Saturday, December 24, 2011

Go In The Right Direction

Mary was given the awesome news that Jesus Christ was to be born.  This news, as amazing as it was, was also troubling to Mary.  She was to be THE virgin through whom Jesus was to be born.  Yet, in the midst of this startling proclamation that would turn her world upside down, she said. "I am the Lord's servant.  May it be to me as You have said." (Luke 1:38)
Mary hurried to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also having a miracle child (John the Baptist - born in their old age).  When John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth's womb as Mary greeted them, Mary broke forth in a song of praise to God.

Mary is the example I want to follow.  I want to say, no matter what, "I am Your servant, Lord."  I want to break forth in songs of praise even in the midst of adversity.  I'm not there yet.  I will never be completely there.  Maybe all I can hope for is to go in the right direction.

Prayer:  Lord, help me go in the right direction - toward total obedience and abandonment to You.  Surrender.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Christmas - Focus, Remember, Worship

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

FOCUS on JESUS - the Reason for the Season.  Christmas is the time set aside to celebrate Jesus' birthday.  He is the Reason we celebrate Christmas, so let us FOCUS on Him and not on our to do list.

REMEMBER that night over 2,000 years ago - remember how it changed the world forever.  Scripture tells us over and over to REMEMBER - remember what God has done in our lives in the past.  It helps us see the faithfulness of God.  Remembering Jesus' birth is the pinnacle of God's faithfulness.

WORSHIP the Lord Jesus Christ - our Savior.  When we focus on Jesus and remember His birth and His faithfulness in our lives, how can we do anything but worship Him?  He is worthy of worship.

This Christmas let's focus on Jesus, the real Reason for the Season,  Let's remember His birthday over 2,000 years ago and most of all, let us worship Him who is worthy of all worship and praise.  "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being." (Revelation 4:11)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blessings and Thanksgiving

Psalm 95:2 - "Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." (NIV)

This Thanksgiving season may we come before Him with grateful hearts, praising Him and thanking Him for our many blessings.

What a great time to begin a gratitude/blessing list if you have not already.  As you go through your day, begin writing down your blessings which may range from Jesus and salvation to birds in your feeder.  Count your many blessings and you will be blessed.  Your focus will be on Him and not on self.  You will "extol Him" when you come into His presence with thanksgiving for your blessings.

May we come to the point that Habakkuk wrote about in Habakkuk 3:17-18.  "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, thought the olive crop fails . . . . . . . yet, I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

Lord, give us grateful hearts.  May we see our many blessings and come before you with thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I am Weak, but He is Strong

I have been pondering something I read recently in my time with the Lord.  In the devotional book Jesus Calling, it states that He chose me less for my strength than He did my weakness because my weakness amplifies my need for Him.  How very true!  I just had not thought very much about God actually choosing me more for my weakness than my strength - actually, I really do know I have no strength apart from Him.

1 Corinthians 1:27 says, "God chose the weak things of the world."." (my emphasis)  In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about asking God to remove his "thorn in the flesh," but God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (verse 9)

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "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."

I sometimes feel so weak, so powerless.  How good it is to be reminded that God chose the weak things (that's me and maybe that's you).  When I am weak, my need for Him is so evident.  I want to say with Paul, "I delight in weaknessess.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."

How can that be?  My weaknesses cause me to turn to the Almighty, the All-Powerful for my strength.  God can use me when I recognize my weakness and rely on His Strength.  I truly am nothing, no-thing without Him.  But, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Friday, October 21, 2011

When Life Hurts

What are we to do when life hurts?  Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame,and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

What does it mean to "fix our eyes on Jesus?"  It means we focus on Him, on who He is, on His All-Sufficiency instead of focusing on our hurts.  We can't do both at the same time.  Whatever we are facing today, He is big enough to get us through.  He is our Comforter and Healer and He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

He is our constant companion.  Draw close to Him.  He is there.  His Presence is always with us.  "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Will life stop hurting?  No.  But, He takes the sting out of our hurts.  His Presence comforts and consoles us and gives us hope.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Be careful/cautious in setting priorities.  While there are a lot of good things in life, if anything besides Jesus is at the top of our list of priorities, there will be problems.  Everything else disappoints.

Our spouses, families, friends, church, Christian organizations, etc. will all disappoint us at times.
When we get all wrapped up, even in a good thing, when a problem develops, and it will, we are in for hurt and disappointment.

An example:  My life for many years has revolved around my family and my church - not much else.  When difficulties come in either area, it can rock my world.  My family disappoints me at times - just as I disappoint them.  My church disappoints me at times - just as I disappoint my church.  If I put either of these areas above the Lord, or if I expect too much from them, I am in for some major disappointments.

Prioritize - Jesus first, family next and then my church.  Every other good thing must follow these priorities.  Keep your eyes on Jesus!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Monday, September 19, 2011

The List - Having a Grateful Heart

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20 (my emphisis)

I began The List the other morning - a list of things for which I am thankful.  I want - I need to develop a more grateful heart so I am making The List.  It will be somewhat random in nature though I am putting Jesus, my Savior at the top of The List.

What prompted The List?  I have been perusing One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and have been thoroughly convicted of my failure to recognize how truly blessed I am.  I know that fact, but as I actually name my blessings (as Ann has emphasized),it gives me greater awareness of  how God has blessed me.  It also shines a light on my lack of thankfulness.

That very morning on which I began The List, God sent a most refreshing rain after a long dry spell.  Refreshing rain made The List.  My screened porch, where I have my time alone with God during the spring, summer and fall, also made The List.  Cooler temperatures, gentle breezes, a hot cup of coffee, butterflies, hummingbirds, family and friends all made The List.

My prayer is that God will give me a grateful heart through this exercise so He will shine through me.  I desire to be thankful even for the small things in life such as my first cup of coffee in the morning.  I don't want the tough things in life - divorce, illness and the like - to consume me and take away my thankfulness or my joy.

I want to give God the tough things in life and turn my focus to Him and His abundant blessings - His gifts.  "Give me a grateful heart, Lord."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oaks of Righteousness

There are those who gain our attention and respect because of how they grieve over their losses.  They are such a testimony to God's faithfulness and provision.

Isaiah was sent to preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted . . . . . ., provide for those who grieve in Zion . . . . .(Isaiah 61:1-3)  Isaiah says of those who grieve in Zion- "They shall be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor." (Isaiah 61:3c)  Those who grieve are very special to the Lord.  He wants to give them a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, a garment of praise and they will be called "oaks of righteousness."

The Lord plants these "oaks of righteousness" and there is a purpose - "for the display of His splendor."  When we experience deep hurts and losses, we have a God-given opportunity to display the splendor of the Lord.  Will we be called "oaks of righteousness?"  Will we display His splendor?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Feeling a Little Insignificant?

Do you ever feel unimportant or insignificant?  Maybe a glimpse into David's life will help you.  David was a shepherd boy - he tended sheep.  Even his family thought he was unimportant, but God had other plans.  When Samuel came to anoint God's chosen king to replace Saul, he looked at all of Jesse's sons but found that God had not chosen any of them.   He asked Jesse (David's father), "Are these all the sons you have?"  Jesse answered him, "There is still the youngest, but he is tending sheep." (1 Samuel 16:11)  His family did not feel he was worthy to pass in front of Samuel to be considered as the next king, but God had other plans.

When David was brought to Samuel, God spoke to Samuel and said, "Rise and anoint him, he is the one." (1 Samuel 16:12)  After Samuel anointed David, the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power.  David was a handsome young man with a fine appearance and yet, his family considered him insignificant, but God had other plans.

Maybe you are talented, nice-looking, good worker, etc. as David was and yet you feel insignificant.  God does not see you as man does.  When Samuel first arrived in Bethlehem, he thought he had found the new king immediately when he saw Eliab.  God said, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

God says we are all significant in His eyes (whether we are considered talented, nice looking, etc.).  There are no unimportant people in His kingdom.  Be encouraged today as you think about how really significant you are in God's eyes.  God has other plans for you.  Be ready! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rely On God - Not Ourselves

It is a fact of life - we will have troubles.  "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."(John 16:33)

Do you ever wonder why you (your family/friends, etc.) face so many trials and difficulties?  Sometimes the answer is quite simple.  Hardships often happen so we will stop relying on ourselves and rely on God.

In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul informed them of some of the hardships he had experienced.  He stated that they were far beyond his ability to endure and thought he would lose his life.  "Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." (2 Corinthians 1:9)

When Brooks Marr ( a lady in her 80's in our church) shared her testimony recently, she shared that through the many trials she had experienced in life, she had learned to stop asking God why and ask Him what instead - what He is trying to teach me through this trial/trouble.

When difficulties come, we need to learn to ask God what He wants to teach us - what does He want us to learn from this difficulty - or what is it He wants me to get rid of in my life.

Let's learn to ask God what and not why and learn to rely on God and not ourselves.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

God is Amazing (Part 2)

I find I don't want to write part 2 of this devotional.  God is still amazing, but I am just so human!  Most of us do not like to see ourselves in that light, but alas, it is so true where I am concerned.

After experiencing a week of victory given to me by the Lord, I went into a valley.  It all started with an almost sleepless night followed by a second and a third restless night.  Why wasn't I sleeping well?  My mind would not turn off.  Along with a lot of changes and adjustments in my life, I let a very small, insignificant thing throw me.  Someone did not do what they had agreed to do and I finally realized why it caused me so much angst.  It was a reflection on my leadership, or should I say, my lack of leadership.

This valley came for several reasons, I am sure.  One, I focused on the situation and on the bad light cast on me rather than on God and His ability to make something good out of a less than good situation.  Add to that the lack of rest and a "full plate" (almost everybody has a "full plate" these days) and you have a scenario for depression and discouragement.

Satan attacks us at our point of vulnerability.  I do not function well when I do not get my rest, thus the devil's attack.  Keep in mind that during the mountaintop and the valley I was spending time with the Lord every morning.  It wasn't like I had neglected the Lord, but Satan's attack came in spite of this fact.

When Elijah was depressed and wanted to die, he had just experienced the most wonderful victory on Mount Carmel against Baal.  The first thing he did after praying and asking God to take his life was to lie down and sleep.  An angel awakened him to eat and he fell asleep again.  This same scenario was repeated again.  Once Elijah was rested, the Scriptures say, "And the word of the LORD came to him. . . ." (1 Kings 19:9b)

I, like Elijah needed rest.  Once the Lord gave me rest, I began to feel like a new person.  1 Peter 4:11b says, "If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."  For this time in my life, God has called me to a lot of areas of service.  He continues to provide what I need and assures me He will continue to provide.  I just have to rely on Him and His strength and not get sidetracked in trying to do things in my own small strength.  "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Ah, rest, it changes my perspective!  After much prayer, I am convinced that God will provide everything I need to go through this busy time in my life.  He is All-Sufficient and He always equips us for what He calls us to do.  God truly is amazing!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

God is Amazing (Part 1)

July 9, 2011

God is sufficient even in the wilderness times of our lives.  Is your life in a turmoil right now?  God is sufficient!  To me, He is proving Himself to be the All-Sufficient God and yes He is amazing.  There have been a lot of changes in our family lately - from a child going through a divorce and moving home for a time to two teenage grandsons living with us every other week.  Big changes!  But, again God is sufficient. 

Add to all this, the places of service to which God has called me and it makes for a rather full plate.  Some weeks I ask God how am I going to accomplish all that is before me and He assures me it is going to be okay.  He truly amazes me!

This week was especially busy as I was completing the next study for Sunday School.  How could I get it finished with everything else going on?  On Friday, those booklets/worksheets were compiled and ready to distribute on Sunday.  I looked back at the week and thought - "Thank you God!"  He had amazed me at the accomplishments of the week.  It is His strength, not mine.  He truly is my Provider.  I pray He is yours as you experience difficult or wilderness times.

Psalm 57:1  "Have mercy on me O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster (calamity, difficulty) has passed."

Note:  There will be a part 2 to this story - as I went from mountaintop to valley.  Through it all, God still amazes me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A "Still" Person - I'm Not

Once again I find myself focusing on Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."  This verse has been on my mind and my heart lately and there it was again, in one of my devotional readings.  More and more I am realizing the importance of being still in God's Presence.  How will I ever hear Him and truly know Him if I am not still?

Confession:  I am not a "still" person.  But, through discipline and the power of the Holy Spirit (mostly the power of the Holy Spirit), I have learned to be fairly still early in the morning.  Let's face it, there aren't many distractions while it is still dark, so I can more easily focus on Him.  Trust me, there is room for improvement even though I have been having an early Quiet Time for many years.

Why do most of us have trouble being still?  Well, we have soooooo much to do!  (We say!)  I was thinking about Jesus and His tasks when He was here on earth.  There has never been a bigger to-do list, nor a more important one.  Yet, I am reminded that He was never in a hurry.  He always took time to listen to others and meet their needs.

Let's just say that I am convicted about my busyness, my hurriedness versus Jesus' calmness and patience, while getting THE JOB done.

My Prayer:  Lord, help me be still in Your Presence.  Help me let you direct my day.  Guide me to accomplish what is truly important.  Teach me Your Way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Give Your Mind a Break

"Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen."  This jumped off the pages of Jesus Calling early this morning in my Quiet Time.  I don't know about you, but I needed permission to give my mind a break from planning!  There is always something in my life that needs planning - my daily, weekly, etc. schedule, Sunday School, Women's Ministry and on and on.  Sometimes that planning and the anticipation of what might occur interferes with my sleep.

By "nature" I am a planner.  That's not necessarily a bad trait, but one can go overboard with a good thing.  The key, of course, is to let the Holy Spirit be in control of my day, my week, my future - let Him be in on the planning.  Let Him be my Guide.

Psalm 62:5 says, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."  To give my mind a break (a rest), I must be ever aware of the Lord's constant Presence with me.  This becomes a reality through prayer - constant prayer.  Pray, pray, pray.  Listen, listen, listen.  Obey, obey, obey.  Rest in Him.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Chief Liar

The devil is a liar.  Jesus said, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  Jesus also said, "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him." (John 8:44)

How do we counteract the devil's lies?  Know the TRUTH.  Study God's Word.  Know the Scripture and yes, memorize the Word.  When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He answered him with Scripture.  We can do the same, but we have to know the Word.

We must know the Truth to repudiate the devil's lies.  If we don't know God's Word, how will we recognize his lies?

When we saturate our minds and thoughts with God's Word, we will recognize the devil's lies.  "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32) 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Fears - God's Sovereignty

Deuteronomy 31:8 - "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

"Do not be afraid" - God states these words over and over again in his Word.  I once thought of myself as something other than a fearful person.  Compared to many people, I am not, but when I am completely honest with myself and with God, I have to admit I do have fear in my life.

Okay, confession time!  I am dreadfully afraid of snakes.  I also experience claustrophobia at times but this is improving.  Another fear I deal with is the fear of heights.  In high places, I can become somewhat disoriented, dizzy and sometimes overwhelmed.  I have actually experienced a panic attack while driving on a very high, crooked road from Durango, Colorado to Silverton.

God spoke to me very clearly one morning recently as I read the devotional and Scripture from Jesus Calling.  When God says, "Do not be afraid," that is exactly what He means.  God is Omnipresent and He is Sovereign.  He has shown me that He is in control of even my greatest fears.  He knows where the snakes are hiding (the sneaky things!) and He is even in control of snakes.  Because He is Sovereign and in control, I need not fear.  He made the beautiful, tall mountains and He is there when we are driving through the high and narrow roads that overlook the valleys below, so I should not fear.  He is there when I find myself in a closed-in space like an elevator or MRI. 

He WILL deliver me from my fears.  It is a matter of trust.  When I truly believe that He is Sovereign, my fears will fade away.

Lord, deliver me from all my fears.  You are there (Omnipresent).  You are in control (Sovereign).  Help me trust You.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Be Still Before the Lord

Such a fast paced world we live in!  Do we ever really get still?  God's Word tells us, commands us, to be still.

Zechariah 2:13 - "Be still before the Lord, all mankind."

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."

How will we ever really know God if we do not get still before Him?  I don't believe we will.  To grow and mature in our Christian lives, we must know who He is.  The more we know about His character, His power, His strength, His love, His mercy and His grace, the more we want to know.

The more we learn about the awesomeness of God, the smaller we seem - the more insignificant we become.  It really is all about who He is - it's not about me!

"Be still and know that I am God."  Learn to be still in His presence.  Practice being still before Him - it will not just happen.  We have to make the effort, make the choice, to be quiet and still before Him.  Learn to listen to Him through His Word and you will begin to know who God really is.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 29:13-14a)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Isn't God Good?!!

Have you ever noticed when someone dies or we lose something, a baby is often born or something new comes into our lives?  Isn't God good?!!

God takes our hurts and our losses and gives us something new and alive.  He is All-sufficient and He is always good.  He knows our hurts and our griefs and He cares.  "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)  "The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made." (Psalm 145:9)

When a marriage ends, it is a loss and our family is experiencing this right now.  True to God's goodness, our only granddaughter, Kaylee, got engaged Sunday night to Colton - her best friend.  We are all so excited and I could not help but see God's hand in the timing.  In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven . . . . . . . a time to mourn and a time to dance."  I think it is time to dance!  Isn't God good?!!

Colton and Kaylee

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daniel - Committed to Worship

Daniel is one of my favorite characters in God's Word and his commitments influence me to keep him at the top of my list of the most admired men in the Bible.  We know he was committed to taking care of his physical body because of his refusal to eat the king's delicacies - rich as they were.  Even more impressive is his commitment to worship the One True God at all cost.

In Daniel 6:3 it states that "Daniel so distinguished himself . . . . by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom." But, as men/women will do, his co-workers became jealous and determined to bring him down.  However, this task was going to be no small job.  "They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent." (Daniel 6:4b)  These men determined that they would have to devise a plan that had something to do with the law of his God if they wanted to bring him down.

These co-workers flattered the king and urged him to sign into law a decree that stated if anyone prayed to someone other than the king for 30 days, they would be placed in the lion's den.  How did Daniel respond to the decree?  Daniel 6:10b states, "Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."

Daniel was committed to worship even if it meant facing a lion's den.  How important is worship to us?  Are we willing to go to the "lion's den" if we are caught worshiping God?  God is the One True God - the same God Daniel worshiped - the only God who is worthy of our worship and praise.  How committed are we to caring for our physical bodies and how committed are we to worshiping God no matter the cost?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pleasant Places

I think Psalm 16:6 will have to become one of my memory verses this year because it keeps coming to mind.  "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." 

Am I saying that everything is going beautifully in my life right now?  Absolutely not!  But, I have an overwhelming feeling that God has blessed me far more than I deserve.  Everything in my life right now is not pleasant, but overall, my life is still in pleasant places.  It is because of God's abiding presence and His love.  No matter what happens, He is with me and has given me what I need to face all circumstances.  "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. . . . ." (2 Peter 1:3)  Does that mean I don't get sad, grieve and cry?  Of course not!

When the news came that our son and his wife will be getting a divorce after 18 years of marriage and two teenage sons, it was and is devastating.  It hurts.  It's not pleasant.  The truth that God hates divorce came immediately to mind. But He is All-Sufficient and will see us all through the difficulties that lie ahead. 

My Prayer - well it's just too personal so I will share the end of my prayer:  "Lord, whatever you want to teach me, help me get it.  Quick! Lord."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Am I?

David had a desire in his heart to build a house for the LORD so His dwelling place would not be in a tent.  But God had other plans.  Solomon, David's son would be the one to build a house for God.  What a thrill when God blesses our children with wonderful opportunities to serve Him!

God also, at this time, gave David a promise through the prophet Nathan.  "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:16)

David was so overcome with gratefulness and awe of what God was doing in his life that he "went in and sat before the LORD."  David asked God "Who am I, O Sovereign LORD . . . .that You have brought me this far?" (2 Samuel 7:18)

I am so identifying with David these days!  I am overwhelmed as I focus on the many blessings God has poured out on me and my family.  I am asking God, "Who am I that you have brought me this far?"  God has given Eddie and me 50 years of marriage - a true milestone that only comes through God's faithfulness.  He has given us a beautiful family.  While it is not perfect (how could it me, I am a part of it?!), I wouldn't trade it for any other.

May I never quit pondering the question, "Who am I that You have brought me this far?"  It's really not about who I am, it's about who He is.  It truly is all about Him, what He has done, His faithfulness, His blessings, His promises and His Sovereignty.

In humility, I ask Him, "Who am I that YOU have brought me this far?"  I have not deserved it but how grateful and how blessed I am.  Thank You, Lord!

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." (Psalm 16:6)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anyone Perfect?

Striving toward perfection - not a bad thing.  Scripture says, "Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)  [Perfect here means mature or holy.]  Does this mean we are never to make a mistake?  Of course not!

No one who has or ever will walk on this earth is perfect, except Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:1-2 - "Be imitators of God therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us . . . . . ."  Yes, we are to strive toward perfection - strive toward being Christlike.

However, many of us deal with the negative side of perfection.  I certainly have!  It's not pretty.  It is a control issue and is not something of which to be proud.  Since perfection is unattainable, what happens when a perfectionist wants a perfect house, the perfect children, the perfect family, the perfect friends, or the perfect church?  Lots of disappointments are in store for the perfectonist unless he or she accepts the fact that nothing is perfect and no one is perfect.

I confess, I would love to keep a "perfect" house or should I say I use to have that desire.  Right now the word dust  has been on my to-do list since day before yesterday.  Maybe it will happen today, but if not, I have learned to live with a less than perfect house.  Why?  Because it is unattainable.  Dirt happens.  Messes happen - they are a part of life.

The "perfecton" that I desire today more than anything else is to become more like Jesus - be an imitator of Him.  That has eternal value.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maybe It's Not Too Late

Do you still dream about what you want to do or become?  When you were younger, did you dream about future goals and accomplishments?  Have they failed to materialize?  Maybe it's not too late.

God knows our dreams, our desires, our very thoughts.  Did He give you those dreams?  If He did, He has given you what you need to accomplish them.  Maybe you put your dreams on hold to raise your family or care for aging parents.  God honors those important choices.  Don't give up on fulfilling your dreams.  Maybe it's not too late.

The psalmist said, "Lord, my every desire is known to You."  (Psalm 38:9, HCSB) God knows what we desire, so we may as well voice those desires to Him.

A devotional about dreams and goals in Journey magazine stated, "For many of us, those dreams are put on hold to bring us fresh purpose in our later years."  How encouraging for those of us who are growing older - and isn't everyone?!

Don't give up on your dreams.  Maybe it's not too late! Maybe God has saved your dream to give you a new challenge at this time in your life.  If He gives us a dream, a goal, or desire, He will give us what we need to fulfill it.  Just trust Him to supply everything you need.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . . ." (Proverbs 3:5a, NIV) 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stay Fresh and Green

With another birthday just behind me, I am thinking about new responsibilities I have taken on.  Questions come to mind - "Will I be able to lead as I need to?  Will I have the energy and stamina?  Am I trying to do too much?" (A problem I often have!)

I am reading through the Psalms and Psalm 92 was a recent reading.  Psalm 92:12-15 holds some significant words for me.  The psalmist talks about how "The righteous will flourish."  Well, I am not righteous in and of myself, but because Christ lives in me and I serve Him, I am considered one of the righteous.  In verse 14 the psalmist says, "They (the righteous) will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright; He is my Rock' . . . . . ."

God is never through with us if He leaves us here on earth.  He has work for us to do.  I pray I will do His work and while I do His work, will bear much fruit and stay fresh and green like the palm tree and cedar tree mentioned by the psalmist.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So You Want to be Wise

So you want to be wise - look to the Magi - theWise Men's example.  The earthly king Herod asked the Wise Men to find the Christ Child, return to him and let him know where He was so he could worship Him.  Herod never planned to worship the Christ Child - he planned to kill Him (Matthew 2:16).  The Wise Men listened to the Heavenly King rather than the earthly one.  The Wise Men were just that - wise

God's Word is the ultimate Source of wisdom. Wisdom is not something gained quickly. It takes time. Stay in God's Word.  Read, study, meditate on the Word and memorize it and you will have begun the process of growing in wisdom.

Many have much knowledge, but don't mistake this for wisdom. Knowledge is having/knowing information and facts. Wisdom is knowledge plus ability to discern.  It is insight, good sense and judgment and it has a spiritual element to it.

Ask God to give you wisdom and then spend time in His Word and in prayer.  In time you will become wiser.  James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Let us follow the example of the Wise Men and follow the Heavenly King and not an earthly one.  Let us make wiser decisions in this New Year.