Wednesday, June 29, 2016

DAILY DEVO...Can you hear your name being called?

Today as I look for a post from the past to share, I stumbled upon this one from November 2010 that reminded me that even today we get so busy we can't hear God calling our name:

I am always busy. The truth be told, I would say that I am a modern day Martha. Busy with this, busy with that. I hardly ever take time to just sit and relax.

Sometimes I get so busy with things that I just tune everything out. The phone, the TV, the radio, the dogs, and yes, even sometimes the kids. The kids seem to know exactly what to do to get my attention when I am in one of my "zoned out" states. They will call my name...
"Mom?"... "MOM?"... "LAURIE!!"

The first two times usually does not get my attention, but when I hear the kids call me by my given name ... believe me, I listen then!

I hate to admit this, but sometimes in my time with the Lord, I also find myself "zoned out!" Instead of listening for His voice, I find myself just talking and talking about what is on my mind and in my heart. I go from one thing to another, never focusing on what He is trying to say to me. It is no wonder God has to call out my name sometimes...

"Daughter?" ..."DAUGHTER?" ..."LAURIE!!"

PSALM 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

I need to sit at His feet more and just be still, it is in these quiet moments that I will be able to hear His very still voice. I do not want to miss out on what He is saying to me just because I cannot hear Him over my own voice.

How about you...Have you heard God calling your name lately?


Friday, June 24, 2016

DAILY DEVO...your feet were made for walking forward

 I am posting Devo's from the past as I recover from my hand surgery. This DEVO was originally written on December 18, 2014:

It isn't easy to navigate your steps well when you walk backwards. I suppose that is because our feet were meant to go forward.

If I were to walk backwards, I would have the need to constantly turn my head and look behind me. Making sure there were no obstacles in my way to trip me or cause me to get off course.

As a Christian, I have to ask you..."are you walking backwards?"

Do you find yourself constantly looking back over the mistakes you have made or are you looking straight ahead, concentrating on the next step you will take?

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize." -Philippians 3:13,14

Paul couldn't of said it more plainly. What is behind us is behind us, you can't do anything about it, so you my as well pick yourself up, brush the past off and keep moving.

Don't let your past prevent you from walking towards the prize. If you need to walk backwards...just keep your eyes on God and let Him steer your steps. Never turn and look back.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DAILY DEVO...what's in your attic?

As I recover from my hand surgery, I will be posting Devo's from the past, today's DAILY is a post originally from December 10, 2010:

Recently I read about a man who found an old blue and white vase while he was cleaning out his attic. Not thinking it was worth too much, he took it to an auction to sell it. He was hoping to get $30 for it, to his amazement, the vase sold for $324,000! It turned out that the old vase that lay in his attic was actually an original fifteenth-century Chinese vase from the Ming dynasty.

Reading this story reminded me about how often people don't see the value they have. Often times I wonder, "Am I making any kind of a difference teaching this class?", or say to myself, "Mary is so much more gifted than me, I don't need to get involved with that, what could I offer that compares to her great talent?" Truth be told, while we are still laying around in the attic, God already sees the fine and rare qualities in us and He knows exactly the vast worth we have!

In 1 Samuel 30, we can read about the story of David and his soldiers who were returning home from a successful battle. The soldiers were met at the gate by those who had remained to guard the camp and the supplies. Some of the soldiers, carrying some of the goods that they had acquired in the battle, announced that they were not going to give any of the wealth to those who stayed behind.

I love David's response:

"As his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies, they shall share alike." (1 Samuel 30:24)

It doesn't matter if you are the preacher or worship leader out front on stage every Sunday or if you are the one who arrives early and turns on the lights and stocks the toilet paper in the bathroom .... each part is important and everyone has a job to do.

Maybe you feel like what you have to offer is not valuable to the Kingdom of God, but I assure you that when you get to heaven, some of us will surprised to see exactly the impact we have had on others here on earth.

1 CORINTHIANS 3:8 "He who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor."

What may not seem valuable now, will later. Until then, we must all remain faithful with what God has given us and let Him worry about what's in the attic. Our junk, when used properly, can serve as His treasure!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DAILY DEVO...the merry go round ride

As I recover from my hand surgery, I will be posting Devo's from the past, today's DAILY is a post originally from December 31, 2010:

As a child I can remember being spun on the merry-go-round. At first, spinning really fast was so much fun. But after awhile, I got dizzy and just wanted to get off. It seems like my life is much like a spin on a merry-go-round … it just goes around faster and faster.

Its hard to not take on too much, but if truth be told, most Christians take on more than they can handle. Many of us are juggling careers, family, hobbies, and doing ministry. The problem with taking on too much at one time is that we cannot enjoy what we are doing and even worse, we do not do the best job that we can because we feel dizzy from the whirlwind. It doesn’t take long before we feel just like riding on the merry-go-round, we get to the point of wanting to throw in the towel and jump off of the ride.

God did not intend for us to take on the world all alone. It is His desire that we slow down, sit at His feet and do what He wants us to do. The problem is we forget to slow down to sit at His feet.

Recently, I came across a poem written by a young girl who was fighting against cancer. The poem did not list her name, so I cannot give her credit but I think the message in her writing is exactly what I need to apply to my life…to slow down and allow God to pace my steps:

"Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s
erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun
into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through
each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die,
Cause you never had time
To call and say,’Hi’

When you run so fast
to get somewhere
You miss half the fun
of getting there.

When you worry and hurry
through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over."

May you slow it down and see God on your merry-go-round ride before the ride is over.

Monday, June 20, 2016

DAILY DEVO...whose in control?

During my recovery time of my hand surgery, I will be reposting older devotions I've written. This one was originally written November 30, 2011...

I wonder how many of you reading this today like to be in control?

There are many things that I like to be in control of... I like being in control of what I eat and what I don't eat. I like being in control of scheduling my day. I like being in control of where I go on vacation. All of these things are important for one to be in control of, but sometimes in life there are circumstances and events that are totally out of our control.

Even though we cannot always control the things that happen in our life, we can control how we react. When our minds are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we have a new sense of what control is. No matter what may come your way, no matter how difficult or dark your situation may seem, having the Holy Spirit in your life will allow you to control your response.

Control really isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Some people like to control people. In your relationships, at your job, even at church. This kind of control is different than what I am talking about though. This kind of control is what I call "manipulation". This kind of control is destructive. Not only in relationships but in ministry.

Having control is not the main is what you do with your control that is most important. Controlling others is not the same as allowing the Holy Spirit to have control in your life. One is destructive and the other is obedience.

ROMANS 8:6 "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Holy Spirit is life and peace." (NIV)

When it comes to having control in your life, respond with godly thinking and not with sinful instincts such as manipulation. Doing so will take "being in control" to a whole new level.

Friday, June 17, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...fear and I cannot live in this house!

By the time you get online to read my post today, I will have faced my fear.

You see, over my lifetime, I have come to realize that there are some things in life that scare me. For example, when my first born son was two years old, we were alone in the apartment and I saw a mouse scamper across the floor. With anxiety in my heart and a squeal in my voice, I grabbed up my son and climbed to the top of the table. It was there that my husband found us when he arrived home some time later.

Another time recently that fear met me face to face was when I came into the church office to work. As I turned on the lights and went towards the copy room, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. As I looked down to the floor, I saw what looked like a long rope resting up against the floor board. As I approached closer, I realized then what I saw moving was indeed that “rope”! How quickly I was able to run and shut the door to keep that snake from getting me.

As I think about these two personal face to face experiences with fear, I realize that I had a decision to make in both cases. One of us had to go! No snake and no mouse could live in the same house as me!

Fear can be a powerful thing; it can override normal logical thinking and it can produce irrational behavior. (like staying on top of a table for hours). I am thankful that because of God, I do not have to let fear (or anything else) rule my actions. The Psalmist reassures me that…
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in God.” (Psalm 56:3)
There are some things in life that can grip us with fear. Some things are much scarier than a loose mouse or a slithering snake. Cancer is scary. Dying is scary. Divorce is scary. Losing a job is scary. Not knowing where your next dollar will come from is scary. But God does not want us to be scared, He wants us to trust Him!
“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
So today, right this moment as you read this, I have faced my fear. No, I didn’t have a mouse or a snake come across my path. Today I have put my trust in the Lord and in a team of surgeons to reconstruct my hand. You see, for several years I have had arthritis and wear and tear of constant rotation of my hand in my line of  business has took a toll on my joints. In the past year or so, my condition has progressed to the point that I am in pain 24/7, unable to do everyday things like cutting, writing, buttoning my shirt and opening my water bottle. Enduring the pain everyday seemed easier than overcoming my fear of losing my hand all together. But today, I have overcome that fear.

There are so many things in life that I do not understand; like why do people die from cancer? Why do people hurt innocent children? Why are people so mean spirited? And why, Lord, do I have to endure this pain? These things and more may not be God’s plan for us to understand. In fact, He doesn’t ask us to understand it but to simply trust Him.

Today I have decided that both fear and I cannot live at the same house. One of us has to go and it isn’t gonna be me. And it isn’t gonna be the Lord!

So long Fear!

**I will not be able to write any devotions for the next month or so as I recover from my hand reconstruction surgery. Your prayers and support are appreciated and I look forward to telling the “rest of my story”. ((hugs))

Thursday, June 16, 2016

DAILY DEVO...are you an enabler?

Are you an enabler? In other words, the question I have today is, what do you allow to continue to take place that you know you shouldn't?

There are so many scenarios that could take place that makes us enablers. The family member that can't quit a bad habit but we keep making excuses for them. The child that doesn't apply themselves in school but we keep rewarding them anyway. The friend who can't stop gambling but we keep loaning them money.

The possibilities are endless for the many ways that we "help" people with problems, but are we really helping them or are we enabling them, are we contributing to the problem?

Why is it so hard to just say "no" and mean it? When others draw us into their problems, do we feel it is our Christian responsibility to bail them out?

I've got to admit, I have been guilty of being an enabler. Because I am a fixer type of person, I tend to want to fix things. But not everything is in my realm of responsibility.

At the end of the day, God holds me accountable for my responsibilities. Not yours. Not my kids. Not my friends. Just mine.

"For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body." (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Being an enabler only delays the growth of others. If you are an enabler, it is important to set boundaries and learn where your responsibilities begin and where they end.

God wants each of us to grow in Him, while we do have a certain responsibility to encourage our brothers and sisters in the Lord, God doesn't want us to stand in the way of our growth in Him or anyone else's.

Be an encourager not an enabler. Know the difference.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DAILY DEVO...we are ministers!

When God called us to pastor and minister in this small town USA town, He didn't just call us to minister to those within the church walls.

In fact, when I think about the hospital visits that we make, most of them do not attend a Sunday morning service at our church. The grieving families that my husband speaks to at a memorial service, it's likely they never gave in the offering at our church. The towns people we talk to face to face at the dollar store or Young's grocery probably haven't thought about going to church or thought about God in some time.

You see, God called us to minister right where He planted us, He didn't put boundaries up within the church walls. In fact, most ministry will (and should) take place outside the walls of the church. One thing I know about God, He will call us to places and things that are far beyond anything we could ever imagine.

He wants to use each of us, right where we are. He has created all of us for a purpose. No one was created to just eat, breath and take up space. We were not created to take FROM life but to GIVE to life. Each of us can make a difference in a life. Each of us were created to minister and to be a minister.

You don't have to have the title "Pastor" or have clergy credentials to speak a soft word, or come along the hurting with an embrace or buy someone who is hungry a sandwich. These good deeds surface from the depth of your heart and as you serve others, you serve the Lord.

"It is God Himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago He planned that we should spend these lives in helping others." (Ephesians 2:10)

In the Bible, the words "servant" and "minister" are synonyms. If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and when you’re serving, you’re ministering.

God has a ministry for you in His Church and a mission for you in His world. Go out and minister in your mission field!

Monday, June 13, 2016

DAILY DEVO...almost isn't enough!

While looking over the menu at the restaurant, the waiter came and asked if we were ready to order. "Almost", was our response.

For some reason, that has stuck with me. Isn't the word "almost" an odd word to use. I mean why didn't we just say , "no not yet" or "give us a few minutes". "Almost" indicates that we aren't ready to commit, we need more time to decide.

I see people stepping into churches today that want to be "almost" Christians. They are curious enough to come in, sit awhile but not committed enough to walk out changed. If you would ask them if they are ready to serve God, they would say "almost".

If I could be alittle blunt today and tell you that "almost" is not in God's vocabulary. He didn't say "I ALMOST sent My Son to die for you" or "I ALMOST love you!" Quite opposite, He gave His all for all! The truth is, you are either a Christian or you are not. There is no half way to heaven, you are either in or out, you are either hot or cold.

You may be taking steps to become closer to God, and I pray you are. You may even be interested in knowing more about Him but wherever you are today you have a choice to make: do you believe or not? There's no almost about it.

In the book of Acts, Herod Agrippa is said to be so moved by Paul's powerful presentation of the gospel that he said...

"You almost persuade me to become a Christian." (Acts 26:28)

When it came to the end of the day though, Herod Agrippa turned away from the gospel. He heard the Truth but did not accept It. He almost did, but almost wasn't enough. He left the same way he came.

It is no longer good enough to hear the Word of God and just be moved, hearing the gospel should change us! When it comes to Christianity, "almost" just won't cut it.

Friday, June 10, 2016

DAILY DEVO...Don't just look, see!

When my husband and I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris a few years ago, it was breathtaking to take everything in.  My husband would point out key sites and ask me, "do you see that?" Most of the time I just didn't see what he was seeing. Until I looked thru the binoculars, seeing things up close changed my entire perspective.

What seemed so distant and small now became so vivid and clear. My eye could only see a fraction of the picture until I examined alittle more carefully.

That's the mistake that so many of us make, we look around and miss seeing the full picture because we don't look closely enough.

If we're not careful, we might miss someone's good qualities, we might miss the potential for encouraging someone, we might miss that God is bigger than our problem. If we aren't careful, we will miss seeing what God wants us to see; all because we are too busy looking but not seeing.

While in Paris, I did not want to miss a thing. I wanted to take in every building, every color and every sunset. I wish that the same 'want to' existed when we looked at each other.

While you may see a muffin top in me, God sees a beautiful Princess. While you may see all the things I can't do, God sees all the things that I can. While you see my failures, God sees my testimony. While you just look at me from a distant view, God looks closely at every angle.

“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

Have you ever considered that how you see someone isn't an accurate view? Perhaps you aren't looking closely enough. You might need to change the angle that you look from in order to see what you have been missing.

Don't just look, SEE people for who they really are. See them as Christ sees them. Take in the full view.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...what are you gonna do with your baggage?

Last night after youth class, I went back into the room to clean up. When I did, I stepped right into a God thing.

It seems I interrupted a conversation, one that involved a teen expressing their unbelief to some other youth in the room.. After listening to the burdens that this one carries, I asked them a very important question; "how does each of your burdens keep you from God?"

It didn't seem like a difficult question but yet they could not answer.

You see, burdens do not keep us from God, hanging onto them does. I had a bag on the table and as I picked it up, I explained to this young person that life was like this bag, with each burden we have, we stuff it in the bag, holding on to it as long as we can. Burden after burden begins to overflow from the bag, and making it difficult to carry. The weight of it is so strong, the bag now causes our back to bend over from the weight.

I asked them what would happen if they could take one burden out of the bag and lay at the feet of Jesus? And then another. And another?

They replied, "the bag would become empty".

I don't know about you but when I travel, I don't pick up all my baggage off of the belt and try to carry it thru the airport on my own. Instead, I look for a cart or a porter to load it up for me.

If you wouldn't drag your baggage thru an airport, why saddle yourself down with it in life?

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for us." (1 Peter 5:7)

I don't know if that young person left the room much more a Believer than when they came but I do know that after praying with them, they left with less baggage than what they carried in.

Don't let your baggage keep you from God.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

TODAY'S with the Father

I  just returned from a long trip to Ohio where my beautiful niece got married. Oh she looked radiant. The dress was beautiful. The groom was handsome. The food was delicious. Everything was just lovely. I have to admit though, one of the highlights of the festivities to me was watching my brother step out on the dance floor for the daddy/daughter dance.

For one final time, a daughter looked up into her daddy’s eyes and followed his lead. Where his step went, she followed. Feeling safe in his arms as he turned her around and around on the dance floor. Eyes locked upon one another, talking and laughing like all the times before.
(Copyright: Laurie Adams)
I wish I could be like the bride when it comes to dancing with my Father, my Heavenly Father, that is. Too many times, it is easy for me to take my gaze off of Him and lose my step. When I surrender my will to His lead, all of my ideas and my agendas flow from the lead Dancer; because now He is leading my steps, turning me at all the right turns and holding me ever so gently in His arms.
Have you ever watched professional ballroom dancers dance?
There is such a dynamic intimacy between the dance partners. Cameras can flash, the audience can scream and clap but they are oblivious to it all because they are 100% focused on each other and on each step they take.
That is the kind of intimacy I want with God. I want to be so focused on Him that each step I take flows with His. I want to be so intuned to His voice, that no one else in the room can turn my head. I don’t want my attention to be on the dance, but rather on the Dancer.
My steps are ordered by the Lord.” -Psalm 37:23
When is the last time you took His Hand, gazed into His eyes, followed His steps and danced with the Father?

Friday, June 3, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...find your rainbow

We were driving down the highway, headed to my neices wedding weekend, when we saw a storm ahead of us.

Before we came up on the rain, we saw the most beautiful rainbow. As my husband and I followed the bends and curves of the highway, I couldn't help think about the promise of God ...

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.” (Genesis 13-15)

After the flood, God gave Noah a promise that never again would He cause such destruction. He also said that He would send a rainbow as a reminder of His promises. Just as God was with Noah during the devastating flood, today He reminded me that no matter the storm that lies ahead, He is with me.

Today, I want to challenge you to look past the storms brewing around you and look for the promise; look for your rainbow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DAILY DEVO...Who do you say I am?

Who do you say I am?

Ahh, before you even have the chance to answer that, let me help you out. I am a sinner.

There I said it. Yes, I am a sinner, I make mistakes, I'm not perfect and I am a work in progress under the blood of Christ.

And SO are you!

"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". 

With that said, can I tell you that even though I'm not perfect and never will be, I am saved by His grace and forgiven!

And so are you, if you ask.

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away; all things are new." 

So if our past sins are forgiven by God, why do others keep reminding us of them?

I can only think of 3 reasons:

1. They have unforgiveness in their heart.
2. They have not experienced the grace and forgiveness of Christ.
3. They do not understand God's Word and can't see past the past.

I spoke with a young lady this week and I could really relate to her. She has asked forgiveness from God and from those she has wronged but yet there are still those who will not let her forget who she once was. They still call her the name that she once was.

I'm so tired of this lie of the enemy. When God forgives us, it is gone. There is no need to justify ourselves or prove ourselves. The test of whether you have been forgiven is this: is your past wrong brought up over and over. If the answer is yes, than forgiveness has not been extended.

When God forgives, He throws it into the sea of forgetfulness. I am so grateful for the love and forgiveness of Christ. It is in Him that I find my value and it is what He calls me that matters over anyone else.

Who does God say you are? Cling to that and don't accept anything less!