One of my favorite things about writing down my devotionals is that I can come back to them and see how much (or in this case, how little) I’ve grown. I wrote this in 2011 – and the words convicted me this morning every bit as much as three years ago.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I was talking to a friend the other day over Skype (best invention ever) about how amazing the peace of the Lord is. When I happened upon this scripture in my devotional time this week, I knew it was meant for sharing. Continue reading
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.
There are times when it seems like God is not there. Days that stretch into weeks of wondering why He doesn’t seem to be fixing it. Making it better. I struggle in the helplessness I feel when facing a problem that is obviously too big. Too complicated. Too hard. I forget that I’m not the one who’s supposed to conquer my troubles. Continue reading
1 Samuel 17:8 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
One of the most well-known stories in the Bible, the tale of David and Goliath was one of my favorites as a child. To this day I love the trust David displays in the Lord. The unwavering knowledge that since God was with him, nothing could destroy him. He went out to battle ready to face what none other would because he knew firsthand the faithfulness of God. And didn’t doubt Him for a second. What I have never caught before in reading this chapter in 1 Samuel is the reaction of David’s brother. The anger and snide remarks seem to betray loathing for David’s faith in the Lord. Or maybe Eliab’s history with David made him unable to see the mighty call God had on his brother’s life. He took David’s sureness of the Lord’s might as bravado, conceit and wickedness. I wonder how often my familiarity with people in my life taints my view of them. Instead of seeing them as God does, I judge them based on past experiences. Continue reading
2 Timothy 2:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
This verse is kind of a side note for today – but I had to put it in here. I get a lot of grief for being competitive, clarifying the rules and expecting everyone to play by the established understood guidelines. In life, in sports, games – whatever. I want to know what the rules are, and I want everyone to be playing by those rules. Cheaters drive me nuts. Seriously. Absolutely crazy. I do not understand why on earth you would cheat to be the winner. What exactly did you win, if you cheated? I have always said that winning is worthless if you didn’t get there honestly. I learned that lesson after I cheated to win when playing “Sweet Valley High” with my sisters in 7th grade. Yeah sure I made it to the dance and had my boyfriend in tow…but I felt like a total loser because I knew I cheated. And now look – I found in my devotional reading today this verse that totally backs me up. Hooray. Now, on to the real guts of what God taught me today. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
I love love love having people in my life who I can turn to and simply say “I don’t know how to handle this”. I love it even more when those people (thanks Pastor Phil) point me right back to God’s word.
Somehow I managed to miss these verses yesterday…and they were part of my devotional reading. Go figure. I’m totally human. Now that I’ve had them pointed out to me, I feel so much better. My pastor encouraged me to trust in Christ’s righteousness instead of trying to prove my own. To not allow the way others see me, to warp how I know I’m viewed by God. So, I’m going to. I will make a conscious choice to have faith in the Lord’s acceptance, regardless of the rejection of man. I will take things to the Lord with an open, honest desire to search myself for areas I need to change. And then simply rest in what He shows me, knowing that His is the only opinion that matters. Whew. I feel such peace right now. It’s incredible. What a powerful thing it is to know who my judge is. Not other people, not myself – only God. I just need to remember that.
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.
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.
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.
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