Devotional – Running

Psalm 139:7-10 (NCV)
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
Where can I run from you?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I lie down in the grave, you are there.
If I rise with the sun in the east
and settle in the west beyond the sea,
even there you would guide me.
With your right hand you would hold me.

I spent the day at Seattle’s premiere trauma hospital while my beloved Poppa (grandfather) had surgery to repair his broken neck. He’s been on feeding/breathing tubes and fighting severe infections all week. Drugged to manage his pain – fighting to regain strength enough to even be able to attempt the delicate procedure he had today. It’s been a rough week as just about every day brought some new problem, a fresh difficulty he’d have to overcome. And yet, the past few days I have been utterly overwhelmed by God’s great faithfulness. I barely made it thru worship at church yesterday because I was enveloped by the knowledge that no matter what my circumstances say, God is with me.

My Poppa believes in Jesus as his Savior. That alone is a miracle beyond words for me. This morning, my pastor came to the hospital and prayed with Poppa. And when I looked at him prior to his surgery, I saw pain in his eyes, but also peace. I suppose this scripture could refer to anyplace – “If I go to the ICU at Harborview, you are there” “If I am utterly emotionally spent, even there you would guide me”.  Poppa came thru his surgery and is stable this evening. He is such a fighter and I’m so very proud of him. While my day at the hospital was totally draining, it was nothing compared to what Poppa struggled with today.

I went for a run when I came home, trying to clear my mind – dump some of the emotional baggage I’ve been building up in hospital waiting rooms all day. Even as I allowed my tears to flow, cascading as my feet pounded against the pavement – God was with me. As I poured my energy out, His right hand held me up. In my exhaustion from the day, I rested in His comforting Spirit. Running is therapeutic for me, but it’s sure nice to know there’s nowhere I can run that would take me away from God.

Devotional – I Promise You Trouble

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s really kind of a bummer, but there it is. Not a promise of an easy life. Free from cares and worries. No guarantee of smooth sailing, of everything going my way. But a promise of trouble. Take it to the bank, in this life, we have problems. Thankfully, Jesus promises that in Him, we will also have peace. Not because there’s no rough patches in life, but rather, because in those hard places, we have someone who’s bigger. Bigger than a lost job. Stronger than any illness. Smarter than the toughest problem. Peace that comes from knowing Jesus is not dependent on a calm easy life. His peace rises above despair, loss and worry. His peace shelters us from life’s storms.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that through it all, Jesus promises peace. I find it much easier to focus on the trouble. How it isn’t fair. Why it’s happening to me. I need to keep my focus off the worries of life, and squarely on the giver of life, who soothes my soul with His peace.

Thank you Jesus for your amazing, unending peace. When troubles come in life, help me to keep my focus on you, and not be distracted by the problems. Hard things in my life come and go, but You remain constant. Thank you for overcoming the world, so no worry can defeat me.

Devotional – What’s Your Talent?

1 Chronicles 15:22 Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.

What are you good at? Not just ok, not good enough, but really truly gifted at?

My tendency in life is to focus on the attributes that need some work. I’m always striving to become better at certain skills. I’ve been working on sympathy for years. Mercy is another “improvement needed” area in my life. In the struggle to maintain areas that have some rough patches, I forget that God has given me talents that I naturally excel at. Some of them are easy to spot.
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Devotional – The Red Balloon

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

What an awesome day. I am continually impressed with God’s ability to mold me and shape me into a better version of myself. Closer to His own image. Transforming me little by little, or sometimes (like today) suddenly in a big chunk.

I am a perfectionist by nature. My own worst critic, I have a tendency to never allow myself a passing grade. I realize God has gifted me in many ways, but my first instinct is usually to find fault with just about everything. No matter what my success, I’m always following it up with a list of ways I could have done better. This is an area the Lord has been working on with me for several years. Slowly changing my heart to allow for the things in life I cannot change, nor can I control. Do you know how God “fixes” a control-freak-perfectionist? He gives you things utterly completely and entirely beyond your ability to handle or even manage. And you know what, it works really well. Continue reading

Devotional – Irish Eyes

Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make His face shine upon you. And be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

A lovely blessing for this, the end of another work week. Like so many passages I’ve read in the last month, I’ve heard these verses from various pulpits, pastors and other people in my life, but never read it myself in the Bible. It is a nice feeling to read such familiar words, and see them in a new light as God opens His word to me. Continue reading

Devotional – Rest is More Than a Nap

Exodus 33:14 – And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

God gave me a perfect scripture this morning. It is amazing to me that just about every day since I began having a quiet time with the Lord, there has been something I’ve read that seems to be placed in the Bible just for me.

I have been feeling tired the past couple days. No, exhausted is closer. Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in my daughter’s playroom while she was making me some imaginary food and then suddenly she was leaning over me saying “Mommy are you sleeping?”. I had fallen deeply into sleep sitting up on her very uncomfortable IKEA couch. Yeah. I’m not sure if I’m getting sick, or if the 5am wake-up is getting to me since the past couple days I’ve been late-to-bed. Whatever the reason – I want rest. Voilà! In my devotional this morning, I read a scripture about God’s presence being with me and providing me with the very rest I am aching for. I know I’ve said this before, but how DOES God do that?

More than just sleep, rest has much deeper meaning. It can mean to sit fixed or supported, to be free from anxiety or disturbance, or just to cease from action or motion, to refrain from exertion. God’s rest is a calming influence in my life. To know that He is with me, allows me to lean on His support and not have to use my own power. Resting in His care is relaxing, comforting and peaceful. Sleep is what I think I want, but rest is what I actually need. Life gets crazy and I tend to overbook my days. My proverbial candle is most definitely burning at both ends. God is reminding me today that His rest is an important component of my life, and I need to make time for it.