Monday, May 29, 2017

Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home.  There are times to be on the go and running to and fro, having fun with friends, working, going places. But then there are times to rest and be quiet and just stay home.  I love being home.  It's where I can rest, recalibrate, refresh, reconnect - at home.    These are words that give me hope in this season.   

Yes, I love to travel and be on the go, visiting places, mingling with friends.  It's convention time for our church family and many of our friends and peers are there and having a grand time in Washington D.C.!  We had our tickets, reservations, tours scheduled, bags packed - everything.  Feeling a bit pressed, tired, and overbooked, we prayed.  A peace in knowing it was ok for us to 'not go' came to us.  The peace that passes understanding . . . so we stayed home and I'm so glad we did.

Our youngest son, Ben was our scheduled speaker for when we were to be gone . . .  by being home, we got to listen to him in person, and it was great!  We would have missed something very special and sweet if we had not been here.  Home sweet home.  A good decision for us with the crazy pace we sometimes set for ourselves.  

"Family ties are precious threads, no matter where we roam . . .  
they draw us close to those we love and pull our hearts towards home."

As I yield to You Lord, may You continue Your great work in me and help me to become more . . . 
  • Adoring and submissive like Sarah 
  • Loving and loyal like Mary of Bethany
  • Available and capable like Abigail
  • Becoming and humble like Elizabeth
  • Responsive and constant like Ruth
  • Respectful and self sacrificing like Esther
  • Virtuous and godly like Mary
  • Full of faith like the Syrophoenician woman 
  • Transformed by the Holy Spirit like Mary Magdalene
Teach me to make my home a sanctuary of love and safe haven for all who come through our door.  "There's no place like Home Sweet Home."   In Jesus Name, A-men.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Be A Giver

Scripture  
1 Samuel 30:9-10,18-24  David and the 600 men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind, 200 of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other 400 continued the pursuit.  

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his 2 wives.  Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken.  David brought everything back.  He took all the flocks and herds and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying "This is David's plunder." 
But all the evil men and troublemakers among David's followers said, "Because they did not go out with us, will not share with them the plunder we recovered.  However, each man may take his wife and children and go."  David replied, "No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us.  He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us.  The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle.  All will share alike."  

Observation
There were evil men and troublemakers among the "congregation" of David's followers.  Those men were 'stingy' and did not want to share the plunder with those who had stayed behind guarding the supplies. 
David recognized that it is the Lord who delivered and protected them to recover their families - it is the Lord's, not 'David's plunder.'
David was just and generous and showed kindness by sharing with all and even giving to his friends in Judah - 'giving them a gift of the plunder of the Lord's enemies.'
David recognized God is the Giver of the plunder and in turn, he distributed it with fairness and liberality.  

Application
God is the Giver, Deliverer, Rescuer, Protector . . . all belongs to Him.  We are the distributer of God's blessings.  God's ways are not our ways.  My idea of fairness is not the same as God's.  David was a man after God's own heart.  Don't be a 'stingy' person or hoarder - be a giver!  Become a cheerful giver! 

Prayer
Father, You are a Giver!  The giver of Your beloved Son,  the giver of the Holy Spirit, giver of life and breath, blessings, promises, provision, and all we possess.   All that I have is Yours Lord.  Teach me to be a good steward and to become a cheerful giver of the blessings You have given me.  In Jesus Name, A-men.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Constant Friend

Scripture
1 Samuel 23:15-18 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life.  And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.  "Don't be afraid," he said.  "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you.  You will be king over Israel, I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this."  The two of them made a covenant before the Lord.  Then Jonathan went home, but David remained in Horesh.  

Observation
David was being pursued by Saul so he could kill him.  Saul felt threatened by David and was going to get rid of him.  Jonathan, Saul's son, knew how to find David and went to him to encourage and comfort him.  A 'constant' friend who is faithful, dependable - it's Jonathan.  Pure, noble, and self-denying Jonathan came along side to support David and strengthen him in God.  He tells him not to be afraid - God has his back!  God has said David will be king and Jonathan reminds David, "You will be king over Israel!"  Jonathan gladly puts himself as second to David even though Saul wants Jonathan to be king.

Application
The friendship of Jonathan and David is a great example of how God wants me to be a friend and also receive friendship from others.  One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)  Christ Jesus, will never forsake those who trust in him and love him.  He has given His Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen me in my walk with God.  

Prayer
Father, You have sent me friends at specific times in my life to come along side and encourage me to trust in You and not be afraid of whatever I may be facing.  You've given Your beloved Son, who is my Friend and Savior, and Risen Lord, along with Your Holy Spirit power and grace to be my Helper and Teacher.  You have not left me alone but have given me all I need.  May I not only be a true and faithful friend to others, but also be willing to receive friendship from those You send my way.  In Jesus Name, A-men.  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Regular Check Up! 4/13/17

Scripture
2 Corinthians 13:5-6  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith, test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you ?  - unless of course, you fail the test.  And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Observation
Genuine faith is Christ in me.  Look into your heart - is faith and trust there?  No matter the circumstances of life - trust in God and you will prove your faith is ROCK solid!

Application
When life gets tough, no matter how bleak, no matter if it seems God doesn't care or see - trust in Him.  Wait for Him.
Examine myself to see whether I am in the faith.  Test myself and have a regular check up.  Do the right thing and wait for God.

Prayer
Father, praise be to Your name!  You do not withhold Your love from me even when I mess up.  I submit to You for correction and instruction.  Guide me with Your Holy Spirit and lead me in the way I should go.  Purge from me anything not of You.  In Jesus Name, A-men.

A Passing Visit 3/31/17

Scripture
1 Corinthians 16:7  For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you . . . 

Observation
A passing visit - a greeting, a wave of the hand - a brief hello.  God doesn't want an informal 'howdy do' from us, anymore than Paul the Apostle did with his friends!  He desires quality time, sweet fellowship, and to commune with Him.  And we need it!

Application
Time with God must be a priority in my life.  Not just a few moments here and there, or having a set devotional time, but to learn to live a life of devotion - 24/7.  To learn to sit at His feet.

Prayer
Forgive me Lord for the busyness of my life and my shallowness in times of reading and worship.  My mind wanders, and I start thinking about all kinds of things.  May I draw near to You dear Lord and will You show me how to live a life of devotion and worship?  I love You Lord.   In Jesus Name, A-men. 

Just Because I Asked 3/16/17

Scripture 
1 Corinthians 1:26-29, 31 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are.  So that no one may boast before Him.  Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

Observation
Consider your life before Christ.  God chose us not because of anything good in us, but because we need Him.  We are foolish, weak, base - the lowest of low without a moral compass to guide us.  Despised, selfish, and self-centered.  We have nothing to boast about.  But God called us and by His love and grace - we are in Christ Jesus.  Jesus who is Wisdom, Righteous, and saves and redeems us. 

Application
Just because I asked - God gave me the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  I will therefore boast in Him and talk excessively about what great things He has done for me.

Prayer
Father, just because I asked, You saved me, called me, filled me with Your Holy Spirit power and grace.  I need You in my life every hour of every day.  You are my strength and song!  I pray that the lost will come to you and just ask and receive your love and forgiveness.  I am thankful, I asked - in Jesus Name, A-men.  

Believe! 3/2/17

Scripture 
Mark 9:23-24 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."

Observation
Faith, belief, is a gift given to us by God.  Is is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, we have unbelief hidden in us too.   Believe in God and the faith we have, though it may be as small as a mustard seed, can move mountains!
Don't focus on the unbelief -  focus on the promises of God and believe and trust that with God 'all things are possible.'

Application
Wait for God.  Trust and believe.  Have faith, hope, and love in your mind and in your thoughts and actions.  Be ready and walk everyday with a prepared heart.  Seek God, live a life of devotion, set your heart's direction and don't be negative.  Pray and obey.

Prayer
Father, a mustard seed is so very small but like faith, it can begin small and grow and flourish!  You have given me renewed hope to believe and take hold of the promises You have given.  In Jesus Name, A-men.