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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Does your path need straightening? I didn’t think mine did, but lately I’ve been bombarded with similar messages everywhere I turn.

A special guest radio DJ on my normal channel.

An unexpected “prayer Sunday” at a different church we attended this weekend.

Today’s daily devotional.

Hmmm…maybe God’s trying to tell me something. Maybe I should be paying attention.

What suffering and persecution and pain and difficulties do is not so much make us weak, as show us we are weak. Without them, we can deceive ourselves into believing we’re prizefighters. With them, we’re reminded that we’re not constructed to function on our own power.

~Jan Dravecky, Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

Bills. Health issues. Relationship troubles. A fight with a friend. A savage rumor. A church dispute. Who do you turn to when faced with the troubles and difficulties life throws your way? Your spouse? A friend? Yourself? What about God?

What do you think? Does your path need straightening?

Drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts so we can continue to find our common grounds.

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It’s time for Musical Monday again. Click on the play button below. See what ya think. 😉

There’s Just Something About That Name

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

There’s just something about that name.

Master, Savior, Jesus.

Let all heaven and earth proclaim.

Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away.

But there’s something about that name.

I first heard this song by Bill and Gloria Gaither when I was just a little girl. For me, songs are a haven. And this is a song I can turn to when I’m feeling a bit down to be refreshed, to gain a sense of peace, of calm, of harmony. It reminds me that nothing lasts except God. All our daily trials and tribulations pass away, yet He remains.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13

What songs do you turn to when you’re feeling down to restore your own sense of peace, calm and harmony? Drop me a comment below.

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Image by: S Baker

The other morning as I drove to work, I was marveling at the beauty of the world around me. The sun was rising, and it cast amazing hues of bright pink, rich purple, burnt orange and soft yellow on the clouds in the pale blue-gray sky.

As I continued on my way, I drove by several ponds, streams and winding creeks, all with thick layers of steam rising from the crisp, clean water. The birds seemed to be out in droves, all chirping and flitting around as if they hadn’t a care in the world.

And it occurred to me. Our Maker has sprinkled magic all around us. It’s in the cry of a newborn babe, the laugh of a child, the promise of first love, the wonder of marriage and the wisdom of old age. It’s in the air, the sky, the ground and the sea. It’s all around us, if we’d just open our eyes to the wonder of it…and pay attention.

Half the time I find myself driving to work on autopilot, taking for granted a shared smile with my spouse, a laugh with my son, a knowing look from my parents. And, yet, when we actually take the time to realize the true beauty of the world around us it’s nothing short of awesome.

So…as you’re out and about this weekend, remember to take a look at how God remembers to sprinkle in a touch of magic for us in this world before we join Him in His.

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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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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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As I mentioned yesterday, I’m starting to work my way through the one-year reading path of the Women’s Devotional Bible (Zondervan). To read along with me, read Genesis 5-8.

Today’s message hit home, and further reinforces I’m on the right path. How about you?

Prepare your house for the storms that are sure to come: Spend time in the Bible. Strengthen your relationship with God and with a godly community. Bring those you love before God in prayer. When (not if) the tempest strikes, you will have shelter.

The Floods Will Come

Imagine the conversation:

God: [Your name here], I’m going to destroy the earth and all its inhabitants — except you and your immediate family. I want you to build a giant boat and collect two of every animal in the world.

You: Oh. Okay. No problem.

Seriously? I’m thinking that in today’s day and age, that conversation may go more like this:

God: [Your name here], I’m going to destroy the earth and all its inhabitants — except you and your immediate family. I want you to build a giant boat and collect two of every animal in the world.

You: What?!? What do you mean?!? How in the world am I supposed to build this giant boat? What will people think? What will people say? Are you crazy? You must be crazy. And another thing, how in the world am I supposed to collect two of every animal on the planet? What, I just take a trip to the jungle and snag a python or two, swing back through the African plains to pick up a couple lions and head over to China for the pandas that would welcome me with open arms? Right. Sure. Uh-huh. Okay. Whatever. <Insert eye roll here, followed by spinning your finger in circles by your head to indicate God’s gone loopy.>

But…what would you do if faced with an impossible situation like Noah was? Many of us are faced with them daily. Family members become hurt or injured or even die. We experience heartache, sickness, unemployment, bankruptcy. The list goes on.

So, what are you doing to be prepared for the floods of life? Will you turn to God? Will you listen to him? Will you rely on him — even when others laugh, roll their eyes, or yes, even say you’re crazy?

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sequoiaDo you and your spouse have close friends who are strong in faith? Do they offer counsel on how their marriage has survived trials and tribulations? Do they serve as a sounding board for you when needed?

If not, it’s time to find friends like these.

The K-LOVE Love Dare Day 35 challenge draws comparisons between the sequoia trees and a strong marriage:

Mighty sequoia trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and can withstand intense environmental pressures. Lightning can strike them, fierce winds can blow, and forest fires can rage around them. But the sequoia endures, standing firm, only growing stronger through the trials.

One of the secrets to the strength of this giant tree is what goes on below the surface. Unlike many trees, they reach out and interlock their roots with the sequoias around them. Each becomes empowered and reinforced by the strength of each others.

The secret to the sequoia is also the key to maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. A couple that faces problems alone is more likely to fall apart during rough times. However, the ones who interlock their lives in a network of other strong marriages radically increase their chances of surviving the fiercest of storms. It is crucial that a husband and wife pursue godly advice, healthy friendships, and experienced mentors.

Invite Strong Couples to Share Their Wisdom

Why waste years of your life learning painful lessons when you could discover those same truths during a few hours of wise counsel? Why not cross the bridges others have built? Wisdom is more valuable than gold. Not receiving it is like letting priceless coins pass through your fingers.

Or Suffer the Consequences

You must guard yourself against the wrong influencers. Everyone has an opinion and some people will encourage you to act selfishly and leave your mate in order to pursue your own happiness. Be careful about listening to advice from people who don’t have a good marriage themselves.

How to Find the Perfect Mentor

Choose a couple older than you and your spouse, or one that’s been married longer. You’ll also want a friend of the same gender to share your experiences with and ask for advice.

  • …look for a person who has the kind of marriage you want
  • …look for a person whose heart for Christ comes first before everything else.
  • …look for someone who doesn’t live by his or her opinions but by the unchanging Word of God.

More times than not, this person will likely be delighted you asked for help. Start praying for God to send this person into your life. Then pick a time to meet and talk.

Today’s Dare

Find a marriage mentor – someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and loving with you. If you feel that [more] counseling is needed, then take the first step [to set up an appointment with a professional marriage counselor]. During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.

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