Thursday, August 31, 2017

DAILY DEVO...the boundary of good vs evil


In today's culture, it appears that we are more familiar with what is wrong (or evil) than what is right (or good).

Anyone who has ever been around a toddler for very long knows that they don't have to be taught to disobey, that's built in. Instead they must learn boundaries and obedience. 

Boundaries and obedience seems to be lacking in more than pre school classes these days. Just watch the news tonight, see if more coverage is spent on the bad things or if the Good Samaritan stories rise to the top. 

In Romans, Paul addresses this very thing...

(Romans 16:19) "Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil."

In other words, don't pursue knowledge of those things that tear down, promotes violence or things that are simply worthless. Instead, pursue knowledge of what is good, lovely and that which brings value. 

One way or another, we will be drawn to what we know. May we learn to be wise about those things that are good and beneficial but guarded against those things that bring harm or evil. 

Have a blessed (and wise) day! LAURIE

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

DAILY DEVO...timing is everything!


I just love the story of Esther. Even though God is never mentioned, the life of Esther is clearly in the hands of God. His favor took a young, Jewish girl to not just enter a beauty contest, but win first prize! 

The ultimate prize was to become queen!

Esther was the queen who saved a nation. She had hurdles to climb (like the evil plotting of Haman), but she used her influence with the king to save the people. 

Going to the king on behalf of her people was a brave move for Esther. It could have easily backfired but God had placed her at the right place, at the right time, for a very specific reason. 

(Esther 4:14b) "who knows whether you have been placed here for such a time as this?"

Like Esther, perhaps God has placed you where you are for a very specific reason. Perhaps, you are the only Christian in your family or at the workplace. Perhaps you have considered quitting a relationship or a job or giving up your work at your church. It's easy to miss out on the impact that is actually taking place when we lose our focus.

I'm praying today for someone to stand up for such a time as this and be a "Esther" in their world. Who knows why you are where you are and who God wants you to influence for His Glory. 

We may not recognize God's Hand in our life but trust me, He is working things out; right on time!

Have a blessed (and right on time) day! LAURIE

TODAY'S READING: Esther 2:19-5:14, Romans 15:14-21, Psalm 119:153-168

Monday, August 28, 2017

DAILY DEVO...Finding hope in a hopeless world


When I listen to people and when I look around, I see alot of hopelessness. 

Marriages are broken. Loved ones are terminally ill. Families are feuding. Jobs are few. Debt is great. 

We are living in great times of turmoil and fear, but where has hope gone?

Politicians promise to fix things. Doctors promise to cure things. Banks promise to settle things. Friends and family promise to endure things. 

But what hope can we really have in these things (people)? 

Biblical hope is not like hope in this world. When I place my hope in people like our President or my doctor, I will be let down; the endless cycle of disappointment will keep circling around. 

Electing the right politician or choosing the right doctor or attending the right church will not (cannot) rescue us and give us the hope that we need in our lives unless our hope is built on Jesus Christ. 

Paul in the book of Romans sought hope, not just any hope but the hope that God gives...

(Romans 15:13) "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

When our hope is placed in anything less than the perfect God of the universe, we will live in the darkness of dissatisfaction. 

I don't know about you, but I can't live my life feeling hopeless; like there's nothing to look forward to. God's hope offers a promise for tomorrow, a life filled with joy and peace. 

May we all experience this hope of God and live more peaceful and joyful lives with Him and with others. 

Have a blessed (and hopeful) day. LAURIE

TODAY'S READING: Esther 1:1-2:18, Romans 14:13-15:13, Psalm 119:137-152

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

DAILY DEVO...strengthen our hands


Today's scripture reading in Nehemiah really resonated with me. In particular, it was the prayer of Nehemiah that really spoke to me...

(Nehemiah 6:9) "They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.' But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."

It has been 14 months since I had hand reconstruction surgery on my dominate hand. I had a major bone removed and I had two implants inserted on the top of my hand. The outcome that we had hoped for hasn't happened. Yet. 

Due to the lack of mobility and range of motion in my hand, it has gotten weak and has lost a lot of muscle mass. 

I have prayed a similar prayer like Nehemiah over and over; for God to strengthen my hand. 

Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem and he refused to give up. He faced many insults and intimidation from the enemies all around him as well as injustices from his own people (Neh. 4–5). But he sought help from God while taking every defensive step he could.

Despite all of the challenges, the wall was complete in 52 days (6:15). But Nehemiah’s work was not complete. 

Like Nehemiah, my work is not complete either. I may have some physical challenges to get the job done but with prayer, faithfulness and God's help, He will strengthen my hand to complete the work that He has begun. Handicaps cannot hinder God's work. 

Your work is not complete either. I don't know what stands in your way of getting the job done, but may you look to God for the strength you need to stay on task. 

Have a blessed Day. LAURIE

TODAY'S READING: Nehemiah 5:14-7:73, Romans 10:1-13, Psalm 119:81-88

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

DAILY DEVO...we can't see what God sees


We cannot even begin to understand God's way of thinking. His thoughts are not the same as ours.

(Isaiah 55:8,9) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

In the book of Isaiah, we come across the Israelites who wanted their enemies to be punished. They also wanted to exclude the non-Jews from God’s people but God had a different plan. He offered mercy to ALL. 

We aren't much different than the Israelites. Hate for our enemies still rages within us and prejudice against race, gender and religion still runs rampant in our society. It is impossible for man to grasp the depth of God's love and mercy for His people. 

It has never been nor will it ever be God's plan for any man, woman, boy or girl to spend eternity away from Him. 

God has a perfect plan for each of us. Even in those times of doubt or lack of understanding, God wants us to trust His Hand and His love, for His ways go far beyond what we can even comprehend. 

Today I choose to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable and accept the unseen because God sees far more than I can even imagine. 

Have a Blessed (and love filled) Day. LAURIE

TODAY'S READING...Nehemiah 3:17-5:13, Romans 9:19-33, Psalm 119:73-80

Friday, August 18, 2017

DAILY DEVO...there is NO condemnation


I'm not perfect and neither are you. And God knows that none of us are. 

Becoming a Christian doesn't mean that everything will be perfect, in fact, the Bible warns us that trials and tribulations will be great. But thankfully, the Grace of God not only forgives us of our wrongdoing but once forgiven, we are not condemned. 

So many Believers live in fear or guilt of their past mistakes. Even though we ask God (and others) to forgive us, we tend to have a hard time forgiving ourselves. 

But the Bible says: 
"There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

Because God doesn’t judge us for all the things that we've  done wrong and have been forgiven for, there is no reason for any Christian to walk around in shame. 

God takes all of our imperfections (and we ALL have many) and instead of using them against us, He uses it for good.

If you are still holding onto some past mistakes; ask for forgiveness and do what God has done ...move on! 

Have a blessed Friday!!

TODAY'S READING: Ezra 7:27-9:4, Romans 8:1-27, Psalm 119:33-40

Thursday, August 17, 2017

DAILY DEVO...who's in charge?


Every single day we need to decide who is in or God?

Choosing is sometimes difficult.  We all have areas in our life that we like to control, it's usually in those moments of desperation or failure that we relinquish our control and say, "ok God, I'm giving control to you!"

I've tried to control things before in my life and it just doesn't work. I mess it up every time! But no matter how badly things get out of control, God always seems to show up and fixes what was never mine to fix in the first place.

In the book of Ezra, we find God using King Darius to illustrate this very thing.

The people were always at odds with the authorities to rebuild the House of God after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it. But King Darius issued a decree that not only allowed them to rebuild God's house but he actually took money from the treasury to pay for it!!

(Ezra 6:8) "Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop."

When we allow God to have control, He shows up and gets the job done! I don't know what you need to loosen your grip from; but choose today to give control to God and see how He rebuilds what has been broken.

Have a blessed and victorious day! LAURIE

TODAY'S READING...Ezra 6:1-7:26, Romans 7:7-25, Psalm 119:17-32

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

DAILY DEVO...choose a life that beats for Godx


What kind of things find their way into your heart?

If we aren't careful, we may find the things that we allow in will cause us heart disease. I'm not talking about the kind of heart disease that requires a pacemaker. I'm talking about heart disease (spiritually) that need THE Peacemaker. 

If the doctor tells us that we need to make some changes in our life to restore our heart, no doubt we would. However, when God tells us to make changes, we aren't as serious about it. 

Day in, day out, we all have the responsibility of tending to our heart. What we allow in will either be healthy or unhealthy. It's our choice. 

Hiding God’s word in our heart will guard against those things that hurt our hearts and displease God. 

I love the words of the Psalmist when he said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)

The question to consider today is this: what is hidden in your heart - Envy, anger, lust, jealousy or God's Word? One will cause death, the other life.

Choose a life that beats for God. 

Have a blessed day. LAURIE

TODAY'S READING...Ezra 4-5, Romans 6:1-7:6, Psalm 119:9-16

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

DAILY DEVO...finding peace


Finding peace in your life is much more than having a temporary absence of strife. It is more than just having "enough" to squeak by or having a brief time of things going well. Peace, my friend, can only be found in God. 

We try so hard to find peace in other people, relationships, careers, money, investments, even our emotions. But I have found that all of those things will change, fail us or fall away. 

God never intended for His children to live life full of anxiety and worry. Before He left His Disciples, Jesus told them to not let their hearts be troubled...

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives." (John 14:27)

If you are looking for peace, you will never find it until you trust God. Trusting God doesn't mean everything will be perfect but I promise, you will find a peace that is unexplainable. 

Have a blessed (and peaceful) day. LAURIE

DAILY SCRIPTURE READING: Ezra 1-3, Romans 5, Psalm 119:1-8

Monday, August 14, 2017

Daily DEVO...recognize the idols in your life


During my "break" from social media for nearly a month, I noticed something. I noticed how much more time there seemed to be in a day!!!

Clearly, there were other things that I could be doing that time spent on social media was robbing me of. 

We live in a "smart" atmosphere; a world where we are inundated with smart phones, smart tvs and smart apps. Everything we ever need is at the tips of our fingers. 

Have you ever wondered why we are so influenced by the culture around us? Simple - what consumes us becomes us. 

Recently I heard someone say, "we become what we worship". Often times, I think we idolize things that we aren't even aware have become idols in our lives. 

How absurd it must have been for the Israelites to create an idol to worship when God Almighty was with them, longing for their adoration and worship. 

But isn't that what you and I do when we place other things and other people before God?

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you". (Matthew 6:33)

The world is begging for our attention. But so is God. The question today is...who or what will you serve?

If you are not sure Whom you are serving; compare your time, your passion and your investments - Is God first or last? If He isn't first, you may have some idols in your life. 

My prayer today is that God is given the worship and adoration that He deserves in our lives. No idol (not even Facebook), ever died for you and never will. 

PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me for placing other things in front of You. You and You ALONE deserve my praise and honor. AMEN

Have a blessed day,