn is my most favorite time of year. Not only is it the start of planning for my favorite holidays, but it is also the time of year that I can put some chili or soup on the stove and dress in my favorite sweater and enjoy God’s beautiful tapestry of colors all around me.

Taking a stroll out to the backyard, I see the trees beginning to look different; the rustle of the leaves under my feet tell me instantly that indeed we have come into a new season. The bright colors of red, brown and gold always have intrigued me. Why, just yesterday, weren’t they green and blowing in the wind?

Indeed, a new season can bring a fresh, new perspective. Not only outside, but inwardly, as well.
In scripture Jesus uses a tree, planted by the rivers of water, for us to compare our spiritual life to. In fact, the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

I have heard it said before; “everything happens for a reason.” Even those who are not remotely familiar with religious matters or scriptures can tell us something about “destiny”. The idea of destiny shows up in everything from astrological predictions to romantic movies that lead us to believe that the two main characters are destined to be together. The problem with the world’s view of this “everything happens for a reason” outlook is that there supposedly is a impersonal force of some kind mastering things; rarely, will there be mention of a personal being who not only is directing but giving purpose to all of these things.

“A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8)

These times and seasons that are mentioned in the above scripture encompasses all of life; including the beginning (“a time to be born”) and the end (“a time to die”) to the reaping and harvesting (“a time to plant, and a time to uproot”) and so much more. Life can be repetitive in many ways, but it is not an unending circle. Each season propels us towards a God-ordained goal; it is not that “everything happens for a reason”, rather, “everything happens for God’s reason”.

You and I are much like the changing trees in my backyard; sometimes we come into a season of life where we must allow things to fall away for a time; perhaps it is habits, or a specific ministry or taking our hands off of a certain situation. But as we allow things to fall away, God is preparing us for the new season approaching.

Fall is here, but spring is coming. The fruit will be ripe once again but we must go thru the season change to be prepared for new fruit. There is a time for every season and purpose under heaven because it is what the Lord determines. Friends, our lives are not controlled by some impersonal fate, but our lives are controlled by a gracious God Who has a plan that far exceeds anything that you or I can imagine.

Embrace the season that you find yourself in and look forward to what God is pruning and preparing you for; for there IS a time and a season for EVERYTHING!

Friday, October 9, 2015

TODAY'S DAILY...when God asks "What are you doing here?"

Filling out an application can be overwhelming. Take a new job opportunity: an array of emotions go into applying; from excitement of a new opportunity to satisfaction that someone recognizes your value to concern that you are making the right decision.

I suppose Elijah understood this feeling. I doubt he was applying to be the new village clerk, but according to the Scriptures, Elijah was afraid and was found by God hidden away in a cave. (Read it in 1 Kings 19)

God asked Elijah a very important question...

"What are you doing here, Elijah?" -God (1 Kings 19:9b)

God was not asking the question to find the answer. As we all know that God is all-knowing, however, He asked Elijah this question so Elijah would know the answer.

Sometimes questions are asked of us, like in an interview, to give us clarity and understanding. God may be asking you a simple question today, "What are you doing here?"

Take time today to reassess where you are in your walk with God and where He needs you to be. It may be time to change direction.

I'm not talking about changing jobs today, I'm talking about searching for His divine clarity in your life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

TODAY'S DAILY...don't be so discouraged.

Today I want to speak to the one who feels discouraged or spinning in a sphere of doubt.
There are many things (and people) that will cast doubt upon you. I would dare say that many spiritual people have their days of doubt.

Moses did. Don't you think he got fed up with the constant whining of the Israelite children?

Elijah did. He got so overwhelmed after hearing that Jezebel wanted him dead that he told God, "take my life."

Jeremiah did. The constant ridicule for giving God's Word caused him to want to stop speaking about It!

"And the Lord is the One Who goes ahead of you, He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed." -Deuteronomy 31:8

You see, my friend, you are not the only who has ever faced doubt or frustration of why God isn't working in a certain way.

But like all these great Bible heroes; stay on course, keep doing what you are doing and trust God. We can't always see the full picture like He can.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Looking at the cycle of life thru a leaf

There is no better season than Fall to me. It’s the beginning of all of the Holidays that I love; the smells of soup cooking on the stove and the sound of rustling leaves in the yard.

I was looking outside this morning and thinking about the beauty of Fall. I began to ponder about the change that autumn brings and it dawned on me that ONLY GOD could design something that is dying to be so beautiful.

Think about this: in the spring, the leaf begins budding with new life, and then it grows into a full leaf. Summer comes along and as it comes to an end, the colors turn a brilliant red, orange and yellow, giving us a vibrant show to watch right before they fall to the ground, where it then becomes nutrients for the tree to produce more beautiful leaves next year.

It’s the cycle of life. Not only for a leaf but for children of God. Each of us have just a short season on earth, but while here we have a specific purpose. Even when we don’t realize it, God turns some of our most difficult journeys into something beautiful. His colors of life, hope and love can be seen by many as we press in and serve Him, no matter the cost. When our final days are at hand, looking back we see what a wonderful season of serving God has been and as we fall and bow at the throne of God, those left behind who have watched us grow and live out Gods purpose now have strength and hope for what is yet to come for their own lives.
“The unfolding of Your Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” -Psalm 119:130
The cycle of life is simple; we are born, we grow, we die. The beauty comes from what we choose to do with our seasons. ONLY GOD can make something so beautiful out of nothing.

You gotta love and appreciate the change of seasons, the cycle of life.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

TODAY'S DAILY...our steps are ordered.

I am a planner. My husband is not. In my perfect world everything would have a rhyme or reason and order!

I would say we all want good things in our life. But we never want to wait for it. We want it now! And when it doesn't happen according to our time line or our comfort, we question..."Why God?", "When God?"

The need to know everything that's going on, the why's and the when's can be detrimental to our Christian walk.

"Man's steps are ordered by the Lord. How then can a Man understand his way?" -Proverbs 20:24

Now there is a loaded question for you! None of us can see our circumstance like God can. It is not for us to question; we don't need to know all the details; all we need to know is that we can trust God and He will make a way.

I'm trusting God today, how about you?

Monday, September 14, 2015

TODAY'S DAILY...choose wisely

The Bible has much to say about making choices. From choosing Whom we serve (Joshua 24:15), to choosing how to spend our time (Luke 10:42), to choosing to pursue God's values vs. the worlds values (Proverbs 16:16).

When God created man in His own image, He created us with a free will. He allows us to make choices.

As a parent, I have not always approved of the choices my kids have made but it never stopped me from loving them. This is the picture that I would like for you to get, God doesn't approve of all of the choices His children make but even the bad choices in life never keeps Him from loving us.

"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life." -Deuteronomy 30:19,20

In addition to being given a free will to choose, God also gave to each of us the power of His Holy Spirit. It is up to each of us to seek Him and to make good, godly choices.

It is my prayer today that the choices you make today will have an eternal impact. Choose wisely.

Friday, September 11, 2015

TODAY'S DAILY...Remember the good

Saul was not the most wonderful person. In fact, there isn't a lot of good to say about him. Poor David had been the brunt of Saul's attacks over and over, even when David had been nothing but kind to him.

David had much heartache and hardship at the hands of Saul. So naturally, when Saul died, David had every right to rejoice.

But David chose to do something different. Instead of rejoicing that his adversary was gone, David remembered the good. He recalled Saul to be loving and gracious; he remembered how Saul had strength stronger than a lion and that Saul was mighty...

"Saul and Jonathan-in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than Eagles, they were stronger than lions." -2 Samuel 1:23

It's so easy to focus on wrong doing and getting even. We see it from Presidential campaigns to name calling in a divorce to wishing evil upon the boss who just fired you.

David was able to see the good in Saul because he placed everything in God's hands. I'm urging you today, in the midst of your conflict, in the midst of your heartache and loss, follow David's lead and remember the good!

God will take care of the rest.