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Bring it On!

Bring it On!

Bombs.

School shootings.

Thousands upon thousands of babies murdered before they are ever allowed to experience a breath of air.

Yikes!  Maybe turning on the news isn’t the best idea to start my day on a positive note.

So, so many things happening in our world today that are completely senseless.

Sadly, I can’t say all of this tragedy and depravity is only out there in the world.  It also resides in our communities, schools, and yes, even churches.

Making sense of it all is nearly impossible.  You can quickly find yourself losing faith in mankind.  Even those who walk in Christian faith, strong one minute, can quickly collapse as if shifting sand is beneath them.   Satan is a truly a master destroyer…..and his ultimate goal is to destroy as many Christian lives and churches as he can.

Overwhelming, isn’t it?  It almost seems hopeless.

Last night, as I was driving home from a long and completely stressful day, I was having quite the pity party.  My faith in man was at an all time low.  Troubles have invaded my comfort zone all week long and I was ready to throw my hands in the air, fall in the floor, and throw a fit.  I finally turned the radio up to distract my thoughts, as I was quickly spiraling into a ‘woe is me’ attitude.

That’s when it happened.  One of my favorite oldies came on, “How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise”,  I was quickly reminded that no matter how man might disappoint me…. no matter how depraved and tragic our society becomes, no matter how much I disappoint myself…. one thing remains true and constant.

don't panic

God is on His throne.  And He is unchanging.  He is the same in the valley as He is on the mountaintop.

Trials and trouble may be ready to devour me and those I love and care about.  But God is on our side.  Though I feel as if I’m on sinking sand, I will find, when the sand has all blown into the wind, that I safely land in the palm of my Father.  He has a firm grip on me and He is NOT letting go.

So what do I have to whine about?  My faith lies in my Savior, my Creator, my Rock.  Man will always disappoint.  I will always disappoint.  We are only human.  We all struggle with temptation and often, we lose the battle.  But we cannot quit.  We cannot let Satan win.  In the book of James, we are told to consider it pure joy when trials are heaped on us.  After all, we are about to be given the chance to grow in faith and perseverance.

So, this morning, as I wake and find my circumstances to remain the same as they were last night in the pit of the most pathetic pity party ever, I will have a cup of coffee with the Lord, put on my big girl panties, and tackle this day knowing He’s got this. Troubles and trials??  Bring it on!!  The world can sink around me, but I am loved by the King.  And it makes my heart wanna sing!!

God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.   – 1 John 3:20, MSG

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.   –Hebrews 13:8

Only God knows how it all turns out, and for those who belong to Him, it turns out well.   –Romans 8:28

 

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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Daily Devotions, Scripture

 

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It’s not Burger King….. Have it ‘His Way’, not ‘Your Way’!


Even when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.   —John 11:6, AMP

So many things about God are a complete mystery.  The choices He makes…. in His time, not ours.  His will and plan oft times confuse us to our very core because it simply makes little sense to us.  After all, if He would just listen to us, let us tell Him what we need, when we need it, everything would be a bed of roses, right?!

God is like a breeze that blows in.  You may not see where He comes from, but there is no mistaking He is there.  His timing IS always perfect.  So why, is this perfect timing often so frustrating?

When times are hard and you feel like you cannot endure, the knowledge that just one word from Him could completely turn your circumstances around and solve all your troubles……..yet He doesn’t move??  Frustrating!  God is completely unpredictable.  He is not a fast food restaurant where you can order what you want and have it ‘your way’.  You can’t just say a prayer, ordering your needs or desires, and He delivers in less than thirty minutes.

This is so hard for us to accept and embrace when we are in the midst of trying times, heartache, and sorrow.  We cry out to Him for help, to fix our problems.  To rush in and rescue us.  When He is silent, our hearts wonder, “Why?”.  When we want so desperately to trust Him, but He seems to be quiet in the midst of our problems, it’s easy for feelings of betrayal to creep in.

During these times, it’s important for us to remember the greatness and majesty of our God.  As challenging as it is to wait on Him and His timetable for our life, do we have the right to expect Him to be at our beck and call? Who are we to question His ways and His timing?  The trials and problems we are faced with just might be part of His plan to teach us a lesson along the way.  Maybe it’s patience.  Faith.  Trusting in Him completely.  If He jumped in and fixed every situation for us immediately, we might miss out on the big plan He has for us.  As much as it hurts in the moment, hardships and trials are opportunities for exponential growth in our relationship with Him.  But it begins with trust.

We cannot anticipate what God will do next in our lives.  We cannot see all He sees.  But we know we can rely on His heart.  Even in those times we aren’t getting our prayer ‘orders’ filled as quickly as we would like, He is there to comfort us and calm our anxious thoughts.

His character is unchanging.

His love is un-moving.

His goodness is ever-present.

His mercies are new each day.

Even when you can’t see His hand at work, keep trusting His heart.  Have faith in His timing.  Because it will never fall short of what is best for your life.  It’s not over yet!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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Tebow Mania


Tebow Mania is taking over!   Tim Tebow is a man who is not ashamed of his faith.  Even more than that, he publicly exercises his faith.  Publicly credits God with his success.  It’s a breath of fresh air.  Sure, there are plenty of naysayers out there.  Those who criticize his faith.  Those who claim it’s a bunch of nonsense.  But even many naysayers are now paying attention.  And although many will argue over God’s involvement in Tim Tebow’s success, few would argue he is a man completely devoted to his faith and his God.

My Facebook news feed was exploding with Tebow mania.  People are encouraged and inspired by his story.  And his courage to stand for what he believes.  People are cheering him on.  Shoot, I don’t even like football, but I find myself toying with the idea of ordering a Tebow jersey!

Last night, as I scrolled through the feed, I noticed that believers and non-believers alike are in love with Tebow, his dedication, and his devotion.  So many seem to be hungry for what he has.  So how do you live a life of devotion to God?  How do you become so completely in love with Him, full of faith, full of confidence in His power that it truly changes your life?

We can all have a powerful, active relationship with God.  It begins with the choice to give your life to Him.  ALL have sinned.  But there is hope through the blood of Jesus.  He was the sacrifice, the atonement for our sin so that we can have eternal life.  Giving your life to Him is believing in Him.  Believing in His sacrifice.  His love for us.  Admitting your a sinner.  Confessing to God and accepting His forgiveness and the sacrifice made for YOU.  But it doesn’t end there.  Giving your life to Christ is only the beginning of the journey.  He has so much more for you!  But it takes work.  It takes perseverance.  It takes determination.  And it takes consistency.

You must devote yourself to a life lived for God.

Your devotion and dedication to a relationship with Him must weather the storm.  If you want to see His power at work in your life, you must choose to follow Him.  Everyday.  As you put him FIRST in your life.  As you devote your time to prayer and worship.  As you devote yourself to reading His word.  As you yield to His guidance and direction for your life, you will allow Him to work in your life.  And His power, His love, His faithfulness will amaze you.

I challenge you today, to put God first.  Dedicate your life to Him.  Give Him your heart and complete authority over your life.

One thing’s for sure.  You will never see the power of God at work in your life, if you don’t take the first step!

Tebow mania is great.  He is setting an amazing example.  He is witnessing to millions.  But what I really want, what I really need is the power of God at work in MY life.  Then, I can begin to inspire others the way Tebow inspires me.  Now, where can I order a jersey?

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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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Never too late!


But that is not the way you learned Christ!—  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.    –Ephesians 4:20-24

Do you ever feel like you’ve blown it and blown it big?  Have you ever just felt like giving up on even trying to walk with God?  Maybe with all you’ve done, all you’ve been involved in, you are afraid others will call you a hypocrite for even trying to get close to God?  You think, “Maybe when I get my act together, I can try then.”

So many people feel this way.  I remember a few years back.  I  had fallen out of going to church regularly.  I felt pretty self-conscious when I tried to go back.  I worried over what others would think.  I entertained the thought of just giving up and living life my way.  After all, sleeping in on Sunday was easy.  And comfy.

What I had to realize was all that matters is what God thought about me.  And you know what?  Pulling people from the pits of sin is His specialty!  The truth is you can never fall too far, rip your britches too badly, or make too big of a mess that our Almighty Father cannot pull you out, dust you off, and put you to work for His kingdom!

In this passage in Ephesians, Paul was writing to the people of Ephesus, to encourage them in their walk with Christ.  He reminds us that we are corrupt and our sinful ways are not what we learn in Christ.  We are meant for more.  But ultimately, we are sinners.  We have a sinful nature that draws us in and encourages us to sin.  Paul says we are to throw off our sinful nature.  To be renewed in our mind and spirit, and put on a new self that is devoted to God and His ways.

How do you do this?  Through prayer, reading your Bible regularly, and staying in fellowship with other believers.  You can do it!  You can throw your old, sinful ways out with the help of our Father.  Does that mean you will never sin again?  Certainly not.  A Christian life is a life of constant striving to be Christ-like.  We will never find that ultimate state of perfection.  Only He is perfect.  But you will grow.  Will get better at saying no to sin.  And when you fall, you will have even more desire to seek Him and get back on track.

As you begin this weekend, commit to putting away your sinful nature.  Commit to walking in God’s ways.  Commit to living for Him.  Every day.  It’s never too late for God to use you. You are never too far gone!  God has a plan for you.  A great plan.  Far better than you can imagine for yourself.  You only need to be obedient, draw to Him, and follow his direction.

Happy Friday!

 

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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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A Fresh Start


I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last.   John 15:16

The beginning of the year brings many promises, goals, resolutions.  Yada, yada, yada.  For me it’s not the most positive activity.  Who wants to make resolutions we have little hope of keeping?  It seems no matter how much we would really LIKE to keep the resolutions made, we fail.  A year, after all, is a long time.  Yet, the idea of a fresh start is refreshing.  Everyone wants a chance to do-over and do better in the process.

Looking forward to a new year first always pulls me in to looking back over the past year.  My family experienced so many changes, so many ups and downs, it almost makes me teary-eyed.

But one thing that stuck out to me was the change in my second oldest son, Adam.  Adam is extremely goal oriented.  He is a planner.  He knows what he wants and he goes after it.  Last summer, right before transferring to University of Houston, Adam had become a bit disinterested in following God.  Sure, he was Christian.  But the Almighty King was no longer a priority in Adam’s life.  He had a plan.  He was going to finish school with some sort of finance degree, complete an internship in a large city (and was in the process of lining it up), and then would move to a large city and make lots of money.  Oh, and don’t forget……….he would live ‘happily ever after’.

He had been planning his future since he was just a young kid.  He began calculating my gas mileage when he was in second grade.  He saves money even when he doesn’t have a job.  He is one of the most driven kids I have ever seen….and I’m not just saying that because he is mine.

Although Adam’s plans were good plans, his pushing God aside, becoming too busy for God, concerned me.  As a mom, I want him to be successful.  I want him to be happy.  But I know without a doubt that nothing in life matters if you are not following God.  So, I began to finagle him into going with our youth group to camp.  He resisted.  A lot.  But I kept pushing.  And praying.  Finally, things fell into place and he gave in.

It was life changing for him.  He not only refocused on God, but he jumped in with both feet.  He shared with me he thought God was calling him into ministry.  In the fall, he went to UH.  I was so worried he would wander away again.  Instead, he joined a mission group on campus.  And he hasn’t looked back.  His plans have completely changed.  Over the holidays, he got the call about his internship.  This was his big chance to live in a big city, living what he had dreamed of since he was a boy.  Yet, without hesitation he told me he wasn’t going.  His plans were no longer about him.  His plans were to follow God’s leading into ministry.  He has given up his dream for the dream God has for him.  And he is ecstatic about it.

When I read this scripture today, I thought of my Adam.  God calls us to not just come to Him, but to produce fruit.  Fruit that will last.  Although all of us are not called into ministry, we are called to do something for him.  Everyone has a purpose for Him. Everyone has a talent He wants to use to further His kingdom.  We are not meant to be just Sunday morning Christians.

As you ponder over the past year and look forward to the new one, reflect on your relationship with our Savior.  Where does He fall in your list of priorities?  Is He just an after thought?  Or does He come first in your life?  Does your life reflect your love for Him in everything you do?   Are your actions and plans dependent on HIS will for you or YOUR will for you?

The awesome thing about God is each day is a new day.  His mercies are new every morning.  This means you get a new, fresh start with Him daily!   Seek a spiritual renewal within your heart this 2012.  Seek His will for your life and be willing to follow when you find it.  Devote this year to living for Him.  Following Him.  Serving Him.  Then, you will bear that fruit the Bible talks about.  And it will make 2012 the best year yet!

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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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Faith-full Friday!


I will praise the Lord at all times.
      I will constantly speak his praises.  –Psalm 34:1

It’s FFFrridddaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy!!!

Just that little phrase tends to bring a smile to my face.  Friday brings the promise of rest, relaxation, and fun.  It just makes you step a little lighter, smile a little brighter, feel a little more cheerful.  The light at the end of the tunnel has shown itself and you realize you are gonna make it.

Around this time of year, everyday is busy.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get things done.  Although it’s a fun time of year, it is also stressful.  For others, the stress comes from trials they are facing.  The holidays can take a toll on those who are dealing with broken relationships, financial problems, or the loss of a loved one.

Last year, my family was dealing with the loss of my step-dad.  We were just happy to survive the holiday season.  Our hearts were too heavy.  The loss was so close to Christmas, we were in shock.  It seemed unreal.  This past year has been so hard.  This year, the reality of the loss is upon us.  And although we ARE excited about the holidays, there still remains a sadness, a cloud that is there.  Our family is incomplete.

This week, it seems tragedy has been all around our small rural area.  Three children perished in a house fire.  A beloved father lost to a heart attack.  Serious illnesses have befallen several families.  I don’t understand all that has happened.  I don’t understand or know why.  But I do know that God is in control.  And He is holding those left behind in his hands.  I know that although I may not ever see the big picture, He does.  He knows the pain we suffer.  After all, His own son died a horrible death…..for me and for you.

I will choose to trust Him.  To lean on Him.  And to praise Him.

Today, I will choose to have faith that He has our best interests at heart.  I will choose to have faith in His plan, even if I do not understand it.  Today, I will choose to have faith in the plan He has for MY life…. faith enough to step out and follow.  Today, I will choose to lean on Him for comfort, peace, and even joy.  Because to know Him is to be loved unconditionally.  To know Him is to be full of faith.  Full of hope.

Today, I will thank Him.  Praise Him!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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On His Mind


Have you ever had someone you just couldn’t get off your mind? 

Maybe a crush on a boy or girl in high school.  You wasted vast amounts of time writing their name on paper with hearts and swirls?  You daydream about the moment that this person realizes you are THE ONE for them and you live happily ever after.  You try to focus on schoolwork, spend time with friends, but really all you want to do, all you can do is think about HIM/HER.

Maybe you remember those first months of courtship with your spouse.  The feeling that you need to spend every waking moment with them.  When they are not with you, you feel like something is truly missing.  You spend your time thinking about them.  Looking forward to seeing them again.  Planning that next date, that next moment, and even a future together.

What about the expectation of that baby on the way?  You long to hold it, to cuddle it, rock it.  You spend hours and hours planning the nursery.  Reading and learning how to take the absolute best care of that baby to come.  You are consumed with thoughts about the baby.  Everything revolves around the baby.

Or maybe it’s someone who is going through a trial or a tragedy.  Somehow it touches you so deeply, you actually hurt for them.  You think about what they are going through.  How it could be you or your family.  You worry about how they are coping.  How they are making it.  How you could help them.  No matter how hard you try, they creep their way back to the forefront of your mind.

Although I have experienced all of these things at one time or another, it’s nothing compared to God’s thoughts for us.  The Bible tells us that He thinks precious thoughts about us.  So many they can’t be numbered….even more than the grains of sand.  The God of the universe.  The creator of the heavens and the earth.  Thinks infinite thoughts of ME.  He loves me enough to be concerned with me enough to think of me and be with me always.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
      They cannot be numbered!
  I can’t even count them;
      they outnumber the grains of sand!
   And when I wake up,
      you are still with me!   –Psalm 139:17-18

When I really think about the magnitude of this scripture.  The reality of its meaning.  I can’t help but be humbled before God.  All those worries I have, all those thoughts I have, each step I take.  He is there.  When I love Him, He is there.  When I grieve Him, He is there.  Thinking of me.  Knowing the Almighty cares about me enough to think of me over and over and over again, just makes me want to please Him. Serve Him.  Love Him.

Today, as you go about your day, remember that God is thinking of you.  He is there.  He is concerned about you.  He cares about you.  He loves you.  With Him by your side, you can handle anything life throws at you!


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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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