Sunday, April 23, 2017

DAILY DEVO...when everything is chaotic around you.

I don't usually do a DEVO on the weekend but since our power was out this morning and we were not able to have church, I wanted to share what God woke me up with:

TODAY'S DAILY...

What do you think of if I say the word "chaos"? My mind goes to a vision I have when I walked into my young child's bedroom and horror gripped my face to see every toy, every piece of clothing strewn about the room!

Maybe your chaos isn't in a bedroom, but chaos is strewn all about in your life! The kind of chaos that makes no sense, life is out of control, nothing is working and all you feel is despair and fear.

In the midst of such chaos in our life, we feel powerless. Much like this morning when we had no electrical power, many of us were stuck. It was dark. And we were limited as to what we could accomplish.

The disciples who were in the boat with Jesus experienced this kind of fear. Once the storm hit, everything got chaotic for them...

(Mark 4:37, 38) "A furious storm came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Let's look at this for a minute: a horrific storm has hit, the disciples are all panicky about it and Jesus is in the back sleeping!!!

How could He sleep at a time like this? Because He is at peace even when the world around Him is in chaos.

What happens next is amazing...

(Mark 4:39) "He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm."

Three words I want to bring to your attention ... HE. GOT. UP. Jesus simply got up. What is your reaction when someone wakes you out of a deep sleep? Probably not a calm one. But here we see that Jesus just gets up and takes care of it. There is no ceremony, no need to gather His energies: He doesn’t even need to pray; He simply calms the storm.

What chaotic storm are you facing? Does it seem like your power has been cut off? Trust me, even though the storm is raging around you, God is not shocked by it and He has complete control. If you place your trust in Him, He will GET UP and be your calm in the storm!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

Friday, April 21, 2017

DAILY DEVO...peace brings division

Sometimes, while reading the Bible, we come to passages that we sit up and say "what?!?" Today's Scripture reading is one of those times...

(Luke 12:51) "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."

Many of you are thinking, "what happened to goodwill towards all men?" Didn't Jesus come to bring peace to the world?

Yes, He did do that BUT the peace that He brings, He is telling His disciples, will cause division. Christianity will be faced with resistance.

All we have to do is look back over time and we will clearly see that the message of Christ divides: the Jews and Christians were divided. Families are divided. And because of your own testimony; believers and unbelievers are divided.

There is a cost to follow Christ. Our sin cost Jesus His life and our commitment to follow Him will cost us something too.

There is a song that we sing sometimes that says this:

“Nothing can bring me peace with God, nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Jesus promised, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29).

Following Christ may cost you everything! However, if you want the peace of God, expect some opposition. Expect to pay a price.

BLESSINGS.  Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING:Joshua 8-9, Luke 12:49-59, Psalm 70

SATURDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Joshua 10:1-11:15, Luke 13:1-21, Psalm 71:1-6

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Joshua 11:16-13:33, Luke 13:22-35, Psalm 71:7-16

Have you ever felt lost?

Have you ever been lost? I have and it is a very scary feeling. I remember a time that my husband and I took a trip to Orlando and while at a very packed theme park, we became separated. I remember feeling a little panicked but then I remembered what my husband has always told me, “just be still and you will be found.”
What a comfort it is to me to know that no matter where I go, I am never alone and when I feel lost, all I have to do is be still and God will find me!
There have been times in my life, even though I am surrounded by family and friends, that I have felt so alone and lost.  Sometimes even the closest of closest friends can’t find me where I’m at. They mean well but they just don’t understand what I’m going through or as hard as they try, they don’t hear what I am saying. But God does. God even hears those unspoken fears that we keep inside.
I’ve been reading about Joshua in my daily Scripture reading and I love the strength and courage that Joshua had. In my moments of feeling lost from everyone around me, I can stand upon the words that God spoke to Joshua…
“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
There is NOTHING that God does not know or that He wouldn’t do for us. I have found that when circumstances surround me that leave me feeling “separated” from the world, meditating upon His Word gives me a sense of hope. It strengthens me and It causes me to stand courageously against the vileness of the enemy.
My prayer for you today is the same prayer that David had…
“Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God Who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.” (Psalm 25:4-5)
If you feel lost today, just be still and God WILL find you!
BLESSINGS. Laurie

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DAILY DEVO... today is the day, tomorrow may not come!

Sometimes when I think about what needs to be done in a day, I get overwhelmed. It's easy to put off today what we can possibly get away with doing tomorrow.

I'm alittle bit OCD, so putting things off usually stresses me out. My husband is a "wait 'til the last minute" kind of guy while I make "lists for my to-do lists." (I know ...alittle over the top) The fact that my husband can wait until the last minute stresses me out even more!

Here is a truth to ponder: God gave each of us the same 24 hour span to accomplish things. What I do with my 24 hour allotment may differ from what you do with your 24 hours. However, when we continually put off today what God needs us to do, we are not being good stewards of the time that He has given us.

I am becoming more and more aware of how little time I have left on this earth. When I think about all the goals and ministries that I want to accomplish, I think I better hurry up before my time runs out.

It is so easy to intend to do great things but actually pushing up our sleeves and getting the job done sometimes doesn't ever come.

(Luke 12:43) "It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns."

Have you ever considered that today may be the last opportunity to do that ONE thing? Share Christ with that one person, serve the needy, help the poor, sing a solo in church, on and on.

Don't wait for tomorrow to do what God needs you to do today, some tomorrows never come back around. And how good it will be for God to find us caught up on our to-do lists.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING...Joshua 5:13-7:26, Luke 12:41-48, Psalm 69:29-36

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TODAY'S DAILY...purpose not perfection

Have you ever thought that God couldn't use you? To be honest, there have been times that I have thought that someone else could be better for the job than me.

There are those people that no matter what, they have it all together. They are patient with their children, calm when it comes to job related deadlines and can juggle the world at their fingertips. They can come right to Bible Study from work; with kids in hand, Bible Study homework done, and a smile on their face!

Often times I think when God has work assignments to hand out, the "good, tidy, have-it-all together" one  will be picked over me. But that's not exactly how God works.

We see this very thing in today's Scripture reading about Rahab. Rahab was a woman of the city, a prostitute, who was living within the city of Jericho. The people of Jericho were not following God, so God sent the Israelites to conquer the city. Joshua, the Israelite leader, sent two of his men into the city to spy and they found themselves at the door of Rahab...

(Joshua 1:6) "But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof."

Sometimes the best woman (or man) for the job that God has doesn’t mean the holiest or the one who seems better.

I'm not sure why God chose someone like Rahab to help Him. Perhaps it is because He saw something that no other could see. Instead of looking at the outside; He saw her tender heart and her ability. He knew He could trust her.

Isn't that just like God? When He saw Rahab, He didn't see her past but He saw her potential!

God does the same for you and me!
Sometimes He doesn't choose the perfect person for the job...but He chooses the right one!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 34-Joshua 2, Luke 12:1-15, Psalm 69:10-17

Friday, April 14, 2017

Daily DEVO...blessings are new every day!

So many times I have heard it quoted and even quoted it myself: "This is the day the Lord has made and I will  rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 128:24)

Thinking about that scripture and what we read in our daily scripture reading today brings me to the question that many people have asked: "Where is God?"

I don't want to be like some who miss out on the answer; I don't want to miss out on all the blessings that God has right in front of me. If you are waiting for a shiny explosion in the sky to alert you of God and His blessings, you might miss out.

(Psalm 68:19) "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation."

Today's Scripture reading in Psalms tells us that God's goodness (His blessings) are daily! He never leaves us, He is always near to us even when we can't see Him.

Our blessings aren't always filled with bling and pizzaz, some of the best blessings are held in a soft spoken word or a hug or just smelling the fresh air that God has given us.

God's Word today indicates that the blessings of God, that only He can give to us daily, are so great that it probably is impossible to take it all in.

Take a minute to look around, see all that God has blessed you with today and simply rejoice and be glad IN it!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 28:15-68, Luke 10:21-37, Psalm 68:15-19

SATURDAY'S  SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 29-30, Luke 10:38-11:23, Psalm 68:20-27

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 31:1-32:22, Luke 11:24-36, Psalm 68:28-35

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Laced with Grace...growing in Grace

This week we had to cut our tree down in the backyard. I’m not sure when or how, but at some time our tree became diseased and stopped growing. As the men were cutting it down, I came to realize something: the tree may have stopped growing but the roots were still intact!
Realizing this about the tree made me think about my own spiritual growth. I know I have deep rooted faith but how well am I growing in grace?
Before you or I can answer that question, we must understand what it means to grow in grace. In order to grow in grace, we must increase our Christ-likeness. Many people have roots of Christ; they know OF Him but their growth is somehow stunted because they don’t nurture what they know of.
Growing in Christ-likeness is an ongoing process. 
One way to check your growth in grace is to take an honest look back over your past years trials and hurts. How have you reacted to them – with mercy towards others or with anger and bitterness? Have you learned to be more kind and more patient? Have you learned to be more soft spoken as you encountered those difficult people in your life?
The saying goes, “if you aren’t growing, you are dying”. There is nothing more disheartening to God than to see one of His children have His roots but make choices that hinder steady, strong growth.
Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians exactly what needs to be removed In our lives in order to grow in the grace of Christ:
Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamor and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
Jesus makes it very clear that holding onto such things will cause us undue deadly weight that can hinder our spiritual growth. Without continual growth in our spirit, we will just end up like the tree in my backyard; nothing but dead weight with our roots still intact.
Consider with me today the following question…”are you growing or dying?”
BLESSINGS. Laurie

DAILY DEVO...Who's your Daddy?

There once was a time when hearing that God was a "Father to the fatherless" didn't mean much to me. After all, what did I know about fathers?

I was just an infant when my father chose to leave. The next 40 years was filled with disappointments and misgivings of what fatherhood really looked like.

I don't share that part of my life to conger up any sympathy, rather, I share that today to emphasize that what we read in today's Scripture reading is true and I'm a testimony to back it up...

(Psalm 68:5-6) "A Father to the fatherless, a Defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

God is very relational. He is the Father to those who have none. He is the protector of the widow. He places those without a home into families. He cares about what we are in need of.

As a young girl, I learned that I was fatherless but it didn't take me long to understand that I had the best Daddy in the world! While other girls dads were strong, my Daddy caused the Red Sea to part. While other dads were good providers, my Daddy caused one boys sack lunch to feed 5,000! While your dad may have caught a bullet for you, my Daddy took 3 nails for every single person in the universe.

Next time you think that you are all alone in the world, whether you are without a father or a home or a spouse, you are never alone. My Daddy is watching over you and He always keeps His promises!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 23:9-25:19, Luke 9:43-62, Psalm 68:1-6

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

DAILY DEVO...be grateful for the One Who is there

Have you ever helped someone out of a jam and later on it appeared they didn't even remember all you did for them?

I have. And if I could be transparent for a moment; when someone is ungrateful for something that I sacrifice for them, I tend to not want to do it again.

I'm so grateful that God is not like that! Even when we don't recognize His Hand, He keeps doing amazing things for us.

In today's Scripture reading, we see the warning that God gives the Israelites before they entered the Promise land...

(Deuteronomy 8:18) "And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."

You must remember what God brought the Israelites through; 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, dependent upon God for every meal in which He provided manna every day for them.

God is warning them, before they go into the land of milk and honey, to remember what it was like to be hungry and Who provided for them.

Often times when things are going well; (the bank account is full, food is plenty, health is good, job is prospering), we tend to become self sufficient and put God on the back shelf.

Just as God led the Israelites, He is leading us. If you are in a time of prosperity right now, good for you! If you are struggling and down on your luck right now, good is coming to you!

Either way, remember how faithful God has been to you and never take His blessings for granted.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 8-9, Luke 7:18-35, Psalm 64:6-10

Monday, April 3, 2017

DAILY DEVO... hide and seek

God is not a God Who makes Himself hard to find. He doesn't try to hide Himself from us or keep Himself at a distance so that we can't know Him.

In fact, in today's Scripture reading we see that if we seek Him, He will be found...

(Deuteronomy 4:29) "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

I'm reminded today of the times when my husband and I would play hide and seek with our young children. We lived in a house that had great hiding places, I remember our son, Jeremy would always hide with his father while I counted in another room...

"One, two, three....TEN, here I come ready or not!"

After looking here and there, I would find myself going to the same closet that Jeremy always hid in with his father. As part of the game of "finding" Jeremy, I would stand outside the closet door...

"I wish I knew where Jeremy was. If I could find Jeremy, he could have a piece of this candy."

(From the closet in a muffled voice) "Here I am!"

It worked every time!

The game of hide or seek is fun to play but the fun isn't in hiding, the fun is to be found!

When I would open the closet door, Jeremy would laugh and jump up and down...

"You found us!"

When we seek God, we have a 100% chance of finding Him. He is never far away or hid so well that He cannot be found. Like my son, when we call out for God He will say...

"Here I am".

Seek God with all your heart and soul, He is waiting to be found.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Deuteronomy 4:15-5:22, Luke 6:36-49, Psalm 63:6-11

Friday, March 31, 2017

LACED WITH GRACE...stand out, don't just fit in

This weekend I will be taking our youth group to participate in this years state competition for Fine Arts. It is one of the moments that as a youth pastor makes me proud. Obviously, I am proud that these young people are using the gifts and talents that God has blessed them with for His glory but more than that, I am proud to see these young people taking a stand instead of trying to fit in.
We live in such a time that youth (and adults) seem to do whatever it takes to “fit in”. From finding the right look, to hanging with the right crowd to keeping up with the “Jones”. But it has been my experience that whenever we try to keep up appearances, we usually trade peace with anxiety, acceptance for disappointment and contentment for worry.
For the Christian youth (and adults), the focus of life should not be on “fitting in” but rather on “standing out”. In order to accomplish that we all need to make a choice…the path that we choose will determine which side of the road we travel.
The best example of those who took the right road to travel were the twelve disciples…they chose to stand out from the rest. Think about these guys; they were just ordinary men, living the norm up until they were asked to follow Jesus. The difference between them and all the others that were just trying to “fit in” came down to their determination to follow Christ. No doubt, this decision did not win them the popular vote but they followed their heart in despite of that.
The things you have heard from me among many witnesses. Commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Despite the obstacles, fear and challenges that these men endured, following Christ brought them to a place of peace and hope in which they were able to turn around and teach to others…instead of fitting in, they stood out for Christ.
You might ask, how are these young people “standing out” as they sing or play an instrument at a Fine Arts competition? There are many other things they could be doing on a Friday night – they could be at a party or hanging with the wrong crowd but each of these young Christians made a choice; they chose to not be like the others, instead, to follow Christ.
May the Lord bless you and me as we “stand out” for Him.
BLESSINGS. Laurie
@copyright /laurie adams

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DAILY DEVO...keep your promises

Have you ever made a vow to someone? Have you ever not kept your vow?

So many times I think we easily make promises (vows) that we either can't keep or we choose not to keep.

In today's Scripture reading in Numbers, we read that God loves vows...

(Numbers 30:2) "If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth."

There are many examples of people making vows in the Bible, and because of their commitment God honored them. People like Jacob (Genesis 28), Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11) and Solomon (Proverbs 7:14).

There is power in a vow! And if making a vow is serious, then fulfill your part so you can not only keep your word but experience favor with God.

No one likes someone who acts wishy washy, especially God. Make your "Yes" a yes and your "no" a no. If you make a vow, especially to God, do everything you can to honor your word. And watch God honor you.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 29:12-30:16, Luke 3, Psalm 60:1-5

Friday, March 24, 2017

DAILY DEVO...talking donkeys in your life

Sometimes the very thing that stands in your way and frustrates you to no end could be the very thing that saves you from a disaster happening.

In today's Scripture reading in Numbers, this is the very thing that happened to Balaam.

Balaam was enroute, on his donkey, to do something that was against the will of God. On the way, an angel appeared, blocking the way but Balaam did not see it. But his donkey did.

The donkey refused to go past the angel which caused Balaam to get mad at the donkey. While Balaam chewed the donkey out, the craziest thing happened...God opened the mouth of the donkey and caused the donkey to talk back to Balaam!

Meanwhile, the angel still stood in their path...

(Numbers 22:31) "Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing there."

Balaam fell flat on his face, now he was ready to listen to the Lord. Now he was willing to pay attention to the leading of the Lord.

How many times have roadblocks stood in your way? Perhaps those things that stand in our way are nothing but donkeys in our life, trying to keep us from harm.

Allow God to show you that some detours in your life are for your own good. And if you have a donkey talking back to you, you might stand up and take notice. It might see the angels in front of you that you don't see.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 22:21-23:30, Luke 1:26-56, Psalm 57

SATURDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 24-25, Luke 1:56-2:20, Psalm 58

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 26:1-27:11, Luke 2:21-28, Psalm 59:1-8

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DAILY DEVO...waiting time is not wasted time

Even in His resurrection, Jesus showed humility and love. We see that in today's Scripture reading in the book of Mark...

(Mark 16:8) "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons."

Some commentaries say that Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene first to show His attention for the weak. I'm not saying that women are weak, but, in the culture of that particular time, women were not considered to be in a high status.

Mary Magdalene may not have been one to have much prestigious power but she was the one who remained at the tomb. Look at what happened when Mary arrived at the tomb and found it empty...

(Mark 16:10) "She went and told those who had been with Him and who were mourning and weeping."

(Mark 16:11) "When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they did not believe it."

Jesus appeared to Mary because she was there at the tomb waiting on Him. No one else was. And when the others heard the news of the empty tomb, they were doubtful, perhaps even afraid.

When we wait upon the Lord, there should be no fear or doubt. Even though the disciples were with Jesus all through His days of ministry, they could not wait on Him to show Himself again. So that left Mary.

She waited alone. She sought Him in the dark, in the early dawn, she cried, worshipped and she waited on God.

The question I have to ask today is this: when everyone else turns their back on you, on God - will you remain? Will you wait for God or will you turn in fear and go your own way.

I pray that in your waiting period that God will reveal Himself to you as He did on that Resurrection morning to Mary Magdalene. Waiting time is never wasted time.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 19-20, Mark 16, Psalm 16:1-7

Friday, March 17, 2017

DAILY DEVO...meekness is not weakness

TODAY'S DAILY...

Meekness is not weakness. Perhaps we get the two mixed up from time to time. But there is a difference: a weak person can't do anything while a meek  (a humble) person can do something but they choose not to.

In today's Scripture reading in the book of Numbers, we read that Moses was the meekest man on earth. At first, I thought, Moses? But then I thought about how he led a multitude of people and how he basically was the go-between between God, the Israelites and king Pharaoh. Surely not a small task to be done.

I know people who obtain alittle fame, some fortune, even a new title and it ALL goes to their head, but not Moses. Rather than making him arrogant and prideful, Moses was humble.

(Numbers 12:3) "Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth."

Throughout the Bible, we see how true encounters with God never puffed people up, rather, it brought them to their knees.

We all have a choice to make: we can face our challenges and approach God with weakness or meekness. Which one will it be?

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 12-13, Mark 13:9-37, Psalm 51:10-19

SATURDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 14, Mark 14:1-31, Psalm 52

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 15, Mark 14:32-72, Psalm 53

God's Word is a light unto our path!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

DAILY DEVO...don't cheat Caesar OR God!

(Mark 12:17) "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

It is easy to gripe and complain about paying taxes, but as Christians, we must hear what Jesus is saying.

In today's Scripture reading, Jesus was telling those listening to render to Caesar the things that were Caesars, meaning that the people were to pay taxes to the Roman government, which was the political authority at that time.

If you read the scriptures carefully, you will see that the emphasis is not about Jesus putting His approval on paying taxes, rather, the emphasis is on the coin.

When Jesus took the denarius (the coin), after inspecting it, He said...

"Whose image is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. (Mark 12:15)

Caesar minted coins that had his image stamped on them and expected some of them back. Jesus was simply making a distinction between two kingdoms. Caesar at the time held the power of the kingdom of the world but God held (and still holds) the Kingdom to come.

Christians today are part of both kingdoms (while still on earth). Therefore, if our Government demands money, we must obey. At the same time, whatever God demands, we must also obey.

Give to Caesar (IRS) his part and give God His. Anything less is cheating God because it ALL belongs to Him anyway.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 7:48-8:4, Mark 12:1-27, Psalm 50:1-15

Monday, March 13, 2017

DAILY DEVO...before you pray, forgive!

Today's scripture reading found in the book of Mark directs our attention to prayer and pride. One doesn't go with the other...

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (Mark 11:24-25).

Jesus is speaking to His disciples and telling them that one of the greatest hindrances to their faith in God is pride. Pride will keep unforgiveness in the heart, and unforgiveness will put distance between prayers and God.

At times, we may feel justified when we demand others to forgive us but when it comes to extending the same kind of forgiveness to others, it isn't as easy. Whether we do it subtly or openly, we tend to have a hard time forgiving those who bring offense to us. In fact, sometimes it makes us feel good to keep our enemies at a distance or make them come crawling on their knees for forgiveness.

But Jesus says that that is a great mountain in our life that needs to be removed, it is the very thing that is  blocking the flow of God to our faith.

When we stand (or sit or lay prostate) and pray; the unforgiveness that we harbor in our hearts interrupts the flow of our prayers, it stands between us and our faith.

The one thing that will block the move of God towards people, churches and even nations is pride and unforgiveness.

"Lord, help us to be a nation that forgives, help our churches be filled with people who lay down their pride and pray with a forgiving heart."

"Lord, help ME to forgive others as You forgive me so that my faith will be strong in You and all of my prayers will be received with a clean heart." AMEN

Friends, I not only hope that you prayed that prayer with me but I also pray that you not only receive forgiveness today but that you extend it. Forgiveness will change how you pray.

BLESSINGS.Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 6:22-7:47, Mark 11, Psalm 49:10-20.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

DAILY DEVO...be still and know He is God

In today's scripture reading in the book of Psalms, we come to one of my favorite verses...

(Psalm 46:10) "Be still, and know that I am God".

“When I think of being still, I realize that for most of us, it is difficult to do. It goes all the way back to when we were young. I remember not being still and my Mom would tell me that I had "ants in my pants".

The word "still" in this passage has nothing to do with jumping ants, rather, it means to "let go" or "release". If we want to be still before the Lord, we must learn to submit ourselves, willingly to Him.

I find so much comfort in this Psalm, knowing that no matter what comes my way, God is the One thing that stays constant. He never moves. He never changes.

I willingly let go of all those things that are out of my control and release them into the Hands of God. When this happens, I can truly be still (have peace) because God said He would take care of it.

Take a minute to slow down, be still in the middle of your chaos and focus on what this Psalm is offering...

Peace...be still...know that He is God!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 27, Mark 8, Psalm 46.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Laced with Grace...do you long for God?

Today I shared the following devotion over at Www.lacedwithgrace.com:

Many times in my life I have longed for something. When I was a young child, I longed to be 16 years old so I could drive. Once I reached that goal (age), it didn’t seem to satisfy me because it wasn’t too long before I longed to be 18.  The point being, that many of us just are not satisfied with where we are at the moment. We all want to be somewhere else, be a different age, look a certain way or maybe even be someone else.
Longing for something means that we are either not satisfied or we are immensely missing something or someone. Have you ever longed to see someone? Perhaps time has passed by and you haven’t seen someone in a long time or a loved one has gone to heaven and you long to see them once again. When my son was in the Air Force and he served for a year overseas, I remember the anticipation that filled my every being while we waited at the airport for him to come walking out of that exit door. I literally stood on my tiptoes, scaling over every head of each person who came walking off of that plane. Looking and looking until I finally saw the top of the head of my beloved son. Such a longing to see him, to hug him and know that he was safe.
The Psalmist exposes his heart with such a longing for the Lord in Psalm 63:1
“O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for you. my body longs for you…”
Here, the Psalmist does not ask God for anything; he doesn’t ask for better health for himself or his family, he doesn’t ask for a raise at work, or even plead with God for a happier marriage. Instead he focuses on his relationship with God, “earnestly” seeking Him to fill every fiber of his being with the things of the Lord.
This is the kind of longing that I desire. Much like looking for my son in that crowded airport, I want to be always searching for the Lord, with such great anticipation that nothing (and no one else) will matter. Today, I want to ask you as you read this: Do you long for God’s presence as though it were the very thing sustaining you? When is the last time you cried out like the Psalmist for God?
Pray this with me: “Dear Lord, You are my God and I desire to seek You like never before. Give me a thirst that cannot be satisfied, give me a longing to see Your face like never before. When I am dry, fill me up. When I am weak, give me strength. When I am lost, guide my steps. You, My Lord are all I need. I long for You today and all the days to come. AMEN “
 BLESSINGS, Laurie
@copyright laurieadamsdaily2017

DAILY DEVO...when actions speak louder than words

Today's scripture reading in the book of Mark reminds me of the old saying that we've heard a million times, "Actions speak louder than words.”

No truer words than this. But when we apply this saying to our walk with God,  how do we measure up?

In Mark chapter 7, the Pharisees and the leaders of the law quickly criticized the disciples for not obeying the law by eating with unclean hands. But Jesus pointed out what hypocrites they were; honoring Him with their lips but not from their heart.


(Mark 7:6) He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'"

It is easy to say that you love someone, but if you had never spent time with them or shown affection to them, it would be difficult for such love to grow. That's why in a romantic relationship it is called courting, it's the stage where you are getting to know one another.

In the same way, it isn't enough to just say that you love God. Many people can memorize His words without ever knowing Him. We must hide His Holy Word in our hearts! This is the place that His Holy Spirit will spill out from.

We need to get to know God, maybe even court Him!

When we give our heart over to God, it is only a matter of time that what is in our heart will spew out of our mouth.

May we live in such a way that God would never say to us, "(insert your name here), honored Me with their lips, but their heart was far from Me."

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 26, Mark 7, Psalm 45:13-17

Monday, March 6, 2017

DAILY DEVO...get some rest!

Recently after church service, someone said good bye to me by saying "get some rest". I'm not sure if they told me that because I looked tired or because they knew we had been really busy lately. Either way, rest is good for us.

Rest is more than just taking a Sunday afternoon nap, rest can rejuvenate us in body, mind and spirit and help alleviate burnout. Rest can help us focus or become more re-focused.

Even Jesus recognized that ministry can be draining and that taking a period of rest will cause us to stay more focused on what is important...

(Mark 6:30-32) "The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves."

Prior to this, we see that Jesus had sent his disciples out to preach, heal and drive demons out. Sounds like a pretty busy schedule!

When they return to Jesus, they are eager to tell Him all about it. No doubt their adrenaline was running high. I'm the same way after I teach a class or speak at a conference; my mind is running a million miles an hour and "rest" is the LAST thing on my mind.

But here we see the disciples shift their focus from being about Jesus to being about what they did and what they said.

Jesus understood that a rest period would help turn their focus of what they did back to why they were doing what they were doing.

Sometimes I think we get so busy in our life (our ministries too) that our focus gets blurry. Along the way we lose sight of why we are doing what we do and instead of having purpose, we just go thru the motions or we simply put on display what "we" accomplished, rather than giving God the honor due Him.

It's in these moments that a long overdue rest may be needed. Keep in mind that rests are not considered finality. The disciples didn't use rest times as quitting times. Just because you are on a rest does not mean God is done with you.

Don't quit! Once you get revived, renewed, recharged - get back in the there and watch how much more strength, energy and focus you will have to accomplish what God needs you to accomplish, making it about Him and not you!

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 25, Mark 6:30-56, Psalm 45:6-12

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Daily DEVO...desperate enough to touch Jesus

Desperate people do desperate things in desperate times. Today's scripture reading shows us that.

Here, we find a very desperate woman. A woman who traveled a long way because of her faith knew if she could just touch the One Who heals.

I've read in different study Bibles that women who were considered unclean were not allowed to touch anyone. And here is a woman, who because of an unexplained reason has been bleeding for 12 long years and she has a plan to touch THE Son of God!

That's gutsy! But look at her options:

(Mark 5:26) "spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse."

How many people have you known that have been in this exact place, maybe it has been you. Doctor visit after doctor visit, prescriptions one after another but still no answers. No change. No hope.

When I think about this woman, I don't see what others might see. I don't see a woman with an issue of blood, instead I see a woman of great faith!

Despite what she had been told, she believed that she could be healed. She believed it so much that she knew if she could just touch Him, it would happen.

Most of us won't believe something until we "see" it. See it face to face. Here is a woman who doesn't need to see Jesus face to face or meet Him while all the attention is on her; instead she stretches her hand out in the busy crowd and says, "if I could just touch the hem of His robe, I will be healed." (Mark 5:28)

When is the last time you felt desperate; desperate enough to touch Jesus? Sometimes it takes guts but mostly it just takes faith!

BLESSINGS . Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 29, Mark 5, Psalm 42-43.

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.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DAILY DEVO... Who are you magnifying?

We all know that one person who no matter what the topic seems to be will always bring their name up and sing their own praises.

Bringing attention to what we have done instead of magnifying the One Who empowers us is a grave mistake many make.

Often, I think that our problems and trials seem so big to us. They are so overwhelming that they overshadow God and make Him appear small compared to the enormous weight that we carry.

When we are able to recognize the magnitude of God and how He is limitless in all that He can do, we will then see that God is so much bigger than our small problems.

I'm reminded today of a magnifying glass; when properly placed we can properly see all of the intricate parts that use to appear small but now are magnified. When we magnify God, His power becomes so much more evident to us and It can flow more freely through us.

(Psalm 34:3) "Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together."

The Psalmist today is encouraging us to take the attention off of ourselves and join together in magnifying God. It's not about you, it's not about me. It's about God and how much bigger He is than anything this world can offer.

Don't make God smaller than He really is.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 32-33, Matthew 24:29-51, Psalm 34:1-7.

Monday, February 13, 2017

DAILY DEVO...where is your trust placed?

In today's Psalm reading about "trust", I was reminded of a situation that happened several years ago involving our son. As a young driver, just receiving his drivers license, he was in the turning lane to turn into the church parking lot. Another car was also in the turning lane, coming the opposite way. They waved him on, signaling that it was safe to turn, he trusted their judgement and turned. The only problem is, it was not clear and a car coming in the other lane hit him as he turned.

That day our son learned a valuable lesson in driving...be careful who you trust.

We all live our life like that from time to time. Looking ahead but not seeing the dangers and placing our trust in things we shouldn't that only cause us to crash.

(Psalm 33:20) "We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."

Today is a good day for us to reflect on who or what we are placing our trust in. Having money, good health, strong relationships or perhaps a promising career are all great things but none of these can guarantee security.

Psalm 33 reminds us that our security comes from God and God alone. Everything else in this world will fade away but when we place our trust in God, even for those things we can't clearly see, He will keep us safe and sound and out of the line of oncoming traffic.

Are you trusting God?

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 30-3, Matthew 23:37-24:28, Psalm 33:13-22.

Friday, February 10, 2017

DAILY DEVO...the parable of the 2 sons and today's Christian

In today's' scripture reading, we find a parable (a story) told by Jesus about two sons. At first glance, it may seem like Jesus is telling us a story about the difference of two sons work ethics...

(Matthew 21:28-30) "There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ (29) "'I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. (30) "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go."

Let's consider the answers the two sons offer; the first son shows a pretty blunt answer, "I will not!" This reckless response shows not only that he lives life alittle careless but he is downright disobedient. Even though he ended up going, he was still disobedient. The second son, responding "I will" but then ends up not going after all shows us that not all "yeses" mean yes.

This parable of the two sons can be likened to the kind of worker you and I are in the kingdom of God. Just because we are found busy doing this ministry or that ministry doesn't mean that we are being obedient to God. Obedience is never "busyness". Just because we do something doesn't mean our heart is in it.

Some of us are like the second son; too often we make commitments, promises and have intentions in our ministry but even though we say "yes", we know we cannot fulfill what we say we will do. Instead of our yes meaning yes, we are wishy washy and found to be not reliable.

Both sons brought dishonor and disappointment to their father. It is my prayer that my Heavenly Father finds me not only obedient to Him and His Word but that I am found to be true to my word; that my yes will mean yes and my no be no.

 "But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." -Jesus (Matthew 5:7)

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 26-27, Matthew 21:28-46, Psalm 31:19-24

SATURDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 28, Matthew 22, Psalm 32

SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 29, Matthew 23:1-36, Psalm 33:1-12

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DAILY DEVO...do you hear their cry?

Reading thru the book of Exodus, I can't help but stop and wonder about some of the laws that were in place. We think our world is crazy today? Imagine if some of these Old Testament laws were in place, we would probably have a lot less jail over crowding!

The laws have changed since then but one thing that remains is God's Character.

His Character was (and is) that of love and caring for the less fortunate. The kings and rulers back then were concerned with the same thing many of our current leaders are concerned with: money and power. The rich and famous are favored much over the poor and downcast; but not so with God.

God cared for the least; the poor, the sick, the needy, the widow and the orphan. Of course, He loved everyone, but these were the crowds of people you could find Him among most.

He wants us to do the same. As we care for the widow and the orphan in their time of need, we reveal the heart of God. This was His heartbeat and it should be ours also ...

(Exodus 22:22-23) "Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry."

Taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable is no small offense to God. He does not overlook those who often get overlooked by the world and we should not overlook them either.

There is someone crying out today, someone whom you rub shoulders with. The question isn't "will God hear them" - because He does; the question is, "will you"?

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 22-23, Matthew 20:20-34, Psalm 31:1-8

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DAILY DEVO...trust God and don't grumble about it

How easy it is to doubt the gifts that God has for us, this doubt often arises from comparing ourselves to others.

When my children were younger, I remember very precisely making sure that each child had the same amount of gifts at Christmas. Even though I'm sure at times one or more may have felt they received less, I know that the amount of money spent was the same.

Today's scripture reading in Matthew shows us a story where laborers were hired to work at a vineyard, even though some worked longer hours they were all paid the same amount of money.

"When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner." (Matthew 20:11)

Here we see that while the workers worked long and hard for their wages and earned enough to provide for their families, they grumbled and compared their pay with others.

How often do we act just like these workers in the parable in Matthew? We compare what we have with others. Like a small child on Christmas morning, we find ourselves feeling like we've been treated unfairly.

Instead of giving thanks for the blessings of God, we compare our gifts to those around us. May we learn a lesson today from the laborers in this parable and receive what we have been given with open hands and a grateful heart.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 20-21, Matthew 20:1-19, Psalm 30

Monday, February 6, 2017

DAILY DEVO...what stands in your way?

Is there anything in your life that you would refuse to give up for Christ?

It's easy to say we would surrender everything until we actually get put to the test. It is then that we would find ourselves putting our money where our mouth is.

In today's scripture reading in the book of Matthew, we see where the heart issue of one young man is put to the test...

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21)

I wonder what it would take to sell everything we owned and give it away and just trust God? Apparently, the young man in this story had too much to give up and just couldn't do it...

"the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth." (Matthew 19:22)

It would be easy to assume that a man could have wealth and still serve God, but the point Jesus is making here is that when we completely surrender to Him, worldly possessions and all, God's blessings will outweigh any earthly treasures.

God knows all too well that our possessions and goods that we hold so near to our hearts would easily take  root where only He belongs.

I encourage you today to search your own heart and see if there is anything you could "sell" that may be standing in your way of completely surrendering to God.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 17-19, Matthew 19:16-30, Psalm 29

Friday, February 3, 2017

DAILY DEVO...walk with integrity

King David was far from being perfect (but nether am I), but yet God called him "a man after His own heart", (1 Samuel 13:14).

In today's Psalm reading I can see why God said that. David set his heart in such a way that he wanted to live in a way that would be pleasing to God. David's statements that he has walked and will continue to walk in integrity caused me to stop and think about my own life and those around me that I am allowing to influence me. What does integrity look like in us?

I suppose you could say that "integrity" isn't something many people talk about these days, probably because in society there is such a lack of it. But for a Christian, integrity should be one of the main ingredients of their walk.

Integrity is being the same in light as you are in darkness. It means not swaying or changing because of people or circumstances. It requires for us to stand upon our word; not being wishy washy but knowing what you believe and standing upon it.

(Psalm 26:1) "Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered."

As I read further in today's Psalm, I see some of the choices that David made in order to walk in integrity. He knew he was a sinner saved by Grace but yet he asked God to test him, (v. 3). What boldness, what a confidence that David had about his own integrity.

It doesn't come from an arrogant spirit, instead, this confidence wells up from knowing that the blood of the lamb had David covered.

Likewise, we are covered by that same blood but what does our walk with the Lord look like? Can we confidently say that integrity is one of our main goals?

May we walk in such a way with the Lord that we too can say, "I have not faltered".

BLESSINGS. Laurie

*they say it takes 30 days to form a habit. If you are reading thru the Bible with me each day, the habit has been formed. Stay with me, it only takes a few minutes each day, isn't God worth that?

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 12, Matthew 18:1-20, Psalm 26

SATURDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 13-14, Matthew 18:21-35, Psalm 27

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 15-16, Matthew 19:1-15, Psalm 28

Thursday, February 2, 2017

DAILY DEVO...redirect your pain to see Gods purpose

The long process of getting the Israelites out of Egypt had to of been painful. God continued to harden Pharaoh's heart, time after time, which not only made things difficult for him but it also brought much hardship to the Israelite people.

It would have been easy back then to question why God would put His people through all this. But looking back, we can clearly see that God's purpose was to free His people on His terms and in His time.

Often times, I think we focus on our pain and struggle instead of seeing God's purpose...

(Matthew 10:1-2) "Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of Mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”

Later, in the book of John, the disciples ask whose sin caused a man to be born blind. Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” (John 9:3). Jesus then redirected His disciples thinking from what the cause of the man’s disability was to considering what the purpose was for it. He told them, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

God wants to use our suffering for His glory and He wants to redirect our thinking; take our eyes off of our pain and focus more on His purpose. Like the Israelites, God is working everything out for you according to His time and His purpose.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 10-11, Matthew 17:10-27, Psalm 25

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

DAILY DEVO...God WILL build His Church!

In the book of Matthew, chapter 16, we find a remarkable promise from Jesus, "I will build My church"!

Today as I read that I am gripped with such peace and hope that God indeed has a plan for His people and for His church.

No matter what different church models we've grown up in, the New Testament outlines for us THE model that God gives for the Christian church; how it is suppose to look and act.

No matter what the name says on the sign, no church belongs to man (or it shouldn't). Every Bible believing (and preaching) church belongs to God and Him alone.

No Pastor died for you and no deacon hung on the cross. Only Jesus did and that's why you will never read in Scripture, "You will build My church", rather, we read Jesus' words stating "I will build My church"...

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18)

We must always remember that differences may divide us here on earth, but nothing can stand in the way of the furthering of the Gospel of Christ. Not man. Not different faiths. Not even the enemy.

The powerful, sovereign plan of God will overrule any evil plot of the enemy. Take courage and find peace that God WILL build His Church. 

Let's get on board and stop playing church and just BE the church that belongs to God.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 5:22-7:24, Matthew 16:13-28, Psalm 23

Thursday, January 26, 2017

DAILY DEVO...using acceptable words

The Psalmist makes it very clear that our words are not to be something we hem and haw around with...

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 18:14)

The words that come from our mouth are directly connected to what resides in our heart.

Jesus spoke about this in Matthew when He called the Pharisees "white washed tombs" because they looked good on the outside (like a nice grave marker) but on the inside, they were nasty and dirty. (Matthew 23:27-28).

I remember one time when I was a little girl, I let the wrong thing come out of my mouth. My mother immediately got a bar of soap and washed my mouth out.

Sometimes I wonder why God doesn't do that to us, but then again, when I think about what the Psalmist wrote, I realize that if my words and my thoughts were constantly on Him, no soap would be needed.

Whatever you say or think about today, keep it clean and acceptable.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE  READING...Genesis 46:1-47:26, Matthew 13:24-34, Psalm 19

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DAILY DEVO...it's dark -watch your step

This past summer, I visited the Mammoth Caves with our youth group in Kentucky.

The caves consist of miles upon miles of dark, seemingly endless passageways. It is said that the Mammoth Cave began hundreds of millions of years ago and continues today as the longest cave in the world;  more than 335 miles of mapped passageways.

Once down in the cave, it was cold and dark. We had to really watch our step.

Today's Scripture reading in Psalms made me think of this experience down in the caves. Without light, the darkness would be so great that it would be impossible to see your next step.

The sin in the world is much like this dark cave. Without the illumination of the light of God, none of our steps would be clear (or safe).

(Psalm 18:28) "You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light."

Perhaps you have been stumbling in the dark. You don't have to any more because of Christ. His light shines everywhere; all we have to do is turn It on and watch the darkness fade.

BLESSINGS. Laurie

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE READING: Genesis 42-43, Matthew 14:1-9, Psalm 18:16-29