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Just What I Needed, Just in Time


Exercise
Devotion for youth/blog
School
Devotion with kids
Pick up trash in yard (Left a bag out and the animals paid a visit.  Yay.)
Laundry
Re-organize your desk. (The prefix, RE is important here…..implies a repetitive action.  Meaning I can’t keep it organized…. *rolls eyes*)
Prepare lunch
Play cards with the kids
Purge bookshelf and pack away for yard sale
Mop bathroom.  Again
Clean bedside table
Study lesson for youth tomorrow at church
Prepare dinner.  Fajitas
Call ATT about Stephen’s phone
Pay car note.  Don’t forget!
Mop kitchen.  Again. 
Make grocery list.
Organize entertainment cabinet.

This is my to-do list for today.  Let me repeat.  This is my TO-DO LIST for TODAY!  As I look back over my list, I am completely overwhelmed.  Yesterday was a good day.  I made my list, felt really good about it, tackled it with fervor and gusto.  Yesterday I was productive.  Yesterday I worked my patooty off.

Today, I feel tired.  Overwhelmed.  Frustrated.  Today, I am on the verge of wanting to throw myself a pity party.  After all, check out that list.  And if truth be known, that’s not all I need to accomplish today.  Today, just looking at the list makes it hard to breathe.

I see nothing on the list that is about me.

What about adding a pedicure to the list?  I desperately need one.  There’s no time OR budget for that.

What about curling up with a good book?  It would be hard to focus with the kids constantly needing me.

What about a girls’ night out?  Get away from it all?  The hubby wouldn’t be thrilled about that.  Who would cook supper?  Besides, I haven’t talked to my ‘girls’ in so long, I’m not sure they remember who I am.

I toss my arms in the air in frustration.  I begin to become annoyed and agitated over the simplest things.  Someone is constantly needing something from me.  Chores are constantly calling me.

Doesn’t anyone see what all I do for them?  Don’t they appreciate anything?

That’s when the still small voice whispers, “I understand.  I love you.”

And my world begins to spin.  Just like that.

I am reminded of my amazing God who is mighty to save.  He who can move mountains, was there.  Listening to me complain.  He who commands the universe was there.  Listening to me whine.  He who created the heavens and the earth was there.  Watching me throw a full-blown pity party.

I’m sure my pitiful moaning, whining, and complaining were pretty pathetic in the eyes of my Lord.

But instead of scolding, I heard Him say, “I understand.  I love you.”

Instead of turning from me in frustration, He wrapped me in His love and comfort.  Reminding me of how my love and comfort are important for those I serve.

He does understand not being appreciated.  He does understand doing and doing and doing for others and getting nothing in return. He does understand giving your all to others, only to hear more demands.  More needs. More wants.

Suddenly, as I look back over my list, I realize I forgot to add quiet time to it.  With all I had to do, I had forgotten to make an appointment with my Rock.  My Strength.  My Love.  My Savior.

No wonder I feel overwhelmed!  I haven’t fueled up on God’s goodness. Quickly, I grab my Bible, my iPad (for worship tunes), and I fall to the couch.  I forget about the list.  I forget about all I have to do today because I realize without Him…. without His encouragement, I will accomplish nothing.

That’s how it happened.  Just like that.  God swooped in and gave me just what I needed, just in time.

I am re-fueled and ready to face my day.  I am energized and eager to tackle the tasks ahead.  The list is toast.  When God is with me, who can be against me?

My perspective has now changed.  Those items on my list, I will do to honor Him.  To be a good wife and mother.  To train my kids in the way they should go.  To serve my Lord.

After all, He’s done for me.  That’s the least I can do for Him.

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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Daily Devotions, It's my life.....

 

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He Answers Our Cries


Then you will call and the the Lord will answer.  You will cry, and He will say, “Here I am.”     — Isaiah 58:9

Fear of an uncertain future.  A broken home.  Financial ruin.  Poor health.  Loss of a loved one.  Loneliness.  Anger.  Frustration.  Failure.  Betrayal.  Job loss.  A broken heart.  So many things to bring sorrow and sadness in life.  So many things we don’t understand.  Sadly, I think most can say we have been through at least one of these life obstacles.

No one is exempt from trials in life.  The old question often arises, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”  I don’t know the answer to that question.  But I do know the only man to walk this earth sinless was burdened with trials.  Was it fair that Jesus was persecuted?  Ridiculed?  Betrayed?  Crucified?  Even He was not exempt.  We cannot escape times of trial and suffering.

But we don’t have to do it alone.

The beauty of Christian living is not that we are free from trials, but that we have the Lord God to carry us through them.  When you cry out to Him, He is there ready to give you comfort and peace.  The Bible tells us that all we need do is cry out to Him and He is there.  He will answer.  The God of the universe, who placed all the stars in the sky.  Created the heavens and earth.  Is there for us as we cry out to Him.

If you are in pain today, if your heart is heavy, if you are loaded with burdens and worry, why not cry out to Him?  Pull out your Bible and read God’s promises.  Cry out to Him in prayer.  He is waiting to hear from you. Let Him carry your load.  Let Him ease your troubled heart.  Let Him bring you peace that passes understanding.

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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Daily Devotions, It's my life.....

 

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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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Everything That Has Breath!


A few months ago, a friend and mentor asked a group of us to write down all that had happened with us over the past year.  Taking that time to look back and actually put it in writing was a profound moment for me.  As you sit and ponder over all you’ve been through, your mind just simply cannot picture it all at once.  Seeing it on paper, for me was a major WOW moment. 
 
I have determined that at least once a week, I will make a list of things I am thankful for that week.  Specific things.  Doing so helps me take a bad day, a sorrowful heart, or a worrisome spirit and turn it around.  It gives me a new perspective on my life in the moment.  It reminds me that although I might feel like I’m in the pits of despair, hope and blessings are still there.  And so is the Lord. 
 
Somehow, for me, feeling God’s presence through my tears and aching heart, helps me grow closer to Him.  He comforts me, loves me, and guides me through the pain.  And even through the heartache, I can praise Him. 
 
We often get so bogged down in our own worries, or even just the busy-ness of life, we forget to take time to truly praise Him.  Worship Him.  Spend time in His presence.  No matter the circumstances of your life, find time to praise Him.  Even in the muck and the mire, He is there. 
 
Faithful.  Loving.  Strong.  Protecting.  Comforting.
 
The Bible says that everything that has breath should praise Him.  Everything that has breath.  Myself, my family, even my dog.  Singing praises to Him.  Just the picture of it in my head makes me smile. 
 
Today, I will give Him all the glory. 
Today, I will thank Him. 
Worship Him. 
Praise Him. 
 
And my day will be better because of it! 
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on January 4, 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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