Devotional – You Can Bring Your Shoes

Mark 6:8-9 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.

Jesus was sending his disciples out to preach repentance. They were going to heal the sick and drive out demons, but they were not to take with them money, food or a change of clothes. Why?

It’s amazing how much I depend on God when I’ve reached the end of my rope. When I have nothing on the journey to sustain me, it’s much easier to turn to the Lord to fill my needs. Obviously I’m making some assumptions here, but if the disciples had been given several weeks of spending money for hotels, a carry-on of clean tunics and enough groceries to last their trip – do you think they would have been in a place of reliance on God? Continue reading

Devotional – Momentary Troubles

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

These verses today reinforced for me something I heard in my church service on Sunday. Here’s what I wrote in my notes: “When we take anger and turn it inward, it becomes depression. When we take anger and turn it outward, it becomes gossip. When we take anger and turn it downward (start listening to the lies of Satan), it becomes oppression. Only when we take our anger and turn it upward does it find the appropriate vent, and we are able to move on.” Sometimes, we have a right to be hurt. We have a valid reason to be angry. It’s what we do with those emotions that determine the lasting effect of them on our lives. Anger resolved improperly only becomes a bigger problem. We vent to other people and turn into gossips. We harbor resentment and it eats us alive.  But the process of allowing anger to exist in a healthy way is hard – because it requires us to turn our emotions over to the Lord. Continue reading

Devotional – Factory Settings

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Last night I had a total flip out. Completely lost it. I felt like I was going to vomit I was so incredibly upset. I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed for about 10 minutes. I cannot remember ever doing that before.

Here’s the story:

I’m working on a wedding slide show for my baby sister, who’s getting married in about a month. I went to retrieve some photos from my back-up hard drive, which I purchased specifically to hold the thousands upon thousands of pictures that were clogging up my C drive on my main computer. I’ve been systematically moving my photo files over to the back-up drive and then (after checking to verify they are in fact copied on the back-up), deleting the files off my main computer to free up space. I’m sure you can all guess what’s coming – when I went to pull up the “Windsor 2010” file, which held about 700 photos from our recent all family vacation in Windsor, it wasn’t there. As in, not where I filed it. I didn’t panic until I’d done my customary search thinking I just mis-filed it or hadn’t actually transferred it to the back-up drive yet. But it wasn’t on my C drive either. Wasn’t on any drive I searched. Wasn’t anywhere.

I started to flip out thinking of how on earth I was going to tell my parents and siblings that all those hundreds of photos – including the “formal” family shots we’d taken hours to shoot were gone. Then I hit the wall…the thing that put me over the edge. I realized that somehow the back-up drive had auto refreshed…and had copied exactly what was now showing on my C drive. Which meant that it wasn’t just the Windsor file that was missing…all the photo files I’d deleted from there were now erased from my back-up. Files which included every picture I’d taken of my daughter since she was born 4 years ago. Every. Single. One. Gone. The moments after her birth, Christmases, birthdays, her first smile, first bath, first everything. All of them erased in some horrible factory setting auto-refresh. Continue reading

Devotional – Your Chariot Awaits

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Obviously, these days our trust in chariots has somewhat diminished. Those things would never pass the NHTSA’s side impact protection tests. Chariots and horses were much more than the Israelite equivalent of a commuter car though, they were symbols of wealth and power. They were powerful weapons for armies. David captured so many chariots during the wars of his reign as king, that his son had to make entire cities for storing them. Chariots also served as protection, with their waist-high, curved, shield like front, they were models of multi-tasking.

Our chariots have become more sophisticated these days. Rather than trust in two wheels and a couple horses, we cling to the our modern-day versions. We trust that if we just made $$ (insert-slightly-higher-than-what-you’re-currently-making-salary), we’d feel confident, comfortable and carefree. We believe that our intelligence and wit will make us a force to be reckoned with in our social circles. We protect ourselves from pain, not with gilded gold-plated shields, but with sarcasm, silence or secrets. As we’re rumbling through life trying to keep our high-powered chariots under control, we’re missing the peace and contentment of trusting God to take the reins, pull over and walk the road with us.

What chariot are you driving? Where is your trust being placed? If it’s not in God, it’s going to let you down. And chariot crashes aren’t pretty.  Watch Ben Hur if you don’t believe me.

Devotional – I’m ok being a sheep.

Psalm 95:6-7 O come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand.

My sister’s and I have a name for people who, not paying attention, just follow the person in front of them. Seemingly unable to think for themselves, these folks just blindly line up wherever. They could be mere feet from a better option, but they don’t notice. It’s like they just trust that the person in front of them knew what they were doing – and so they’ve followed. We call them sheep. It is not meant to be a compliment. I’ve been thinking about sheep in a different light today. During my sermon yesterday, our guest speaker mentioned being the people of God’s pasture – His sheep. So, if God is my shepherd, I’m a sheep right? But what does that really mean?

Sheep are often thought of as dumb animals, but in fact they are equally as intelligent as cattle. Sheep have the ability to remember faces for years and can be taught their own names. However, their instinctual panic and flee characteristics make them seem downright stupid. As humans, we don’t really respect creatures that just scatter screaming like crazy when faced with danger. Sheep are very influenced by their leader and have a natural inclination to follow as a pack wherever they are led. They know their master’s voice and willingly go where the voice commands.

I want to be like that. I want to know God’s voice. To hear His instruction in my life and follow it. I want to delight in the pastures He brings me to, knowing that He has selected the best for me. I don’t want to flip out in the face of trials and bleating scatter like crazy. I want to know the security of the flock the Lord has me in. To rest that God is prowling the edges, keeping me safe.  I’m ok being a sheep, so long as Jesus is my shepherd.

Devotional – Deep breath in, deep breath out

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

One day at a time. Just today. That’s all I need to concern myself with.

But it is just so hard!

The past few days I feel a bit like the proverbial chicken missing his head. I suddenly have  many many many things to juggle, and I feel like my hands can’t move fast enough to keep all the balls in the air. For example, yesterday I went down to my church to work on a few things I needed to do. I got a lot accomplished and felt great, until I got home and realized I’d forgotten to drop of my husband’s bass guitar so the worship team could use it. “Oh well, I’ll just take it down tomorrow morning after my workout” I thought. Continue reading

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