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Untrained Servants


I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. II Corinthians 11:6 NIV

Paul and the other apostles made it clear that Paul was untrained as a speaker. When he spoke it was of his personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus. I speak of my personal relationship with Jesus through my writing. I don’t have the first hand and physical knowledge Paul had of Jesus. Paul and the other apostles were plain everyday people passing the message on the best way they could. That is what they were led to do. Now days, people who look plain, ordinary and even boring are looked over. We miss the knowledge and love that lies in their hearts. Paul would have been overlooked by our modern standards for spiritual leaders. People look for talent to entertain, instead of content to touch their souls.You know the preachers that can yell the loudest and have the biggest cathedrals. By commingling my knowledge and understanding, I pray I am successful in my small endeavors. For me that means I would like some spiritual nugget I possess to grow into a boulder for someone else and be passed onto others.

Through your writing or speaking you can only hope and pray that someone’s heart is touched. Whether we are children’s writers, spiritual writers, anthology writers ,we all want to speak to or touch someone’s heart. That’s what writing is all about. We are untrained servants too and no matter what we intend to pass onto others,we need to do this with some knowledge in our genre. If we are intimidated by our lack of knowledge, we should keep searching and learning. I know this keeps me searching and learning in my spirituality and writing endeavors. Just like Paul, our way of communicating may not always be the most eloquent, but if it’s coming through with love and discernment, people’s hearts will be touched.

Lord help us to always to communicate our knowledge to the best of our ability. Help us to communicate and touch people’s hearts and spirits through prayer and love. Amen

Who Leads You?


For all those who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.” Romans 8:14

Did you know one of the greatest gifts God offers us is the privilege of being led by the Holy Spirit? I love the fact that I am led by the Holy Spirit’s wisdom. When I lean on my own wisdom, I am in trouble. The Holy Spirit provides me with God’s wisdom. He helps me to make good and right decisions. Knowing I  have the ability to tap into the Spirit’s wisdom to make my decisions is freeing. The Spirit’s wisdom allows the decisions I make today to change my tomorrows, too.

In our daily decisions, whether it’s in our personal or writing life we need to use this guidance. Stop and ask for guidance with each new decision you are unsure of because you will receive an answer. It may be through another person, or an inner reassurance, if your decision is based on prayer. When my girls were small, I would take a deep breath, close my eyes and throw a “Lord, help me” to the heavens.  I think that deep breath along with closed eyes gave my girls the impression an explosion was erupting within. However, that short prayer gave me enough time to regroup and receive an answer. Depend on the Holy Spirit, he never leads us in the wrong direction. Just like we like our children to listen, God loves his children to listen to His counsel.

Lord help us to remember, as your children, we are not alone. In those times of anger or confusion let us turn to the Holy Spirit before making our decisions. You are always there with guidance and love. Let our decisions be your decisions for our lives and the lives of those we love.

Happy Valentine’s Day



 

 

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it  will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-15

 

 

Why Do You Judge Your Brother or Sister?


j0433193You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. – Romans 14:10-12 (NIV)

When my Jim was alive and got upset with the political goings on or sports, I asked him to take a breath, say a prayer and let God take care of it. He’d roll his eyes and we’d laugh. During this election, I’ve been getting sucked into the political rhetoric that is being sent to my webpage. I’d post things without checking to see if it was posted by a reputable news agency or not. When I began checking, I realized these news people had their own biases. These were bad decisions, so I began reposting those from main news agencies. In the long run, I was still judging and passing on biases to others. I was judging and treating our nominees with contempt, which caused divisiveness. I didn’t take my own advice and pray I’m ashamed to say. Jim’s probably snickering at me right now.

This passage tells us to examine our own life and let God take care of the situation. God’s judgement will be on them, while he watches over us. I’m as worried and apprehensive about our future, as you. But if we all pray before we hit that share button, things may change. Your day will change if you know that you will give an account to God for the kind of day you’re giving him. It will it affect our work, family, and  time. Live for God. It’s God’s opinion that ultimately matters in the end. Pray and Vote for what the candidate says he or she will do for our country. With what we have to vote for, that’s all we can do. Sorry I couldn’t help it. 🙂

Lord I hate to keep harping on the election, but can you give us the counsel, enlightenment, and peace of mind that you are here in the midst of all this confusion. We need your guidance and love during this traumatic time. We don’t want to have our judgmental words taken into account on judgement day.  Amen

Our Plans are Not His Plans


imagesMany are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

I think God put planning in our DNA to confuse us. I used to lay awake and mentally line up my jobs for the next day.When I woke up, my day was already organized. I didn’t to that yesterday. Waking at seven yesterday, I let the dog out and cool air floated in the patio door. Right then, I decided I to prune the Chestnut trees overtaking my garden. The summer’s heat, even in the morning prevented me from doing outdoor work. These trees had grown a healthy eight feet, despite the heat. The cool air was inviting and I was and my pruning shears were in my back yard before eight o’clock. I felt blessed, I got to follow through on this plan. I had the debris carted out to the curb before nine. Maybe I was blessed because I got up before eleven. Who knows? Who’d think I’d feel blessed by being able to prune trees. I’m starting to learn to plan moment to moment. I never know when God will need me to help someone.

We have the free will to plan things, but God changes things quickly. Like me, you may get a phone call because someone needs help, a ride, or just to talk.Your mind starts thinking about your ruined plans, how long will it take, and what part of the day can you salvage? We only have a nano second for these thoughts. Face it the day is no longer yours; it’s now God’s day. God challenge us, until we are willing to drop things, when he needs us. Somehow, he helps us manage to accomplish his needs and ours. We can turn someone down, but not out of anger or frustration. God only wants the best for us and for those we do help in His name. He will keep pruning us, just like I pruned the trees. Stop and let each day take care of itself. I try to because if I don’t, I stress myself and I’m not giving out of love, just duty. 

Lord help us to remember that when you put another in our path to answer with love and compassion. We may be the only person who does on that day. Help us to remember to give out of love, not duty.

Category: Weekly Devotionals

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Patient Attitudes


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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. ” Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)

I often wonder why gentleness, patience, and humbleness considered a weakness. I know people who knit pick and bring each others down. I have relatives, who live to amuse themselves  by making sport of other people. They see nothing wrong with exhibiting the behavior to their children. To me it’s a form of adult bullying. It hurts to think someone you love finds it amusing to hurt your feelings. If I walk away “Stop being so sensitive” or “It was just a joke” usually follows. These people don’t know how many times I’ve used the above attributes during a visit or conversation. It would be very easy to throw out a mean come back, but I would feel bad. I wouldn’t be bearing with my family with love.

Does it become easy to be critical in these types of situations? Unfortunately yes, it’s too easy. But we’re asked to bear with others insecurities. This way, we will enter into their life story. If we ignore their outburst, we will realize the things that cause them to act the way they do. This is an opportunity for the us to counter-culture to the world around us. We should try to value others for who they are. If retaliation enters into the problem, we momentarily loose unity and our Spirit connection. We need to heed Paul’s words and build each other up rather than tearing them apart. It’s not easy, but worth the effort.

Lord, help us to bear each other’s weaknesses. Help us to look past the gruffness, impatient attitudes and lack of humility in this world. Help us to see the inner confusion of each individual we encounter. Thank you for being an example of humility and gentleness to follow.

We Are Valuable


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“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)

While my gentle loving husband battles for his life, he rests in the loving hands of Gods care. My heart breaks, as the agony appears on his face, while he struggles for air. God’s gentle hands touch and supply his needs through the care of the staff of the hospital. Jim isn’t worrying about what he wears,, as he lays dressed in a hospital gown. He doesn’t worry about what he will eat or drink because his nourishment comes through tubes. Through the prayers of friends we haven’t seen in years, online friends he has never or will undoubtedly never meet God is listening and caring for him. The value of our prayer friends cannot be measured in earthly standards. Like the sparrows our heavenly Father is feeding Jim and us what we need, when we need it. 

This parable not only reminds us of God’s provision for us; we are also made aware of how valuable we are in God’s eyes. Don’t gage your value by the world’s  standards. Those standards are not our God’s standards. Our Heavenly Father has promised to watch over us in all situations. We live in a society that continually applauds what’s on the outside. Meanwhile, we get lost in seeking approval. This approval is fleeting and  changes in a moment. God’s love is, was and always will be with us supplying our worth. We are valuable as we are. God shares his love, strength and wisdom, as we learn to become valuable in our own eyes.

Lord thank you for showing us our value through our strengths and weaknesses. Help us not to put blinders on to our value. We are made in Your likeness, what better value can there be. Thank you for loving us through our stubbornness, as we learn this most important message, “You made us valuable, we have to recognize our value and share it.”

Refute with Kindness


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He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:9 NIV

As a Christian writer I sometimes have to work hard to hold firmly to the message I’ve been taught. God reaches our hearts in one way or another. Recently a man emailed me to ask if he could refute one of my devotionals on my website. I don’t mind if someone has a different opinion. God gave us all free will. I emailed him and asked if he wanted to explain his objection to me. I didn’t want my site to be a battle ground for people to write mean and nasty things in the name of religion. I don’t have a lot of followers and that is alright, but I don’t want lose the ones I have. I respect his view and I am glad it brings him closer to his spirituality. I am glad he respected me enough to write and explain. I could see how he could have read my devotional differently than I meant it. Arguing my point wouldn’t have solved anything.

He did momentarily shake me up. My devotional writing is one of the things that holds me closer to my God, during my husband’s illness. I am holding onto God’s messages, will keep writing, and remain comforted knowing no matter what happens, our lives are in His hands. I am glad we’re not going through this alone. If I don’t keep encouraging others through my writing I will be lost. I am glad this friend and I reached out in kindness and faith in our beliefs. That’s all God wants from me is to encourage in whatever way I can. Writing devotionals is my way, what is yours. This devotional is late because I had a hard time writing this one. My inner critic tried to scare me from writing what I knew I needed to write. Thank goodness I am stubborn and didn’t listen.

Lord Help us not be discouraged by others. We are only vessels. We are not You. Not everyone is going to be touched by your message. Help us to reach each other in kindness. Help us to show your love.

Sunday Christians?


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May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 NIV

More than one Sunday, I’ve noticed people forgetting their Christianity as soon as they got outside the doors. They listened to God’s word and when they got to the parking forgot the spirit of unity God wants for us. People were in such a hurry to start their day, their Christianity stayed inside the church. It’s not everyone, but the few it pertains to can shake your faith. I started waiting until the parking lot emptied out, while listening to music or reading, so I don’t get nervous. I can be impatient, too. I don’t want the situation to overpower my Christian sense.

Christianity shouldn’t end after we leave church services. When we gather on Sunday, God gives us a spirit of unity, or a sensitivity to our brothers and sisters. This unity should cause us to encourage others. Our Christian attitude will call them to stay faithful to the call of God in their lives. Don

Lord, help us to have a sensitivity to our fellow Christians that will encourage them and call them to God. Remind us that even though we have things to do, the more courteous we are the quicker we will get there without a mishap. Remind us our children are watching. Help us to teach them courtesy and Christian love. Help us to help them to live what they hear on Sunday by modeling it for them.

God’s Purpose


 

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Do you become anxious about situations you have no control over? I do, too. Early in March, my husband of 44 years landed in the hospital. I emailed my writing groups and my best friend in Washington and asked for prayer After much testing, he was diagnosed with lung cancer,it had spread and he wasn’t a candidate for surgery, but Jim already explained to me he didn’t want surgery.

Even after everyone’s promises of prayer, I would take the burden back and begin to worry about our future. While running back and forth to the hospital I wondered how I would handle his illness later, would he make it, would chemo make him sick, what I would do, IF something happened to him. He is my partner, friend, confident, support and the love of my life. I turned on the radio and flipped to the Christian channel. Philippians 4:6 was the topic and as the commentator spoke, my spirit was calmed and I was able to lessen my husband’s worries, when I reached the hospital.

If you have a pressing problem find a verse that speaks to your heart. You don’t even have to ask, God will give you one, if you are looking for guidance. It’s amazing what he gives us if we are listening. Don’t take on the burdens that He is willing to help you through. I know what the doctors mean with their diagnosis, but I don’t know what God’s plan is  for our future. I do know it’s not in my hands, but He will supply what we need through this crisis. Whatever time he gives us, each moment will be lived lovingly and with purpose.

Father, remind us to rely on you. You are the one constant in our lives. We know you have the answers and meaning for our lives. Thank you for loving and caring for us during our earthly trials.

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