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?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

An Attitude Adjustment

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 10-12; James 4

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:7-8,10 NIV) .

My attitude, today, has not been the best. I’ve been grumpy, focusing on my own aches and pains, and easily annoyed with others. It took me quite awhile to figure out why. I didn’t start today with God. That’s pretty normal for me on the weekends. During the week I’ve gotten pretty good at setting a part some time everyday, but on the weekends I get distracted. My husband’s around, and we’re usually out and about running errands, doing something with friends, or just enjoying the beautiful summertime in general.
Today I felt a nudging from the Holy Spirit, but I ignored it and started my day. It was a matter of going downstairs to get my laptop, but I didn’t feel like going that far out of the way. I was more interested in breakfast, and the company currently staying at our house. And so I neglected to spend time with God, even though I knew I needed to.
And I’ve felt grumpy ever since.
Now it’s almost dinnertime, and I’ve finally wised up. I holed myself up in my room, away from all the distractions, and spent some time reading the word of God. I’ve found myself weak, humbled, and award of my inadequacies. I’m ready for my heart to once again be purified. And I’m praying that the rest of this day, however little is left, is much better than the first. I’m praying that my attitude improves, and that joy of the Lord will once again be my strength.

What about you? How are you doing on your daily quiet time with God? Does your attitude or heart need an adjustment today?

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Power of the Tongue

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 7-9; James 3

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness” (James 3: 9 NIV).

The tongue is a dangerous weapon. Physical wounds can heal faster then the wounds of a tongue. As I’m sitting here typing, I can bring to mind hurtful things people have said to me from ten or even fifteen years ago. Once again I can start to feel hurt, angry and abused. I can start to get my feathers in a ruffle over things that person has long ago forgotten. They might not even realize they said the hurtful thing to me. Yet, I can still get hurt all over again by it.
Words are such a powerful tool. They can hurt, or they can build up and affirm a person. Sometimes simply telling someone that you love and admire them can change their whole day. Instead of being glum, a smile is brought to their face that they can’t seem to shake. Their whole outlook has changed.
James 1:19-20 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (NIV).
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at this. More often then naught something spews out of my mouth before I’m even thinking about the consequences. I say things that hurt and wound those around me, without even meaning to do so.
So my prayer for today is that I’ll speak just a little bit slower. My prayer is that the words of my mouth will come from God, not from me. My prayer is that I’ll never forget just how powerful words are in this world, and that I’ll use my words to build up, instead of tear down.

What about you? What are your words portraying about you today?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Putting Faith to Work

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 4-6; James 2

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26 NIV)

Elisha was such a great example of a man of God who believed that anything was possible with God, and acted on his faith to help others see the truth. In 2 Kings 4, a widow comes to Elisha, asking for help. Her sons are about to be sold as slaves because of her debts. Elisha gives her a task. He sees a way to act on his faith, but it will require a great amount of faith from the widow as well. She must fill as many jars as possible with oil. Yet she only has a little bit left. Yet, she believes that the impossible with happen, and it does. She fills enough oil in the jars to pay off her creditors. Elisha’s act of faith influences her own act of faith. Because he was willing to help her, she sees the power of God in action.
Isn’t it a wonderful cycle? One person’s faith influences another persons faith and causes it to grow.
So often I get caught up in myself, and forget to reach out and help others in need. I forget all that God can do through a simple act of kindness. And how that simple kindness can draw others closer to him.
What about you? How can you reach outside of yourself today and help someone else in need? How can you put your faith to good use?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 1-3; James 1

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1: 13-15 NIV).

I love sitting in coffee shops and writing. The music, the bustling, the sugary drinks, it’s a wonderful atmosphere to think, and to observe. As I was reading my devotions today, I couldn’t help but over hearing a conversation nearby. Across the room from me four people were sitting, a boy and three girls. From what they were saying they had to be college age, enjoying a dinner at this coffee shop. While I in no way no their hearts, their conversation was less than holy. I’ll save you the details, but I was saddened by the kind of personal information they were sharing so freely. Where has our world come to that nothing is kept holy? That anything and everything is up for public conversation? When did the name of the Lord start being used as a swear word? And the bonds of marriage no longer considered set apart and holy?
I really don’t want to preach today. I don’t want to stand up on a soap box. But I really was bothered today. I was bothered by what I heard. And I was at a loss for how to change it. Maybe I should have stood up, walked over, and asked them to change their topic of conversation. Maybe I should have said something. I’m no sure. But it was interesting how their conversation lined up so closely with what James had to say about the dangerous powers of the tongue and the temptations of this world.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Paul and Barnabus

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 21-22; Acts 14

“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith” (Acts 14:21-22 NIV).

Paul and Barnabas didn’t have it easy. They were spit at, rebuked, chased and stoned. They were persecuted and ridiculed, yet they still reached out to others. They had a great desire to share the Good News of Christ with all who would believe. They spoke the truth, even in the midst of persecution, and encouraged their brothers and sisters in Christ to stand firm.
I’ll admit it, when I feel beat down, the last thing I want to do is encourage someone else. Instead, I want to focus on my own hurts, pains and fears. I want to focus on how I’ve been mistreated, instead of encouraging someone else. Yet this is exactly the example Paul and Barnabas set for us. They encouraged and gave, even when they were at the end of their selves. And look how God used them! Paul and Barnabas had such an amazing ministry, and brought so many to Christ. At times I wonder if I could ever do the same. They seem so much greater then men, so much more important.
But they’re not really. They’re just men, willing to be broken and used by their Savior.
I wonder what ways God could use me today, if I truly got over myself and my own misfortunes and focused on others instead. If, instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I focused on what I could do to love and serve others.
I’m sure some amazing things would start to happen.

Lord, please help me to look past myself and truly see the needs of others today. Show me practical ways in which I can love them, and draw them closer to your side.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 19-20; Acts 13:26-52

Today my heart is heavy. Some of my dear friends are going through extremely rough times. And there’s nothing I can do to help, but pray. I’m sure they feel quite hopeless tonight, and don’t know where to turn too. And so, I pray that God shows up, and wraps His arms around them tonight.

As I read about the prophet of Elijah, I was once again reminded how God meets each of us exactly where we are. He sees our feelings of hurt, of rejection, of helplessness, and He wraps his arms around us in love. He really does understand. In today’s reading, Elijah is at the end of his rope. He has fled to the desert, ready to die, and calls out to God in desperation. Instead of letting him die, God sends an angel to minister to Elijah. This angel brings the prophet food, and tells him to get up and wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. Elijah obeys, and is treated to yet another supernatural experience. As he seeks the voice of the Lord, he hears strong winds, an earthquake, and then, finally, a gentle whisper.

It is in this whisper that the Lord God finally speaks to Elijah.

What a great reminder to all of us, to be still, even in the midst of life’s troubles, and listen for the voice of God. Sometimes it’s so hard to hear His voice, when we’re caught up in our own circumstances. We get into a survival mode, and forget to look up for help. We try to do things on our own, instead of calling on the Great Helper for Deliverance.

Lord, please help me to be silent enough tonight so that I can hear your voice.