Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DAILY DEVO...is respect earned?

"Respect should be earned"

I've heard that all my life and I completely understand that some circumstances where trust and respect has been stripped away, it is difficult to trust and respect again. Believe me, I've experienced that more times than I care to.

However, expecting it to be earned is clearly a worlds view, not God's view. When we learn to show everyone respect, we will then learn that every single person has meaning and significance.

It is election year, and everywhere I turn I hear the comments of how each candidate can't be trusted nor respected. Respect is not something we do according to our like or dislike of a person; God said that we are to honor those in authority. But not only those in authority, but God wants us to respect every person we meet as if they hold a very prestigious title, because they really do!

Each life was created by God and God has a very precise plan for their life. We may not understand them, we may not agree with them and we may not even like them, but God expects us to respect them as they are a child of His. And all of His children are royalty.

The world may have lost the value of showing respect and honoring authority but that doesn’t mean we should. Jesus said...

" If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to mature in your godly character, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:46-48) 

Show respect to others...even if you don't think they deserve it!

Monday, May 30, 2016

DAILY DEVO...remember the sacrifice, remember the life!

I could not let today pass by without penning a few thoughts about what this day stands for.

Today is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the day that we honor those who have fallen (given their lives) while serving our country. Do not confuse it with Veterans Day (as many do)…Veterans Day is the day that we show honor to all those serving our country (past, present and future).

To many people, today (this whole weekend) is the start of summer and cookouts and getting the pool ready to swim. While others, today is a very solemn day, one to remember all those who have passed from this life. But to the veteran and to the families of the fallen soldiers, today carries such a significance, one that runs so deep that words cannot even describe what is in their hearts.

To have a son or daughter, a mother or father, a friend, an uncle, a nephew, someone who you love dearly; give their life while protecting the lives of complete strangers is a pain and heartache that no one can understand unless you’ve experienced it. To be honest, I have not lost a loved one in a war or in the line of duty; however, I became much more keenly aware of this emotion, this sacrifice, when my own son enlisted in the Air Force...

(to continue reading, click the link)


Blessings to you and yours on this Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DAILY DEVO...we are what we eat

I know someone, like I'm sure you do, who has something to say about every conversation there is at the table. Their comments aren't always positive or instructive. What goes thru someone's mind to say inappropriate things, anyway? I think the Bible covers this well...

"Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

What Paul is suggesting is that we control what comes into our minds. For the things that we think upon and allow inside will be what eventually comes out on the outside.

Reminds me of my friend who is a BeachBody fitness coach, every thought in her head, every word that she speaks, every post she puts on social media screams fitness. All you have to do is listen to her for 5 minutes and know what she is passionate about, because what we hear and see is what she lives and breathes.

I'm all for our bodies to get healthy but what about our minds and our hearts? If you want healthy and positive things to show on the outside, monitor what you allow on the inside.

The saying is true..."we are what we eat", not only physically but spiritually as well. What are you feeding on these days?

Believe it or not, what you feed upon (or think upon) will always show up as you sit at the table. I don't know about you but I want my passion for Christ to be my main staple. May the things that others hear and see in us be the Christ that we live and breathe!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

DAILY DEVO...open your ears to hear

I asked the youth small group class a question last night..."what purpose do our ears have?" What would you say?

I suppose it's good to have a resting place for our glasses or trendy to hang some earrings from but Jesus points out exactly the purpose of our ears...

"And Jesus said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Mark 4:9)

I can't think of any blunter way to say it; Jesus said our ears are for listening, but He knew all so well, that many would not.

I don't know why we don't use our ears to listen more. I suppose if we had a spiritual hearing check-up, we might find that listening is not one of our strong traits...

Immaturity deafens us. "No one wants to be told to listen up!"

Rebellion keeps us from listening. "No one is going to tell me what to do!"

Open wounds keep us from hearing. "The sound of our broken heart is the only sound we can hear."

Most of us can identify that we aren't always using our ears to listen like we should. May we be reminded that until we are willing to crank up the hearing aids and really hear God's voice...then we are not listening!

God gave us ears to hear, so let's listen better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...respect someone!

People just don't respect one another anymore.

If you were in a fender bender and the other car was at a fault, you'd probably be pretty steamed. Even though no one was hurt, you'd be ready to step out of your car to give a piece of your mind. Until, the driver of the other car steps out and you realize that since the 300 pound, 6'10 driver of that car wasn't hurt , all was well.

Treating others with respect is what we are called to do, not something we do according to a persons size or status.

"Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." (1 Peter 2:17)

This scripture says to respect "everyone", and in this case "everyone" means "all people" or simply...EVERYONE! That includes children, our parents, the senior citizens, the sick, the homeless, those placed in authority (even the ones we didn't vote for) and "everyone" also means those folks we just don't like.

Upon careful inspection, I do not see any "if's", "buts" or "unless" in this scripture. In fact, It says to "show proper respect to everyone". (See the period?) There is no condition built in.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Aren't you included in that? You are someone and so am I, so when we lump all the "someone's" together we come up with EVERYONE!

Respect comes in the form of how we treat one another. No one likes to be disrespected, especially God. Respect God and EVERYONE else with your love and honor.

Maybe it will come back around to you if you set the tone of respecting others; start with "everyone" you bump into, no matter what their size, color or status.

Monday, May 16, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...sarcasm isn't funny!

Sarcasm is not funny. There is a fine line between being funny and sarcasm and let's face it...nothing good comes from sarcasm.

Sarcasm can start out with an innocent joke or comment but too often wit combined with a little sarcasm begins to cut and before you know it, it begins to divide.

Sarcasm brings division and what we need more of is uplifting and unifying words to hold our families, our churches and our marriages together. You will not find peace and restoration in sarcasm.

Jesus drew many to His side, sometimes He used wit to draw them to His truth but NEVER did He dilute His impact by resorting to sarcasm.

"Be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless–that’s your job–to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9) MSG

Choose your words carefully, choose to be a blessing to someone today. Don't let sarcasm come between you and a blessing!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

DAILY DEVO...put your baggage down

For those who know me, know that I am a “fixer.”   I want to have a plan for everything.  I thrive on having an action plan and if something doesn't seem to be working properly, I wonder how I can fix it?

The thing about being a "fixer" is that God doesn't  call us to be a “fixers,” but rather a “pray-er.”  Philippians 4:6-7 says this...

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” 

You see, if I stop trying to fix everything on my own and take it to God in prayer, He will hear me and He will fix whatever needs to be fixed, and in the process, He will take away my anxiety and give me peace!  The load I carry will lessen the more I trust Him.

This reminds me of the last time I was at the airport. I had more than one heavy bag, which I checked in so I could freely walk thru the airport and board without the hassle of dragging it around. Once I arrived at my destination, I had a very important decision to make...

Would I pick my heavy baggage back up or would I allow the porter to pick it up for me and carry it?

When we try to control everything, it is like carrying that heavy baggage on our shoulders throughout the airport. God wants to be our porter, but we have to make the decision to allow Him to pick up our baggage and carry it Himself. He doesn't need us to carry it any more.

What will you decide today...pick up your bags or let God carry them?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DAILY DEVO...disappointment can't always be overcome

Disappointment is never something easy to deal with. Currently, I am sorting thru some disappointment that has popped up in my life that has no rhyme or reason but nevertheless, it is still disappointment. It is the kind of disappointment that you can't do anything about.

Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:7)
I suppose we've all been there. Perhaps a letter of rejection, or a job promotion lost or that person we put on a pedestal all of a sudden falls. I think that disappointment can be more devastating than tragedy. It is true in my case anyway. The tragedy that I once felt doesn't even compare to the disappointment that came after the tragedy.
God's Word says that we are to REJOICE in our sufferings. Being glad and jumping up and down is probably not the first thought I have when disappointment comes my way. In fact, when I get seriously wounded with disappointment, I usually shut myself off; I become withdrawn and just try to work things out with God about my circumstance. There's not usually alot of singing and shouting going on.
So what is a person to do when disappointment comes their way? After all, we are not alone, look at the early disciples; even Paul had his share of disappointment...
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5
Sometimes disappointment cannot be overcome at all, we can only just endure it. In these kind of moments, it is important to remember that we have hope on our side. Our hope is in Christ’s love, our hope is for better days to come, our hope is in knowing God can bring something good from our disappointments.
This disappointment I am encountering seems pretty big; but compared to the size of God's shoulders, it is nothing. God isn't shocked by it, in fact, He is counting on me to endure to the end and come out better.
What does your disappointment look like? Is it making you BETTER or BITTER? Choose well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

DAILY DEVO...put your net down

If you have ever gone fishing, you understand the need for a net. When I was a young girl, my uncle was a avid fisherman and he would take me out in the boat with him many times. He taught me a thing or two about fishing.

The net was an important tool to have, especially when in the boat, it helped you catch the ones that tried to get away. This reminds me of what Jesus said...

"Come follow Me. I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)

The first two brothers that Jesus met while looking for a group of followers to help Him were working on the shore, casting their nets out, like they did every day. He invited these fishermen to lay down THEIR nets and follow Him to cast a different kind of net.

Later, Jesus encountered two more brothers who were mending their nets in their boats and they too laid their nets down to follow Him. Eventually, there were 12 men in all that laid down their tools of trade to follow Jesus.

I don't know what kind of trade you are involved in, or what kind of tool helps you accomplish your day to day tasks. Perhaps it is a calculator, or a tractor, or a computer, or a camera. Sometimes the nets that Jesus is asking you and me to lay down is not literally a net, after all, not all of us are fishermen? Or are we?

When you and I accept Christ as our Savior, we become followers of Christ and when we follow Him, He said He would make US fishers of men! I'm not saying that we all need to quit our jobs today but I am suggesting that we look at the nets that we carry.

Some of us haven't learned to lay down our nets and pick up the Cross (God's net) to win those around us. Too many fish are trying to swim away. Isn't it time we lay it all down and follow Christ and accomplish the task He laid down for us to do...to become fishers of men.

Take a moment to look at where you are casting your net ...may we not let another soul swim away.

Monday, May 9, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...The promises of God remain

The other day, after the rain, I saw a rainbow. I don't know if you saw it. Perhaps you were busy going about your business and overlooked it. I  have been guilty of that ... I spot the rainbow in the sky after a storm but just keep going, not stopping to reflect on exactly what the rainbow represents.

But the other day, I DID stop and I DID reflect on the promise that God gave thru His rainbow; that no matter what storms may come my way that His Word and His promises remain sure. It is easy to say that we believe and trust in God’s promises when everything is going smoothly for us, but much more difficult when we are facing hardships and stresses in our lives.

Corrie Ten Boom used to liken our lives to a tapestry, woven with many different colored threads. We can only see the underside, which often looks tangled and knotted, but God can see the upper side in which all the threads blend together to make a perfect picture.

For those of you who may be going through difficult and stressful times, may I encourage you today that God’s promises are sure. It is not easy to hold on to those promises when life is hard and dark, but God says, ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you’, (Jeremiah 29:11), and ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you’. (Hebrews 13: 5b).

"A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not quench’ (Matthew 12:20).

Take this promise that God says to you and know when you are going thru difficulties that "a bruised reed will not break" and "a dimly burning wick will not be quenched."

There is a silver lining in every rainbow and every tapestry has its twisted threads but we just have to see the hand of God and believe it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

DAILY DEVO...how can your countenance change?

One minute you are happy and full of joy and wham! The next minute your countenance changes. 

What happened? Perhaps a car cut you off in traffic or you cross paths with someone who rubs you wrong or  someone makes you angry. A countenance change takes you from one emotion to another in a short amount of time.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Growing up in church, my pastor use to close out the service by saying, “May the Lord lift up his countenance (or face) toward you…” As a child I did not understand how God could lift His face toward me, wasn't He bigger than me? 

But now that I'm older I have a clearer picture of what this really means. 

Our face continually changes: it smiles, it frowns, it cries, it gets bent out of shape but God's face never changes. Think about it; He never takes His eye off of of us. (His eye is even on the sparrow!)

To experience the countenance of the Lord, to see His face, we must turn our head towards His. Just as a father leans down and picks up his young child, all the while keeping an eye on his child. The child feels safe in his arms as he turns and looks his daddy in the eye.

We all need this blessing prayed over us as we exit the church doors; 

"May the Lord lift up his countenance (or face) toward you…”

But may we all understand that daily we must look up into our Heavenly Daddy's eyes to receive this peace that only He gives.

God is bigger than any circumstance we face; may our countenance be changed today as we look into God's face.

Monday, May 2, 2016

DAILY DEVO...some days you just need a rest!

Today, I am going to be very transparent with you. Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get plum worn out. I'm not talking about needing a afternoon nap, even though some days that would help. No, I'm talking about day to day life wearing me down, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

Seldom does a day go by that I do not hear the words from someone: “I’m just so tired that I can hardly function." This is kind of ironic to me considering the era we live in with fast paced everything!

Think about it: In days gone by, a farmer had to till the ground in the spring, plant the corn, cultivate it during the growing season, harvest it in the fall, husk it, grind it and after all of that, finally receive a sack of beautiful yellow cornmeal. Seldom did the farmer or his hired hands complain of being tired.

Today, we climb in our air conditioned (or heated) car, drive two blocks to a store with shelves of yellow AND white cornmeal to choose from! When we return home we are exhausted from all of the effort! The checkout lanes, the traffic, the inconvenience wears us out!

I don't know what is wearing you out lately, but I could probably guess it has to do with a burden or two you are carrying. Burdens from your job. Burdens from your relationships. Burdens from not having enough money. Burdens of life. They come in all forms, from physical ailments to emotional conflicts to suffering loss to feeling alone and hopeless.

Whatever it is, it is heavy and crushes more than our shoulders; it can crush our livelihood, our joy, our hope, our tomorrow's.

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

On those days that I feel drained from my circumstances, I find rest in God. Somehow, just sitting at the feet of Jesus brings me peace, assurance and the strength that I need to go on.

What is wearing you out? Perhaps you need His yoke, which means we are with Him in all things. Where He goes - we go, where He stands - we stand.

Find His yoke and lighten your load and get some rest!