Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Galatians 6:10 "As we Have opportunity, let us do good to all."

Galatians 6:10 "As we Have opportunity, let us do good to all."

In our former church, I was part of the A.W.H.O. Class = "As We Have Opportunity".
When I first joined I was active in every opportunity to serve others. We went to prisons, nursing homes, visited the blind, and even the home for un-wed mothers. We cooked meals for the sick, baked cakes, and cleaned.

Then the roles turned, and I needed this help myself. Having developed an illness called Myasthenia Gravis when my children were 1, 3, and 5 years old, it was hard. I'll never forget the gift of help and love each gave to us. Twice a year they cleaned my whole house! While they were cleaning, another friend had me at her home for the day (and it was great to be with her just to talk, pray - and eat lunch). Then someone else sent dinner. As a family, Jack and I sat down with our three little ones and had a great meal in a spotless house. Do you know what that did for us? Today some of these classmates are in heaven, and their gift of help has been rewarded.

That verse is special to me, even today, but God has to remind me "to do good to all" doesn't mean I have to help everyone in need. We are to help anyone we can and whenever we have the opportunity to do so.

I become so distressed especially with the spiritual needs of a lost world. God asks us to pray, give and show love to all that we can. Think of the opportunities you have around you. You serve the Lord as you help others.

Our Daily Bread reads, "Do what you can where you are and with what you have!"
Another good thought to remember is:
"Our lives are God's gift to us. What we do with them is our gift to God."


Monday, February 27, 2006

Adonai ~ The God of Relationships

Adonai ~ The God of Relationships

Gen 15:2 "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."

Adonai is written with lower case letters (Lord) to distinguish it from Jehovah (LORD). This name appears 300 times in the Old Testament and is often translated "sovereign" in the NIV Bible. It is translated "master" when referring to people. It denotes a servant and his relationship to his master.

At its first use in scripture (Gen 15:2) it refers to a relationship that requires obedience. In Genesis 15:6 we are told that Abraham "believed in the Lord" and God "credited it to him for righteousness". So, let's translate that... Abraham believed in God and made him Lord (Adonai) of his life - that is a relationship! Notice also that the relationship came from belief not from Abraham's good life. Matt. 7:21-27 repeats this thought when it states that not everyone that says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom.

So, what does that mean to you?

1. Is Jesus your Adonai? Have you made Christ the Lord of your life?
2. Like Abraham in Gen. 15:2 do you praise and exalt your Lord?
3. If He is your Lord and master, are you serving him and keeping his commands?

Will someday Jesus say to You... "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:21)


Friday, February 24, 2006



A plaque with these words hung in my parents' home for many years. It was on the wall at the bottom of the dining room stairs. You read it as you came down each morning and on the way up each night as you went to bed. To me, it was an adult thought. I loved my mom and dad, and I didn't want to think of their life being over - anytime!

Both of them were Christians and took my sister and me to Sunday school and church from early childhood. They raised us to respect and honor God, and to respect them as well. Dad worked hard, long hours, while Mom was a stay-at-home mom. God used both of them as Sunday school teachers and in various adult jobs in the church.

During the war years, Dad worked at the Navy-yard, building ships. He had to work many Sundays while we attended church. I lost quality father-daughter times in those years, but I thank God there were special memories, too.

At the early age of 59, God took Mom home. As she passed that plaque on her way up to bed, she didn't realize her life on earth would be over that night. My favorite song, "Finally Home", was sung at her funeral. Some of its lines are, "Just think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven, of touching a hand and finding it God's, of waking up in Glory and finding it home!" That is what God has ready for those who serve Him on earth.

Before Mom's death, she had visited us in New York. I had the privilege of walking with her and sharing what she meant in my life. God is so good! Mom's words were, "Take care of Dad". She knew her life would soon be over. She also knew her girls were serving the Lord, and this brought joy. "Thank you, Lord, for my mom."

Dad continued to live to be 81. He lived just five doors from us. God gave me memories then, with just Dad. On one occasion before a trip to visit my sister in Massachusetts, he came to my home, but he was sick. I prayed with him - which I had never done before. He was able to go on that trip for Christmas. He died there two weeks later. I'll never forget our last talk and praying together. He, too, knew he was "going home", for he had left some notes for us. "Thank you, God, for my dad."
You see, when you love the Lord and serve Him, you are ready when He calls you.

That special plaque is now gone, but its words remain in my memory and my heart. Now my husband and I are in our 70's. We, too, know that only what we do to serve and glorify the Lord will last. It's our privilege to continue to minister and serve Him. It is what counts! You never retire in working for the Lord. Philippians 1:21 "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

God Is Enough

God Is Enough

Thank you Father for this brand new day that You have made! In this day we will rejoice and be glad! We will enter your gates with thanksgiving in our hearts. We will be content with the food of your Word and doing that which You have called us to do. We will present the Gospel in every way you have divinely equipped us to do so. We will not boast in ourselves. Rather we will boast in You and believe that:

"You are Who You say You are
You can do what You say You can do
Your Word is alive and active in us." (Beth Moore -Believing God)

"Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

So far we have managed to stay away from the shoulds and should-nots. And guess what, we still ain't going there!
"...For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Cor. 3:6a

"Jesus answered them, ' "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the Son remains forever. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:34-36

Sisters, we are free! Jesus, the Son of God has made us free! We will not forever remain in this flesh where we do daily battle with sin. Day by day as we choose to believe Him and be changed by what we believe, we will soar like eagles. We will run and not grow weary. We will choose life over death. Or I'll say it like this- our food and drink will be to do the will of the Father. Nothing else will satisfy because GOD IS ENOUGH!
Can I get an amen!?!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

God is Enough

God is Enough

Yesterday our hearts hopefully united together to take a journey toward believing that God is enough. Put another way, you could say we are going to journey toward believing God.
Like me, some of you, if not, most of you would be quick to think and say, "Hey, I already believe God".
Let's quest together for the answer to this question, "What is believing God?"
But first let's discern the difference between believing and believing in. Trust me, believe me, when I say to you - this is not going to be easy. I had to stop midst the writing of this devotion to think my own thoughts out loud with Diane. Thus...I believe that God wants us to do the hard word of learning and seeing the difference so that change, true change, takes place in our lives.

To 'believe in' is "to have a firm conviction as to the goodness of something". In other words, we all have a firm conviction that God exists and that He offers us salvation.
To 'believe' is "to accept as true or real; to credit with veracity (conformity to fact or truth); to have firm faith, confidence or trust in what one has seen or heard". Meaning, I do not simply believe in His goodness but I also take Him at His Word by believing what He has told me.
I'd be lying if I said I spent a lot of time intentionally focused on what I believe about God. I just matter-of-factly believe in Him. Yes! I believe in God, but the question to answer is, do I believe in Him enough to take him at His Word and believe Him by conforming my life to His Truth?

Therein is where our journey began yesterday with "God Is Enough". Is He? Do I live my life as if I truly believe that? Is my life daily marked by change, fueled by the transforming power of His Word? Under my own watchful gaze I have to say, "No I do not."

Praise God! Praise God! Praise God for the process that sanctification is! Thank God for the ever moving onward and upward direction that He draws me toward -by the power of His Spirit- as I continue my pass through this life.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:17-19


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

God Is Enough

God Is Enough

With my lips it is easy to say and with my pen it's even easier to write the words, God is enough. Lately I've been confronted with the truth of it and I am keenly aware that I live my life as if He isn't enough. I am over weight. There I said it. Not that it's a mystery to anyone who sees me. But, there have been many times which I've caught a glimpse of my reflection and gasped what I saw there. Who is that woman? So I humbly invite you to think with me; walk with me; help me to process this truth. In fact, let's do it together.

Is there any area of your life that calls to you for change -change that moves and cuts way below any surface mask or covering we could hide behind? (Just in case you can't think of one, I invite you to ask the Lord. I promise you he will open your eyes to see some area that screams to believe the truth that He is enough!

With that "thing" firmly in mind, let's allow the Lord to speak to us through His Word. Sisters, please hear my heart here. The last thing I want to do is to lead you through a litany of shoulds and should-nots. The law of shoulda, woulda, coulda has never redeemed anyone from anything. Those words more often than not cause me to cringe and feel judged. In fact, lately as the use of them has seemingly jumped to the forefront of my mind, I am asking God to give me an ear to hear my own use of them. Lord, deliver me from communicating to anyone that they don't measure up. Surely that is the Holy Spirit's work and His alone.

My lone desire is to invite you in, to journey with me through this process of living like I am truly believing - God is enough. My desire is to share with you from a satisfied heart. A heart whose food is to do the will of the Father and not the will of my flesh's longings; demands for food.

"Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work."

He said this to His disciples in response to their question, "Has anyone brought you something to eat?"
Had that been me in my current state, I would've been checking them out as they walked toward me, wondering what delicious morsel they were bringing me to eat. And, once they came within voice range, I'd probably have unashamedly asked them, "What did ya bring me?"
Not so with the Lord Jesus. His heart and mind were fixed, rock steady on doing the will of His Father. I can guarantee you He didn't have visions of Krsipy Kreme(r) donuts dancing in His head.

To be continued...


Monday, February 20, 2006

El Elyon ~ The God who is in Charge

El Elyon ~ The God who is in Charge

Gen. 14:18 "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bead and wine. He was priest of God Most High"

El Elyon is the first compound name for God, "El" being short for Elohim and "Elyon" for Highest. So, the name is translated El Elyon ~ The Most High God". What is unique about this name is that it is only found 30 times in the OT and is only found in the Mosaic books, Psalms and Daniel. In Gen. 14:18, Melchizedek is giving praise to the Most High God for delivering the people from their enemies.

The Most High God is able to deliver us from our enemies. In 1 Peter 5:8 we learn that our spiritual enemy is Satan, therefore, God can deliver us from Satan! In Psalms 57: 2-3 we are told that God can save us from all who pursue us ~ El Elyon is able to defeat all our enemies because He is the Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. Through the book of Daniel we also see that God is in control of all the circumstances that happened to Israel in order to show that God is Supreme. That is the same in our lives ~ all circumstances come into our lives for a purpose and to draw us towards the Most High God.

So, what is our response to El Elyon?

1. Abraham gave a 10th (Gen. 14:18) back to Him in response to the victory He gave.
2. Malachi 3:8 tells us not to rob the God who gave them everything. (James 1:17)
3. As the Most High God we owe everything to Him - so our attitudes toward our circumstances and possessions should reflect that.
4. He desires my all: Check out the verse of the Old Hymn by Isaac Watts, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," says it best: "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

How are you daily responding to El Elyon? Who is Most High in your life ~ God, you or maybe someone or something else?


Friday, February 17, 2006

Believing God for more what?

A few years ago, I was speaking at a women's retreat in Pennsylvania. It was in the fall and as usual I was looking for an opportunity to get back to nature and enjoy the out-of-doors. A small group of us decided to take a hike to the top of Spruce Mountain.
One of the women that went with us had been struggling with Epstein Bar and Fibromyalgia for years which often kept her from doing the physically active things she loved to do.
It was a moderate hike, crisscrossing back and forth across a stream sometimes small and shallow, sometimes a little more challenging. Up and up we went, laughing, joking and fellowshipping along the way. Periodically, we would stop to catch our breath and this woman would catch up to us with our hearts pounding and labored breathing. We frequently inquired if she was doing okay, not wanting to push her or leave her behind. She always gave us a cheery, "I'm fine. I can do this, because I'm believing God for more." She taught us all a life lesson that day.
I was sharing this story with the Higher Ground Ladies on Monday night and one of the women raised her hand and asked, "Believing God for more what?" I smiled, "more of whatever." For this woman, she was believing God for more physical strength. Perhaps you need to believe God for more hope, more trust, more faith, more perseverance, more of whatever you are lacking in your spiritual life. It is another way of saying, "I refuse to be satisfied, until I have more of Christ." We will never have enough of Him that we can sit back and be lazy. I want to be in constant pursuit of more of Him.
What area in your life do you want or need to believe God for more? Don't be satisfied with mediocre. Passionately pursue more.
Oh, by the way, we did a victory dance at the top of that mountain because she believed God for more, and He rewarded her faith.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Pause, Pray and Practice Principle

The Pause, Pray and Practice Principle

If you have been on this Victory Call journey with us long enough you may recall a devotional I wrote about the PAUSE AND PRAY Principle. As women we are prone to respond in the moment and respond in our emotions. For me, if I respond in my emotions, in the moment I am, more likely than not, going to sin with my words or my face (which is reflecting the attitude of my heart).
For some time now I have encouraged women to practice the PAUSE AND PRAY principle. Very few, and I do mean, very few incidences require we respond immediately with the first thing that comes to our mind and tongue. Instead, we need to take some time to remove our self from the situation and pray until we have God's peace and can deal with the situation with a quiet and gentle spirit of godliness. This may take a few minutes to a few weeks. Pause and pray until...
I am not suggesting that women should be silent. On the contrary, God has given women intellect, insight and wisdom which may need to be brought to bear on a particular situation. However, it is wise to be silent until we can give that input gently, calmly and peaceably. In instances where confrontation is called for, much more value will come out of a peaceful interaction than one that rages at mega-decibels with unkind and ungodly words.
Stephanie and I were recently discussing a situation in which this principle seemed to be applicable but we went on further to say it would be good to practice how to and what needs to be said. That is why I have added the PRACTICE part of the PAUSE, PRAY AND PRACTICE principle. Practice your words, after you have paused and prayed, otherwise you will be practicing the wrong stuff. Practice kindness, practice grace-filled, respectful, godly speech. Practice. Practice. Practice.
After Pausing, Praying and Practicing, and God has given you peace, then go and deal with the issue. It is more likely to be heard by the other, and you will be blessed for having obeyed.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Are you His witness?

Hebrews 4:16 "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in the time of need."

Communication is essential for any growing relationship - including our relationship with God! The above verse tells us we can come boldly to God. Not only does a Christian have the blessed privilege of talking with God about everything, but they can experience the great benefits from their communion with Him. God's word and prayer go together. They build up in a relationship with Christ so that He can live through you. Prayer releases us from fear and worry! God's will is revealed as we have communion with Him, so we have nothing to fear. His way is best.

As Christians, we are also told to witness. We can demonstrate through our life what the Lord and His grace can accomplish. But remember, we can never convert a soul, which is the work of the conviction of the Holy Spirit, bringing a person to ask forgiveness of their sins and asking Christ into their heart. But we can pray! James 5:16

Are you His witness? To me it is amazing that Christ allows me to be His witness. We can witness by our love, our life, and by word. What is your witness in your home, in your school, or out in public? Remember, you are here to glorify God, not yourself.

We are also told we need to have fellowship, not only with Christ, but with other Christians. Read 1 John 1. I need you, and you need me. Seek the fellowship with the Christians God has put in your life: family, work, church, neighbors, and friends. (Perhaps those you write to from past years. I cherish them!)

Make time to pray and read His word. Communicate with Him. He loves you, and He promises to be there for you at all times, in good times or bad.
Communicate with Him.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Had I fallen into the trap of using Christ?

I was sitting in class one evening about 15 years ago when I was in seminary, when the instructor, David Powlison made this statement, A lot of people treat Jesus like the big valium in the sky. Nodding my head in agreement, I thought that was a good thing. You can imagine the sick feeling in my stomach when Dr. Powlison proceeded with explaining how short-sighted it was. I knew I was guilty of exactly what he was talking about. That was precisely how I had been treating Jesus, as my sedative. I figured that was better than taking a drink, a Xanax or a valium. Don't get me wrong, finding peace in Christ is better than any pill but, He is so much more than that. (Please do write me to tell me the necessity of these meds, I am fully aware of their benefits and sometimes the value of short term use - that is not the point of this Victory Call).
I had fallen into the bad habit of enjoying my relationship with Christ for what He did for me, for what I could get out of it. If that had been a human relationship it would have been said that I was using that person. Had I fallen into the trap of using Christ?
Why is it short-sighted? I was failing to appreciate Christ for who He is, not just what He can do for me. He is worthy of my worship whether He ever does anything at all for me. He is worthy of honor and fear. He deserves my respect, pleasure and love.

You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11; Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength, and honor and glory and blessing! Revelation 5:12; Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and the Lamb, forever and ever! Revelation 5:13; Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Delight yourself in Jesus because of who He is, not just for what He does for you. My meager words fail to capture the grandeur and magnificence of His Person. He is so worthy of our moment by moment worship.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Jehovah ~ The God who cares for me

Jehovah ~ The God who cares for me

Gen 2:4 "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens"

The name "Jehovah" is translated "LORD" in all caps in most versions of the Bible. Sometimes it is also translated "GOD" in all caps to differentiate it from "Elohim". LORD is the name most used in scripture for God (6000 times). Jehovah appears along with the name Elohim when God creates Adam. We also know this name as "Yahweh" as given by God to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:13-14).

Jehovah denotes the special relationship we have with God. Elohim provides for the physical universe ~ Jehovah provides for and protects His children. The term Jehovah or Yahweh which literally translated means "He which is: I AM" tells us that He is, He has always been, He always will be and He cannot be improved upon."

Jesus declares himself as Jehovah in John 6:20 (It is I), and John 8:58(...before Abraham was born, I AM). Do you understand what that means? We have a God who not only created us, but cares for us and Jesus himself came to earth to show how much He cares for us!

So, how do you apply this to your life?

1. Thou shalt not take the LORD God's name in Vain ~ the word vain means empty. Yes, we should not use it in a profane way, but it also means when we say in a spiritual sense we need to understand the fullness of the word and the depth of meaning it has in our lives. Let's not throw the word around lightly - do you really know Him as the God who cares?
2. Mal 3:6 "God does not change" ~ the God who cared for all the men and women of the bible is the God who cares for you! If He has shown himself faithful, he will continue to be faithful.
3. His presence is with us... "The LORD replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (Ex 33:14)

Are you living daily with Jehovah? You have his comfort and his presence at all times! Even when you feel lonely here - you are never alone. The God who cares for you is ever present!


Friday, February 10, 2006

It is my right to walk in victory

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57

I was flipping through my Scripture memory cards when I came across a card in the very back of the spiral bound set. I don't remember writing this but it caused me to stop short and give some thought to this statement. "It is my right to walk in victory."
As a counselor, I spend considerable amounts of time trying to help people understand that when we surrender our so called rights in this life, it is then that we come into full surrender to Jesus Christ.
Wayne Mack, in his book, A Homework Manual for Biblical Living vol. 1 Personal and Interpersonal Problems (pg. 5-6) states "usually we become sinfully angry because we think some 'right' is being denied. He suggested the following 'rights' that we tend to cling to that can become idolatrous and lead us to sin: right for privacy, the right to have and express personal opinions; the right to respect; the right to be understood, the right to be supported, the right to earn and use money, the right to have and control personal belongings, the right to be successful and 26 other "rights".
The rights I am talking about are different. These rights are not personal rights on my own merit but my rights won on my behalf at the cross. I have the right to have peace of heart, because of Jesus. I have the right to drink in the Living Water, because of Jesus. I have the right to choose obedience, because of Jesus. I have the right to believe the One True God, because of Jesus. I have the right to freedom, because of Jesus. I have the right to walk victoriously, because of Jesus.
Are you as excited about that thought as I am? Say it out loud. "I have the right to walk in victory." Remind yourself of that truth, daily.
Thank You Lord, for the rights I have because of Jesus.


Thursday, February 09, 2006


"...Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." Matthew 25:23

The other evening I was chatting with the women in my small group at Higher Ground when one of the women shared that she has often reminded herself that she wants to finish well. She always considered that as being in her later years that she wants to finish her race strong. I would venture to guess that is how all of us think about finishing well. Her next comments really struck me. She said, "I need to remind myself that it's not something I will do later, but I need to do right now. I need to finish every conversation well. I need to finish every meal well. I need to finish every thought well." Wow! When it comes right down to it, we will not finish life well unless we finish the details of daily life well, today, tomorrow, next week, and next month.
I need to build into my life today, what I want to be there tomorrow. It is so easy and deceptive to think that I will obey in that area when I'm older, when I'm a more mature Christian or when it's not so hard. You know the old adage, tomorrow never comes.
Begin today. Choose today to finish each moment well. This is how we will gain victory in our lives - one victorious moment after another victorious moment, until we have strung enough together to have a victorious day, week and year.
Are you ready to commit to finish each moment in your life well so when you face Jesus you will hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."?


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

God's Special People

The scriptures tell us to be joyful in our trials, James 1:2; content in our circumstances, Philippians 4:11-13; and to stop complaining and grumbling, Philippians 2:14-15.

It's been over fifteen years ago that I was asked to write for our church newspaper. I wrote an article every other month called "God's Special People". Those I wrote about were testimonies of shut-ins, disabled or elderly in nursing homes - many in wheelchairs. They received recognition of their witness to others, and from the stories written; many of them received notes and cards. I know this as I was in a wheelchair myself, and the first article introduced my column and my life. God is special to me, and I am special to Him! I used my life verse (given to me at age 16): Romans 8:38-39, "nothing can separate me from the love of God".

Recently, I came across the manila folder holding about 20 of the articles I had written. As I read, the tears came. I thought of Fran, a blind girl, who is now in heaven. We talked a lot on the phone and laughed together. I miss her, but today she can see! There was the story about Seybert. He was in a wheelchair, crippled with arthritis and his wife had had polio. What a testimony! Others were in nursing homes, waiting for God to call them home, but still praising God and smiling. All these people were truly special to God and to others.

As I read each one, I realized that all but two of the 20 had died. Why had God allowed me to remain and even continue in Christian ministry with young people and now here at America's Keswick Colony of Mercy with men recovering from addiction? God has plans for our lives. We don't always understand, but we need to accept His will, and most of all, let God be glorified.

I've started a new plan. If possible, I am writing to someone in the family of each of these special people and sending them a copy of the article of their loved one. It will be a reminder of the blessings they had while caring for one of God's Special People.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

No Greater Love

No Greater Love

"Greater love has no man than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
-- John 15:13
It is so much easier to say those words than it is to think about actually doing them. Most of us are capable of imagining our lives laid down for our children or for someone we greatly love. But who of us would ever begin to contemplate laying down our life for our enemies? It's not even a thought that would come naturally to our conscious or our unconscious thinking. Who could do that? Who would do that? Of course, we all know the answer. Jesus did.
For His friends and for His enemies He died. Such an amazing love is what wooed us to the Cross and led us to lay done our will for His will in our lives. This love enabled us to see the futility of life apart from Him and run into His waiting arms.

How could He love me so? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you ever stood in the mirror glimpsing the reality of exactly who you are apart from Him and been brought to your knees in praise?

For me, for you, He endured the Cross. He endured excruciating pain and suffering. He experienced soul crushing despair when He felt the Father's rejection. And yet, in the throes of His agony He seeks forgiveness for the ones who despise Him unto death.

There is no greater love than this. Every insult or accusation hurled at us; every offense we experience; every cut and bruise our egos receive; everything and all that this life has to throw at us, we can bear and we can bear well, because he loves us!

Father, we thank you today for the Gospel. We thank you for loving us while we were still against You. Lord, help us to live today with a grander view of so great a love, and with an increased desire and willingness to share Your love in us, with our friends and our enemies. Gratefully in Jesus name. Amen.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Elohim ~ The God who Created You

Elohim ~ The God who Created You

"In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." Gen. 1:1

I'd like to take a few devotionals to focus on the names of God. What better place to start than with the name Elohim, which is found first in the Bible. Not only is it first, but it is found 2,000 times in the Old Testament.

"EL" means powerful or mighty and "him" refers to the plural (This speaks of the Trinity). Putting the two words together ~ Elohim means "The powerful creator and sustainer of the universe". This immediately reveals the external existence of God ~ he created, he was not created. It also demonstrates the self-sufficiency of Christ. Remember, Satan was created, which means his powers are limited.

So, what does that mean to you?

1. We were created by HIM ~ for HIM.
2. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14)
3. God can use what he creates (Exodus 4:11)
4. God uses the Ordinary, because he created us ~ so that we boast in the creator ~ not in us. (1 Cor 1:26)
5. In Isaiah it tells us that we were created for HIS glory (43:7)
6. We are connected to the powerful creator and that power is available to YOU! (Prov. 18:10)

See God doesn't need you or I, we need him! Without our Creator we are nothing, he created us for His purpose. To bring Glory to God the world must see us living His ways, and doing His good works.

Since God is Elohim....
I am here for a reason and I have been given a purpose. Do you believe that? Do you live as though that were true?


Friday, February 03, 2006

We walk by faith and not by sight

II Corinthians 5:7 "We walk by faith and not by sight."

I was given a "pass-it-on" message card put out by Universal Design. I haven't passed it on, but I'll share its message.

The card shows a picture of a little white dog peeking through eyes covered with hair. We have a white Westie who shares the same face! The title of the card reads, "We walk by faith and not by sight". I love the little card as it reminds me that as Christians we have to walk by faith many times, not seeing clearly what may be ahead in our life. We have to trust Christ, our Savior and friend, for decisions and paths to follow. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

As I am writing this, I am watching our little Westie, whose name is Frostie, playing outside with one of the residents of our addiction recovery center. I notice three things as I watch:

1. They know and trust each other - and Frostie listens to John's every word, obeying.

2. They enjoy each other's company - it shows!

3. John leaves, and our dog waits for his friend to come back - he will, because he loves him.

Isn't this how we react as we walk by faith with Christ? We need to enjoy being with and talking with our Lord. He is our friend, and He loves us. We need to trust His leading and seek his will. Even when we can't see His reasons, we need to obey! Luke 8:18, "Take heed how you hear".

Remember, too, that Jesus will come back - He has promised! Be ready and be looking for His return - maybe this year, maybe next. For now, enjoy being with Him as you read His Word, letting Him talk to you; as you pray, talking to Him.

Walk by faith and obey His commands. Remember, He loves you!


Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Passion of a Kiss (part 2)

The Passion of a Kiss (part 2)

Yesterday's phone ad led up to this video, called "Like We Never Loved At All." It is a really well done video about a broken-hearted couple. The point is how much they are both hurting over their break up and long to be back together but there are some obstacles, namely another woman. It's obvious that they have shared a lot! It portrays the woman as wondering how he has moved on, she asks him; "Did you forget the magic? Did you forget the passion? Did you ever miss me? Ever long to kiss me?" Obviously by the look on his face the answers were, No, No, Yes and Yes. Their hearts were broken.
Anybody that has seen it, would probably agree that she could press the delete button forever and not get this relationship out of her heart. It's just not that simple. I don't believe it was designed to be simple. I believe that when the Lord said that the two shall become one, Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh, He wasn't just referring to the physical but also a spiritual joining of the couple.
There's something special about going to the man you love on your wedding night and being able to share your most intimate experience under the protective banner of marriage. Song of Solomon 2:4 He has taken me to the banquet hall and his banner over me is love.
The Beloved tells us not to stir up nor awaken love until it pleases. Sure a kiss can bring pleasure but it leads to the desire for more sexual intimacy not meant to be awakened until it truly pleases. Pleases who? Pleases God.
There is nothing wrong and in fact, everything right about the love and passion we can experience in a marriage. That is truly a gift of pleasure from a loving God. And I believe it pleases the Lord to look down upon a loving, respectful, passionate, married couple.
Maybe you've experienced things in this way and can say yes, amen, that is so true. Maybe you haven't. Maybe you've got some conviction going on and far be it from me to take that away. Let it lead you to our loving, forgiving Lord and start again. Maybe you're not even at a point to have to consider it yet, but it's never too early to start preparing to do the right thing.
Maybe that choice was taken away from you and you need the comfort, peace and healing only God can give. Or maybe you're like me and wish you grew up knowing Christ and had the foundation to make better choices but didn't. Let me say God is good, He has allowed me to be a wife and mother and come through a divorce, and by His grace has made me a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come. Should He decide to give me a godly husband I will have the opportunity to come to him as a new creation in Christ.
How about you? Where do you stand? Where would you like to stand?


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Passion of a Kiss

The Passion of a Kiss

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.
Song of Solomon 8:4

I was privileged to hear about a couple who made a commitment during their courtship to not stir up certain feelings by drawing a line right at the start of the relationship in how they would relate physically to each other. Quite honestly, I was surprised not only at where the line was drawn but that the man was the one who drew the line. He told her that he would not kiss her on the lips until she was his wife. But what's even more amazing is that the woman was hoping he would do exactly that! She told me she took it as a confirmation from God that this guy was the real deal. She shared that in the past she would have had to be the one in a relationship to set the boundaries. It was encouraging to her to know that this man was willing to lead in that area. Her exact words were; "I knew then that I could trust him with my heart."
Now some may say; so what's the big deal about a kiss? When I was sixteen years old (way too young), I received my first kiss. WOW! It was not something I was prepared for, emotionally or physically. I wasn't sure what to do with all the feelings that came with that kiss. I'm thankful now that it stopped there. But at the time I wanted more! I liked the feelings that were stirred up and wanted to experience them again, Not only that but I thought that it meant this relationship was going someplace. I didn't know where but who cared, this was great! Keep in mind, this was a result of "simply kissing."
Talk about stirring up and awakening love before it's time! Needless to say, I never did go out with the boy again, but to this day I can remember not only that kiss but his name. Oh sure I moved on, but I can't say it didn't take away a little piece of my heart. The Lord tells us to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. How can we do that when we are in and out of relationships, especially when physical intimacy is involved.
Recently I clicked on to a music video on the net and there was a cell phone ad attached to it that was a girl sharing with others how by doing the following three things she could forget all about the man she just broke up with,
1. Get rid of all photos and memorabilia, i.e.: movie ticket stubs etc...
2. Delete his email address.
3. Last, delete his phone number from your cell, this will be especially helpful because a cell phone will always prompt that action with the question; Are you sure?
And there you have it ladies, he's gone, what was his name?? Yeah Right!

But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- 2 Timothy 3:1-4

More tomorrow...