Today I have shared the following devo over at LACED WITH GRACE. I join a team of awesome writers sharing from our heartdaily devo's. This devo comes straight from my heart as I turmoil over loss and abandonment in my own personal life:
You can drive thru any town, small or large, and find what I call "abandoned buildings." You know what I am talking about ... old, worn out buildings that have been tossed away, badly neglected and long forgotten about. The windows are boarded up, the entrance doors are barely hanging from their hinges and the inside is filled with dust, cobwebs and broken floor boards.
The street is usually deserted leading up to such a forgotten place. The light in the street is blinking on and off, and what was once a busy, active and fun place is no longer even a memory in anybodies mind. forgotten, lost, abandoned, given up on. It is hard to imagine that at one time someone loved this old building and filled it with many great things.
Sometimes, people are much like these abandoned buildings. Instead of being filled with good things such as love and acceptance ... the very ones that should (or could) love you - don't. They walk out. They turn away. They stop caring. They make bad choices. They abandon you.
When this happens it is so easy to pull yourself into that abandoned building, the place where you can board up the windows and seal the door and not let anybody care about you again. You feel tossed away and forgotten. You are left broken.
Some of you reading this today know exactly what I am talking about. You have been abandoned, forgotten and tossed aside. A parent left you, your spouse walked out, a friend forgot all about you, your kids don't call. You feel like you are living inside of a broken down, unusable, no-good-for-nothing abandoned building.
The good news is that just like any kind of real estate property, what one buyer sees as "unsalvageable", another sees as "potential". God has purchased that piece of property that you reside in, that broken down abandoned building, and He has applied a new shade of RED paint to it ... the shade is called "the Blood of the Lamb", He has washed down the inside with a special cleansing powder called the "Blood of the Lamb" and there hangs a new sign outside the door. It reads .... "REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!"
No matter what choice somebody has made that has left you feeling abandoned, remember that God made a choice long ago, that you are the most beautiful, precious and valuable thing He could purchase! And the price has already been paid...IN FULL!
PERSONAL NOTE: Many times I am reminded of the people who made choices that ultimately have forever altered my life. Many days, because of the emptiness of how their choices have made me feel - I find myself setting housekeeping up in my "abandoned building". But when I find myself dwelling in this broken down place, I remind myself that the choices of those that should love me but don't love me, and the choices of those that should stay by my side but walk right on out ... these choices do not define me! But it is the choice of Jesus Christ that matters. He loves me! He died for me! and He defines me! Isn't it time to do some redecorating in your dwelling place. Throw on a coat of RED paint!!
I use my camera for fun. A snapshot here, a snapshot there. Taking pictures of my kids, of my husband, and of fun trips we take. I don't know a whole lot about photography but one thing that I do know, if you expose the negatives to the light .... your photos will not turn out.
When the light is exposed, somehow it turns the pictures dark. I don't really understand how light can cause so much damage. But it does. As a photographer, this would be frustrating and humiliating, especially if you had taken pictures of a special moment that could never be re-captured. Like a wedding, or a birthday, or even a once in a lifetime vacation.
To achieve the finest quality in your photographs, you must avoid the light. However, if you avoid the light of God in your day to day walk, I am afraid you will remain in your own darkroom. One that is filled with misery, unhappiness and uncertainity. His light is not one that causes damage, instead it creates refreshing beauty like a perfectly developed photograph.
1 PETER 2:9 "Declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
Without the Light (God's Light)... we will never achieve the finest quality in life! Peace, love, joy, understanding, forgiveness, mercy Aren't you thankful for being called out of the dark and into His light?
IRIS is hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY this week. Click here to share your grateful heart. Come back here next week, I will be hosting TT for the month of March.
Don't you just love it when someone says or does something that is genuinely an act of kindness. For no reason, just to be kind. Almost seems like a forgotten thing from the past, showing kindess that is.
It seems like you don't see many people opening doors for others anymore. Have you ever tried to get out in a busy lane of traffic - seems like very few people will let anybody merge into their lane anymore. When is the last time you were in the checkout lane and let someone go in front of you that only had one or two items?
KINDNESS... you know the phrase - "kindness goes a long way." It certainly does!
EPHESIANS 4:32 "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."
Kindness is love in action. Kindness is very different from patience. Patience avoids a problem, kindness creates a blessing. One is preventive, the other is proactive. Having Godly love will cause us be kind to others, and others will desire to be around us.
But kindness just doesn't happen...look at the results of the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL from last week. I polled the readers, "What is the last kind act someone did for you?" The top 3 answers were:
1. 53% of the readers said that someone gave them a kind compliment.
2. 33% of those polled said that someone opened the door for them.
3. 13% voted and said that someone gave them a present for no reason.
To be kind, it takes some initiative. Look at the poll results, all of these things took some action on someones part to make it happen and most likely someone thought ahead before doing these kind things. Sadly though, this poll revealed only 6% of those polled said that someone was kind to them by praying for them. Does this mean that we do not consider prayer a kind act? or does it mean that we are not taking the initiative to pray for others?
In Luke, Chapter 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. What a great example of the kindness of love that Jesus desires from us. You know the story...
A Jewish man is left for dead, after being beaten by robbers. Two respected, religious men walk by without noticing the injured man and ignoring him. They were either too busy or too important to stop and be kind. However, when a common Samaritan man comes by, he did the most shocking thing. Even though his race hated the Jews, he looked beyond the cultural boundaries and was moved with compassion to help this man in need. A simple act of kindness bridged years of racism that had caused strife and division.
The Good Samaritan took the initiative to show true kindness. What an act of love! If it is hard to love our enemies, possibly we need to look for ways to be kind to them. One of the best ways to show kindness to our enemies is to pray for them! Someone needs a Good Samaritan to stop and care, and show love with their kindness.
Every morning at 6 a.m. my day begins with a loud buzzing noise. The noise comes from the side of my bed. It is my alarm buzzing. The next sound I hear is my hand slapping the snooze button. Again the buzzing goes off, and again my hand slaps. This time, I slowly crawl out of my warm, comfy bed.
Wouldn't it be great to sleep in as late as you wanted to each day? Wouldn't it be great to not be awoken by that annoying buzzing noise?
I was thinking about this whole early morning routine that I go thru each day. The buzzing. The slapping. The buzzing again. The slapping again. The drudgery to get up out of my comfort area. The desire to just keep sleeping and ignore what lies ahead for me.
Wouldn't it be just awful if we looked at serving God like this?
Instead of each morning seeing our new day filled with many blessings, we looked at it with drudgery.
Instead of looking for opportunities to share the love of Christ with others, we just stayed in our comfort area.
Instead of recognizing the noises of the battered, torn and bruised as our ministry, we just tune the lost and dying out.
Every morning is a new day, a new beginning and another day to choose to serve Him. That should be enough to make me want to JUMP out of bed!
PSALM 16:5 "My choice is You, God, first and only. And now I find I'm Your choice!" (MSG)
God has already chosen us ... so what are we going to do ~ Jump up or hit the snooze?
I really do not like creepy, crawly things. If it slithers in the swamp or comes out at night, most likely I will get the heebie-jeebies. I really don't know why things like this startle me or scare me, but they do. Especially if unexpected, seeing one of these creepy critters will almost cause me to jump out of my skin.
Fear can grip us at the most unusual times!
The other night, I was driving down a very dark and secluded road. Up ahead, I noticed something slithering very slowly across the road. It startled me so much that I jumped and actually slowed the car down. My husband, who was sitting in the passenger side, said "What are you doing?" and I said (in a very alarmed voice), "Don't you see that? What is that?". My daughter who was sitting in the back seat, looked and jumped and hollered, "ahh"!
Fear sometimes is very contagious!
As we slowly approached the creepy, crawly thing that was moving very slowly across the road, my husband burst out in laughter...the very thing that creeped me out was simply a crumpled up bag blowing across the road.
Fear can be misleading.
Many of us have creepy, crawly things in our lives that grip us with daily fear. Maybe it is the fear of losing your job, or losing a loved one to death. Possibly fear in your life is caused by depression, anxiety or lack of self confidence. Fear is not how God intends for the Christian to live their life...in fact He tells us to not fear or be dismayed for He is with us at all times.
JOSHUA 1:9"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." (KJV)
How comforting is that? To know that even in those moments of darkness or when those creepy things happen, that God is right there with us. Just like that bag that tricked me in the middle of the night, don't let the enemy trick you with fear!
"Courage isn't the absence of fear; it's discovering the presence of God in the middle of fear."
"Have it your way, Have it your way!" Everybody just has to love Burger King ... the only place that you can have your burger how you like it.
"Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, Special orders don't upset us, All we ask is that you let us serve it your way, Have it your way; have it your way at Burger King!"
Sure, other fast food restuarants have caught onto this "have it your way" attitude but Burger King was the first one to believe in this concept, in fact, they believed in it so much, that they made this their promotional jingle.
I was thinking about the slogan that BK has commercialized on and realized that we really do live in a world where we want things to go OUR way. If things don't go our way, we get mad, we take our business elsewhere or worse ... we get even! For the christian, having things OUR way may not line up to be what God's way is.
After all, if we had it OUR way ... we would lavish in the love, the joy and the peace. But what about trials and tribulations? What about having obedience? Or sacrifice? I am certain if we had things OUR way, we would not want any of those things. But God's way is so much better than OUR way and in order to follow Him, we must accept the complete package. We cannot live by a "made to order" relationship with Him. It is all or nothing! We surrender or we don't.
JOHN 14:6 says that He is the Way, the Truth and the Light!
Are you seeking His way today or are you a Burger King Christian?
Recently, my sweet husband gave me a most unique gift. A helmet. Apparently he thought I was in need of one. He may have been a day or two late with it though. You see, a few days earlier I had a run in with a bucket, a mop and a mop handle. Mostly the mop handle.
We have had a week or two of some frigid cold temperatures mixed with some ice and snow. (A rare occasion here in the south.) On one of these freezing cold days, I had left my mop and bucket outside. Not thinking about the rain that my bucket was collecting. Apparently rain mixed with freezing temperatures creates ice? This created my mop to be frozen solid.
So, I did what every smart woman would do ... I took that bucket and smacked it against the ground to break the ice. I am so intelligent ... it worked, the ice broke and I dumped it out onto the ground. When I layed the bucket and mop down, apparently the mop itself was still frozen to the bottom of the bucket and instead of laying down on the ground, that mop did a 180 and flung right back up and smacked me right in the head! ouch. It was at this moment that I really wish I had had that helmet!
When you think about it...helmets are our friend, mop handles are not. Helmets can protect us from dangerous, life threatening things like mop handle attacks. and other things!
There is another kind of helmet that does that very thing ... protects against dangerous, life threatening things and that is the helmet of salvation:
1 THESSALONIANS 5:8 "put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation."
I was really surprised at how big of bump and bruise that my incident with the mop handle left on my forehead area. In time it will heal. Without the helmet of salvation, there is no way for our "bumps and brusies" in life to heal properly, not without His forgiveness and His grace.
I am thankful for helmets ... either way you look at it, they are a neccesity in life!
Do you have your helmet on?
Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and IRIS is our host this month. Share your grateful heart with us HERE!
Most of the time I am a very patient person, in fact, I would dare to say that I am far more patient than most people. Some things just drive people crazy! When we go to our local Wal-Mart, there are usually only 2 or 3 check-out lanes open. Have you ever wondered why they have like 15 lanes when they only open 2 or 3 at a time? I try to get in the shortest line possible, but it never fails that the line I always get in turns out to be the sloowest line ever! I learned a long time ago that it does no good to get impatient with this checking-out process at Wal-Mart, because getting mad or irritated never ever speeds up the process.
When my husband is with me (which is a rarity - he hates the Wal-Mart check-out lines!), and there seems to be a hold up in the check-out line, he will go over to another lane. I don't know that this really speeds things up, it has been my experience that when you get impatient and change lanes ... somebody will have a dozen coupons or need a price check, and it ends up taking you longer in the new lane than if you would have just stayed in your original check-out lane.
All of us get impatient with things such as long Wal-Mart lanes or getting stuck in traffic on a rainy day, but what would happen if each time we became impatient with someone or something, we had an alarm that went off and it sounded like this ..."beep, beep - you will self-destruct in 20 seconds!" How awesome would it be to have a warning go off to alert us that we are about to blow up or self- destruct.
Nobody likes to be around an impatient person. Being impatient causes us to overreact in angry, foolish ways that often times are regretted later. Anger almost never makes things better. In fact, anger usually generates additional problems.
Having patience will stop those arising problems in their tracks! Some of us need an alarm to warn us to bite our lip or clap our hand over our mouth before we say or do something that we will regret. A patient person is like a breath of fresh air that keeps foolishness from whipping its ugly scorpion tail all over a room.
In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "What are you impatient with?" The top 3 answers were...
1. 54% of those polled said that they become impatient with people who talk on their phone while eating lunch with you. (Amen!)
2. Another 54% voted and said that they are impatient with disobedient children.
3. 27% of those voting said that imcompetent co-workers really makes them impatient.
No matter how big or small the frustration, choosing to control our emotions is a wise choice ... it is a wise choice to be patient with others.
EPHESIANS 4:2 (NIV)"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
What would the tone of your home or your workplace be like if you tried this biblical approach: "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another."(1 Thess. 5:15)
Next time you are at Wal-Mart in the check-out line, see what kind of a reaction a little bit of patience will make ... who knows maybe you will even let someone go ahead of you in the line! (((grin)))
I have shared a devo today over at the GATHERING AT THE WELL site. I am honored to be on a panel of writers for this great ministry that offers daily devo's. You will be blessed by the women over there. Check it out!
"Can't you just give me a break?" How many times have I heard that or even thought that myself. I can remember staying up until all hours of the night helping my son write a very important essay for school. He did the research, he took great notes, and now he poured everything he had into putting together this top-notch essay that was sure to bring him an "A." To his great disappointment though, the teacher did not recognize the blood, sweat, and tears that went into his paper. If the teacher had, my son would have gotten a grade slightly higher than a "C!"
"Why can't I get a break?" - was the question my son asked. After all nobody is perfect, right? What harm would it be if teachers just lowered their standards and just gave everyone an "A," just for effort!
Well... there is a word that seems to be absent in our society's vocabulary today. I see more and more how our society has influenced our homes to have no standards, beliefs, or convictions at all! After all, nobody is perfect and we all mess up and life is too short to live within "boundaries." The entertainment world and news reports tells us that it is alright to lower our standards. They tell us this is what will get us ahead in this world. They scream at us to lower our standards!
In fact, some people are hoping that God will also lower His standard and allow them to slip into His good graces just because of their sincere efforts and their good intentions. But God cannot and will not lower His standard. The standard has been set.
ROMANS 4:5 "People are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners."
It may seem unfair or unreasonable that God will not lower His standard to allow for just a little sin...but to do this would make Him less than God. Jesus Christ gave His perfect life just so each of us could have a break, so we could have an opportunity to accept the standard that God has established for salvation.
What kind of standards are you teaching your family? Do you have boundaries in place in your home, at your workplace? Do these boundaries bring you closer to God or more like the world?
Next time you hear yourself asking, "Can't I get a break" ~ reflect on the break that each of us received on Calvary. We have a responsibility to place boundaries and live by standards, Godly standards, in our homes.
Today is President's Day, another day off of school or if you are a Government employee - a day off of work! Woo Hoo! Oh how we look forward with great anticipation to these "free" days off. It's a great day to sleep in, go shopping, see a movie or finish an unfinished project around the house. It doesn't really matter what you choose to do today on this "free" day, its a day that you can forget all about your day to day responsibilities. You don't have to think about homework, teachers, important lunch meetings or deadlines.
Holidays like this one, Presidents Day, strikes me funny. It certainly is a day that we should reflect back and remember the great Presidents that have sweated and toiled to make our country free. But seriously, how many Americans actually give tribute to our Presidents on this day? I would dare say that the most immediate thought on most Americans on this day is not political but gratitude that they don't have to go to school or to work. It's just a "free" day for them!
What a very serious danger this would be if we as Christians looked upon serving Him like this ... needing a "free" day. Most of you reading this would probably say "that is totally absurd"! But how many times do we just get tired of our responsibilities of being a Christian?
If we didn't get tired then how come we stopped inviting people to church with us?
If we don't feel like we need a "free" day - how come we skip out on Sunday evening service?
PSALM 118:24"This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it."
Each day with the Lord should be looked upon with great anticipation! What excites you more...having a "free" day off or serving Him daily?
In two weeks I am driving to Oklahoma to visit my oldest son. Usually my husband drives us on these long drives but he is not able to come with me. I always feel safe when he is with me because he knows directions like the back of his hand. Without him, I am going to be dependent on my map and some directions off of google.
What I really need is a GPS. I do not have one in my car and I think it would probably come in handy for this upcoming trip. This handy little tool will tell me exactly where I am and exactly where I need to be! Somehow it recognizes your location and can tell you where to turn, when to turn and if you turned too many times and are lost!
Wouldn't it be great to have a GPS for our life? So many times I get lost in all of the choices available to me and I feel like I often times take a wrong turn in the decisions that I make. If only I could keep my eyes on Jesus, Who is my GPS. He knows exactly what is right and what is wrong, and He leads and directs my path when my focus is on Him.
HEBREWS 12:2"Keep your eyes on Jesus, Who both began and finished this race we're in." (MSG)
Spending time with Jesus can sort out alot of wrong turns in life, His way is always the right way!
I have been married for 28 years and am so grateful to not only be married to my true love but what a privelege it is to be loved by my soulmate. This week is valentines week, and even though I have found my valentine - I am reminded of the many lonely hearts that will spend this valentines day alone.
Have you ever noticed how most of the songs on the radio are about love? The celebration of love, the need for love, the agony of losing love. Music is a great way to express our deepest feelings and all of us have a deep feeling of loving someone and someone loving us back. We all yearn for that special love that will never disappoint us or fade.
The problem is we look for this kind of love in all of the wrong places. We look for this true love in the faces and the hearts of people that will only disappoint us or leave us. No human being can ever love us fully, completely, perfectly or even forever.
There is only one such kind of love to be found and that is the love of Jesus. His love is greater than any other love in the universe. We grow weary of the quirks and habits of human love - but the love of Jesus will never leave you, or forsake you. His love is the truest form that you can always depend upon, for all the days of your life.
EPHESIANS 3:19 "May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."
Today I give thanks for my beloved husband who has loved me and cherished me for all of these years. I also offer up praise to the One Who calls me His beloved and His love has kept me and will sustain me for all the days of my life.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
HAPPY THANKFUL THURSDAY!
Join your grateful heart with ours over at GRACE ALONE. IRIS is our host this month!
We all just sat through yet another great Superbowl Sunday! It doesn't really matter if you were rooting for the Colts or the Saints, the excitement to me was watching the two top teams of the NFL for this year. They pushed their way past some tough games along the way and together as a team, they proved to be the #1 and #2 teams of the season.
Being on a winning team almost always requires various team members to show confidence in each other's abilities. Each teammate possesses a certain ability that brings momentum to their team. Most likely if a quarterback is afraid to pass the ball, he will probably get sacked or lead his team to a big loss. When I think about a star player that possessed great confidence in the Bible, I think about the apostle Paul.
2 TIMOTHY 1:8-9 "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, (9) who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time."
Paul was not afraid to "pass the ball". When he encountered young Timothy, Timothy had some undeveloped skills - but Paul encouraged young Timothy and eventually passed the ball to him. This confidence that Paul had in Timothy was expressed not only in words but in actions as well.
In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "When you were young, what did you excel in?" The top 3 answers were...
1. 27% of those polled said that they excelled at talking nonstop!
2. 18% of those voting said that they excelled at bringing home stray animals.
3. Another 18% voted and said that they excelled at having the ability to survive childhood accidents.
It is funny to think about some of the things that we were so good at when we were youngsters, but think about it, those things that we excelled at when young probably led us into some things that we are confident about today as adults. For example: If you were part of that 27% that excelled at talking nonstop, then I wonder if your confidence today as an adult is in communication?
As a christian, I believe that some of us have that "superbowl confidence" much like Paul had. Each of us knows someone like Timothy who wants to be part of the team. We each have the ability to pour ourselves into teammates such as our Timothy's and pass the ball of encouragement onto them one day.
Think about this...Timothy was able to contribute to God's work because Paul had the confidence to "hand the ball off to him". Is there someone in your life that needs to have alittle confidence expressed to them? How about expressing alittle SUPERBOWL confidence to your fellow teammates.
We are all on the same team. God's team! I have read the final book of the Bible and we are on the WINNING team!
I have a friend that collects magnifying glasses. Not just ordinary magnifying glasses, but unique looking ones. In their home, the magnifying glasses are on display for all to see the special carvings in the unique handles.
However, magnifying glasses are not for the purpose of looking at or being on display. They are to be used to look thru, so you can magnify or make something look bigger. A magnifying glass actually makes things look bigger than they actually are.
I have often wondered what Mary meant when she said, "My soul magnifies the Lord?"(Luke 1:46) Do you suppose she was trying to make God look bigger than He actually is?
I do not think that she was referring to God being bigger as she was expressing her vast amount of honor and glory towards the Lord. After all, we can never make God bigger or greater than He actually is. The truth is, we can never fully understand His actual greatness, but we can magnify Him!
Magnifying God is not done by making Him bigger. It is making Him greater in our thoughts, in our affections and in our expectations. We magnify God by praising Him and telling others about His greatness so they too can have bigger, more magnified thoughts about Him as well.
Sometimes I wonder why I cannot see things clearly. When things are slipping in my life that shouldn't be there or stress and problems surround me, I wonder why all I can see is the difficulty and not the purpose. Most of the time it is because I am looking thru my own eyes and what I need is to look thru the magnifying glass of God...it is then that I would be able to see clearly His hand in each and every situation in my life!
PSALM 34:3 "Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together."
I don't know if Coca-Cola still uses this as their slogan or not, but when I was growing up I remember their advertisement always said, "Coca-Cola - the REAL thing!" Have you ever considered what the "real" thing is?
Today our society is saturated with "artificial" things. We have silk flowers instead of fresh. We have artificial sugar instead of pure from the cane. We have false eyelashes instead of the God-given kind. Fake, artificial and false. No wonder we can't recognize the real thing when we see it!
One of the reasons that Coca-Cola for years was the #1 beverage was because their slogan was not just words, but it was proven fact. Coca-Cola conducted many beverage tasting tests, where they would taste test their drink against a competitors beverage. With unmarked cups, people would be asked to drink from one cup and then another and try to decide which one was the REAL Coca-Cola. It was really easy to select the real thing, if you were familiar with what the real drink tasted like. When matched next to a generic brand of Cola, Coca-Cola would win everytime I tried this taste testing experiment.
We are living in a society now that it is very difficult to recognize the REAL thing anymore. I wonder what happened to the "Coca-Cola" Christians? You know ... the ones that walked the walk and talked the talk. Over the past few years, I have noticed that the label "Christian" has become just that ... a label! When I look around my world, I see alot of people who consider themselves a Christian but yet they do not live like a follower of Christ. They have taken on the name, but they haven't changed their game.
EPHESIANS 5:15 "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but aswise."
It isn't enough to just call ourselves a Christian, our walk and our talk must reflect that Jesus Christ resides within our being. I wonder how we would measure up if God decided to do a taste test with our spiritual walk with Him? If He lined us up against a non-believer, with all of the labels removed ... would there be a difference found? Would we be found to be the REAL thing or just someone going thru the motions?
Dear Lord ... Let it be real! Help me to be ALL that I can be in You. May my words, my actions, my thoughts and my passion lead others straight to You! Empower me today to shake my world for You by showing them that following You is definetly the REAL thing! - AMEN.
We all know that it is just common sense to stop and look both ways before crossing the street. We learned this when we were very young. Often times though, we get into such a hurry that we step off of the curb alittle too soon and find ourselves right smack dab in the line of traffic.
This is exactly what happens to us when we do not stop and wait upon God! We take a step forward and WHAM! the enemy runs us over. Why don't we just obey the laws of the road? You know ... the law that tells us to trust in the Lord and wait for His leading and directing instead of stepping out before we pray, or before we believe or even before we trust Him!
ISAIAH 40:31 "Wait upon the Lord and He will renew our strength."
Are you waiting upon the Lord today?
or have you stepped off of the curb without looking?
Sometimes, even when we realize that we are beautiful, free and beloved children of God, we continue to play the victim. I find it tempting to stay mentally stuck on one sad page of my life. The voice of the enemy plays each chapter over and over in my head. The chapter of "you are unloved." Then theres the chapter of "you must be unworthy, why else does everyone walk out?" These voices, this temptation keeps us from falling forward into freedom.
I heard a song on the radio that I was not familiar with, but I liked the words. It talked about stepping into joy. The lyrics were about deciding whether you were going to remain on the sidelines and whine. "Why doesn't joy ever come to me?" Sometimes I think, we have to step right in or the voices will lure us away.
Isn't that what God instructed the Israelites to do when crossing the river Jordan? The river was roaring, but yet God was asking them to step in and trust Him. God promised He would make a way, and as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.
JOSHUA 3:15-16 "When the priests go to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge, the flow of water stopped." (MSG)
The Israelites had to actually step into the river before God parted the waters. God will bless our baby steps of faith ... What's keeping you from stepping out in faith? All it takes is for you to just step in the river!
I am thankful for the River of Life that flows with Gods love, joy and deliverance! What are you grateful for today?
IRIS is hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY, join your grateful heart with ours over there today!
I wish that the song from the movie TOY STORY was true in all my relationships..."You've got a friend in me!" But truth be told, a good and loyal friend is not always easy to find. I have had some really, really great friends in my life and I have had some real lousy friends as well.
When it comes to friendships, I guess the most important thing is not so much what kind of friends you have, but what kind of friend are YOU?
"A friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." - WALTER WINCHELL
When I think about someone in the Bible that knew what it was like to have people walk out on him, I automatically think of Job. I can relate to Job in many ways, as I have had some people walk out on me in my life. Family, Friends. Some have left me thru death and some have left me by choice. Like Job, I too have often felt abandoned and alone.
Job lost everything. He lost his property, his family, and his health. He was a desperate man and in his time of desperation, Job needed someone to support him, he desperately needed some friends to come alongside of him and give him support and encouragement.
Instead of this though, what Job got was a wife that urged him to just give up and die (Job 2:9), and friends who told him that he deserved exactly what he was getting! Wow, with friends and family like that, who needs enemies, right?
In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers and asked them "what would it take to make someone their enemy?" The top 3 responses were:
1. 44% of those polled, said that if someone lied to them, they would indeed become an enemy.
2. 33% of those voting, said that you would become an enemy if you talked behind their back.
3. Another 33% said that they would never have enemies.
I am sure that Job at one point thought that he also would not have any enemies. Look at what Job 2:11 says:
"When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him (Job), they set out from their homes and met together in agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him."
Even the most well meaning friend can bring you down instead of encouraging you. Which is exactly what happened in Job's life. Sometimes as a friend, we just miss the opportunity that God is giving us to reach out and stand out from the rest of the world. Sometimes all we need to be is that one that will stand with our brother and sister while the rest of the world turns their back on them. Sometimes all we need is one person to believe in us. One person to not judge us. One person to just be a loyal friend.
In the movie TOY STORY, Andy found that friend he was looking for in his toy doll, Woody. Have you found that loyal, true, encouraging friend that you have been seeking? Jesus Christ is such a friend to you and me. The nail scarred hands, reaching out to us, is simply saying "You've got a friend in Me!"
Are you tired of winter where you live? Some of us have been hit hard with ice, snow and freezing temperatures. 17 years ago, my family moved to the south from the north, and one of the benefits of that relocation was nicer weather! For too many years I lived in the cold, freezing, snow drifted state of Wisconsin, the place where winter is like the energizer bunny ... it keeps going and going and going! But here in Arkansas, it is rare that we get snow.
But no matter where we live, it seems like all of us are anxious for winter to pass and for spring to come. For years now, we have all looked with great anticipation towards a little brown animal to tell us what is in store for our winter. The groundhog.
Today is Groundhog Day. The day that weathermen and people like you and me who are anxious for winter to pass, look to see what little Punxsutawney Phil's prediction will be....6 more weeks of winter or not? You are familiar with the history of Groundhog day, so I won't bore you with the details but I am fascinated with the fixation that we have on an animal to predict what is to come.
I wonder what would happen if we put that same kind of fixation on Jesus Christ and on the plans that He has for us. After all, the future is really in His hands anyway, not a little fur ball named Phil.
So, today I place my trust, my hope and my future in Gods hands! How about you?
I just love watching that show "What not to wear". It is always quite amusing to me how some people actually dress, especially in the work world. But after spending some time with Clint and Stacey and a $5000 visa card...miracles happen!
Clothes do not tell the whole story about a person, but certainly the clothes that we wear do say something about us ~ how we approach life or what we want others to notice about us. Just as we make choices about how we clothe our bodies, we also make choices about how we clothe ourselves spiritually.
We can choose to clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Or we can choose to leave the house undressed (spiritually speaking).
We can choose to clothe ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. Or we can choose to put on the wrong outfit (spiritually speaking).
ROMANS 13:14 "Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ."
My favorite part of the tv show "What not to wear" is when the transformation takes place at the end of the show. I have not seen one episode where a participant hated what the new clothes and the new look did for them. They usually go back to their towns and their loved ones with a positive outlook, a renewed passion and a transformation that has literally changed their lives. This is EXACTLY what happens to us when we clothe ourselves with the things of Christ. Our outlook changes. Our passion is renewed and our lives are totally and eternally transformed!
So what does your wardrobe (spiritually speaking) look like and what are you wearing today?
Sharing God's love and truth thru devotional writing here and across the web. My heart is to bring hope,love and forgiveness to those that feel broken and lost. I was once broken and lost but I am so glad that God didn't let me stay that way. Come along with me on this adventure of faith and may you also find the hope and love that you are longing for! :)