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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

great expectationsI have this lovely inspirational stand-up book on my desk, which was a gift from my dear friend, Ann. Each day I can’t wait to turn over the next page to see what wisdom I’ll find among the pages.

The other day the page staring (or maybe “glaring” is more accurate) back at me read:

Follow your heart. It knows the way.

I suppose one could read this many ways. As a love-struck teenager, I may have taken this to mean I should follow my heart more than my head in choosing my beau. As a young mother, I may have read it as following my instincts instead of the advice of others when caring for my newborn son.

Now, however, I view it as following my heart when it comes to my career, my focus on my family and how I want to serve on a daily basis. And I wonder: What happens when your heart is telling you one thing and the circumstances of your life don’t easily allow for you to follow it? How do you reconcile the two?

And I think it comes down to this: Faith.

Ah, there’s that word again. As you may remember, faith is my “one word” for 2011. My focus.

…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20 NIV

How do you reconcile what God is calling you to do with the obstacles life seems to throw in your path? I’d love to hear your advice and what’s worked for you. Drop me a comment below.

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To-do list book.

Image by koalazymonkey

Have you ever felt like screaming that from the rooftops? I know I have. Others often comment on my ability to remain calm and patient under challenging circumstances. In reality, I think it’s just that I’m calm as long as I feel in control of a situation.

And sometimes, that’s just not possible. Sometimes, life comes at us hard, and all we can do is hold on tight. 😉

Today’s reading: Exodus 18:1-27

Dirty dishes lining the sink. Toys littering the floor like mini-landmines from kitchen to family room. Bills piling up. House to clean. PTO committee meeting to attend. Children to drop off at before school care. Children to pick up from school. Children to drive to volleyball, basketball, football, soccer, golf, cheerleading, karate, tumbling…you get the idea. Supper to fix. Lunches to make. Baths to give. Homework to supervise. Boo-boos to kiss. Spouses to talk to.

Oh…and work. Did I mention work? Yeah, that other stuff is just what many of us do after we get home from “work.” Like the other stuff doesn’t count as work? Hah!

*Whew.*

Share the Load

It’s no wonder we often feel overwhelmed and are running a bit low on patience, feeling as if throwing up our hands and throwing in the towel are our only options.

Moses felt the same way, and his father-in-law had the perfect solution: “…you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:18)

So he didn’t. Instead, he shared the work. And you know what? That not only gave him much-needed time to focus on his top priorities, but also enabled others to grow in their responsibilities and God-given talent.

What “duties” are you holding onto that you could share with a family member, a friend, a coworker? Would it free up your time to focus on your top priorities? Would it enable someone else to grow in their life?

Maybe it’s time to say, “I just can’t handle it!” and turn it over to God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

~Matthew 11:28

Discovering Our Common Grounds

Drop me a comment to share how you deal with all your to-do’s. Do you share the load? Rotate the chores? I’d love to hear your ideas and solutions. 🙂

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Stillness n' Peace (View in full size)

Image: . Dileepan .

What are you afraid of? Is there anything that makes you truly scared – irrational or not? Fear of pain? Fear of loss? Are you scared you’ll lose your job? Go without? Are you facing money troubles? Illness?

One-year track reading: Exodus 11-14

Focused reading: Exodus 14:1-31

Fight or Flight

How about fleeing from the most powerful empire in the world to follow an 80-year-old shepherd into the desert? There’s no escape because the ruler of this land and 600 of his best chariots are hot on your trail, penning you in with the sea to your back. Now what?

Do you flee? Fight? Panic?

All of these seem like normal responses in a situation of this magnitude. Instead, Moses tells the people to “be still.”

Do not be afraid…the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

~Exodus 14:13-14

That had to be a hard pill to swallow for Moses and his fellow Israelites. It goes against the whole fight or flight instinct that seems ingrained in us.

And yet, it worked. By being still, they were able to listen to and observe God at work. He parted the sea, allowing them to pass safely to the other side – a wall of water standing tall on either side of their passage.

And what about those 600 top-of-the-line chariots? Swallowed by the sea when God release those imposing walls of water.

Finding Time to ‘Be Still’

So how do we conquer our fears? The same command applies: You need only to be still.

Easier said than done, right? Especially in today’s go-go-go world. So how do we do it? We carve out a portion of our day anywhere we can to spend quality time with God. To be still and listen. To be still and know he is God.

Today’s Reflection

  1. What do you most fear?
  2. How has your fear caused you to fight or take flight rather than be still and trust God?
  3. Take some time to “be still” before the Lord and ask him to deliver you from your fears.

Related readings: Psalms 37:1-7; 46:8-11; Mark 4:35-41

~Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

How will you conquer your fears today? Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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Thunderstorm 12

Image: Shivayanamahohm

Do you ever wonder why bad things happen? Why it seems you have to go through something horrible before coming out on the other side? Why you have to face obstacle after obstacle sometimes? Why something always seems to block your path to success, happiness or freedom? Why it seems to rain somedays, followed by thunder, lightening and even hail with no blue skies in sight?

Why doesn’t God just step in and make it all better?

One-year track reading: Exodus 5-10

Focused reading: Exodus 7:1-24

Some say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Let My People Go

Moses and Aaron may have thought the same thing. Why did God send them to try to convince Pharaoh to “let my people go,” when he knew Pharaoh wouldn’t – at least not right away? And God knew this because he was the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart!

Why?

And the Egyptians will know that I am Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.

~Exodus 7:5

God had a plan. He wanted to show the Egyptians that he was the one true God. To challenge their beliefs in their pagan gods. If he’d just come in and saved the day for the Israelites, how would the Egyptians have come to know him?

Light and Dark

I think that to appreciate the beauty in life and the sheer awesomeness of God’s power, we sometimes have to first face darkness. There has to be a contrast to the light and beauty to truly revel in it. To appreciate it. To be awed by it.

And how we react to events and circumstances in our lives– especially those that are less than ideal – can demonstrate to others that even through the rain God is still the one true God.

How do you celebrate the rain in your life? How do you share the miracles God reveals to you with others? How do you respond to the “Why’s?”

Today’s Reflection

  1. How do you see God revealing himself to you as the one true God?
  2. How can you share God’s power in your life with others?

Related readings: Psalm 46:8-10; Isaiah 10:33-11:10; 12:1-6; 2 Peter 3:9

~Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

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Why Didn't You Call Me?

Image: bitzcelt

Work. Kids. School. Car pools. Dentist appointments. Doctor appointments. After-school activities. Church. Sports. Bills. Play dates. Laundry. Dishes. Supper. Homework. Exercise. The list goes on.

Sound familiar?

This doesn’t take into account any leisure activities. TV. Reading. Blogging. Tweeting. Facebooking(?). Golf. Walking. Running. Fishing. Coffee with friends. Time with family. Sleep.

One-year track reading: Exodus 1-4

Focused reading: Exodus 3:1-22

Anyone out there?

With all the back-to-back activities, to-do lists and non-stop running we do in our day-to-day lives, where do we fit in time with God? Can we even hear him calling?

In the midst of our ordinary days – tending to our families, our jobs, our friends – how do we respond to the persistent pull of God? Regardless of how God makes his wishes known – a burning bush, a burning desire or a burning need – are we willing to have our tidy plans and schedules interrupted to listen to his voice? Or are we too busy or too distracted to answer? Bottom line: Are we willing to be recruited at God’s bidding?

~Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

Here I Am

God called Moses via a burning bush, and Moses answered, “Here I am.” God then asked him to do something that seemed impossible to Moses. How would he do it? How could he answer God’s bidding when he clearly wasn’t equipped to do the job?

By putting his trust, his faith and his success or failure completely in God’s hands.

Do you ever feel like Moses? Like you’ve been tasked with something you have no idea how to do? I think we’ve all experienced that at one time or another. So, how do we respond? Do we listen? Or do we push the thing we’re scared or unsure of to the bottom of the to-do list?

Getting Priorities Straight

I don’t know about you, but every-day to-dos often have a tendency to take over my life. I get caught up in making sure the homework gets done, the dishes get washed, the lunches get packed, etc. Am I so busy focusing on the mundane that I’m missing the miraculous? Are you?

What if we were to take more time to listen for God’s call? To pray? To be silent? And then, to answer? To act fearlessly knowing God will lead us, provide for us and equip us with the tools we need to accomplish the task? What would happen then?

Hello? Hello? Anyone out there? God is calling. Will you answer?

Today’s Reflection

  1. In what ways has God indicated he has something for you to do, and how have you responded?
  2. Recount a time when you felt inadequate to do something you knew God wanted you to do. How did God equip you to accomplish it?
  3. What interferes with your ability to answer God’s call?

Related readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10; Isaiah 6:8-; 50:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Next one-year reading: Exodus 5-7

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wave crash

Image: silverxraven

What difficulties are you currently facing in your life? Do they ever threaten to engulf you at times? Are they overpowering? Just a little irritating? All-out frustrating? Devastating? Do you feel like you’re just barely keeping your head above water?

Whatever your situation, God knows it. He understands what you’re going through. And he has a plan.

A Bit Trying

Aaaaargh!!!! And, if you’re at all like me, that’s nice in theory. Intellectually I get it. But it’s still really frustrating and a bit trying in reality.

One-year track reading: Genesis 39-41

Focused reading: Genesis 41:41-57

I really have no idea how Joseph did it. He was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery at the age of 17, thrown into jail because he wouldn’t sleep with his master’s wife and forgotten for two years by one of the Pharoah’s chief officers. Yet the entire time he did something amazing: He continued to place his faith and trust in the Lord. He relied on him, and the Lord blessed him – even while in slavery and prison.

Things went well for Joseph. He continued to find favor in the eyes of the people he served. And yet, he was a slave. He was imprisoned for his morality. But he didn’t sulk. He didn’t complain. He didn’t give up. He trusted that God would do great things in his life and pull him through.

And he did.

A New Beginning

At the age of 30, he rose to prominence in Pharoah’s court as the second in command. From betrayal, slavery and false imprisonment to living the life of a king.

And it only took 13 years.

What?!?! Huh?!?! I think I misunderstood. Thirteen years!?!?! Could you endure what Joseph did for 13 years? I admit it: I’d have a really hard time. I have a really hard time staying patient with changes and improvements that, to me, seem overly simplistic and obvious to everyone but “the powers that be.” How would I survive 13 years of true suffering?

I don’t want to know. And I hope I never have to know. And I hope you never have to know. I do know that I can learn something from Joseph. I can learn that I’m a wimp. That I have everything to be grateful for and nothing to be upset about. I have family who loves me, a job in a poor economy, an abundance of food to eat, and a safe, dry place to lay my head at night.

Someone’s on Your Side

I know that the next time I’m thinking about complaining about some piddly thing in my life, I’m going to remember Joseph. And while it will take a lot for me to grow enough to stop complaining altogether, I need to remember that I’m lucky.

No matter what’s going on in my life, I have someone who’s on my side. I have someone who will never fail me. I have Jesus.

Do you? Do you want to? He’s waiting for you. Right now. He knows your life. He wants to know you. All you have to do is open your heart and invite him in.

Today’s Reflection

  1. What difficulties have you faced in the past? How did God use those to shape you?
  2. What situations are you currently facing that seem hopeless? How do you see God silently working to get you through them?
  3. Fanny Crosby was blinded when she was young, memorized much of the Bible by the time she was 10 and didn’t truly understand something was missing in her life until she was 30. What was missing? Jesus. She then went on to create many of the hymns we sing today, including “To God Be the Glory.” Sing her hymn today as a way of thanking God for working behind the scenes in your life.

Related readings: Genesis 39:2-6, 21-23; Romans 8:28-30

Next one-year reading: Genesis 42-43

The next time you’re facing a daunting, trying or devastating situation let God help you ride the waves.

If you’d like to learn more about how to invite Jesus into your heart, click here. K-LOVE has pastors on staff 24/7.

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Image by: winterdove

I was just having a conversation yesterday about how challenging it is not to have control over things that hurt our loved ones. It’s one thing to manage the issues in our own lives, but what happens when something disappoints, causes anxiety or hurts – whether physically, emotionally or spiritually – our child, our spouse, our parent, our friend?

What then?

One-year track reading: Genesis 36-38

Focused reading: Genesis 34:1-31

This is exactly what happened to Dinah, her brothers and her father. She was taken advantage of by Shechem, the son of a local ruler. Because she was defiled, she would never be able to marry, according to Hebraic law of the time.

But there’s more to the story.

Dinah’s victimization not only caused her pain and suffering, but spurred her brothers to take violent action against Shechem and all his men.

See, sin affects everyone – not just the person who’s been hurt or who’s sinned. In this case, Shechem paid a big price: his life. And, because of his sin, all of his men also lost their lives. Because Dinah’s brothers felt they needed to avenge her defilement, they acted violently, killing men.

No one wins where sin is concerned.

Heal, Restore & Thrive

So how do we heal from pain, from hurt, from sin? How do we take back the control we feel we’ve lost? We turn to God.

God can work through any situation. He cannot change the past, but he can work through your present to help you cope, change, grow and ultimately thrive. God was victorious over sin at the cross. No matter what happened to you, God knows. Turn to him for comfort. Turn to him with your pain. Ask him to heal your hurting heart and restore you. He is the only one who can restore your soul.

~Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

Today’s Reflection

  1. Describe a time when someone hurt you, either physically, emotionally or spiritually.
  2. How did it impact not just you, but those around you?
  3. What are God’s promises to you that he will forgive you and restore you? Write an exchange prayer, trading in your feelings of pain, sorrow or loss for the victory of being a believer (e.g., “I trade in my loss of innocence for the truth that I can regain purity through Christ’s blood.”).

Related readings: Genesis 49:1, 5-7; Psalm 147:3-6; Isaiah 43:18-19; Romans 12:19-21

Next one-year reading: Genesis 39-41

The next time you feel like you’re losing control when it comes to your own life or the life of a loved one, turn to God. Ask him for guidance, for support, for healing.

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