Friday, May 28, 2010

The Meadows Sing

Today’s Reading: Psalm 61-62, Psalm 65; John 13:21-38

Isn’t Spring a wonderful time of year? My husband and I have been enjoying some wonderful walks outside as of late. I love this time of year, before the weather gets too hot and sticky. I love seeing the grass slowly turn from brown to green, and the little wildflowers peeping through the underbrush. Spring is beautiful; it’s such a great reminder of how God, our Creator, always provides for us. As Psalm 65 reminds us, it is God who brings water to the land. He is the one that allows the grain to grow, and provides pasture for the animals. He has given us the knowledge to grow and produce food, so that we will never grow hungry, even during the drier times. All of creation testifies to our amazing God. Psalm 65: 13 says that even the meadows and valleys “shout for joy and sing” to God their Creator. Have you ever heard a meadow sing? I have. For me, a meadow sings when I notice the beautiful colors bounding around inside of it. A meadow sings for joy when the grain rustles in the wind, or a bird gladly sings from deep within its brush. A meadow sings anytime it reminds me of its Creator.
Where, in nature, have you been reminded of God’s Creation? Find something that seems to be “singing” of God’s Wonder today.

Lord, thank you for each part of your creation. Please open my eyes anew to your works.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Make Me A Servant

Today’s Reading: Psalm 53, 55, 58; John 13:1-20

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14 NIV).

I often wonder what it means to be a true servant. Growing up, the world around me taught me to look out for number one. I was told that, as a woman, I should aspire to be independent, successful and thin. The world values such things, but Jesus seems to value something entirely different. In John 13, the Savior of the world takes on one of the most humbling roles possible. He takes off His outer clothes, and washes the dirty, grimy, smelly feet of His disciples. He didn’t have do this, but He did this to set an example for His disciples, and for all of us as well, to follow. He was showing us what true humility looks like.
What does humility look like in my life? It means helping out with less appealing tasks from time to time, working behind the scenes and parties and events, and offering to do the tasks no one else wants to accomplish. It means sacrificing my own free time to help out a friend in need. It means doing things without expecting and recognition. It means getting outside of myself, and truly ministering to the needs of others.
No, its not always fun. But it may just be one of the best ways to lead those I care about to the Lord. Because by being a servant, I’m letting Jesus shine through me and fill in the gaps. I’m letting Him take control, instead of me.

What does being a servant look like in your life?

Lord, please help me to have the heart of a servant today and everyday. Please reveal practical ways for me to serve.

Check out this link to one of my favorite songs, "Make Me A Servant" by the Maranatha Singers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Answered Prayer

Today’s Reading: Psalm 39-41; John 12:27-50

“Lord my God, You have done many things—Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak of them, they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5 HCSB).

Last week I had a bit of a scare. I was concerned that something was wrong with this child I’ve been carrying inside of me for 23 weeks. I was close to tears as I talked to a nurse and my doula, and prayed to God for some sense of peace. And then I was given it. My little one began to kick inside of me. Until then I’d felt only one random kick, but on this day I felt kick after kick pelting my insides. It was as if God was reminding me how perfect his plan was for this little one. He seemed to be reminding me, once again, that He holds the keys to life and death, and has already numbered the days of this little baby’s life (Psalm 139:16). Today, as I continue to feel my little one grow inside of me, I can’t help but praise God for his “wonderful works and plans for us.” He truly does answer our prayers. What a marvelous thing that is!

Lord, thank you for answering my prayers, big and small, each and every day. Help me to be thankful for the things you’ve already accomplished, and to remain hopeful for the things that are yet to be.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Refreshing Stream

Psalm 36-38; John 12:1-26

“They are filled with the abundance of Your house; You let them drink from Your refreshing stream, for with You is life’s fountain. In Your light we will see light” (Psalm 36: 8-9 HCSB).

“The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25 HCSB).

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’ve been enjoying some time out in the sun. I love being outside, enjoying God’s beautiful creation. There’s one thing I’ve learned over time though, if I’m going to spend time out side, I have to bring my water bottle along. I get thirsty so easily. There have been times when I’ve felt completely dry and spent without it. My body needs water to keep everything functioning properly.
But even more than earthly water, I need heavenly water. I yearn for heavenly water. For this water never runs dry. In it flows the gift of eternal life for each of us. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman about this living water in

Psalm 36 gives us a similar image, when the Psalmist describes God as the provider of “life’s fountain.” In God flows the gift of eternal life, ready for each of us. If we would only chose it. The problem is that to many of us love our lives in this world too much. We’re not willing to give up everything we have, in order to take a hold of something so much greater. Jesus tells us in John 12:25, “The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (HCSB).

The choice may seem hard, but it’s really so simple: This life or eternal life. I chose the later.

Lord, when I feel fed up and at the end of my rope, please fill me anew with your living water. Please give me the strength to face each day, as I look toward eternity with you.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Today’s Reading: Psalm 31, 35; John 11:30-57

“Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserved the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:23-24 NIV)

I love the encouragement in these verses above. At times I look at the failures in my own life and I feel so downhearted. It’s nice to be reminded to wait on the Lord today and everyday.
Because sometimes I fail in this Christian walk. Sometimes I come up short. Sometimes it’s an external failing, and sometimes it’s internal.
Yesterday I found myself feeling proud and judgmental. I heard something someone said, and decided to get all bent out of shape about it. I cast my own judgment on the situation, even though I was only a spectator.
It was wrong of me, I know, but I did it just the same. Even when the end of the day came, I was still a little angry about it. I was still feeling proud and judgmental. And then my devotion time with my husband spoke to my heart. The devotion was on making false judgments, exactly what I needed to say. I was reminded how wrong it was for me to make judgments, when I really didn’t know the real situation. I was reminded how God is the only true judge in this life, and that He will one day bring all of us to account for our actions.
I was especially struck by the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:1-5:
“‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (NIV).

Ouch. I certainly had a plank in my eye that had to be taken out last night. I certainly don’t want to be counted among the proud and judgmental hypocrites of this world. Instead, I want to be seen as a woman after God’s own heart.

Have you ever formed any false judgments? What did you learn through the situation? What might God want to reveal to you today?

Lord, please help me to not be to quick to judge, but to instead focus on what really matters, you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Be Strong and Take Heart

Today’s Reading: Psalm 27-29; John 11:1-29

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 NIV).

“The Lord is strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks for him in song (Psalm 28:7 NIV).

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, it’s a vice of mine. It seems like no matter how hard I try, I wake up the next morning and I’m worrying once again. Worrying is such an easy thing to do. There’s always something or someone that isn’t fully taken care of, and thus gets a full dose of worrying. I think a part of my worrying obsession comes from my desire to fix things. When I find something that I can’t immediately correct or manage, I worry about the outcome. These verses above remind me that God truly is the one in control. I’m not. All that He asks of me is that I “take heart” and trust in Him to provide. This often involved a lot of waiting, but that’s ok. I’m human, and I can’t see the outcome like He can. The only choice for me is how I live those intermediate times between when the worry first crops up and when it’s finally fulfilled. (Which could be a matter of hours, days, weeks or years). I can either dwell and stew in my worry and doubt, or I can wait on the Lord and rejoice in Him in song as I recall all the times He has already provided for me.
What about you? Do you have a tendency to worry? How do you overcome it?

Lord, thank you for taking my worries each and every day, and continuing to shower blessings of answered prayers upon my life.

The Greatest Gift: Eternal Life

Today’s Reading: Psalm 24-26; John 10:22-42

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and the shall never perish; no on can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27 NIV).

“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not life up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will received blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior” (Psalm 24:3-5 NIV).

In John 10:27 we read of the wonderful gift Jesus gives to all who believe: eternal life in heaven with Him. This gift is only possible because He died on the cross and covered our sins. Without this, we would never have the clean hands and pure heart required to enter the kingdom of God. What a wondrous thing. I’ll admit it, my earthly mind can’t quite wrap its way around this. It’s hard for me to understand why Jesus would ever die for me. Why He would ever choose to take my sins upon His shoulders and pay the ultimate price. But He did just the same. He died for every one of us. There’s no exception. The gift is open to everyone who chooses to accept it. No sin is too great, no person has strayed too far, that they get out of the Father’s reach. You see there’s always that choice. There’s always that moment when each of us can ask God to pull us out of our sinful lives, and take hold of something so beautiful and so true. By accepting God’s gift of eternal life, our sins are washed away. God sees them no more. While we might still be reminded of them, He no longer sees them.
Hopefully I didn’t come across as too preachy today. I get so excited reading the Bible that I can’t help but spill out the gospel story onto this blog every once in awhile. It’s such an integral part of who I am. I hope you can see that. If you ever have any questions, please let me know.

Lord, thank you for giving me the gift of eternal life. Thank you for covering my sins with your blood.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Desires

Today’s Reading: Psalm 20-22; John 10:1-21

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed” (Psalm 20:4)

Whenever I come across this verse, I wonder what the true desires of my heart really are. And I wonder if those desires align with God’s will for my life. Hopefully the true desires of my heart are to love and serve my Savior, to be a good wife, mother, and friend, and to live every day to it’s fullest. That’s what I hope for at least. But from time to time my heart needs a little uncluttering. At times my heart get’s focused on earthly things, money, possessions, recognition, instead of the things that truly matter. That’s when this verse above comes in so handy. For it reminds me to check my heart, and make sure that it aligns with what truly matters in this life.
What does your heart desire today?
Lord, please clean out any cobwebs that may be residing in my heart today, and focus my heart, mind and soul on what truly matters in this world. Please help my desires to align with your desires for my life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Distractions and Devotions

Today’s Reading: Psalm 17; Psalm 19; John 9:24-41

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 NIV)

Last night I was laying in bed trying to follow asleep. Thoughts of the day, both negative and positive, were running through my day. I was wondering where those negative thoughts were coming from. And then I realized that it had been several days since I’d spent any time in God’s word. You see I got busy, surprising, right? We all get busy. But for me this business revolved around all of our houseguests. In my desire to make the most of every moment with my visiting family, I neglected to spend any quiet time with my Savior. It was only when I was quiet, and the end of the day, that I realized how desperately I needed that time with God. How I craved a time of devotion with Him. Because I’ve only been seeking out time with Him when it’s convenient. When my house gets to busy, the devotional time get’s set aside and replaced with people.
I know that God loves seeing me happy, surrounded by my family, but I also know that He desires to always be the center of my life. There has to be a balance somewhere, because I desperately need time with Him, even when I’m surrounded with family. In fact, I may need it more. Because it’s then that the “words of my heart and meditation[s] of my heart” get acted out in practical ways. If my heart isn’t in the right place, I may say things and hurt the feelings of some of the people I care the most about in this world.
Have you ever felt this way? When or where is it the hardest for you to stay consistent with your Bible Study time.

Lord, please help me to always keep you at the center of my life, no matter the place or circumstances.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Truth from the Heart

Today’s Reading: Psalm 15-16; John 9:1-23

There are so many verses I could focus on from today’s reading. And so, I’ll focus on the first words that stuck out to me. The Psalmist is asking who will dwell in heaven, and the answer is the person “who speaks the truth from his heart” (Psalm 15:2). After reading this, my mind went back to High School, to a night when I read these very words and wept because I knew how true they were. It was a night that I was in pain, because I didn’t want to speak to a friend, but I knew God was encouraging me to. For awhile I’d been ignoring the push of the Holy Spirit, pushing the thoughts of confrontation away, but on that night, I knew I had to listen to my Savior and speak some painful words in love.
What followed was a series of tough events. But through it all I was at peace. I knew that God was finally the center of my life, where He had always deserved to be. You see, sometimes in this world we put people before our Jesus. It happens subtly, without us realizing it. But when we do realize it, like I did that night, the Holy Spirit has more than likely encouraged us to act. It’s up to us to obey or disobey. It wasn’t an easy task to obey on that day. But it taught me a great lesson on conviction, and how to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
While I’d like for everyone in my life to always be happy and at peace, sometimes speaking the truth is the best possible thing to do.
Have you ever had to share a painful truth? Did you feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this matter? How did your friend react?

Lord, please help me to be discerning as to when I should speak the truth in love, and when I should wait for your timing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Unfailing Love

Today’s Reading: Psalm 12-14; John 8:28-59

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6).

“‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58).

In this world where human love is imperfect, it’s amazing to think that we have a God who loves us with an “unfailing love.” This love doesn’t change with seasons or circumstances, but is always there, sure and true. It’s an all-encompassing love that sees us in our weak, human bodies and loves us just the same. This love from God was so great that He sent His only Son into the world. In the Gospel of John we’ve been reading about Jesus’ life on this earth, and how the people doubted his kingship. They didn’t recognize him as their Savior. They somehow missed the ultimate display of God’s love for humanity. They looked at Jesus in his earthly body and determined that he must be demon possessed to say that he was the Son of God (John 8:52). I often wonder if I would have missed it too. If I had been living during the days Jesus’ walked the earth, would I have believed, or would I have condemned him as well? Would I have recognized the love of God in human form, or would I have proclaimed it as heresy? I really don’t know. All I do know is that I’m so thankful that I believe in Jesus Christ today! I’m so thankful that he loved me enough to die for me. And I’m thankful that the love He has for me never fails.

Lord, thank you for the unfailing love you have for each of us. Please help me to learn to love others with that same sort of love.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Replacing Anxiety with Praise

Today’s Reading: Psalm 9, Psalm 11; John 8:1-27

Today I am anxious, antsy, and watching the minutes tick by on the clock. Why? Because our 22 week ultrasound is this afternoon at two. Why am I so anxious? I really don’t know. All I know is my mind is fully of worries and fears. Wondering what will happen, what it will be like, if they’ll be able to tell us that everything is ok with our precious little one. Every abnormal story I’ve ever heard about is running through my brain. I have to constantly give my feelings back to the Lord. Because I’ll go crazy if I keep on worrying. It seems like this pregnancy has been a time in which God has had to ask me to give up my worry each and everyday. Sometimes only once, sometimes many times. As I write this, my mind wanders back to the beautiful words of Psalm 139. The very hands of God have formed my baby together. His or her “frame was not hidden from [God] when [he or she] was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. [God’s’ eyes saw [my baby’s] unformed substance, and in [His] book all of the days [of my baby’s life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:15-16 Amplified).
God has known every inch of my baby since the moment this little one was conceived. He already knows the number of days my child will live, whether few or many. When I start to worry about things like ultrasounds I have to remember that God knows so much more than I know. While an ultrasound tech and I may be taking our first look at this little one inside my womb, God has known all along what this child looks like. In fact, He can see every day of their life! While my husband and I don’t even know the color of our little one’s hair, or if he or she will take more after their father or me, God knows it all, big details and small.
So what, really, is there for me to be afraid of? Nothing. Because I’ve seen how God has provided for me already. He’s blessed my life, kept me safe, and been with me each step of the way. So there’s really nothing to worry about this afternoon. God has already seen the results. And He’ll be there, right along side me in that room. Just as He’s always been, just as He always will be.
And so, I shake off the worry that’s been following me around all morning, and instead focus on the beautiful creation of my baby, who was intricately and curiously wrought, just like you and me. Instead of worrying I will “praise you, O LORD, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-2 NIV).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Consider the Heavens

Today’s Reading: Psalms 7-8; John 7:28-53

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8: 3-4 NIV).

Have you ever been in the middle of a field at night, with the heavens stretched like a canvas above you? Living in a community, I often forget how amazing the stars are when you can actually view them away from the city lights. While sometimes I can see a few out my window when I’m driving at night, it’s nothing compared to the immense amount I find in the middle of nowhere on a clear night. The moon and stars are such a beautiful part of God’s creation. They attest to His very glory and honor. We serve such an amazing God, who is so much bigger than anything on this earth. I’m reminded of another Psalm that says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2 NIV). The heavens themselves are a daily testament to an infinitely wonderful and glorious God. Perhaps they serve as a reminder for us here on earth that God took great care with every intricate part of his creation, nothing happened by happenstance. Instead, every bit of His creation reveals His true power and glory. How amazing is that?
Maybe I’ll take some time to go look at some stars tonight.

What is your favorite part of God’s creation? What does it reveal to you?

Lord, thank you for the heavens, the stars, the flowers and grass, and for the intricate way that you created everything, even me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Ultimate Protector

Today’s Reading: Psalm 4-6; John 7:1-27

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8 NIV)

Have you ever been afraid of the night? I know that when night comes at my house I walk around locking doors and re-locking doors, making sure all is safe before I go up to bed. Even up in my bedroom I close the blinds tight so that no one can see in. Sometimes I even lock my bedroom door before I go to sleep. These things make me feel safe when my husband is away. When he’s home I’m more relaxed, because I know he’s there beside me, ready to protect me from the darkness outside. I trust my husband and feel safe in his care.
But the truth of the matter is that my husband is a human being that isn’t always around. Sometimes he’s out of the house at a Bible study or away on a business trip, and then I have the house, with all of its creaky nighttime noises to myself. It’s in those times that I’m reminded who my true protector is. While my husband may bring a feeling of protection to me here on this earth, my heavenly protector is greater still. God protects me from things both seen and unseen. He is the one who ultimately keeps me safe. As the verse above reminds us, He is the only one who truly protects us from things both in this earthly and in the spiritual realm as well.
And so I’m thankful. For while God is my ultimate protector both now and always.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I’m Thankful for Today

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 23-24; John 6:41-71

“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life” (John 6:47 NIV).

Today the sun was shining, the air was warm, and life was good. I couldn’t help but be thankful for the life God has given me. I have a wonderful, hardworking husband, a beautiful home, and a growing baby inside of me. Instead of worrying about all the “what-ifs” I found myself simply thankful. And then God tested me. I won’t go into details here, but something happened that forced me to rely on faith and faith alone. I was scared and alone, but I looked to God and once again He provided. Once again He was on the other side, ready and waiting to hold me and point out the beautiful aspects of the day. Today’s test was a test of faith, and for once, I think I passed, because I couldn’t help but see through the sun shining through.
Reading these verses tonight, I was reminded of the greatest gift of all: the gift of eternal life, given to each of us. It’s so simple, really. But often we make it so difficult. As the verse above says, all we have to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the grave. If we believe this we are guaranteed eternal life with him. What a thing to be thankful for! The amazing love of God is something I’ll never fully grasp. It’s so all encompassing. To think that he would chose to love me enough to die for me. How amazing that is. And how amazing that he gives each of us the opportunity to spend eternity with him, if only we believe.

What are you thankful for today?
Lord, thank you for all of the wonderful things you’ve given me. Help me to be thankful for them, even on the tough days. Keep my focus on you, where it belongs.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Feet of a Deer

2 Samuel 21-22; Psalm 18; John 6:22-40

“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights” (2 Samuel 22:34).

Whenever I read these words, I’m reminded of a book I read in high school. It’s called Hinds’ Feet on High Places. It’s a Pilgrims Progress type story that tells of the adventure of a young girl named Much Afraid. I’ve always identified with her character because I, too, am often much afraid. This journey called life has many mountains and valleys. When I try to climb them on my own I stumble and fall on the uneven ground.
God and God alone gives me the feet I need to climb to the top of my mountains. We all can, as long as we let go and let God take control of our feet.

What mountains are you climbing today?

Dear Lord, please help me to give up my own wandering ways, and instead trust you to equip my feet with the shoes I need to make it to the top of my journey.