Thursday, July 28, 2016

DAILY DEVO...stop whining!

Last night I spoke to the youth about being a whiney Christian. Believe it or not, dealing with complaining Christians is nothing new to God...

If you open your Bible to the old Testament, you will see that even in the beginning church, complaining was an issue. And it still goes on in today's church.

From styles of preaching to preference of songs to sing to the color of the carpet; someone somewhere will have something to say about it.

Whining isn't just in the pew; but at work, school and at home. Everyone knows a whiner, but what does God say about His children whining and complaining?

"Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door." (James 5:9)

When my kids were young, one of them was a real whiner. In fact, so much that we created a "whiney towel" that they would wear if they started to whine too much. Seems drastic, but it got the message across that whining was not accepted.

How crazy would it be if God handed out "whiney towels" to His children who complained and whined about everything. How quickly we might learn that God does not want to hear His children grumbling.

God wants us to live in peace with one another and to be honest, I can't think of anything positive that rises up from whiney attitudes. Whining is a mechanism  that is used to get things "my way".

I challenged the youth last night and I'd like to challenge you today to give your complaints and your whiney attitude to God. You may get things "your way" at Burger King but with the King of Kings...its "His way!"

And God says STOP whining about it and START praising Him for it!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...childlike faith

Yesterday I was so blessed and reminded what childlike faith looks like. Some of our kids are at church camp this week, I was told how the youngest one with our group wanted to pray for the camp evangelist. With boldness, she prayed and the rest of our girls joined in.

"Lord, I want childlike faith like that. I want to have the boldness to go where You say go and say what You say for me to say."

Have you ever said that to God before? Have you ever asked for childlike faith?Mary did.

Do you recall how she reacted when the Angel suddenly appeared announcing the news that she (Mary) would become the mother of the Messiah....

"Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Wow. Just like that Mary accepted what was being said to be true. No wiggling out of it. No questioning the Angel. Just childlike faith, believing it to be true.

The best example of childlike faith that I have is when our children were young and we would go out to the pool, they would be so carefree and jump off of the deck into their father's arms. Never a doubt in their mind that he wouldn't catch them.

The reason their faith did not waver is because their dad caught them each time. He never let one of his kids drown.

Fast forward to the present. We are no longer like those carefree kids but yet our Heavenly Father has never let any of us drown yet, but we still tend to be leary of what He asks of us. If He asks us to jump, we say "how high?" If He says wade over here for awhile, we ask "for how long?"

Some of us need to remember what it was like to be a child again. To have boldness to pray, to not fear about tomorrow, to trust even those things we can't see.

Some of us need to be like Mary who said, "Let it be to me according to your word." When is the last time you walked (or dove in) with your childlike faith?


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...progress is progress

I wanted to let each of you know that I saw a glimpse of small progress yesterday at therapy. Progress sometimes comes quickly but often times slowly, but yet, progress is progress. With that said, can I share my heart with you today about how difficult we make progress look...

When I look back over my life, I see good and I see bad, the memories that flood over me are like photographs frozen in time. These glimpses that I see represent both who I once was and who I have become. Like any before and after picture, the difference is remarkable.

If you were to line up each photograph of yourself next to each other, you would not be able to literally see the change take place but the change would be visible to the eye. You would see hairstyle change, wardrobe style change and physical changes. Over a period of time change is bound to appear.

Change is a progression.

Some see it clear as day while others will never see it. "You look the same as you did 20 years ago!" Really? How odd would that be for a 30 year old to look 10!?!

Spiritually speaking, the reason people don't notice that we are different now vs. then is because they can't see us any other way but in the old. They can't forget our past because they still reside there.

"See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way through the wilderness." (Isaiah 43:19)

I don't know about you, but God tells me that TODAY is the first day of the rest of my life, not yesterday. There's no better day to move forward than today. Let the past be thrown into the sea of forgetfulness and take one step toward God.

People are not the ones holding your future, God is! People may say they remember the snapshots of your past, but God has already erased the film. That picture of what was doesn't live here anymore.

Take a closer look and see how far you've come and see what God sees. Progress may be slow, but progress is still progress!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

DAILY DEVO...see past the fog

Today's DAILY is a post from the past first written in October 2011. May you see past the fog:

Yesterday morning, as I drove to work, I drove right thru a very thick fog. The thickness of the white fog made it very difficult to see what was ahead, but because I drive this same road every day, I felt like I could find my way.

The thing about a dense fog is that we can't see things that are familiar to us. I could not see the stop light that I knew was right ahead. I couldn't see the big oak tree that I knew was to the right. Even though I couldn't see these things, I still crept along my way.

Eventually I worked my way thru the white blanket and came up on the stoplight. You see, even though I could not see it, it was still there. It was just covered up by the fog. The stoplight didn't move. Neither did the big Oak tree. It was only my view that was altered.

The same is true in our spiritual life.

Many times difficulties came our way and it may feel like we are just wandering around in a deep, dense fog. Financial burdens, loss of a job, sickness in family, relationship problems, divorce, miscarriage, depression ... the list could go on and on. The stress and pressure that comes with such problems leaves us feeling like we cannot see the stable things in our life, because the fog (the problem) is too intense.

But the truth of the matter is that if we just keep moving, like I did in traffic yesterday, we will find that the familiar things of our faith are still standing strong. God's love is still intact. His hope has not moved. His faithfulness, His grace and His provision are still standing strong. Eventually the fog will lift, and then we will see that all of these things are still present, they haven't moved at all, our vision was just blurred as we traveled thru the fog.

All of us go thru sudden storms in life, even some that leave us feeling like we are in a deep fog, but thru it all God is always near. He never leaves us or forsakes us. We can be assured that He is leading us and directing our path as we keep moving. We have to take our eyes off of the fog and look for Him, even when we can't see Him, we must know that He is still there!

Psalm 121:1-2,8  "I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore."


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

DAILY SEVO...if only

Today's post from the past comes from my archived posts from 2013. In a season like mine where I'm unable to write right now, it serves as a reminder of "if only"...

We like the idea of change. Something appealing about starting over. Most people think if only they could move, life would be better. Or only if I had a mate or if only I had friends or if only, if only, if only.

A survey showed that 80 percent of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance. If only we could look like Hollywood, if only, if only....

? for today...can we really change who we are, can we reinvent ourselves?

Changing ourselves requires a lot more than just changing our looks. We can change our looks, we can change where we live but we cannot change who we are on the inside. Only God can do that.

Jeremiah 17:9 says "The Human heart is the most deceitful things, and desperately wicked."

Woah...seems to me the only change that matters at the end of the day is the change God makes in us, anything else is really irrelevant. If only.

If only we would ask God to change us!


Monday, July 11, 2016

DAILY DEVO... Keep knocking

Today's post from the past was first written in November 2011 and with recent events in our world and city, there appears to be no better time to keep knocking on God's door...

Have you ever been startled by an unexpected knocking at your door?

Several years ago, my husband and I were sitting alone in our family room watching late night television when we were startled by a rapping at our door. Because the hour was late, my husband told me to stay in the family room while he checked it out. He peeked out the window, but saw no car. He slowly opened the front door, but found nobody to be at the door. He stepped out onto the front step and looked to the right and to the left, but saw no one.

He came back into the house, perplexed. Possibly it was a neighbor child pulling a prank. After a few minutes had passed, we heard it again. (rap rap rap) Again, my husband goes to the door, but finds no one to be there.

My husband was determined to catch whoever was disturbing our household at such a late hour. This time he waited by the door, ready for the next rapping on the door to jump out and grab whoever has been knocking at our door. A few minutes pass and sure enough the pranksters come back ... rap, rap, rap at the door. My husband flings the door open and jumps outside...but nobody was there.

It turns out, a short time later, that we discover that the rap, rap, rap at the door wasn't anybody at all trying to pull a prank. Actually it was our pet dog, who was laying against another door in the house and when she would scratch, she would hit the door making the rap, rap, rap sound.

That is about one of the funniest stories I love to tell about how my husband tried to catch the midnight intruder who insisted on rapping on our door but never would come in. As funny as that is, the truth is that many of us are doing the same thing but it isn't funny at all.

Many times we rap on God's door, we ask for blessings, healing and provision but then we don't really expect them. We knock but we never really intend to enter. And we aren't satisfied with knocking just once, but we come back again and again. Knocking, asking for an answer but then we just run away. We don't stand still and wait for the door to open.

I don't know why we flee after we have knocked on God's door. Maybe it is because we fear the outcome, or afraid that God will not answer our need or He may not even hear us. So we find it easier to just walk away.

Luke 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

The truth is that we cannot expect God to answer our runaway knocks. He didn't promise that...He said that we should keep knocking and knocking until He opens the door.

May we become more persistent in our prayers and come to Him fully expecting. And when He opens the door, may we not run away but walk thru the door.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

DAILY DEVO...fill my cup

The following DEVO I wrote in November 2011, thank you for being patient with me as I recover from hand surgery:

When you fill up a glass full of milk or any other beverage ... what is inside the glass is what will pour out. This thought reminds me of when God filled me with His Spirit ... it felt like He had filled me with liquid love.

God did something inside of me, and what I was feeling inside is what showed up on the outside of me. I felt happier. I loved more. I had the ability to forgive. I became more patient. Grace was not so hard for me to extend to others.

Having this kind of change inside of us is much like going to the beverage stand at the restuarant where you can just keep refilling and refilling your drink. God's liquid love is never ending as He continues to fill us as we seek Him.

Is your glass of "liquid love" full or empty? Ask God today to renew, restore and re-fill you! And He will.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new." (2 Cor. 5:17)


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

DAILY DEVO...arise!

I found this post from the past written in November of 2011. As I look around the church of today I see many fast asleep, may today's DAILY serve as a reminder that it's time to set the alarm:

I have often wondered about those disciples that Jesus took with Him to pray in those last hours. He asked them to stay awake and pray with Him, but as we all know, they fell down on their job. They could not stay awake, therefore, they were not able to accomplish what Jesus asked of them.

If I needed someone to do something so important and they were found asleep on the job, I would not be so understanding. But as I look at scripture I see that even though the disciples failed at this task, there was still more for them to do...

"Arise, let us be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand." - MARK 14:42

Even though the moment of urgency had passed, and the disciples failed in the one task that Jesus asked of them, there was still hope for them. In the above passage, Jesus did not dwell on the shortcomings of His followers, rather He recognized other duties still awaiting the disciples. Jesus calls them to ARISE to meet these needs.

Even though the disciples failed in one responsibility, there was no time to curl up and quit. There was no time to sink deep down in despair for failing their Master. The time was short, and they needed to stand up and meet the responsibility that still laid before them.

Sometimes, actually time and time again, I have failed my Master. It would be easy to throw in the towel and just give up. But like the disciples, I too, need to realize that it is time for me to just ARISE and continue on with the work that God has laid out before me.

I have failed Him in the past, and I will fail Him again. And so have you. Even on the darkest mornings, there is still light in the day to turn things around. So just ARISE and get going. There is still work to be done.

Blessings, Laurie