Friday, December 10, 2010

Captive Thoughts

Reading: 2 Chronicles 23; Joel 2-3; 2 Corinthians 10

“ We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:2b NIV).

This week has been tough. As soon as I decided to find joy in this Christmas season, I was bombarded with stress. My little girl has been extremely fussy, and my list of to-dos just keeps getting longer and longer. It seems as if there are never enough hours in the day (or night for that matter). My mind has been filled with negative thoughts. Satan has known exactly where to attack me as of late. He makes me doubt my mothering skills, my writing skills and my wife skills. He makes me look around at my life and see everything that is broken and incomplete. He directs my eyes away from Christ, where they belong. The verse above is meant for me, today and everyday. It’s a great reminder to take each thought and deed captive. In fact, it’s a verse meant for everyone of us. There’s a destroyer out there that preys on our thoughts. Some days we have to go moment-by-moment, giving each thought back to our Lord and Savior. That’s life for you. Satan wants nothing more than to make us feel insecure and insignificant during this Christmas season. He wants us to get caught up in the craziness of gift buying, and forget to find joy in Jesus Christ.

But I’m not about to let him. I’m taking each thought, and giving it back to Christ. I’m living each moment of this Christmas season for Him. I know it sounds cliché but He truly is the reason for the season.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Use Me

Reading: 2 Chronicles 21-22; Obadiah; Joel 1; 2 Corinthians 8-9

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV).

As the weather gets colder and I bundle my little baby up tightly for trips outside, I start to think about those who are less fortunate then me. I wonder if someone’s baby is cold today, less protected from the wind then my own.

My arms are already so full. I feel as if I’m constantly running from one thing to the next. My hours largely revolve around the little girl in my life. So what can I do? Where can I be used?
It’s probably a mistake to say that I can’t be used. God knows my limitations. He knows my gifts. And I’m sure He has things in mind, even now.

My prayer today is that He will show some of those things to me. That He’ll show me how to best love and serve this Christmas season, even if it is with a baby in tow.

How does God want to use you this Christmas?

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (Isaiah 6:8 NIV).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Reading: 2 Chronicles 17-20; 2 Corinthians 6-7

[Jahaziel] said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17” NIV).

“You will not have to fight this battle.”

How many battles have I fought that were never mine to fight? How many times have I tried to fix things, when it was none of my business to do so? How many times have I tried to make those around me happy, giving my expert opinion when all I was really called to do was pray?

More times than I can count.

My desire to make those around me happy has gotten in the way of my Savior working.

That’s why it’s been good for me to be at a distance from certain things.

Although I miss my friends and family, living far away has given me a sense of perspective.

It’s caused me to fall to my knees in prayer, instead of getting the middle of a situation.

It’s reminded me of the power of prayer.

For the battle has never really been mine to fight.

The battle has always belonged to the Lord.

It always has.

It always will.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christ’s Love Compels

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV).

What does it mean to be compelled by the love of Christ? How does this influence the way we live our lives?

The Greek word for compelled, synechō, means to hold together with restraint. Christ’s love holds us together. He makes us complete. He is our reason for living on this earth. And so why wouldn’t we live our every breath for him? Why wouldn’t we make Him the center of our world, our number one focus and priority?

But do we? So often I find myself coming up short. With a new baby in the house my priorities in life have shifted. She has become the center of my world. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She definitely needs my love and care. Just the same, as I care for her, I can’t forget where my heart ultimately belongs: to my Savior. He’s the one that has given this precious little life. He’s the one in charge of everything. He compels me each and every day. He holds all of my pieces together, even on the days when they feel like they’re coming unglued. He is there, by my side, helping me through this crazy days called motherhood. He restrains me, consoles me, and reminds me to find joy as I live my daily life for Him. He is my everything, I would be nothing without Him. What about you?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eagerly Seeking

Reading: 2 Chronicles 15-16; 2 Corinthians 5

They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. They took an oath to the LORD with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side” (2 Chronicles 15:12-15 NIV)

Eagerly seeking after Him. What does this look like? What does this mean? I love God with everything in me, but it isn’t always evident in the way I live my life. At times, He becomes an afterthought, a rushed prayer, someone I turn to on the bad days. But to seek Him eagerly, to desire to spend time in his presence, do I do this? I want to, I do desire it, but I don’t always put in into practice. My life gets busy. Already I’m focused on the holidays, and trying to pack in as much fun as possible. In the midst of it all though, I’d love to think that I’ll find time to spend with my Savior, even when my house is full of friends and family. I’d love to think that Jesus will still be my number one priority, even in the midst of a busy season. Now to put it into practice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do Not Lose Heart

2 Chronicles 7- 14; 2 Corinthians 2-4

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV).

Do you ever get to the end of the day, thankful that its over and a new one is about to begin? I know I do. This world can be draining at times. Some days are just tough. Nothing seems to go right. I love the verse above, because it reminds me that the things of this world truly are just temporary. What truly matters is on the inside. While things around us may be falling apart, we are being renewed and strengthened day in and day out. Our Lord and Savior walks through each trial with us, and reminds us of what really matters, eternity with him. In order to truly bring this point home, I looked up the meaning of a few words in this verse. The first two words “lose heart” were translated from the Greek, ἐγκακέω, which means to become discouraged. It’s so easy to become discouraged when we look at everything that is wrong in our lives, isn’t it? But this verse reminds us to not lose heart, but to instead focus on what’s important.
The last word I looked up was renewed. Renewed was translated from the Greek word ἀνακαινόω, which means to make new, to grow up, to give new strength and vigor, or to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state. God gives us new strength and vigor each and every day as he transforms us into the person he created us to be. This process isn’t always easy, at times it’s downright hard in fact, but just the same, it’s wonderful. Personally, I’m thankful that God didn’t leave me the way I once was, that person wasn’t exactly pretty. Instead, He is daily transforming me into a work of art. A masterpiece He created just for His glory.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We are the Temple

Readings: 2 Chronicles 1- 6; 1 Corinthians 16; 2 Corinthians 1

I love the description of the Temple of the Lord that we read of in 2 Chronicles. It was truly a spectacular thing. We’re told that, during the dedication of this dwelling place, that the glory of the Lord filled the Temple in the form of a cloud (2 Chronicles 5:14 NIV). How amazing it would have been to experience that! To hear the people celebrating, to smell the incense, and to see the presence of the Lord fill the temple. It would have been such an exhilarating moment. The Israelites were worshiping the one true God with all of their hearts, souls and minds. Just the same, I’m thankful that I don’t have to sacrifice at a temple to find atonement for my sins. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice when he died on the cross for you and for me. Now, instead of going to a temple to experience the presence of the Lord, I feel him inside of me, each and every day. As 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. How amazing is that! It certainly gives me some perspective as I live my life, day in and day out. If God dwells inside of me, then I certainly want to make sure that that dwelling place is a clean one, worthy of the king of all kings.

What does being the temple of the Holy Spirit mean to you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Think About It

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 20-29; 1 Corinthians 14-15

Do you know what you believe? We live in a world filled with false doctrine. At times it is terribly hard to discern fiction from fact. Paul writes about this very thing in his letter to the Corinthian church. Somehow, this church had adopted some false doctrine. They had come to believe that there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul quickly set them straight, reminding them to use their heads and think about what they were actually saying. If they truly believed that there was no resurrection of the dead, then they were, in fact, saying that Christ never rose from the dead. If they were saying this, then none of them had anything to believe in at all, or any reason to live (1 Corinthians 15:12-14 NIV). At times it’s so easy to be misled. The only way to combat this is to look toward scripture and to see if what’s being said lines up with the Word of God. If it doesn’t, then it’s obviously false. As Paul reminded the Corinthian church:

“Come back to your senses as you ought; and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 NIV).

We have the important task of sharing the Good News with the world around us. If we don’t truly know what we believe, how can we even begin to do this?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sacrificial Love

Because of the demands of a new baby, I’m attempting a new, Tuesday/Thursday publishing format here on Latte Lover Devotions. I’m hoping that, by publishing twice a week, I can become more consistent for my loyal readers. Please bear with me☺

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 17-19; 1 Corinthians 13

“ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV).

And now we come to one of my favorite portions of scripture, 1 Corinthians 13. This scripture was read during my wedding ceremony two years ago. The words are precious to me, because they speak about the kind of love I try to exhibit each and every day. They are the kind of love my Father in Heaven has for me.
An entirely sacrificial love.
With a new baby in my life I’m learning about sacrificial love each and every day. I’m learning what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that love was not self-seeking. I’m learning how to put the needs of my family above my own needs. At times this means going without sleep, going hungry for awhile while my little girl has her bottle before I have my lunch, or spending time talking to my husband in the evening, instead of having some time to myself. This type of love isn’t easy. But is the love of the Father easy? He sacrificed his son for us, the ultimate act of sacrificial love. If he could do that, then I’m up to the task of loving sacrificially here on this earth.
Loving sacrificially causes my heart to stretch and grow. At times this is extremely difficult. At times I miss simpler days, when my life was more self-centered. But then I look at my wonderful life, my military husband who works so hard, and my sweet baby girl, and my heart swells a bit. Loving may be tough, but it’s worth it in the long run.

What words from 1 Corinthians 13 strike a cord with you? How is your heart being stretched to love more sacrificially?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Song

This Week’s Readings: 1 Chronicles 10-16; Psalm 42; Psalm 44; 1 Corinthians 8-10:1-18

“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”

(Psalm 42:8 NIV)

My hours are consumed these days in a life-lesson on sacrificial love. Like never before, I’m learning what it’s like to totally set my own needs aside and care for the needs of someone else. At times this is extremely difficult. There are nights when I’m up with my little baby for hours at a time, holding her, changing her, and rocking her back to sleep. In those moments, I would much rather be asleep in my own bed, but instead I’m wide awake, missing my warm sheets and soft pillow. During the day she’ll often call me away from a warm meal, or her needs will cause me to stay home, instead of doing something with friends. Her needs are immediate, she doesn’t yet understand how to wait. If she wants something, she cries distressingly until she gets it. She needs my love, and when she asks for it, I give it.

Because how much more has God loved me? How much has He given me? More then I can express or imagine. By day He helps me love this little one. He directs me in how to love her best. And by night His song is upon my heart, as I rock my sweet little girl back to sleep.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Readings from this week: 1 Chronicles 1- 9; 1 Corinthians 6-7

“ I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35 NIV).

I haven’t had much to say about this week’s readings. The selections from 1 Chronicles have been a genealogy of names, from the beginning of time up to King David. I do find it amazing that so much was memorized. It makes me wish that I could list my family tree back farther then a few generations. In 1 Corinthians we read about lawsuits among believers, sexual immorality, and finally marriage. Paul truly believed that it was better to be unmarried. His thought was that if you were unmarried, you could truly devote all of your energy to God, while if you were married you had a spouse and family to consider as well. While I love being married, I do kind of understand his point of view. Being married is tough, and my focus is often divided between my husband and my God. It takes a conscious effort to ensure that God truly is number one in my life.

Just the same, being married is a wonderful thing. God has truly blessed me in this department. I’ve heard it said that a Christian marriage is the closest experience we have to experiencing God’s amazing love for each of us. The intimacy we experience with our spouse here on this earth is only the smallest picture of God’s love.

What an amazing thought! It leaves me feeling truly blessed.

What have you take from these readings? Did anything in particular stand out to you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Bandaged Heart

Today’s Reading: Psalm 147-150; 1 Corinthians 4-5

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 NIV).

On my own I try to bandage things. I try to cover up the wounds. I hide what I’m feeling from those around me. I let hurts in my heart fester and become even worse. I stew, I fret, I withdraw from those around me. The tiny tears in my heart become larger as I try to deal with the pain on my own.

But my Jesus comes to me. He opens up his hands and waits patiently for me. For some reason I often close my eyes so that I cannot see his open hands. Perhaps I’m afraid to let go of the pain I hold on so readily to.

But still he waits until I come to a moment of brokenness. The band aides over my heart aren’t holding anymore. My death-like grip loosens, and I give over my hurting heart to him. I release my pent-up feelings, my anxiety, my brokenness, and finally give him the control he needs to fix it. I place the wounds and battle scars into his arms and the healing begins.

More often then naught the healing isn’t instant. Instead it takes a lifetime of giving my broken heart back to Him, over and over again. And boy have I done it! I’ve had so many instances when my heart has been broken in millions of pieces, and I’ve needed my Savior to put the pieces back together again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today I’m Thankful For…

Today’s Reading: Psalm 136, 146; 1 Corinthians 3

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1 NIV).

My mom reminded me the other day to enjoy each part of this motherhood experience. It’s so easy to look into the future and wish that it would hurry up and get here. I look ahead 1 ½ months to when my family will be visiting for Thanksgiving. I look ahead five months to when my little one can start eating solid food. I look ahead to when she can talk, when she can walk, and all of the fun adventures we’ll have over the years.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to dream about the future. I think we all do it. But just the same, there’s something special about living in the here and now. There’s something special about searching for the ordinary blessings in each and every day. For our God is good, and He blesses us in so many ways. With the nights being so long and the adjustment to motherhood being so hard at times, my heart feels the urge to seek out those reasons to be thankful. It’s a topic you’ll see me come back to day after day. But I think it’s an important one. One we all could stand focusing on a little more. As you consider what ordinary things you’re thankful for, I’ll leave you with my list for today:

I’m thankful for a baby girl who sometimes wants nothing more then to be held by her momma.

I’m thankful for skinny vanilla lattes… in fact maybe I should go get one in the next little bit.

I’m thankful for Fall, even if it is a little different then the Fall I knew growing up. I love this time of year, when sweaters come out of storage and pumpkins and apples are ready for the picking.

I’m thankful for today in all of it’s ordinariness. (I made up a word there, but oh well).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Song on My Heart

Today’s Reading: Psalm 133-135; 1 Corinthians 2

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant” (Psalm 135:3 NIV).

It’s so easy for me to look at the negative. I didn’t have time to take a shower this morning. I’m tired all the time these days. My little girl’s cries give me a headache at times. My house is a mess, and I never seem to have the time to clean it.

Being a new mom is rough. I feel as if my job titles of freelance writer and homemaker have gone by the wayside as I’ve taken on the role of mommy. It’s so easy for me to look at all I’m not accomplishing, instead of everything I am.

I’m feeding, changing, and loving on a little baby. I’m investing in her little life, so that she grows up confident in my love. I’m telling her about Jesus so that one day in the somewhat distant future she accepts Him as her personal Savior.

It’s so easy to look at all the time I don’t have, instead of looking at what I do have. I have a beautiful, healthy little girl who is such a wonderful mixture of her daddy and me. I have a husband who goes out of his way to help around the house, and who can’t get enough of his little girl. I have friends and family who encourage me daily and remind me that time is fleeting. And I have a Savior who gives me the strength to make it through each long night of feedings, and gives me the grace to make it through each day.

With all those things, I can’t help but have a song of praise in my heart today.

What can you praise God for today?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tired and Weak

Today’s Reading: Psalms 130-132; 1 Corinthians 1

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1: 27-30 NIV).

Today my earthly body feels tired and weak. It’s hard work taking care of an infant. I often feel as If I have nothing left to give, but then I pray, and somehow find the strength to give a little more. For me, the nights are the hardest. I’ve always been someone who needs my solid eight hours a night. This whole waking up every couple of hours to feed a baby thing is really stretching me. I don’t know how I do it every night, but I do. Often times morning comes and I feel exhausted. It’s only by the grace of God that I find the energy to make it through each day. In 1 Corinthians 1, we read that God “chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (vs. 27 NIV). Weakness takes on a whole new meaning now that I’m a mother. Day in and day out I recognize my utter frailty in this world. I recognize my need for a Savior who understands how tired and raw my emotions are. I recognize how much I need to depend on Him for strength and love to make it through each day. Because my little girl needs a momma full of strength and love who doesn’t begrudgingly see to her needs, but lovingly cherishes every late night feeding, and every time she snuggles up close to me for a bit. Time is fleeting. These days of late night feedings will be gone before I know it. And so I choose to cherish them, and depend on my God for strength when mine is gone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our God the Builder

Our God the Builder

Today’s Reading: Psalm 127-129; Acts 18

I’ve been staring at these verses for quite awhile. In fact, I actually read them two days ago, and I’ve been wondering what to write ever since. Nothing really has been coming to mind. Sometimes when I read scripture a verse leaps off the page and pricks my heart. The application to my life is instantly there. Other times I don’t really find anything that applies. This morning, I finally found an application. Here’s what I found:
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1 NIV).

My husband and I made a vow, way back when we were still dating, that God would always be at the center of our relationship. We truly believe that by keeping our focus on God, we will be drawn closer together as a couple. At times, this is easier said then done. It’s so easy to get our focus out of whack. We get busy, get preoccupied, and rely too much on our significant other for our happiness.
This last part is where I fail especially. I depend on my husband too much, and forget to depend on my God most of all. For, as much as my husband loves and protects me, he can never love me as much as my Savior. That is why my focus and dependence has to be on my God most of all. My husband will sadly fall short from time to time, my God never will.
By keeping our focus on God, we are allowing Him to build up our marriage, our family, our household. We’re allowing Him to ultimately be in control. This takes on a new meaning now that we have a small daughter. The responsibility of caring for her is daunting at times. We need our Savior to be in control like never before. We need His direction, guidance and wisdom to help us as we rear up this young soul. We need Him to build up our house, because it wouldn’t be pretty if we tried to do it on our own.

Who is building up your household?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Today’s Reading: Psalms 123-125; 2 Thessalonians 3

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV).

Peace is something that seems a bit hard to come by these days. With a little baby in tow, I feel as if I’m always running from one thing to the next. Her waking hours are spent crying, and her sleeping hours are either a chance for me to catch a nap, or to catch up on the large amount of house hold chores that always needs to be done. This morning for instance, I heard my little one start to stir, so I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, washed my face, and started a load of laundry. I ran around like crazy, only to find that she wasn’t waking up after all, only talking in her sleep. That’s not peace if you ask me.
But where is peace then?
Peace is there when I take the time to seek it out. My life may seem new and hectic at times, but peace is still there, ready to be found.
Peace is found when my fussy baby finally falls asleep in my arms, and I look at her beautiful little fingers and toes. Peace is found when I step outside in my yard, and simply enjoy the feeling of the sun on my face.
Peace is found late at night, as I hold my little one close and she sucks away on her bottle.
Peace is found in my heart, even on the craziest of days, when my baby won’t stop crying, and my head is hurting like crazy.
Peace is found when I reach out to my Savior and ask Him to fill in the gaps in my life where I don’t measure up.
Peace is fond when I seek it.

Do you need peace in your life today?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Today’s Reading: Psalm 120-122; 2 Thessalonians 2

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV).

Do you ever just need encouragement? Sometimes this life can be so hard. Sometimes the smallest word of affirmation makes all the difference in how my day goes. Just as words of criticism can tear me down, words of love can build me up so quickly. It’s so nice to hear that I’m doing something right in such a negative world. I’m so thankful for the family and friends in my life that take the time to remind me of this. Their words and hugs mean the world to me. What about you? Is there anyone in your life that encourages you? Whose heart can you encourage today?

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

He Fulfills His Purpose

Today’s Reading: Psalm 119:89-176 ; 2 Thessalonians 1

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV).

Being a new mother, I feel as if I’m riding a continual emotional roller-coaster. Sometimes I’m filled with thanksgiving, other times I’m filled with worry. It’s such a great responsibility to raise a child. I often wonder if I’m doing anything right. And then I read verses like those above, and I’m reminded of how great my God is. He’s not a God who desires my life to be filled with strife in stress, but instead wants it to be filled with good and wonderful things. He wants to fulfill every good purpose in me life.
As hard as it may be to see at times, this time of my life really is wonderful. It’s filled with the wonder of a new life that depends on me so completely for her well being. It’s filled with a little life that has already changed my heart so drastically and completely, and all for the good. I’m so thankful that my God desires good in my life, and that He leads me gently when that “good” is hard for me to see.
“I cry out to the God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me” (Psalm 57:2 NIV).
“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them” (Psalm 145:19 NIV).

What purposes might God be fulfilling in your life today? What can you thank Him for?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Casting My Cares At His Feet

Today’s Reading: Psalm 119:1-88; 1 Thessalonians 5

“May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word” (Psalm 119:41-42 NIV).

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Joy, thanksgiving: things that should be so evident in my life, but aren’t at the moment. Fear, anxiousness: the feelings that are riddling my heart day in and day out. God has given me so many beautiful blessings, including a loving husband and a sweet baby girl, yet, right now, I’m not seeing those blessings in their fullest degree. Instead, the devil is being given control of my thoughts and emotions. Oh how I long to be filled with joy and thanksgiving, but how? How do I grab a hold of these things, and banish the others from my heart?

The answer is so simple it amazes me.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).

I give all my anxieties, worries and fears to the one who is ultimately in control. I let Him take them from me, and replace them with His perfect peace. I claim the joy that is so readily waiting for me, if only I let go. If only I let God take control.

Do you have anything you need to let go of today?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Quiet Life

Today's Reading: Psalms 116-118; 1 Thessalonians 4

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV).

For a moment the house is quiet. My little girl is blissfully napping, and I am enjoying some time alone with God. The house isn’t quiet very often these days. Instead, it’s filled with the wailing cries of an infant at all hours of the day and night. She cries to express her needs: her need to be fed, her need to be changed, her need to just be held. Doesn’t sound very different from us sometimes, does it? We too, need to be spiritual fed and changed on a daily basis. We are in need of a Savior who will hold us close and tend to our every need. And sometimes we simply need to cry, and know that we’ll be understood. But this doesn’t come without a quiet time. I believe that our hearts long for such times, be they a minute or an hour, when we can come before our Savior and open our hearts up wide. We long for moments of quiet where we can hear His voice. Where we don’t have to “guess” what His purpose and plan might be, but we simply know, because we’re so in tune with Him. Yes, we long for a quiet life, yet we neglect to seek it out. We get caught up in this entertainment world and spend every second of our day listening to music, watching our television, and playing on the computer. We neglect the calling of our heart for peace and quiet and closeness with our Savior. We neglect one of the things we need more than anything.

Do you need quiet time with your Savior today? Seek it out. It may be for one minute, or five minutes, or an hour, but you won’t regret it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lord, Strengthen My Heart

Today’s Reading: Psalm 113, 114, 115; 1Thessalonians 3

Verses to Ponder: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NIV).

Prayer: Lord, today, as in every day, I need my heart strengthened so that I can truly love those around me. My heart feels so weak and human on it's own. Time and again I come to the end of what is humanly possible, and have to depend on you like never before. Time and again I must claim the words you spoke to the Apostle Paul: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). What wondrous words those are. And how often must I come before you and ask you to fill in the gaps.
Please help me as I minister to the needs of my little girl, care for my husband, and be the best friend I can be to those around me today and everyday. Amen.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Tears of a Mother

Today's reading: Psalms 106, 111, 112; 1st Thessalonians 2

“Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:20 NIV).

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man” (Psalm 112:4 NIV).

“His heart is secure, he will have no fear” (Psalm 112:8 NIV).

When my daughter was born eleven days ago, my husband and I suddenly entered a brand-new word called parenthood. In that moment we were given the responsibility to rear up a sweet little girl, so that she, too, would one day love and serve the Savior of the world. The responsibility is so immense and overwhelming. I’ve cried more tears since this little girl arrived then I’ve cried in years. Many of them were tears of desperation, of second-guessing, of being unsure if we’d made the right decisions already. Many of them were tears of feeling alone, of forgetting how great my God truly is.

In all of the chaos of bringing a new life into the world, I think my heart got a little misaligned. In feeling the great responsibility as caregiver to this little life, my eyes began to lose their focus. In focusing on my emotions, I forgot to trust in the one who gave life to us all.

For when we trust in Him we really have nothing to fear. He is in control of this crazy life we live. He sees the big picture even when we cannot.

And so, as I leave you today to run off and take care of my little girl, I pray for joy in each of our lives. I pray for peace. And I pray that whatever you and I may face today, we’ll face it without fear, because we know where our ultimate hope lies, not in this world, but in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fall Is In The Air

Today’s Reading: Psalm 99-100, 102, 104-105; Acts 17:16-34; 1 Thessalonians 1

“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24 NIV).

The weather has been so beautiful here lately. With the clear skies, bright sun and cool breezes, it feels as if Fall is close at hand. Last year I was a bit disappointed in Fall. This place where we now live is far different from where I grew up: the lack of maple trees, apple orchards, and cold Fall weather made for quite a different experience. I found myself extremely homesick—missing the season I was used too.
This year is a little different. While I miss that other Fall, I’m starting to see the beauty in the place I live now. It’s a different sort of beauty from what I grew up with, but it’s beautiful just the same. I’m learning that God’s hand on creation didn’t end with my parents’ backyard but stretches throughout the world. Fall has a different meaning wherever you go, but it shows up just the same. For some, Fall doesn’t mean a change in leaves, but simply a season of Back-to-School shopping and being Thankful. For others, the months of September, October and November aren’t Fall at all, but rather Spring.
I’m learning to be thankful for the moment I’m living in. I’m learning to look around me and be thankful for God’s creation, however different it may be. Although we don’t have very many trees that change color here, the grasses in the fields change into their own hues of browns and reds. The air still gets slightly cooler, and the people still get excited for Fall to arrive.
This land is special in it’s own right. And I’m learning to love it as such.

What do you love about the place you call home? What can you thank God for today?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Today's Reading: Psalm 96- 98; Acts 17:1-15

“Worship the LORD in the splendor of [His] holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations: ‘The LORD reigns. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken. He judges the peoples fairly.’ Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound. Let the fields and everything in them exult. Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy before the LORD, for He is coming—for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness” (Psalm 96:9-13 HCSB).

I often like to play the judge. A part of me seems to think that I know best. I look at a person, see a lack of fruit in their life (see Galatians 5) and decide that they must not be a Christian. I’m so wrong in doing this. I can’t see the heart of a person, only God can. As today’s verses remind us, God is the ultimate judge. He is the all-powerful and almighty One who looks into the hearts of all men and women and fairly judges them.
This morning I was once again humbled. I was once again brought to my knees as I realized how wrongly I had judged someone. This person was someone I hardly knew, but I had assumed some false things about. I should know by now that first impressions are often wrong, enough people have made wrong first impressions about me for me to know. Just the same, I looked, I judged, and I neglected to actually reach out and get to know the person.
Once again I was humbled. Once again I was amazed by the great forgiveness God gives me each and every day as I live out this imperfect life. I’m so thankful for the God I serve. He’s so amazing.

What about you? Have you ever made a judgment about someone, only to be proven wrong?

Lord, please help me to leave the judging up to you, but instead learn to more easily love those around me, without making stereotypes or inaccurate assumptions on those around me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Dose of Comfort

Today’s Reading: Psalm 93-95; Philippians 4

“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy” (Psalm 94:19 HCSB).

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 HCSB).

Today I’m tired. I’m not necessarily in a bad mood, or worrying about anything in particular, but I need some encouragement just the same. As I read Psalm 94 and Philippians 4, I was reminded of how great and immense our God in heaven really is. He’s ready and waiting to take our problems, big and small. Even when we don’t have the words to express what we’re feeling, He’s there, arm’s outstretched, ready to take the matter into his own hands. How wonderful is that?
And He doesn’t just take our burdens away, no, He replaces them with comfort, joy, and peace. These are gifts that can be given during the middle of a horrific storm. And oh can this life get stormy! Sometimes I’m at my very whit’s end, surrounded by worries, concerns and heartaches. But God is ready and waiting to take me in and cover all those concerns with His love.
While I’m not doing horrible today, I could still do with a dose of His comfort. What about you?

Lord, please take whatever is on my heart today and replace it with your peace. Help me to share your all-encompassing peace with others as I go about my day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Imperfect World

Today’s Reading: Psalm 89, 92; Philippians 3

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21 NIV).

Do you ever get tired of this world? I know I do. There is so much hurt, so much pain, and so much imperfection. The devil tempts me on a daily basis, I look at pain in the eyes of my loved ones, and I wish for heaven above.
Not that I don’t love the life God has given me. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, and a baby on the way. I have ever so much to be thankful for.
Just the same, this world, and its imperfections drain on me. I truly don’t belong here. My soul longs for a better place.
John writes of this place in the book of Revelation:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’" (vs. 3-4 NIV).

Can you imagine what that will be like someday? How wonderful will that be, to be rid of our earthly bodies with all their infirmities, and to take on our heavenly bodies? It’s hard for me to picture a world without sin and imperfection, because that’s all I’ve ever known. Just the same, that’s how it will be someday. We’ll live for eternity with Jesus, and be rid of all this earthly mess.
I can’t wait for that day. It will be so marvelous. It makes today, with all it’s imperfections, a little easier to handle.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Prayer for My Child

Today’s Reading: Psalm 67, 71; Philippians 2

“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you” (Psalm 71:5-6 NIV).

This has been true for me, and I pray that it’s one day true for my little one as well. I grew up in a home where God was always glorified. It was an easy decision for my to put my trust in God at an early age, because the faith of my parents was so evident. They trusted the Lord day in and day out. Every time the church doors were open they were there, soaking up the word of God and fellowshipping with other believers. Their faith soon became my faith. I wanted what I saw in them for myself. And it has been my faith ever since. I’ve never turned back. My faith in God has only grown and become more personal over the years. I’ve only learned to depend on Him more with the passing of time.

I realize that I cannot force my child to become a Christian. The decision has to be his (or her’s) alone. Just the same, I pray that the love of God will be so evident in the lives of my husband and I, that our child can’t help but desire such a faith for himself. I pray that the way I live every moment of my life will reflect the unabashed love I have for my Savior.

That’s my prayer today, and I will be my prayer everyday as I raise this little child, and any future siblings that may follow. The verses above are so true for me, and I hope that, one-day, down the road, they will ring true for my child as well.

I don’t think there’s any better prayer than that.

Do you have anything specific you pray for your children, or the children of your friends and family? What could you pray over them today and everyday?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Crafter of our Hearts

Today’s Reading: Psalm 33,43,66; Philippians 1

“The LORD looks down from heaven; He observes everyone. He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth from His dwelling place. He alone crafts their hearts; He considers all their works” (Psalm 33:13-15 HCSB).

Psalm 33 is such an amazing psalm. It speaks of Creator who is in control and is far above anything we can fathom. It speaks of a Creator that fashioned our very hearts, our innermost being. He determined our very existence, and knows every intricate part of us. Heart or leb in Hebrew means our inner man, mind, will, heart and understanding. These are the things that no human can touch. In fact, most humans probably don’t even get to see the real you and me, the real soul dwelling inside. But God does. He knows every part of us intricately. “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know [this] very well” (Psalm 139:13-14 HCSB).
He knowingly created every part of us, inside and out. He knows our very hearts. What a thought. It makes me feel so loved. While I may look in the mirror on some days and see a mess, my Lord sees a work of art. This is true for you as well.

What does God see when He looks in your heart?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Tree that Bears Fruit

Today’s Reading: Psalm 1-2,10; Acts 16:22-40

How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the LORD's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3 HCSB).

I thought of a few things as I was reading these verses above. First, we should be happy or blessed when we don’t go down sinful paths in this life. From experience I know that this isn’t always an easy thing to do. There were many times throughout elementary and high school that I was plenty lonely because I chose to not associate with certain things or people. I often felt like an oddball because I was so different. These verses remind me that being different is a good thing and something we should rejoice in.

Secondly, those who follow on God’s path find joy in studying God’s word day and night. While it’s true that I enjoy reading the Bible, I don’t always spend the amount of time I should soaking up His word. There are so many words of encouragement found within its covers. After reading this, I once again had a desire to memorize as much of it as possible so that it will be on my heart throughout each day.

Thirdly, we, as Christians, are compared to trees that bear their fruit in season. Our walk on this earth is a long one. Someday the days seem so dark and without end, but God is continually weeding, and nourishing the soil around our roots. He’s planting and cultivating and allowing the things that are good to grow into beautiful trees. He’s doing a good work in us that will one day produce fruit, if only we can on. Oh how I want the fruit of the Lord to be evident in my life!

What do you think the fruit on the tree means? What would the fruits of the Lord look like in your life?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Woman Named Lydia

Today's Reading: 2 Kings 24-25; Acts 16:1-21

We don't know too much about her. What we do know was that she was a career woman, a seller of purple cloth, who heard the gospel message and believed. Perhaps that's all that needs to be said about Lydia. She was a good, hardworking woman who put her faith in Christ. Isn't that what each of us desires?
In the past people have asked me what I want my legacy to be when I leave this earth for my eternal home in heaven. My answers have been many. I’d love to be remembered as a writer, a military wife, a mother, and keeper of memories. These are all a part of who I am, and whom I believe God has created me to be. But more than any of these things, I want my legacy to be that of a child of God. I want people to remember me as a woman of faith, who stopped at nothing to share the gospel with those around her.
For that is the great commission each of us has been given, isn’t it? (Matthew 28:16-20). To share the gospel with the world around us, so that all might come to a faith in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul was fulfilling this commission when he witnessed to a woman named Lydia. And Lydia was starting her work when she opened her heart to the truth.
We don’t know much about Lydia besides that. A part of me would like to find out more about her. But that will be a story that will have to wait until heaven. Until then, the most important thing has already been said, she believed.

What do you want your legacy to be? How can you carry out the Great Commission today?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Christian

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 22-23; Galatians 6

I have been a Christian for a long time. In fact, it's hard for me to remember a day that Jesus wasn't the ruler of my heart. Because of this, I know the rules. I've lived my whole life looking like a Christian, talking like a Christian, and acting like a Christian. But on it's own that's not enough.
In this last chapter of Galatians, we're reminded once again that works in and of themselves don't get us into heaven. Instead, it's an inner surrender of our will.
Men can be circumcised, women can wear head coverings, both can live their entire lives doing good for others. But if they never actually become a "new creation" (Galatians 6:15 NIV), the fact of the matter is that they're not saved, plain and simple. Salvation isn't a matter of works, but a matter of the heart. It's a matter of totally surrendering our old sinful natures to the Lord and taking on a new life in Christ.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

My prayer for today is that my entire life will reflect this new creation. I pray that Christianity won’t be something I simply “act out” but will be an entire way of life for me. And that Christ will shine through me in everything I say and do.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good King Hezekiah

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 19- 21; Galatians 5

“Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook” (2 Kings 18:5-7 NIV).

In a book of the Bible filled with a seemingly unending list of kings that somewhat or completely turned their back on God, we find a king who didn’t. King Hezekiah stands apart as one of the few who served God wholeheartedly. When faced with adversity, he didn’t rush into things, expecting that God would save him, but instead he went to the temple and feel on his knees in prayer. Because of his devotion, God saved him time and again. What a good example of how we, too, should bring our trials before the Lord.

“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the LORD. ‘This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2 NIV).

I don’t always do such a good job at presenting my requests before the Lord. Often my prayers consist of rushed words, rather than a truly contrite spirit, prostrated before my Savior.
Today I long for a heart like that of Hezekiah. A heart that was willing to be humbled as he brought his requests before God.

What about you?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What’s In A Name?

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 17-18; Galatians 4

Today I read the verses above and really had nothing to say. Instead, my brain was echoing a conversation I had with a friend earlier today. I was telling her some of my hesitation about baby names. You see, in the next month, my husband and I will be welcoming our first child into this world. We’ve had names picked out for years, but suddenly we’ve started to consider some different names. What was set in stone is suddenly being shaken up again. To me, a name is an important thing. That name, and it’s meaning, will be with our child for the rest of their life.
The same was true in Bible times. Parents gave their children names that meant something. These names were unique, and often spoke about God’s deliverance or protection. I long for my future children's names to mean as much.
But back to today. My friend asked me a question. She asked if my husband and I had ever prayed over our name choices. I was struck by the thought that we really never have. Every night my husband and I pray together before we go to sleep, but it’s never even crossed our minds to pray about the name of our child. Yes, we pray for this child’s future, and for wisdom as parents, but we’ve never prayed about the name.
To us, the name was our decision.
But maybe it isn’t. Maybe there’s a name that God has had in mind all along. And maybe it is the name He’s placed upon our hearts. But I really won’t know until I pray.

Do you ever forget to pray about the small, seemingly insignificant things? What might God be calling you to pray about today?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Child of God

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 15-16; Amos 7-9; Galatians 2-3

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3: 26-29 NIV).
When I read my daily devotions, I don’t often have much to say. Sometimes I think the words just need to process. The words need time to once again penetrate my heart.
I’m so thankful that God meets me each and every day exactly where I am. He peels back the layers and recognizes me in my most vulnerable state. He understands my emotions and hormones, and even when I fall short, He looks into my heart and sees my true intentions.
The idea of being an heir of Christ can be daunting at times. How is it that I would ever live up to such a task? How can I live this life as a daughter of the Lord? I feel unworthy.
But maybe that’s exactly where God wants me: weak, fragile and completely unworthy in my own strength, because then I have to depend on Him all the more.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 the Apostle Paul writes, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It is in our weaknesses that God is able to work through us. If we were perfect, would we really be in need of a Savior? I don’t think I would. So, as much as I may hate my shortcomings, I’m thankful for them as well. Because they remind me of how much I need my Savior.
I need Him on days when I mess up when talking to a friend, when I don’t feel good, when I’m lonely, and when I just don’t feel like I measure up.
I need His strength because I don’t have the ability to live this life on my own.
I need the daily reminder that I am His daughter, and that He loves me more than anything. I need the reminder that the things of this world are temporary, but He is eternal.

What does being a child of God mean to you?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seeking Good

Today’s Reading: Amos 4-6; Galatians 1

“Seek good, not evil, that you may life. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is” (Amos 5:14 NIV).

As I look at the Israelite people, I wonder why they were so rebellious. Why, time and again, they turned away from their miraculous God in heaven to worship idols made out of stone.

To me, the hand of God seems to evident, so true. I can’t help but worship Him as my Lord and Savior.

But even I have my moments. Even I have moments when I seek the things of this world, and place them above my God. Often it happens without me realizing it. A friend will get a new gadget, a show on tv, although crass and provocative, will catch my attention, or a book will be so riveting that I spend my days consumed with that, instead of worshiping my God. Some of these things may not be evil all on their own, it is the attention that I give them that makes them evil. It’s the hours and days of seemingly wasted time that I devote to them, instead of my God, that makes them an idol in my life.

And so, much like the Israelites, I often find myself on my knees, in an attitude of repentance, ready to turn back to the God who should be number one in my life. Ready for a change of heart. Because I truly do need Him more than any earthly thing.

What distractions in your life do you need to get rid of? What things might be becoming idols?

Lord, please help me to keep you number one in my life, where you belong.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Righteous Judge

Today’s Reading: Amos 1-3; Acts 15:22-41

As I read Amos this morning, the only image that came to mind was God as our righteous judge. Yes, He’s a loving God, but He also can’t stand the presence of sin in His midst. As Creator of the universe He has the right to judge the sins of the world, and He does.
Israel was and is His chosen people, yet they chose time and again to turn from Him and worship idols. And so He punished them for their sins.
Yet even in the midst of punishing them, He was providing a way out. As depressing as the book of Amos can be, all we have to do is page forward a few books, and we come to the book of Matthew. It’s here that we find the glorious news of Salvation.
Our Just God created a bridge between the sinful world and Himself. He gave us Jesus, whose blood covered the sins of the entire world.
I feel like I’m starting to get preachy, so I’ll just leave you with two passages of scripture today.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:5-10 NIV).

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:14-17 NIV).

How can you share the judgment and salvation of God with the world around you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Lesson in Compassion

Today’s Reading: Jonah 1-4; Acts 15:1-21

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened” (Jonah 3: 10 NIV).

Jonah was angry. He couldn’t understand why God would have compassion on the Ninevites, a horribly evil people. I don’t really blame him. I don’t always understand God’s compassion either. Here’s some of Jonah’s dialogue with God:

“He prayed to the LORD, ‘O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’
But the LORD replied, ‘Have you any right to be angry?’ (Jonah 4: 2-4 NIV).

Sometimes life is unfair. I’ll look at someone else and self-righteously declare that that person deserves to be punished. I’ll be driving down the road with someone tailgating me, and hope and pray that that person gets pulled over by the cops. It’s as if a part of me thinks that discipline is mine to determine, that I know best.
But 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us of an important truth: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (NIV).

God looked at the repenting Ninevites. He saw a change of heart in them, and so, in His graciousness, He decided to save them.
Jonah didn’t understand why. With his own human eyes, he could only see everything the Ninevites had done wrong.
But God saw differently.

And although my self-righteous, condemning tendencies may come to the forefront from time to time, overall I’m thankful that God offers that same grace to each of us.

Because there’s certainly days that I don’t deserve to be a daughter of the Lord. There’s certainly days when I mess up royally, and need His forgiveness once again. There’s certainly days that I don’t look all that Christ-like to the world around me. But even on those days, God looks not at my outward appearance, but at my inner heart, which longs to serve Him with every ounce of my being.
He sees my longing to be better, my repentant spirit, and my love for Him above all else.
And He sends my faults as far away as the east is from the west:
“ For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust”
(Psalm 103:11-14 NIV).

What area of your life do you need God’s compassion today?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Powerful Prayer

Today's Reading: 2 Kings 13-14; James 5

The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful” (James 5:16b HCSV).

Today was a day of wondering and worrying. Things that I’ve given to God were once again at the forefront of my mind. My main worry had to do with the little one I’m currently carrying inside. For some reason, I wasn’t feeling the kicks I normally felt each morning, and so I was wondering if something was wrong. Of course, I was busy this morning, but that didn’t stop the flags from raising and my heart from sinking. I knew I needed to spend time with God and bring my concerns up to him, but I was too busy to stop and do this. Once again I ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit and went about my day.

My pastor always says that there are four pivotal facets to our Christian walk: Fellowship, Worship, Reading the Word, and Prayer. My weakest, by far, is prayer. Yes, I utter quick prayers throughout my day, talking to God has become a natural part of my day. But, I often forget to spend quiet time truly listening for his voice.
I get busy, I get preoccupied, and I just don’t devote the time to prayer that I should.

And so, back to today. All this morning I focused on how I was feeling. I was achy, I was tired, I was worried once again that the baby wasn’t doing ok.
And then, I sat down with my Bible and I heard these verses over and over again in my head:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV).

Once again I was reminded how much I need time with God each day. Once again I was reminded how much I need His comfort and love to make it through each day.

As I relaxed, read God’s word, and spent time in prayer, my heart was calmed, and the baby kicks started to come rapidly.

Those kicks reminded me of how precious this growing life inside of me is to my Savior. He cares more for this little one then I ever will. He has an ultimate plan and purpose already in place for this child. He is in charge of life, not me.

And so, I’m once again thankful. Thankful for the gift of life God has given to this child. Thankful that He’s chosen me to be the mother of this precious life. And thankful that He really does answer prayers, big and small.

What answered prayers are you thankful for today? What unanswered prayers do you need to bring before the throne of God?