Friday, February 24, 2017

DAILY DEVO... pray like you believe it!

As I read the book of Psalms, I have to admit I wish I could have the boldness and confidence that David had as he wrote about his prayers to God.

(Psalm 38:15) "Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God."

The book of Psalms is full of prayers to God much like this one. The difference between the words of David and my words when I pray seem to be the level of confidence.

In today's Psalm reading, David isn't wondering IF or WHEN God will answer him, David confidently says he will wait for God's answer.

What do your prayers sound like? Do you have the hope and confidence that David had?

I urge you today to seek God diligently and place your trust in Him for all that you need; He is our hope, He has the answer. Maybe the only thing keeping us from His answer is simply... our disbelief.

Pray like you believe it!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 11-12, Mark 1:1-28, Psalm 38

SATURDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 13, Mark 1:29-39, Psalm 39

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 14, Mark 1:40-2:12, Psalm 40:1-8

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DAILY DEVO... curveballs are for the Coach to worry about

Curve balls in the game of baseball is similar to experiencing curveballs in life: you never know which way it will go.

Over the years, I have discovered that life is nothing but a series of curve balls. It is almost impossible to dodge (escape) them. What may start out as something good can quickly take a turn and spin out of control. However, as a Christian, I have learned that the series of obstacles and challenges in life are merely just another opportunity for me to place my trust in the Lord.

If you are a person of order, like myself, you probably like to know what your next step looks like. I think God gets a good laugh at me sometimes when I'm trying to line up all of my ducks in a row. After all, if I could pre determine every step of my life, why would I need God?

(Psalm 37:23) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”

God orders our steps, not only that but God delights to see us walk in them. He knows all about the curve balls in our life but He wants us to trust Him enough to stay in the game. We don't have to know every play of the game, we just need to trust the wisdom and direction of our Coach. Even on those days that we stumble, God (The Coach) will be at our side telling us which way to go. He knows exactly where our next step will take us, so why worry about it?

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 7:22-8:36, Matthew 27:51-66, Psalm 37:7-26

Monday, February 20, 2017

DAILY DEVO... the price of betrayal

Today's scripture reading is full of betrayal, remorse and death...

(Matthew 27:3-5) "When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 'I have sinned,' he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood.' 'What is that to us?' they replied. 'That’s your responsibility.' So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself."

The money that passed into the hands of Judas for selling Jesus out was so tainted. Betrayal certainly had a price, but the price Judas paid was so much more than a few silver coins. Betrayal cost Judas his life.

I wonder, what is Jesus worth to you?

Some may question how Judas could do what he did, but the way I see it, even though Judas sat and dined with Jesus numerous times he just didn't get Jesus.

Judas totally missed the whole point of why Jesus had come, He came to die so sinners like Judas could live! The agony and defeat of what Judas did overshadowed the reality that even death could not hold Jesus down.

Sometimes, you and I are like Judas. We just cannot let the past sins of our heart go; they hold us captive and keep us from living completely for God. We actually sell Jesus out (like Judas did) every time that we hold onto the very things that Jesus already has forgiven us for.

Jesus died on the cross so that you and I can live freely. He paid the price, there is no more debt to pay. No more regret, no more remorse, no more looking back once we receive Gods forgiveness.

So why in the world would Judas choose to die a traitor instead of accepting Jesus forgiveness? I don't know, I suppose it's the same way how you and I trade a Truth for a lie. We all have our silver coins, but none of us have to cash them in like Judas did.

Yes we are all sinners, but because of Jesus, none of us have to live (or die) as one.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 4:1-5:13, Matthew 26:69-27:26, Psalm 36:7-12.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Laced with Grace...lessons from Moses

Since the first of the year, I have been on a quest to read thru the Bible this year. I have just finished the book of Exodus, it is here that I have found a new interest in the story of Moses. We all are familiar of the childhood Bible stories of Moses going up against Pharoah and even about Moses going up to the mountain to write the tablets of commandments, but there is so much more to Moses than all of that.
Moses was indeed the first great Israelite Prophet but he was also one of the greatest leaders, I think, in all history. Moses wasn’t always considered great though. Before God called him out, Moses was just a slave. Being  born into slavery, Moses had his obstacles to overcome. For one he had a stuttering issue and for another he had a temper. But despite  all of that, God saw fit to use Moses and he became one of the most powerful rulers who led his people out of oppression into freedom.
I would like to share with you today 5 things that God showed me this week that can help us in our quest of becoming a stronger Christian and a more grounded leader:
TAKE A STAND (Exodus 3:7-10)
Here we see that Moses, the one saved son during the time that Pharoah demanded all sons to be killed found himself to be living at the palace. He may have been guarded his first few years but when he became an age of understanding and witnessed for himself the mistreatment of his fellow Israelites, he knew that not all was right with the world. Moses had a choice to make – would he stand or would he bow. There are too many people in the world who are bowing – God needs us to take a stand and be counted.
KNOW WHEN TO TAKE A RISK (Exodus 32:1-14)
Moses listened to God. He also obeyed God’s Word, but Moses also challenged God at critical moments. Take the moment he was on top of Mount Sinai, God expresses His anger towards the Israelites for building the golden calf and God declares that He will destroy them for their disobedience. However, Moses takes a leap of faith and urges God to reconsider for he knows that the people can repent and change. I say that took a lot of courage for Moses to take such a risk. In the end, God agrees with him and the people are saved. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to debate with God but I do think that if Christians of today took more risks, perhaps if they came out of their comfort zone more people could be saved.
MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE (Exodus 19:24,25)
Moses was on Mount Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments. Instead of proclaiming it from the top of the mountain he did something that we don’t see much these days from leaders. He went to the bottom of the mountain, where the people were and walked among them, proclaiming and teaching them the new laws. Instead of just telling them, Moses got on their level and showed them. There is no better lesson for any leader to learn than this – don’t just tell people about God, show them. 
NEVER COAST (Hebrews 3:5)
When I think about the long road that Moses went on, it lasted for years. Think about it – 40 years as they wandered in the desert and that was just a glimpse of the years that Moses labored hard. If anyone deserved a rest, it was Moses! But he remained focused and he never stopped working or caring about the people. Sometimes I think we get frustrated too easily in our ministries and the first onset of trouble or turbulence, we abandon ship. God blesses faithfulness and hard work and steadfastness. Just look at Moses! Ministry is definitely not for the faint and  lighthearted.
SPEAK TO THE HEART (Exodus 35:21)
Most of us think that the way to motivate people is thru the pocketbook. The more we give monetarily, the more they pay attention. That may work in politics but Moses showed us that the job can get done when people are moved from their heart. The Bible tells us that when the Tabernacle was built, everyone gave “as their heart so moved them.” Speaking to the heart of people may be challenging and uncomfortable but when we get to the heart of the matter, we get to the core of each persons heartbeat (what they are passionate about). God speaks to our heart, so why would we lead any differently?
I don’t know if any of these points of leadership resonate with your or your ministry but I implore you, if you haven’t taken a look in awhile, check out the life of Moses. See if you can’t glean a few leadership tips from him and along the way maybe God will guide you as you lead a few people out of their oppression and into God’s freedom.
 “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14)
BLESSINGS. Laurie
@copyright LAURIEADAMS

DAILY DEVO....doing for the least of these

In today's scripture reading, we come across a passage that I think is probably the most misquoted and misunderstood scripture in the Bible...

(Matthew 25:45) "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

In the scriptures right before this, we see Jesus telling the crowd that those who will inherit the kingdom are those who gave Him food when He was hungry, a drink when He was thirsty, a home when He was a stranger, clothes when He had none and visited Him when He was sick and imprisoned. (See Matthew 25:34-36)

If we interpret this as meaning that if we do all of these things it will lead to eternal life, we are not understanding. There is only one thing that we can do to ensure our eternity and that is ask God to forgive us and confess Him as Lord.

When Jesus says "the least of these My brothers", He is talking about His Disciples. Many times Jesus refers to His Disciples as "least of these" or refers only to them as His "brothers". (Matthew 10:42, 18:4, 18:6, 18:10 and 18:14.)
 
When I apply this particular passage to what the entire book of Matthew is saying, I see that what Jesus is alluding to is that when His brothers (His disciples) are treated well, so is Jesus because He is an extension of them. 

Often times, I see people get weary of doing good. (Sometimes I get weary) When people don't notice our good deeds or even appreciate all that we do, we simply want to give up. But what you and I fail to see is that we are simply an extension of the arms and heart of Jesus. 

When you give to others remember you are giving them Jesus.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

**how are you doing with your Bible reading? This weekend we will finish another book in the Old Testament! Keep up the good work!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 38-39, Matthew 25:31-46, Psalm 35:9-17

SATURDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 40, Matthew 26:1-35, Psalm 35:18-28

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 1-3, Matthew 26:36-68, Psalm 36:1-6

Thursday, February 16, 2017

DAILY DEVO...what are you doing with your talents?

All of our talents are God given. Sometimes I think we don't understand the purpose of all that God has blessed us with.

Our talents and gifts are not for us alone, no, God gives us talents to share and to benefit others. And likewise, the talents given to others are to benefit us.

You see, we are all part of the Body of Christ and every part matters to God. That is why He has given each of us certain talents and when we put them all together for His glory, great things happen. But when just one keeps their talent hidden and does not use it according to God's will, the body cannot function as well as it could.

(Exodus 35:31) "and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills".

It doesn't matter if you are a musician, a teacher, a cook or a toilet cleaner; you are the manager of the gifts God has given to you. Today, I have wondered if those who had a job to do building the Tabernacle or the Ark would not have used their talents the way they did, how differently things would have turned out.

May we all recognize that our gifts are a blessing and even when we feel insignificant or like our part is unimportant - we all have a part to do and without it, something may not get accomplished.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 35:30-37:28, Matthew 25:14-30, Psalm 35:1-8.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DAILY DEVO...when is the last time an encounter with God changed you?

Having an encounter with God will most definitely change a person. When is the last time that you spent time in the presence of the Lord and someone noticed your countenance to be different?

That is exactly what happened to Moses. We first read how Moses was at the top of the mountain, spending time with God and writing the tablets but he was interrupted because of the chaos going on down below by the impatient people.  

However, the second time he went back to the top of the mountain to spend time with God, the glory of God was quite noticeable when he returned to the people below...

(Exodus 34:30) "When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him."

Coming down from the mountain, the face of Moses was literally shining, so much that it scared Aaron and the people. How awesome is it to see that after spending time with God, Moses was visibly changed.

I'm not talking about his personality being changed because you and I both understand how the saving grace of God changes us from the inside out. But this kind of change that was seen here was a shine, a radiant light beaming from his face, like a headlight shining bright in the dark of night.

From today's scripture reading, the challenge for us is this: when is the last time we encountered God and people noticed something different about us? When is the last time our countenance shined like a bright light in the dark?

God's glory will reflect off of us when we truly encounter Him and it is His love that will shine bright (like a spotlight) through us for all to see.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 34:1-35:29, Matthew 25:1-13, Psalm 34:8-22.