Devotional – Comfort

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (KJV)

“I will come to you.” What a promise. In this verse Jesus is not saying to seek God out when we need comfort. When we’re lost, confused and hurting He isn’t waiting for us to get around to asking for help. He will simply respond to the cry of our aching hearts. God will come to us. He is the instigator of the contact. The Lord of Heaven and Earth will be right where we need Him. In the moments of agony and pain. He is there.

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Devotional – A Godly Cheerleader!

A lone person clicked on this devotional from March today — and it prompted me to go back and re-read it. Just what I needed. How nice of God to allow me to remind myself of what He showed me 9 months ago. I was having a down day today…after following my own advice at the end of this devotional, I feel much better. Thanks God.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Sometimes, my kids do things so adorable, it’s hard not to shout from the mountaintops that my children are the absolute best. I take great joy in pretty much every accomplishment. Each milestone, big or small, is met with exuberant praise and excitement. They never cease to please me and make me proud. How incredible to think that the mighty God of all creation is rejoicing over me in the same way. Continue reading

Devotional – Show Me Love

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Amazing. For a solid three chapters prior to this verse, Peter is discussing how we should live. Submitting ourselves to authority, abstaining from sinful behavior, husband/wife relationships, not to gossip…on and on. He talks about us being set apart – living lives that demonstrate that we are different from the rest of the world. And then there is this verse. Nestled in chapter 4 – so easy to miss. “Above all” – above all the other stuff. Love. That is so profound. It seems easy, but it is by far the most difficult task of all the instruction given in the four chapters I read today. Continue reading

Devotional – Walking Away

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I read once that integrity is doing the right thing – even when nobody is watching. The fact is, it’s really difficult for our private thoughts and actions to mirror those up for public consumption. Even harder for me than achieving personal integrity is the unrest I feel when in my relationships with others, things don’t add up. There’s a disquieting of my mind as I try to think thru conversations and understand the motivation of others. There are things in my life I don’t want to talk about with others. Areas I’m ashamed of. While I can be honest with myself about where my personal convictions stand, I will never know the whole picture behind someone else’s actions. I cannot possibly hope to understand what drives others responses in life. The full truth of where they are. But God does. Continue reading

Devotional – Delighted to Know You

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

I love people. Some of the most fulfilled moments in my life are when I really connect with another human being. That’s probably why it hurts me so much when I feel disliked, judged, misunderstood or outright lied about. Pretty much, I want to be liked by everyone. When it is wholly apparent that someone seems to loathe me, especially when it seems to be for reasons I can neither control nor change, it’s possibly the deepest wound I can bear. It hurts me beyond measure when someone’s aversion to me affects those I love. I really don’t know how to handle it.

You can probably tell, I’m struggling with a personal relationship right now. But you know what? God is faithful. I am not an early bird, but this morning, I awoke at 5 o’clock and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had a rough afternoon yesterday, discovering a duplicity that shocked me, and wrestled with my own emotions for hours before sleep finally came. The battle continued as soon as my eyes opened this morning. I tried to work it off at the gym, but still felt unsettled when I got home. I should have known to go to God first. This verse in Zephaniah (a book I don’t think I’ve ever read before) was like a soothing balm to my soul. As I re-read the verse, God’s love overwhelmed human hatred. I remembered that it really doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. It’s not important. I am precious to the Lord. He delights in me. What an amazing thought! Not just that He knows who I am, or that He occasionally checks in on how I’m doing. He delights in me. This same word (suws) is used in Isaiah 62 to describe a groom delighting in his bride. That’s how highly God thinks of me. Wow.

So really, how can I let the resentments and judgements of one little person affect me if I know I’m all good with God? Later in this passage (vs 19) God talks about dealing with those who oppress me – giving praise and honor where I’ve been put to shame. I am a fixer. It’s what I do. If something is wrong, I want to talk about it – out in the open and deal with it. But sometimes, that just adds fuel to a situation that’s being manipulated already. I need to rest in the knowledge that God has my back. I don’t need to prove my worth, argue my convictions or convince anyone to like me. I just need to respond in love, not allowing anger over the hurt to take hold, realizing that the only One who matters is already delighted to know me.

Oh Jesus, thank you so much for being with me this morning as I struggle with hurt. Thank you for calming my aching heart with your love and showing me (again) that the situations of life are never outside your command. Help me to hold on to your peace thru all conversations – to cling to your word’s promises and not allow the ugliness of revenge and resentment to seep into my relationships.

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 – L.O.V.E.

2 John 1:6 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

It’s not new. It’s not flashy. It’s not really that hard. Just love on another. So, why is it so difficult to accomplish? I find that my own life gets in the way of loving others. Because to really show love, you’ve got to do something. It’s not enough to just say it. Honestly, I’d rather be doing my own thing. I’m selfish like that. Showing love to those around me takes time, effort and thought. But, it’s a command. It’s not an option – I’ve said this before, loving others isn’t a choice.

Today, I’m trying to remember that as hard as it is sometimes, showing true love is always worth it. Even when I don’t get the recognition I think I deserve. Even when the person I’m loving doesn’t respond the way I think they should. Loving others well is just an outpouring of gratitude for the love I’ve been shown by God. Maybe it will help to remember – I’m not doing it for the people around me  (necessarily), I’m doing it for God. Making Him happy is more than enough for me to be willing to step outside myself – and simply love.

Heavenly Father,
I thank you so much for your never-ending love towards me. No matter how many times I fail, You are always still there, still loving me. Please help me to demonstrate that same devotion to others – especially when I don’t think they deserve it. Help me to put into action Your love.

Devotional – Tithing Your Cummin

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Boy, Jesus was always coming down on the Pharisees. What a bummer to be one of those guys huh? In the latest installment of “I’m following God with my whole head rather than use even a little of my heart”, the Pharisees had taken tithing (giving 10% to God) to a whole new level. They were measuring out one tenth of their spices and offering it to the church. What dedication. What servants hearts they must have possessed to want to give a percentage of even the tiniest things they grew. Um, or not. Rather than showing the love of God, they were taking the letter of the law and applying it to the minutia of their lives. Continue reading

Devotional – Yeast of Rules

Matthew 15:8-9  8” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.

Sometimes it’s easy to say all the right things. “Praise God! I’m blessed! Hallelujah! Thank you Lord. I love you God” Our lips are much easier to discipline than our hearts are. Jesus quoted from Isaiah these words to the Pharisees. These were people who (on the outside) had their faith all together. Not only did they go to church, but they were at the Wednesday night prayer meeting, the Saturday evening service and both services on Sunday. They LOVED following the rules. The more rules, the happier they were because it gave them that many more opportunities to showcase just how spiritual they were. They dressed the right way, talked the right way, walked the right way, even ate their food the right way – but Christ said it was all in vain, because their hearts were all wrong. Continue reading

Devotional – Opting Out of Love

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

I was reflecting this morning on how it feels to be loved. There are people in life who radiate the love of Christ. It absolutely seeps out of their very pores. It’s infectious, overpowering and wonderful to see. When you are with them, you can feel that they care. These are the people in your life who never have a harsh word to say about anyone, they give of themselves freely and fully yet never make you feel that it’s a hardship for them to do so. I have several friends who are amazing in this way, and it never ceases to impress me. I come away from my time with them feeling peaceful and filled up with joy and love. How can I become more like that? Continue reading