Archive for the ‘FAITH’ Category

Psalm 31:15

My times are in your hands.

I hate roller coasters! Not only rollercoasters, but most any amusement park rides. I don’t have the time to tell you how many times I ALMOST got hurt on various amusement park rides, but that is neither here nor there.

Real life has ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. If we aren’t careful we can get  caught up in the cycle of all those exhilarating highs and those desperate lows. Some people may enjoy that ride, but I’m not one of them. I am not a drama queen. I don’t like drama any more than I like roller coasters.

Unfortunately, my life has been more like a roller coaster lately. As the two-year anniversary of diagnosing my bilateral brain tumors approaches, it seems as if those hills and curves are coming even more quickly. One day–good news. The next–bad. The next–worse and then back to good news. And at this point, it seems as if it’s never going to be done.  It just keeps going on and on and on and…..

The thing about roller coasters (and life) is that control is an illusion. The best we can do is buckle up, hold on tight, and go along for the ride. Life can get that way as well if we let it. We can start worrying about every little detail, not just in our lives but in the lives of the people we love. As if worrying about it can change the outcome. NEWS FLASH–IT CAN’T!

 I’m done with the roller coaster.  In fact, I’m jumping off the roller coaster! I am not  in control, but God is. All those emotional highs and lows are too exhausting and stressful. Certainly, not good for me or for you. Instead, I’m claiming God’s promises of peace and joy, no matter what the circumstances.

He promises me my times are in his hands.

I believe Him!  

Are You A Quitter?

Posted: February 24, 2014 in DAILY LIVING, FAITH, GOD'S LOVE
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Proverbs 24: 16

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.

Are you a quitter? As children, we knew being called  a quitter was bad. Right up there with being a chicken or having cooties. But as adults we know there are times when it’s right to quit, but when?

Certainly, we aren’t called to quit just because things get rough. Or when it takes longer than expected. Or when our feelings get hurt. Or when we’re just plain tired.

I can’t tell you when it’s the right time to quit. That’s between you and God, but I can tell you when to rise up again because the Bible tells me the answer. When you fall! Seven times? Maybe, but it could be even more. Just as Jesus answered Peter when he asked how many times he had to forgive someone–seventy-seven came the answer.

Giving up is easy. Rising up again and again and again isn’t so easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult, but we learn so much when we rise again after the fall. Rising up again strengthens us and matures us as Christians. Each time we rise again that mustard seed of faith grows a bit more as does our dependence on God.  And never forget someone somewhere is watching you. Each time you rise, you show the power of God.

I’m struggling now–physically, but not spiritually. In spite of all my health issues, I’m at peace. At least most of the time. I won’t say I don’t get discouraged because I do. But when I am discouraged I remind myself of  two different verses.

First, Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Second, 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.

As I remind myself of these two wonderful promises, God gives me the strength to rise up and face the day once again.

I pray the same for you.

 

Luke 2: 10-12

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

 

A baby changes everything, there is no arguing that point. Ask any parent, new or experienced, young or old, tired or rested. A baby changes everything for their family.  And that’s even more true for the baby we celebrate during this Christmas season.  Let’s take a look at the reason for the season.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Atheists–agnostics–and some who just aren’t sure often give Jesus his “due.”  Oh, he was a great teacher, they say, but He wasn’t GOD.

Let’s take a practical look at that for a moment, shall we?

What’s the year? Oh–it’s 2013 A.D   A.D. does not mean “after death,” as a lot of people believe, but it stands  for a Latin phrase: anno domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord”—the year Jesus was born.  B.C stands for Before Christ, though now people have changed it in an attempt to downplay the religious aspect.

Wow!  Time is measured by Jesus’s birth and death. I’m impressed!

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Let’s take a look at Jesus’s life for a moment and those who knew him best–his disciples.

Without going into the gory details, ten of the original twelve apostles chose death rather than renounce Jesus’s divinity. Why? Because they experienced life with the Messiah. Some were with him the day he was baptised and they heard God’s voice come down from the heavens saying,  “this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”  They experienced the darkness the day he died.

They knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was the Son of God and they were willing to die rather than renounce His divinity.  Because of that certainty, they spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

But even better, Jesus changed my world. Christianity isn’t about rules and religion. It’s about a relationship with God through His only begotten son, Jesus. And that has made all the difference in my world!

Indeed, a  baby changes everything!

Ada Brownell is my guest writer today. I love her devotion, and it is so true. Some sins seems small and inconsequential to us, but in the end they can still make us gag and become very uncomfortable. Ada has a  new book out–IMAGINE THE FUTURE.  Here’s the Amazon Link for it.

IMAGINE YOUR MENTAL WEALTH

by Ada Brownell

Psalm 119: 10-11

“With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”

David, the same young fellow who killed the giant while Israel’s army stood by in fear, discovered Satan can trip up the best of us if we don’t look out. David wrote this after repentance for committing adultery:

God’s Word. A great download for our brains.

We are able to put some beautiful things in our minds: scripture, good music, good information, a willingness to learn, a willingness to work, a determination to love, a determination to help, a determination to make heaven our home.

Although God’s covenant is etched into our hearts when we accept Jesus as Savior, we need to study good things that “Ca-ching!” profitable character. We’re told in the book of Timothy to study to show ourselves approved unto God, so we will rightly interpret the Word of Truth.

If we use our excellent knowledge of good things, our character and integrity grow. Our will becomes stronger. It’s like seeing a growing baby every day. He looks the same size if we see him often, but if we wait six months or a year, we see a big difference! And you and others will see a change in you when you put positive things you learn into action.

When we make good decisions, we become more mature, more trustworthy, more dependable, and our potential for doing great things increases.

Yet, we need to guard our minds because ungodly things we assimilate (even alcohol or an illegal drug) can do things we can’t fathom.

Could be like what happened to Jonesy, my sister’s Clara’s Chihuahua, a little darling dog who did tricks for Clara’s husband, Blackie. They would put glassless eyeglasses on the dog, and he’d sit up, take his front paws, and act as if he were reading a newspaper. He’d play dead when Blackie pointed his finger and yelled, “Bang!”

Jonesy did all kinds of tricks and received his hamburgers “made to order,” and a human cookie for dessert. But one day he coughed, sneezed, and gagged all through the night. He wouldn’t eat, and he continued coughing, sneezing, and gagging for several days.

My sis thought Jones was dying, and she couldn’t bear putting him to sleep. Her son was fighting a war, and he was attached to the dog, too.

“We can’t let Jonesy die!” she said.

After about a week of the dog not eating, Jonesy gagged and Clara noticed something in the back of his throat. A long blade of grass hung down his throat and up through his nose. She pulled it out. Jonesy immediately got a drink, ate, and lived for several years after that.

Sometimes a tiny amount of filth or ungodliness can give us great grief.

©copyright Ada Brownell 2013—Adapted from the soon to be released book, IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU.

 

IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU by Ada Brownell

Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?

You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. You are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.

Today is the time to IMAGINE and to create an action plan for your future.

  • How harnessing your will can make you a champion
  • How to make valuable deposits into your mind, detoxify harmful substances in the brain, and avoid brain washing
  • How to look and be your best
  • How to connect with Someone who will make a difference in your life
  • How who you marry changes everything
  • How to avoid traps that jeopardize your future
  • Where you want your name to appear
  • Why you can believe God is there and interested in your future
  • Examples of people who grabbed their future and held on

This book will show how to make the right connections, how to grow you talents, and how to begin believing in yourself and things greater than yourself—for a wonderful Future You!

This sounds like a great book, Ada. Here’s the Amazon Link for it.

Thanks for being my guest, Ada!

 

Psalm 23:4 (King James)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

I’m at an age when I grew up with the King James version of the Bible and that was the only version. There may have been others out there but I wasn’t exposed to them since there was no such thing as the Internet back then.  To me Psalm 23, is about not fearing death. OK, that’s a good thing, I’ll give you that. But one of my online devotions used a different Bible version this week. It goes this way:

Psalm 23: 4 (NIV)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Those words touched me in a completely different way than when I usually read them.

I am going through a dark valley right now. It may not be the darkest valley I’ll ever have to go but it’s pretty dark and certainly not a place I ever wanted to go.  I found out a few weeks ago that I completely lost my hearing in my right ear due to the treatment on my brain tumor.

I’m still facing treatment for my left tumor and that means if the same thing happens I could be completely deaf.

Interestingly enough, when I was diagnosed and told that deafness was a possibility, that was the worst possible news. It seemed as if that would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me. No longer able to hear my husband as he serenades me. No longer able to participate in a simple conversation–face to face or on the phone. No longer able to play and talk with my pet parrots.

To me it was one of the worst things that could happen. In truth, I may be better equipped to handle deafness than most adults. I’m a speech pathologist with a degree in deaf education. I’ve known sign language since I was a teenager.  I’ve taught deaf and hard-of-hearing children how to be better communicators in spite of their hearing loss.

At the beginning of my journey with my brain tumors, It was impossible for me to imagine becoming deaf. Now, it’s not. It’s a very real possibility and one that I must face. Some days, I’m sure if the worst thing does come to pass, I will simply become a hermit, stay home, and write. However most days, I know that is a ridiculous choice.

Those are the days that I remember God is with me and even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for He is with me.

THE WORST THING is different for each of us, but the feelings are the same–pain, sorrow, fear, and even anger to name a few. The worst thing can and does happen to some of us every day. Even as we go  through the worst thing–the darkest valley if we keep our eyes on the light of God’s love and goodness, the darkness won’t be quite so dark and scary and we won’t feel so alone.

One of the best ways to let God’s light shine is to read His Word. I find such comfort and hope in His Word and the promises there. When I read the verse from today, my spirit calmed, and I remembered I’m not alone in the darkest valley. God is there with me.

 When bad things happen we have a choice. Let the darkness win or let God shine his light of love and goodness into the darkness to light the path that leads to God’s Kingdom–a kingdom filled with love, peace, and joy.

SHARING TIME: I’d love for some of you to share your journeys out of the darkness and back into the light of God’s Kingdom.

IF…IF…IF…

Posted: July 16, 2013 in FAITH

Phillipians 13: 13

… but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

So, my past few devotions focused on God’s love and with good reason. When things get tough, we often feel as if we are alone. But it’s not true. God loves us. So, I hope you enjoyed the LOVE devotions. I did! In fact, I enjoyed them so much I was tempted to continue writing more of them, but then the above verse popped into my head. I decided it was time to move on.

At 58, there’s one thing I’ve learned in life and that is life is always changing. Sometimes the changes are good; sometimes not so good; and sometime downright bad. Good changes are fairly easy to accept. It’s the not so good and bad changes where we get stuck.

I’d always though of this verse about  forgetting the bad things that’s happened to us in the past and moving forward into the future. Today, another way of looking at it popped into my head. I’ve been battling a myriad of health issues for more than a year now with more to come. Sometimes, I catch myself thinking if I could just feel as good as I did a year ago. If life could be the way it was a year ago.

IF…IF…IF…

There really isn’t a point to thinking that way. The past is gone. The person I was a year ago is gone. Unless God intervenes I will never be that person again.   Getting stuck in the past won’t change my present  one little bit.

I am who I am now and I need to find a way to be peaceful and joyful in spite of my new circumstances!

Not an easy thing to do by any means, but a necessary one.

I’m doing a few things to keep moving forward in life.

PRAY!  Pray a lot. Talk to God about what’s going on in your life. Tell him about your frustrations, your sadness, and your anger if you have any.  Of course, pray for God’s intervention, but also keep telling him and showing him that you trust him during the bad times as well as the good times.

FIND WAYS TO SERVE OTHERS! No matter what your specific circumstance are, rise above them and think of others. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment was to love God and the second was to love others.. Follow that commandment and you will reap the rewards. Each time you show love to someone else, you will share a moment of joy.

SMILE!  Smile even when you don’t feel like it, especially when you don’ t feel like it. I believe smiling is contagious–not just to other people but to yourself.  The more you fake a smile, the more real the smile becomes and the better you feel.  The reverse is true as well–the more you complain, the worse you feel.  Make a choice

Life is a lot like driving a car. It’s necessary to look into the rearview mirror from time to time, but it’s really important to keep your eyes on what’s ahead of you as well. No matter what your circumstances are, life’s not over yet so don’t get stuck in the past. Keep moving forward.

Only One Sane Choice!

Posted: March 22, 2013 in FAITH, TRUST
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Joshua 1: 9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

As I was drifting off to sleep, God nudged me awake with the idea of this devotion. So up from the bed to my computer I went.

It’s been a rough fifteen months for myself and my husband. It actually started on Christmas day 2011 and we’ve had crisis after crisis since then. The details aren’t important—well, actually they’re very important to me but not to you.

The reality is we’re still going through the crises and we don’t know what the future holds. Things are getting better and God is working in our lives, but we still don’t know and won’t know the outcome of all our “issues” for quite some time. In spite of that, we haven’t stopped smiling, stopped enjoying life, or stopped trusting God.

But guess what?

You don’t know what the future holds either.  You may think you do. You may have all sorts of activities, goals, plans and strategies in place for the next year or even five years. The truth is none of us know what will happen in the next minute, hour, day, week……well, you get the idea.

When faced with that truth, there really is only one sane choice.

TRUST GOD.

Trusting God is the only reasonable choice in an unreasonable world.

God will bring a supernatural peace and joy that confuses the world. We don’t have to understand everything. We don’t have to know the future. All we really need to know is that God loves us and will be with us wherever we go.

Trusting God really is the only sane choice!

Ephesians 6:
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

FAITH! FAITH! FAITH!
Our spiritual journey begins with faith when we take that first step to believe and to become God’s child, then faith continues as we grow and mature spiritually, and finally our faith becomes fulfilled on that glorious day when we reunite with our Creator.
In our last devotion, we talked about life’s problems, big and small and that with each of those real-world struggles come an UNSEEN BATTLE—the battle to steal our spiritual inheritance and legacy. That is what the enemy wants. He wants us to listen to his lies, to believe him, to believe we don’t have the power to change our circumstances. To believe that God is not God. To believe that God is not good. To believe that God doesn’t love us as much as the other people around us.

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose to activate our faith in and through every circumstance. In Beth Moore’s study—Living Beyond Yourself—she has a phrase for each of the fruit of the spirits. For faith, the phrase is FAITH FIGHTS!

FAITH FIGHTS!
Faith is not passive.
Faith is active.
Let’s look at today’s verse again in light of the fact that FAITH FIGHTS. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Which YOU can extinguish…. YOU must do it. Faith is not passive.  Faith is active. You must be the one who activates your faith.
But how?
A good start is with our thoughts, our words, and then our actions!
Every time, those seeds of doubt enter our minds, banish them with God thoughts! A great verse and very easy to remember is “With God, all things are possible.”
Every time, you are tempted to whine about the situation, change it to an act of faith, by using positive words:” It’s tough right now, but God is still with me.”
As you practice using your thoughts and words to activate your faith, let your actions show that you are believing God’s Words and His Promises, not the enemy’s lies.
Faith Fights!
In her study, Beth also talks about prayer and that prayer can change our circumstances. She uses the illustration of a wall of doubt but with prayer that wall can be knocked out and turned into a window to allow God’s Power into our lives. Can you picture that?
I can. I kneel before a sold wall but as I pray to God. I pick up my  axe of faith and start to knock out the wall. With each prayer a little more of the wall of doubt crumbles allowing more of God’s light and power to shine on me. And before I  know it, I am bathed in the light of God’s love.

Bring on the flaming arrows, enemy—I will use them to enlarge my window of faith!
FAITH FIGHTS!

 

 

SHARING TIME: What’s one real way you can activate your faith on a daily basis?

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.

LIFE IS TOUGH! And then it gets even tougher. Sometimes it seems as if our problems and troubles will never end. And the truth is they might not! Or they might not end the way we want them to.

Disappointments, worries, and problems come. Illnesses happen. Tragedies strike. That’s the reality of the fallen world we live in.

Those are the battles we fight every day in the natural world.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and sometimes it becomes a wait and see what happens. But there’s another battle going on as well. This battle is much more important than whatever you are experiencing in the natural world.

It’s an UNSEEN BATTLE

The unseen battle is about stealing your faith, hope, trust,  power,  peace, joy, and all the other wonderful gifts God gives us as His heir. Paul says it this way in Ephesians 6:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Paul knew what many of us forget in this modern world. Even though we can’t see the supernatural world, it’s out there and there’s an unseen battle going on. And that’s the battle that counts!

You may not be able to do much about the battle in the physical world. Sometimes, you can and you certainly should do all you can, but there are times, it is what it is and you can’t change it.

But the UNSEEN BATTLE.

God gives us the weapons we need for that battle, but it’s up to us to use them. If we don’t we’ll lose the war. So, what are the weapons for fighting the unseen battle?

Ephesians 6: 13-20

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 

As you can see, God has not left you defenseless in the UNSEEN BATTLES, but instead has given you many weapons. They are all important, of course, but it all starts with that shield of faith which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Wow! Did you read that line? Maybe you should read it again:  that shield of faith which YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Did you notice the word I put the emphasis on that time?

YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! YOU are the one that much activate your faith. YOU are the one that must use your faith.

So, how do you do that? Good question and we’ll  discuss it some more in the next devotion.

SHARING TIME:  What are ways you activate your shield of faith?

Letting Go Of Expectations

Posted: February 27, 2013 in FAITH

Isahiah 43:18

Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.

This verse is fairly familiar to most of us. Paul also talked about this same idea. Letting go of the past and moving forward. But as I read this verse this past week, another thought occurred to me that I’d like to share with you.

I think the verses are also about our expectations.

As we go through life and all the experiences that it throws at us, we form expectations. Those expectations can become so ingrained in us that they hold us back form God’s best plan for us.

For example, I’ve struggled with my weight for many years. And that means I’ve been on many diets. Each time I go on one, I truly want to lose the weight, but past results of diets have led me to certain expectations. The expectation being that I may lose 10 or 15 pounds before the diet stops working and/or I go back to old habits.

And you know what?

That’s exactly what happens!

And do you know why? Because of the expectations I’ve learned from past experiences. The truth is it doesn’t have to happen that way, but I let my past expectations control my present actions. If I stay with the nutrition plan and the exercise program that’s been working, why wouldn’t it continue to work?

It would except that I’ve programmed myself to expect failure. And so I that’s exactly what I get–FAILURE!

Maybe, it’s time to reset our expectations and experience more of God’s blessings, more of God’s success, more of God’s power in our life.

One way to do that is that as shut down those  negative voices telling  you that you CAN’T do it, that it WON’T work out, that you SHOULDN’T expect good things, use your voice and tell them out loud:  WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

SHARING TIME:  What negative expectations are holding you back from God’s best for you?