Tuesday, August 30, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...color your world.

Recently when I visited the huge Mall of America in Minnesota, I came across the great Crayola store. Inside this store was every color, marker and coloring accessory that you could think of.

It all brought me back to my coloring days as a kid. Can you remember the countless hours of drawing and coloring to complete your masterpiece?

Coloring is fun, but coloring can also teach us about attitude. Think about it, before you begin coloring you can scan all of the vast choices of colors and choose which one fancies you at the time.

Our attitude is like that, there are so many choices at our fingertips each day: happy, mad, disappointed, offended, content, sad, irritable, and on and on the colors, (I mean choices) go!

The beauty of coloring is that just by changing crayons, the color of the sky can be any color you make it. Blue, green, orange...it doesn't really matter as long as you are content with how it turned out.

Paul in the book of Philippians chose his crayons carefully...

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11)

I don't know what today will bring you, but I do know that each of us has the ability to choose our attitude. Even when things don't go our way or people get under our skin, we still have the ability to color our world.

Choose your crayon carefully.


Friday, August 26, 2016

DAILY DEVO...noticing the unnoticables

Often times, I think we are guilty of passing by things and people without even noticing them.

I was reminded of the things we notice or don't notice recently when someone asked me about the Angel Statute in my city. They wanted to know who was keeping the area cleaned up.

Funny, the things people notice or don't notice. Locals have probably driven by that Angel a million times and never noticed if the weeds were growing or if someone cut them down. I mean, what does an old statute of someone long ago matter anyway?

Obviously, it matters to someone enough for them to clean it up. And someone else recently took time to notice that someone really cares about it.

Too many things pass us by without us batting an eye. The homeless, the lonely, the disabled, the elderly, the hurting widows, the one who is different from us. An old, forgotten statute.

Jesus noticed the unnoticeable.

Do you remember the woman with the issue of blood? 12 years she bled and when she got close enough to Jesus, she reached up to touch the hem of His garment and immediately she was healed.

'And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?”

(Peter didn't notice what Jesus did)

"Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” (Story found in Luke 8:43-48)

Jesus could have kept going at this point. After all, the woman got what she came for, right?

But Jesus didn't leave it there. He noticed what no one else noticed. While others looked at her issue, Jesus noticed the unnoticeable...He noticed her!

It may seem like a small thing, but like Jesus, may we all connect with someone or something that seems unnoticeable. Show you care and someone will surely notice!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

DAILY DEVO...where do you stand?

I started a new study with our youth group last night called "God's not Dead". It's a Bible Study taken from the movie "God's not Dead" and I believe it will serve as a threshold of moving our young people from the sitting position to the standing position in their walk with God.

We live in a day now that knowing that you believe in something does not have as much merit as knowing why you believe it, because it's just too easy to just say "I believe".
I'm reminded of when I played on my high school volleyball team. My coach taught me a very unforgettable lesson. She would tell us that where we stood on the court could determine the winning point.

I'm sure you are wondering what volleyball has to do with whether we believe God is dead or alive. Well, another thing that I learned from my volleyball coach is that even though we cannot control what happens all over the court, we can control where we stand.

You see, we may not be able to control  what others believe or don't believe, but we can control the stand we take. It did my heart good last night when I asked the students "who believes in God" and they all raised their hands. But the icing on the cake came when I asked them to stand and tell me WHY they believe in God. Several had convincing statements that God was real to them.

"Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be men of courage, be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

It has been said that if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. So, I ask you, "what do you stand for"? But more important, "why"?

Life is hard, like a game of volleyball, make sure you are standing in the right spot.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Laced with Grace...find your roots

I have just returned from an amazing trip. My husband and I drove over 900 miles to be a part of my paternal family celebrating 150 years of farming. The very farm that my Great-Great Grandparents started and labored has been passed down generation after generation to continue on, making it the oldest family farm (currently 5th generation) in Wisconsin.
As I stood inside the very log cabin that my Great-Great Grandparents built and lived in 150 years ago, I couldn’t help but take a minute to take in a deep breath and savor the emotion I felt as I stood upon my roots.
imageYou see, one reason it was so special to me is because my own father, because of choices he made, was not in my life until I found him when I was 40 years old. The roots that I discovered last week were roots that I never knew about. It was mind blowing to trace my roots all the way back 150 years ago to a little town in Wisconsin called Sand Creek.
Where do you find your roots?
That is such a profound question for each of us to think about and certainly one I’ve been pondering since last Saturday. Family roots are important, but that’s not what I’ve been thinking about as I answer that question. Instead, I’ve been thinking about what has had me rooted in the absence of knowing such rich family history all of these years. No doubt, it’s my deep connection with the Cross and all that It represents.
When I ask you about your roots, what I mean is, what do you stand upon? Where is the place that you get your stability from, where do your beliefs and strong ideas derive from? What are your principles, your character and demeanor based upon?
No doubt, in the past 150 years my family has seen some changes. They have labored hard, sacrificed a lot and endured many hardships to come this far. Along the way, they have trusted God and kept the faith even when bowing out seemed the way to go.
“I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Being rooted in Christ will give each of us the ability to weather any storm that comes our way. No family will be divided. No trial will be for nothing. It won’t guarantee immunity to difficulty but like my family roots, it will leave you strong and still standing.
Prayer: “Thank You, Lord, that You are my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Lord and my King. Thank You that it is possible for me to be rooted in You and that You are trustworthy to hold such a position. Lord, I long to live my life in You and I ask that You break down every wrong root in my life that gives me wrong strength. Let me be built up in You to be a strong child of God. Thank You for loving me so deeply, in Jesus’ nameAmen.”
Find your roots and stand strong!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

DAILY DEVO....make today the main thing

It occurred to me as we were driving home this weekend from a weeks vacation that I was already thinking ahead. Before even reaching home from our 900 mile drive, I was already thinking ahead to events coming up. Planning for the days to come.

Have you ever thought that your days were just filled with getting thru one event to get to another?

We all keep busy schedules, sometimes too busy. Is it possible that our attention on tomorrow robs us of today?

Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matthew 6:34).

Even though Jesus was speaking of worry in this passage, don't miss the principle that He gives: live in this moment and let the next moment be for the next moment.

In other words, don't let today's opportunities and blessings slip by because you are already thinking about tomorrow. Make the main thing "the main thing" every single day...

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Keep in mind that the main thing may be the very hand that God has given you at this very moment. Not tomorrow, next week or next year ... But today!


Monday, August 22, 2016

DAILY DEVO...finding yourself

Recently, I had someone tell me that they were AWOL (missing in action) because they were "finding themselves". I completely understand the need to take a breather from the stresses of life from time to time.

A year or so ago I recall some life changing decisions that I faced and I too felt the need to "find myself". I locked myself away in a cabin, just me, myself and I (and my Bible)!

When I hear people say that they are finding themselves, I really don't know how they will find what is lost without God.

"If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me” (Matthew 10:39, MSG).

The first sentence of the book "The Purpose Driven Life” says this: "It’s not about you.”

Society screams something different to us, doesn't it? "Have it your way,” “We do it all for you,” “You deserve a break"; it appears that it IS about us and our comfort.

But God says, as we see in Matthew, that the only way we will find ourselves is to actually forget about us and focus on God!

If you want to find yourself; seek God and then you will not only find you but also God. Two for the price of one!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

DAILY DEVO...what has the Lord done for you?

Tonight, I will stand before our youth group and ask them a very important question, "What has the Lord done for you?" You see, I feel it is important that we recognize the hand of God but unfortunately in our homes, in our churches and in our personal faith walks, we have become blinded and complacent.

We should not be stirred to seek God only because we are in a moment of crisis, we should not offer up praise only because there is a worship team leading us, we should not give only because we have extra money left over. We should do all of these things because God is a loving, gracious, forgiving Father Who deserves our attention. But too often we allow things, people, past hurts and laziness to keep us from seeing God. We become complacent.

I've had the privilege of going to many countries on mission trips. I have seen firsthand the sacrifice that believers have made in these far away places for their faith. I've been in worship services with the poorest people in the world who have literally nothing: no air conditioning, no running water, children begging in the street instead of going to school, no medical treatment for sickness. But despite all that, I've seen how they worship; these people have their hands raised and have worship on their lips. Not because of what they have or don't have but because of Who they serve.

Paul and Barnabas faced conspiracy, abuse and stoning, as recorded in Acts 14. They considered it a worthy price to pay for taking the gospel to the Gentiles. Rather than disciple others on how to avoid it, they taught them that they should expect it.

"We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

I wonder what grace and favor we may be missing when we devote so much time avoiding confrontation and adversity to make life more comfortable? What could we be missing when we become so complacent in our walk with the Lord that we can't see all that He has done for us?

My prayer is that we change from “keep my heart safe” to “make my heart strong."

I leave you today with a question for you to answer..."What has the Lord done for you?"


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

DAILY DEVO...be still and watch God!

The past 7 weeks has been so hard for me to not be able to do the things I want to or need to. Normally I am not one to sit still. Rarely would I be found sitting down, not when there are dishes to wash, laundry to fold, bills to pay; something to do. God has taken this recovery time to knock me on my feet and slow me down!

“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations He has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire” (Psalm 46:8,9)

Even in the midst of devastation and turmoil, nothing occurs without God's direct intervention. Sometimes, God wants us to slow down and let Him be God!

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

Another way of saying this is "Stand back and watch as I blow you away with what I am about to do!"

When I am in the midst of something that feels like a tsunami, I need the reassurance that someone Is in control, someone other than me. God sees and knows what we are going through. He wants to remind us that in whatever situation, He is there, and He wants to be exalted. Every seemingly impossible situation is a perfect opportunity for Him to display His power and magnitude.

Next time you are in a tight spot, instead of getting frantic, simply stand back, be still and watch God amaze you!

Learn to enjoy the small things and let God worry about the big things.


Monday, August 8, 2016

DAILY DEVO...when you don't know why

Not everything in life can be explained. In fact, I am certain that somewhere, sometime you have questioned God...

"Why God?"

As I prayed with someone recently, I told them it was ok to ask God why. God doesn't mind the why questions, however, sometimes it isn't for us to know why but just to trust Him for the answer.

Job had questions, in fact, he asked the question "why" 3 times in chapter 3 in the book of Job. Job had everything stripped away from him, I think he had reason to ask God the why question. I don't know if Job was ever satisfied with God's answer to "why"...

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." (Job 38:4)

But Job learned to trust God for the outcome. Even Jesus asked why...

"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)

It isn't wrong to ask why. In fact, it isn't even a lack of faith to ask why. But be prepared to not always understand the answer. Knowing the why doesn't always ease our pain. After all, when you have a broken bone x-rayed, does that make it less painful?

No. So why would you think knowing everything that God is working thru on your behalf would make anything less painful?

God's Word is full of promises, not explanations. If we knew all of the answers, we might not depend on God for much.

Trust God today for all of your answers, even if you don't understand why!