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Old 08-18-2011, 07:24 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Charge It!


Today’s Truth
He (God) is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, NLT).

Friend To Friend
Several years ago an interesting cartoon appeared in the Saturday Review of Literature. Little George Washington is standing with an ax in his hand. In front of him, lying on the ground is the famous cherry tree. He has already made his smug admission that he did it because, after all, he "cannot tell a lie." However, his frustrated father is standing beside him saying, "All right, so you admit it! You always admit it! The question is when are you going to stop doing it?"

That is the question at hand, girlfriend. We often soothe our bothered conscience with admissions of sin. We then present them to the Father as obedience to the spiritual principle that we must confess our sin. There is, however, an element of true confession that goes a step farther and results in a change in lifestyle and behavior. It is called repentance.

I once associated the command to repent with old-fashioned gospel meetings and screaming preachers on television. In reality, repentance is the very cornerstone of genuine forgiveness and gives credibility to the very act of confessing sin. To repent simply means to “turn away from.” When we choose to turn from our sin and turn to God and His ways, we are practicing true repentance.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

What does it mean to repent? The woman in the book of Luke knew. She models repentance for us and illustrates beautifully the truth that if we want to experience worship we must come to God, seeking forgiveness and being willing to repent of our sin. Forgiveness is our greatest need and God’s highest accomplishment, always resulting in worship.

Luke 7:38 “As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
This woman stood behind Jesus like a “caught” child who was ashamed to look her Father in the eyes. I am certain that her guilt and sense of unworthiness prevented her from facing Him. Just being in His presence made her doubt everything about herself but nothing about Him. Standing so close to Him simply transformed her and she began to weep. Jesus was as pure as she was sinful. Every ugly thought, word or deed of her past must have flooded her heart and shattered it.

Tears of sorrow and joy spilled down her face onto the feet of the One – the only One who truly loved her. Those tears were the first prayer of her life. She then let her hair down in total submission, dropped to her feet and began to dry the feet of Jesus with her hair. The social custom of the day demanded that women keep their hair bound up. To let it down was considered a brazen act and could even be grounds for divorce. But this woman was beyond caring about social custom and earthly rules. She was conducting eternal business. She found what she had been searching for in every wrong relationship, every failure and every dead-end choice. She found Jesus!

She began kissing the feet of Jesus while pouring perfume over them, totally oblivious to those watching. The word “kissed” literally means “to kiss again and again.” Standing in His presence, she somehow knew that He understood everything she could not say and loved her in spite of her sin. It is very important to notice that Jesus did not move away from her. He did not condemn her or stop her. He knew exactly why she was there and He was thrilled! He saw her heart and received her humble action as an acceptable gift of worship.

Jesus looked past her sin and saw her heart crying out for forgiveness. Notice His response in Luke 7:48: “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ ” Wow! God always majors in grace and forgiveness. The tense of the verb “forgiven” indicates that this forgiveness of sin was completed in the past, continues through the present and will keep working in the future. The forgiveness of God is complete and eternal.

A little girl was sitting on Santa Claus' lap. She gave him a long list of expensive toys that she wanted for Christmas. Without a word of appreciation she jumped off Santa's lap and started toward her mother who stopped her and asked, “Honey, haven't you forgotten something?" The little girl thought for a moment then said, "Oh, yes." Turning back toward Santa she shouted, "Charge it."

God has already "charged" our sins to His Son and has paid the debt in full. Powerful worship flows from a heart that has repented from every known sin and received the gift of forgiveness that God offers.

Let’s Pray
Father, I want to truly worship You and am ready to confess and turn away from my sin. Please search my heart and life. Reveal every wrong attitude and action that is keeping me from truly worshipping You. Lord, I am tired of trying to live life on my own. I am desperate for You. Right now, I surrender everything I am and ever hope to be to You.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Are you ready to turn away from your sin and turn to God? If so, record the following commitment in your journal. Pray through each statement. Sign and date your entry.

· I understand that forgiveness demands repentance.
· I choose to admit the sin in my life.
· I choose to “turn from” the sin in my life.
· I will destroy any paths that might lead to that same sin.
· I will trust God for the power to practice repentance.

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions.

my youngest daughter wrote the following - several yrs ago.....

No thunder. No tearing lightning just rain. Warm, gentle, quiet, pretending to be tears..they gather and run. Tiny drops from above. Clean and caring-washing away stains only you can see. Tender, evening mist--carrying with it, that sweet, sad scent. A perfume from times ago. A promise to today. Dear God, let that rain fall upon me, bathe away the dirt from what I once was. Sometimes it's ok to stand in the rain.
by dani.
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  #2202  
Old 08-19-2011, 07:58 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Good Morning my friends. Today's readings instead of one of the regular devotions, I am going posting a variety of things I have saved...mostly having to do with going thru the storm. Be blessed. d'gal

Pray Through Your Trial
In His Presence: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
Wisdom can be defined as knowing how to apply truth to problematic situations. When we are going through trials, we must pray that God would give us wisdom to see how to apply the truth of His Word to what we are facing. Then and only then can He show us how to become more like His Son. We can ask God how to apply what is true about Him so that we can reap the maximum benefit from our situation.

Paul shows us a prayer that covers all these bases. He writes in 1 Thessalonians 5, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." (23-24).
You aren't alone when you feel like you can't go on, or like you would be better off dead than standing strong in the face of the overwhelming task God has given you, especially when you are weak in body, soul, and spirit, and the enemy is on the attack. And truly, it is comforting to know that some of the Bible's greatest faith warriors and miracle workers shared these feelings. But it doesn't mean they were right. Let us not indulge hopelessness, for it may always be found. Instead, let us remember that we serve a God of hope and of miracles and we follow the One who never copped to people, pity, or pouting, but willingly laid His life down.
---------------------------------------------------------------
God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to b unkind.
So when you can’t understand, When you don’t see His plan,
When you can’t trace His hand, Trust His heart.


Desperate dependence is where you surrender, not to the circumstances or to loss, but to God. Author Max Davis says, "Desperate dependence is the place where we can stop living by our own power." It's where we discover God's strength in and through us.
Dear Lord, I'm in a hard place. I am used to being self-sufficient. Today I reach for You. I ask that You help me to place my trust in You completely, Amen.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25
standing strong in the storm


Passive faith accepts the word as true - but never moves.
Active faith begins the work to do, and thereby proves


Going On in Endurance and Victory
Hebrews 10:35-36—Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
Endurance is the key to accomplishing God’s will, leading to the actualization of His promises in your experience.
Like David, the giants you confront can help you grow in and prove your endurance. Don’t run from them, but trust God to give you victory. Also like David, you likely will encounter temptation. In the deep of the night, when no human is watching, your integrity will be tested. Rather than weakening, celebrate the opportunity to endure, thereby accomplishing His will and receiving the blessing of His promise!


God uses broken things. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is the broken soil that produces a crop; it is the broken clouds that give rain; it is the broken grain that gives bread, and it is the broken bread that gives strength. . . . God uses broken things."
Brokenness is defined as being totally subdued; humbled; weakened and infirmed; crushed by grief. It's not bad to find yourself in that condition; after all . . . God uses broken things.
Impossibilities are God's specialties

Poem by Dani
No thunder. No tearing lightning just rain. Warm, gentle, quiet, pretending to be tears..they gather and run. Tiny drops from above. Clean and caring-washing away stains only you can see. Tender, evening mist--carrying with it, that sweet, sad scent. A perfume from times ago. A promise to today. Dear God, let that rain fall upon me, bathe away the dirt from what I once was. Sometimes it's ok to stand in the rain.

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  #2203  
Old 08-22-2011, 07:25 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Treasures in the Darkness

"Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was" (Exod. 20:21).

God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God's face.

Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you. --Selected

***

"Hast thou a cloud?
Something that is dark and full of dread;
A messenger of tempest overhead?
A something that is darkening the sky;
A something growing darker bye and bye;
A something that thou fear'st will burst at last;
A cloud that doth a deep, long shadow cast,
God cometh in that cloud.

Hast thou a cloud?
It is Jehovah's triumph car: in this
He rideth to thee, o'er the wide abyss.
It is the robe in which He wraps His form;
For He doth gird Him with the flashing storm.
It is the veil in which He hides the light
Of His fair face, too dazzling for thy sight.
God cometh in that cloud.

Hast thou a cloud?
A trial that is terrible to thee?
A black temptation threatening to see?
A loss of some dear one long thine own?
A mist, a veiling, bringing the unknown?
A mystery that unsubstantial seems:
A cloud between thee and the sun's bright beams?
God cometh in that cloud.

Hast thou a cloud?
A sickness--weak old age--distress and death?
These clouds will scatter at thy last faint breath.
Fear not the clouds that hover o'er thy barque,
Making the harbour's entrance dire and dark;
The cloud of death, though misty, chill and cold,
Will yet grow radiant with a fringe of gold.
GOD cometh in that cloud."

***

As Dr. C. stood on a high peak of the Rocky Mountains watching a storm raging below him, an eagle came up through the clouds, and soared away towards the sun and the water upon him glistened in the sunlight like diamonds. Had it not been for the storm he might have remained in the valley. The sorrows of life cause us to rise towards God.

from Streams in the Desert devotions.

*my hubs wrote this about a yr ago... it seems to fit with this devotion.........

IN THE STORM

When the storm comes,
do not take down the sail.
But add all the sail you have
and fly with the storm, into
the arms of Jesus.

The storm is a girft,
testing and proving
Love and Faith,
making stronger the resolve
of the heart.
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  #2204  
Old 08-22-2011, 08:26 PM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
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You have a very talented husband!!!! THANK YOU for sharing that! I think you are 2 peas in a pod!!! That makes me smile to think about!!!
I love you!
__________________
"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
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  #2205  
Old 08-23-2011, 07:24 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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aw thank you 1bird.

yes he has written a few others. when we had the magazine up, we used his poems / writings at times. he even wrote a few 'from the pastors desk' type things for us. Lord willing we will have the magazine going again and continue where we
left off.

hugs.
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  #2206  
Old 08-23-2011, 07:26 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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putting in 2 today as they seem to go hand in hand.


Use a Little Faith

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. —Hebrews 11:6

Sometimes our prayers are not answered in the affirmative because we simply do not believe. Jesus could do no mighty works in His hometown because of unbelief (see Matthew 13:58). Scripture tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Unbelief can hinder our prayers. When we think, Well, I don’t really believe this can happen, then we have essentially canceled our own prayer. To not believe what God’s Word says is true is to effectively call God a liar.
James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:5–7).

We must pray with faith. And if we lack faith, then we are to follow the example of the man who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). That prayer works. We don’t need to have super faith, but we do need to have some faith—and we need to apply that faith in prayer.

Faith sees what could be. Faith is not just intellectual assent; it is action. It is a consent of the will to the assent of the understanding. Faith sees what could be, and a believer sees invisible things.

Summary sentence: Can you see what could be right now? Then start praying about it—and use a little faith.

greg laurie devotions
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  #2207  
Old 08-23-2011, 07:31 AM
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Arise from the Wreckage

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28 (KJV)

I'd read the book of Acts before and honestly, it fell dull and familiar as I read again. But when I came to chapter nine, something new jumped out at me. I began to see the word "rejection," although it was not in written form. Perhaps I saw what I was feeling that day—rejected.

I was reading at the part of the story where Saul, a murderer, had just been transformed into Paul, a disciple of Christ. Even though Paul was a changed person, many rejected him because of his past reputation and lifestyle.

Not only that, but as Paul became fully devoted to serving Christ—sacrificing his education, his life, and remaining single so he could better serve the Lord—he was falsely accused, thrown into prison more than once and shipwrecked on several occasions. Doesn't that seem odd for a man called of God? Wouldn't God's favor protect him from such adversity?

I thought about an illness that had lingered with me for months. It was so severe I was all but bed-ridden week after week, unable to do life and ministry. I had felt rejected by God. It didn't make sense. I was serving Him in more ways than I could count. Then, without warning, strong winds came and ushered what felt like a storm into my life. Clouds hung overhead and before I knew it, I felt "shipwrecked."

Perhaps, you've been there, too. Maybe you've been rejected by family, friends, and co-workers. Or you've been falsely accused. Maybe you're imprisoned by finances, or being blown around by the consequences of someone else's sin?

It seems so unfair. You've tried to live right. You walk in obedience the best you can. You take God at His Word and trust in His promises. Shouldn't faith like this call for smooth sailing, instead of stormy, shipwrecking seas?

If we follow Paul's journey, we find God working through the rejection, the trials, the prison time, and the shipwrecks. Paul shared the gospel with the Pharisees through his rejection and imprisonment. People saw God's power at work when Paul survived the storms, when the snake bite didn't kill him, and when the jail shook—opening doors and loosing chains.

Paul didn't let his circumstances wreck him with a sense of rejection. He didn't allow self-pity and doubt to overtake him. Instead, we see in Acts 16:22-31 that after being stripped, beaten, severely flogged, thrown in the inner cell of a prison and his feet in stocks, Paul prayed and sang hymns to God. And others around him were listening. The power of God came in such a way that the prison guard begged Paul to tell him, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" He replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus" (vs. 30b-31, NIV).

God kept His promise to work all things together for the good of this man who loved Him and was called according to His purposes. As Paul depended on God and trusted His faithfulness in the midst of his adversity, many witnessed God's power and believed.

And the same is true for us. God doesn't waste our pain, our rejection or our "shipwrecks." He uses them to bring about His plan—to position us so that others can see His transforming power at work in our lives and believe in the living God.
If that's true, and it is, then our challenge is to rise from the wreckage, like Paul, so that our lives will give testimony that draws others to the Jesus.

Today I will no longer sit on the sidelines of life full of self-pity. I choose to rise, pray and praise, so that God can position me to shine for His glory, and so that others will believe.

Dear Lord, forgive me for wallowing in self-pity and rejection. I trust that You see the bigger picture. I believe there is a purpose for my pain. Strengthen me to rise from my ashes so that others will see You are my help and my salvation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
God has called us to live by faith, not by sight. Even though we don't always understand our difficulties, they don't have to overwhelm us. Choosing to trust God helps restore a sense of hope and stability to our lives, and also allows us to rise from our ashes.

Reflections:
What will I choose to do today: will I wallow in self-pity or rise and praise the Lord?

Power Verses:
Nahum 1:7, "The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (KJV)

Psalm 121:1-2, "I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." (NKJV)


Micca Monda Campbell, Encouragement for Today devotions.
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  #2208  
Old 08-23-2011, 11:08 AM
szcunane szcunane is offline
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i haven't been on line much - -needing some reflecting time . .some alone time. kinda feeling sorry for myself -overwhelmed - just really exhausted, so having a hard time coping - -even with the little things. (guess i've been under a cloud!) when i come to your thread - these devotions speak to my heart (sometimes even step on my toes!) thank you for sharing . .
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szcunane View Post
i haven't been on line much - -needing some reflecting time . .some alone time. kinda feeling sorry for myself -overwhelmed - just really exhausted, so having a hard time coping - -even with the little things. (guess i've been under a cloud!) when i come to your thread - these devotions speak to my heart (sometimes even step on my toes!) thank you for sharing . .

sz.......... I think we all have those times, dont feel secluded in that. I am sorry you are having a hard time. please let us know so we can all
keep you in prayer.
I am going to pm you.... gonna give you my personal email/phone... just to have in case you want someone to talk with.

hugs.
d'gal
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:30 AM
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Flowers in the Canyon

"For our profit" (Heb. 12:10).

In one of Ralph Connor's books he tells a story of Gwen. Gwen was a wild, wilful lassie and one who had always been accustomed to having her own way. Then one day she met with a terrible accident which crippled her for life. She became very rebellious and in the murmuring state she was visited by the Sky Pilot, as the missionary among the mountaineers was termed.

He told her the parable of the canyon. "At first there were no canyons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the Prairie, 'Where are your flowers?' and the Prairie said, 'Master I have no seeds.'

"Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the Prairie: 'Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?'

"And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But, again, when the Master came he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said:

"'Where are those my sweetest flowers?' and the Prairie cried sorrowfully:

"'Oh, Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.'

"Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound.

"But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mould, and once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the canyon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and wind-flower and maiden-hair grew and bloomed, till the canyon became the Master's favorite place for rest and peace and joy."

Then the Sky Pilot read to her: "The fruit--I'll read 'flowers'--of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness--and some of these grow only in the canyon."

"Which are the canyon flowers?" asked Gwen softly, and the Pilot answered: "Gentleness, meekness, longsuffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace, bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon."

For a long time Gwen lay quite still, and then said wistfully, while her lips trembled: "There are no flowers in my canyon, but only ragged rocks."

"Some day they will bloom, Gwen dear; the Master will find them, and we, too, shall see them."

Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!

from Streams in the Desert devotions
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  #2211  
Old 08-25-2011, 07:50 AM
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Unforgiveness and Unanswered Prayer

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
—Mark 11:25–26

Prayer is a wonderful privilege. We can pray anytime or anywhere. Daniel prayed in a cave filled with hungry lions. The apostle Paul prayed when he was in a dungeon in chains. Peter prayed on the surface of the water. And Jonah prayed under the water. So wherever you are, you can pray.

But maybe you have you been praying about something for a long time, and nothing has happened. Maybe it is a legitimate request—you are asking God for His wisdom or provision—yet it seems your prayer is going unanswered.

Here is my question to you: Are you harboring unforgiveness in your heart right now?

Let me say it another way: Are you nursing a grudge against someone?

Every time you see that person, do you begin to boil with anger and feel your blood pressure rising? You may say, “Well, you need to understand. That person has wronged me.”

We all have been wronged in life. We all have been hurt in life. We all have been mistreated in life. We cannot control the universe, as hard as we try. But what we can do is choose how we will react when injustice comes our way in life.

Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Forgiven people should be forgiving people. So it is time to bury the hatchet (but not in that person’s back) and forgive.

Remember, when you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free: yourself.

Greg Laurie devotions.


*wow. I can definetely say 'been there - done that !' for yrs I hated my ex in a very destructive way. people who knew me, could see the hate inside. even scared my hubs some in how I felt and acted. it wasnt anything he might have done to me... no beating, abuse, ect. but it was more of what he had done to the kids. and funny thing, I had no clue the depth of what he was doing. this was mostly just missed visits, sternness, broken promises. little things. little did I know that these 40+ yrs later, we would be seeing him as he really is. but that is another time.
when we first became Christians, the one time I heard the audible voice of the Lord speak to me, telling me to ask forgiveness for the hatred I felt. well eventually (of course I had to argue w/ Him first about whose fault was whose-who should be asking forgiveness etc).... I did become clean with His forgiveness. and by forgiving also. to this day, I dont like the man, but I can look at him and say 'I love you in Christ' and mean it.
no, it isnt easy. I find at times, I dont want to forgive, I want to harbor bad feelings in my heart. but when I do, I can feel this hatred wanting to rear its ugly head again. and I cant allow that. so I go back to the cross and ask Him for help.
now, it is even harder, knowing the full depth of the abuse my children suffered at his hands, many untold other victims of his abuse, and a family left 20+ yrs without their daughter. Oh Lord, I dont even want to pray for this man. I want him to rot in prison and hell. but see, that is where the grace and mercy and forgiveness of God comes into play. Christ died for him as well as you and I. it is not up to us. God needs to give him the same chance He gives to every person. a chance to repent and even though he may spend his life in prison, he can find forgiveness and have Gods forgiveness and eternal life. God offers this as a free gift to anyone who calls on Him. be it a child, a grownup who just goes thru life, or a condemned murderer - whoever calls on His name shall be saved. we are all ''who-ever's''
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  #2212  
Old 08-25-2011, 03:07 PM
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very good stuff here, dutchie!
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:45 AM
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thank you Jancy. that means a lot to me that you say that. sometimes when I read some of the things you say to others, I wish I had words like you. I struggle with words and putting thoughts down. but I also know God uses each one of us in different ways. maybe something you say touches this one, something I say or a devotion I use to say something helps someone else.
love you sister in the Lord.

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Old 08-26-2011, 07:57 AM
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though I know that I started this thread with encouragement and hope being the main focus, sometimes, our 'inside selfs' need something first before we can obtain a certain faith or hope in something. if we feel inadequate in one area, it can hinder how we approach the Lord or in how we believe in His helping us thru the struggles we face. that is why sometimes I put in these devotions that help to build us - our hearts and our character.. so we can know and trust that God cares for each of us.

“And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter….”
Judges 11: 33
King James Version


“When You Think You’re Sufficient” (or unsufficient?)

“I clearly recognize that all good is in God alone, and that in me, without Divine Grace, there is nothing but deficiency…The one sole thing in myself in which I glory, is that I see in myself nothing in which I can glory.”
Catherine of Genoa

Do I ever believe I have the sufficiency to carry myself through the problems I have each day?

Is there a time in my life when I didn’t feel “sufficient” to meet the task I faced?
“The first step to self-knowledge is self-distrust.”
J.C. and A. W. Hare

INSPIRATION
“I plant geraniums. I tie up my hair into loose braids, and trust only what I have built with my own hands.”
Lorna Dee Cervantes

As I read these words, I thought back upon the many times in my life that I put my trust in the things I did myself. I’ve got this very independent nature, and I have often said, on more than one occasion, “Don’t help me – I can do it myself!”
Yet, at just the moment when I felt I was on the pinnacle of sufficiency, BOOM, I fell flat!


This is a characteristic that can totally undermine our lives. It is the quality of feeling we are totally self-sufficient. The dictionary describes this word as a quality which allows us to believe we’ve got it all together.

You know the feeling! It can be described this way, “Leave me alone, I can do it myself. I don’t need you at all.”

The dictionary defines “sufficiency” as enough, competent, adequate, and finally – qualified.

These are all great words, but if someone told me I was only “adequate,” I’m not certain their words would be welcomed.

If you are like I, I want, with God’s help, to step up to a higher level of effectiveness based not on my sufficiency, but God’s.

Writing to the members of the church in Corinth many years ago, the Apostle Paul penned these timely words: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (II Corinthians 3: 5, K.J.V.).

In this text the word sufficiency means, “ample.” It is as though in the first phrase Paul is making the point that the sufficiency you and I as individuals have is only enough to barely get us by.

But a few chapters over in II Corinthians 12: 9, when the Apostle Paul, worn down to the bone by a “thorn in the flesh,” some problem or challenge or heartache that had nearly driven him into the ground, he decided to ask God to please, please, please (three times) take away this plague and God replied, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (II Corinthians 12: 9).

And guess what? The word “sufficient,” as used in this text to describe God’s bountiful blessings, is not the same as the “sufficiency” that we have which is only “ample” or barely enough. Instead, God’s sufficiency raises a barrier around us that wards off all that will not bring us ultimate contentment. Rather than having my adequate sufficiency, I can count on God’s sufficiency which He promises is more than enough!

Unfortunately, you and I too often act like Jephthah who somewhere along the way began to believe that his military skill and his vows were all the sufficiency he needed, and oh, how woeful, the results when we begin to believe the self-promotion about ourselves. How soon the mighty fall! This is what happened to Jephthah. He fell hard and took his family down with him.

Self-sufficiency – that quality which makes us think we are smarter, stronger and wiser. The trait that the devil threw in Jesus’ face when in the wilderness of temptation he tossed these words out, “Prove yourself. If you are who you say you are, show me how self-sufficient you are.”
Jesus didn’t fall for the devil’s line and today, through His power, you and I don’t have to either.

Let’s rely on our Father’s sufficiency which is an ever-flowing fountain, filling and refilling our lives to overflowing.

As I was preparing our devotional today, I pulled from one of my folders the words to a song, sent to me by one of God’s Transformation Garden daughters. Her name is Audrey and she lives in South Africa. Although I’ve never met Audrey, we know we are sisters – we feel it in our hearts and a few weeks ago when I received her email, I knew the words to this song would make a perfect Affirmation and today is the day.
When you feel that your “sufficiency” is lacking or just adequate, I encourage you to tap into the fountain that never runs dry. A fountain that will fill you to overflowing.
“Your sufficiency is in God.”
Joseph B. Lightfoot

AFFIRMATIONS
“God is not in need of anything, but all things are in need of Him.”
Marcianus Aristides

“God’s Sufficiency”

“I’ve never made a fortune
And its probably too late now,
But I don’t worry about that much
I’m happy anyhow.

And as I go along life’s way
I’m reaping better than I sow.
I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!

Haven’t got a lot of riches
And sometimes the going’s tough,
But I’ve got loving ones around me
And that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for His blessings
And the mercies He’s bestowed.

I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!
Oh, I remember times when things went wrong
And my faith wore somewhat thin.

But all at once the dark clouds broke
And sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe
About the tough rows that I’ve hoed.

I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!
If God gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough,
I’ll not ask for other blessings
I’m already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy
To help others bear their loads,
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!”
Michael Combs

Dorothy, of Transformation Garden devotions
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  #2215  
Old 08-26-2011, 08:17 AM
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EXCELLENT!!! what a blessing....please thank Audrey for sharing the song...and thank you for joining it with today's msg.!!! Excellent fit!! How true!!
God bless you!
Love and prayers, Sharon
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:18 PM
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pondering on today's post . . .hard for me to "let go and let God".

I do believe that God is enough .. .i so need to fill me up with Him.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:08 AM
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Playing With Fire

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – James 4:17

Last week I decided to take a few days off work and fly into Green Bay so I could spend the week with my family. I was really looking forward to my vacation, not only because it would be a chance to relax, but also because I’d get to see my oldest sister and newborn niece for the first time in almost two years.

So Tuesday evening I left work in a good mood, checked my bags into the airport, and made my way through the customary TSA groping to the terminal where I was promptly told that my flight had been canceled. With no other planes headed to Green Bay that night, I had no choice but to go home and try again another day. The next morning I got up at 4 am and returned to the airport where the airlines announced that the same thing had happened again. Clerks informed everyone that they would do their best to find us all new flights, and that all passengers would be given compensation when we pried it from their cold, dead hands.

At this point my mood was as black and foul as boiling tar, and I waited sullenly until one of the attendants asked me where I was headed. No sooner had the words “Green Bay” left my mouth when (and I am not making this up) a fireman came running through the side doors and announced that an airplane had caught fire outside the gate, and everyone needed to move to the end of the terminal. Overall, it wasn’t one of my best traveling experiences.

The thing is, during all of this I could feel the Holy Spirit nudging me. I think God knew I was angry, and was encouraging me to pray, to read my Bible, even to do simple things like write or walk around the terminal and cool off. Each time I felt the nudging though, I stamped it out. I didn’t want to be patient, I wanted to be angry. I wanted to groan and complain and go ballistic in the middle of the airport. I was completely justified in doing so, and I didn’t care that my anger wouldn’t fix anything, or that the clerks already had four people yelling at them already. I chose to wallow in my rage instead of pushing it away.

How often do we allow ourselves to play with sin? How often do we tell ourselves that we’re justified in our behavior because life isn’t fair, or the situation is against us? One of the toughest challenges we Christians face today is remembering to reflect Christ, even when things get bad. Take it from me, don’t ignore the Holy Spirit. Sure, you’re still going to get angry, and but how you handle that anger will determine how Christ works in your life, and more importantly, how others will see Christ in you.

Intersecting Faith and Life

Are you unable to let something go? Take a moment to talk with God and let him take it from you.

Further Reading
Proverbs 19:11

*have you ever experienced this reaction? I know I have. many times. but I am learning to just listen to His voice, and to trust that this particular situation - no matter what it is... and yes, we are talking a few heart-rending situations - I am learning to just listen and trust that He has it all in control. there has to be a reason things are turning out this way.. the author of todays devotion.... maybe if he caught a particular flight... there was a tragedy ahead or something. so God delayed him.
I guess you could say I can see how that works... about 6 yrs ago, we bought a brand new car. only had 7 miles on it. first time ever to buy brand spanking new. well a month later... hadnt even made 1st payment, some guy backs into me in the wal-mart shopping area. grrrrrrrr I was so angry. yet an hr later on the way home... just less than a block from where I turn to go into the rv park - some guy had run off the road from the opposite side and down the embankment. this happened at about the time I would have been driving right there if not delayed like I was. coincidence ? maybe. or God protecting me? I believe it.
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  #2218  
Old 08-30-2011, 07:45 AM
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A Ram is on the Way

"So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'" Genesis 22:14 (NIV)

Have you ever been in a situation so desperate that it looked hopeless?

Have you ever sat at the kitchen table wondering how you were going to pay the electric bill? Have you ever stood at a door that's been slammed in your face by an angry teenager and despaired at having a relationship with him again? Have you ever had your heart broken so deeply that you wondered if you would feel whole again?

Sadly, we live in a broken world where desperate situations happen every day. I know someone reading this devotion is wondering how she will make it through the day because her situation looks hopeless. If that is you, I encourage you to keep reading. I believe God has a message of hope for you today.

That message is found in the Bible, in the story of a man who was dealing with his own desperate situation. His name was Abraham and he faced the greatest testing of his life. After longing for a son for many years, God finally gave Abraham a boy, whom he named Isaac. Abraham never imagined God would test his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. But it happened.

It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham's life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son's back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation—the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn't soaring with joy. He wasn't dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God's commands.

Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Quietly. Out of sight. On the other side of the mountain. Something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn't see it.

For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step.
All Abraham saw that day was his solitary journey of pain. As he got closer to the top of the mountain, his dread must have increased.

I wonder if he asked himself any questions. I would have. I would have wondered why hadn't God intervened? Why hadn't God stopped this testing? Couldn't God see that Abraham was a man of faith? Why test him in this way?

But there was no answer. There was no voice from heaven. And so Abraham kept obeying his God's command. He put Isaac on an altar and prepared to sacrifice his one and only son.

And just at that very moment, at the very last second, when it looked like the end had come, God spoke, stopping the sacrifice. Abraham looked up and there caught in the thicket was a ram. Abraham took his son off the altar, replaced him with the ram, and offered the sacrifice to God.

Abraham named that place "Yahweh-Yireh" or "The Lord Will Provide." And the story was written down for generations of God-followers to read. It was written so that you and I today would read it as we face our own hopeless situations. It was captured in print so that you and I would know that God is already planning for our provision. We don't see it. We don't hear it. But we can trust that our God is at work. On your behalf, and on mine.

I choose to trust God today. A ram is on the way.

Dear Lord, You know how desperate I am today. You know that my faith has wavered. Although I want to trust You, I'm having trouble doing so. I ask for Your intervention in my situation, and for an increase of my faith while I wait. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Read Psalm 91. List the promises God has for those who love Him.

Reflections:

God's timing is not our timing. What are some reasons God might wait to answer our prayers?

Read the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22.
What are some of the things Abraham did right that I can apply to my situation?

Power Verses:

Psalm 91:14, "'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.'" (NIV)

Psalm 22:5, "They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." (NIV)

Glynnis Whitwer, Encouragement for Today


*I think the message of this devotion (at least to me) is not only trusting God to bring us thru this journey, but to keep trusting, even when we may not see 'a way out' of the fire. God promises in Isaiah 43 that He will go thru the fire with us, He will deliver us safely to the other side of this trial. we only need to continue trusting in the face of everything that comes against us.
d'gal
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:52 AM
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On the Lack of Lightning Bolts

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 paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

I memorized these verses years and years ago, along with John 3:16 and other verses that good little children in Sunday School learn. In my five-year-old mind, I associated the proverb with a mental picture of a road stretching out for miles until it merged with the horizon.
That was the “straight road” that I could so easily understand – clearly marked, unswerving, and, most importantly, unchanging. All I had to do was trust God and keep following that path. Little did I know, right?

At times the journey has felt more like an anecdote that Abraham Lincoln told of a man traveling through a thunderstorm. Through the mud and the sheets of rain, the poor traveler felt that he would lose his way entirely. The thunderclaps seemed right overhead, jolting his senses every few moments. Only the flashes of lightning helped him keep to the road. Finally, after a particularly loud crash, the man fell to his knees and cried, “O, Lord God, if it’s all the same to you, I would like a little more light and little less noise!”

The major and minor uncertainties I’ve encountered – and will encounter in the future – often leave me with that sentiment. I think back to the promise of paths made straight and grumble that the signposts would be a lot easier to follow if they were in neon. We all ask, is this the career path you want me to take, God? Is this the man you want me to marry? Should I buy this house? Are we supposed to settle at this church? In what kind of school should we enroll the kids? God, I could really use a lightning bolt to clarify things!

It’s easy to forget that the proverb reserves the promise until the last quarter of the verse, not the first. Review the wording of verse 6 with me. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

I memorized this verse years ago, but I’m still learning it by heart. Task-oriented person that I am, it’s easier to visualize myself making “progress” towards a goal than it is to stop and refocus on inner attitudes. It doesn't occur to me that part the plan is simply standing still, waiting, and listening.
I demand lightning bolts to see God’s working rather than taking responsibility for the part assigned to me. My part lies in the trusting, the repudiating of self, and a settled confidence that he will work all things for his purpose. Then… the path is straightened. We may not even realize it this side of heaven, but the promise is that he guides our feet when our eyes are on him.

I fully believe that the Lord guides us in specific ways – through the Word, through the counsel of godly mentors, through nudges of the Holy Spirit – and yet we get caught up in the road metaphor a little too much. We’re so distracted looking for the path that we forget a lifestyle of worship. To an extent, it matters less what we’re doing than how we’re doing it. As Paul wrote, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

The wonder of God’s plan for us lies in this – in taking our eyes off the road at our feet and looking to him, God finds our way for us.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Step one: trust in the Lord with all your heart. Step tw do not lean on your own understanding. Step three: in all your ways acknowledge him. Result: whatever your path, he will direct your steps and make your path straight.

Further Reading:

Psalms 37:34
Philippians 1:4-6

* I once shared (not too long ago) about a book I read, and this devotion makes me think of it once again. It is called Just Enough Light for the Step I am On by Stormie Omartian. awesome book.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:04 AM
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When God Pulls You from the Pit

If you’ve ever been in the pit, I don’t have to tell you what it’s like. The sense of hopelessness or utter despair can be so powerful it’s easy to believe there’s no way out.

Whether it be from the pain of rejection, the sting of betrayal, loneliness in your marriage, the ache of an addiction, or even the loss of a job or dream, we can begin sinking down into a dark, slimy pit and before long we’re wondering if we’ll ever be able to crawl back out.
But no pit is impenetrable to a God who specializes in pulling people from the slimiest of pits.

Lynn remembers her experience in the pit, when all she was concerned about, day in and day out, was where she was going to get her next “fix.” Her drug addiction consumed her thoughts, dictated her actions, and became an end in itself.

But her destructive craving dried up the day it was replaced with a new desire. A strong desire. A desperate desire – for Jesus.

On her knees in her bedroom one Sunday night, Lynn cried out to God, surrendering to Him her life, her will, her desires.

“I got on my knees, looked up to God and said to Him ‘I am ready to surrender my life over to you. I can no longer live this life that I am seeking. Please, God, forgive me for all my sins and make my heart pure tonight.’”

God in Heaven heard her cry for help, pulled her out of her pit, and placed her on solid ground.

“I can’t express how much my life has changed since then,” Lynn says today. “I am much happier, more lovable to others around me, and so much stronger.”
The 35-year-old single mother can honestly say today that all she wants now is God – Him alone. Through her desire for change and her cry for mercy, God put a new song in her heart.

Maybe your pit is not drug addiction, but maybe it feels just as powerful. Maybe it’s a destructive relationship that is keeping you down, or a lifestyle that is keeping you from glorifying God, or repeated disappointments that seem unbearable. Most of the time those of us who struggle with feeling like we’re in the pit, already have a relationship with God, but we’re struggling to live victoriously. And we’re wondering, at times, if God cares to deliver us one more time.

David the Psalmist, had a close relationship with God. Yet he wrote many songs of crying out to God for deliverance – not only from physical struggles (like a king who sought to kill him) but from spiritual and emotional struggles as well.

Listen to David as he talked of his pit-deliverance in Psalm 40: 1-3:

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feed on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear (awe)
and put their trust in the Lord."


I love how God’s response to David was simply that He “heard” David’s cry.
We don’t read about God giving David a lecture for getting into his slimy pit in the first place. Nor do we read about certain conditions God laid out before pulling David out of the pit. God also didn’t require that David prove himself or at least prove that he was serious this time about really wanting out. We only read that after David waited for God and cried out for help, God heard him, lifted him out of the mud and mire, set his feet firmly on solid ground, and gave him a new song of praise.

We can learn three precious truths from David’s “pit-deliverance” song: 1) God hears the prayers of the desperate; 2) God is able and willing to lift us out of our pit if we’re willing to leave it; and 3) God can give us a new song out of our present suffering.

If God could rescue King David from his slimy pit and Lynn from her destructive addiction, He can certainly rescue you from whatever situation you need to be rescued. And not only can He pull you from the pit if you truly want to get out, He can give you a “new song” which, in David’s case, became his testimony that many saw and heard and began trusting the Lord as a result.

What is the slimy pit from which you need God to deliver you? An unhealthy habit? A strong addiction? A destructive mindset? An emotionally-damaging relationship?
Those things are difficult to release when we still want to hold onto them tightly.

But when we surrender our life, will and desires to God and ask Him to replace our destructive desires with a desperation for Himself, that is a prayer He hears and heeds.

The Bible assures us of the confidence we can have in praying a prayer like that:

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” (First John 5:14-15).

What is it that consumes your thoughts, dictates your actions and has become your purpose or god in life? If it’s not Christ – and Him alone – my prayer is that it soon will be.

Here is a prayer I have often prayed when I’ve needed deliverance from my own pit. Use it as your prayer of reflection if you, too, want to desire Him alone:

O Lord, I can walk the depths of the pit alone or I can cry out to You for help and wait for You to deliver me. Why would I want to go it alone? Please take away my unhealthy desires and replace them with a wholesome desire for You alone. May my daily song be that of David’s: “You, LORD, are all I want! You are my choice, and you keep me safe. You make my life pleasant, and my future is bright” (Psalm 16:5-6, CEV).

Cindi McMenamin, Strength for the Soul devotions
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  #2221  
Old 09-01-2011, 08:07 AM
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ok ladies. this is my last input for at least a week. heading to Calif - godson getting married and my hubs is performing the ceremony. (his first go at it) plus a former family member's bf wants to get baptized - another first for my hubs.
while there we will get to meet TL , maybe Dances, and see other friends n family.

if any of you want to keep this devotion page going while I am gone, YAY. anyhow,
talk to you all when I get back.

hugs to all.
d'gal
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:34 PM
szcunane szcunane is offline
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Originally Posted by dutchgirl1 View Post
ok ladies. this is my last input for at least a week. heading to Calif - godson getting married and my hubs is performing the ceremony. (his first go at it) plus a former family member's bf wants to get baptized - another first for my hubs.
while there we will get to meet TL , maybe Dances, and see other friends n family.

if any of you want to keep this devotion page going while I am gone, YAY. anyhow,
talk to you all when I get back.

hugs to all.
d'gal

enjoy your trip adn give those other ladies hugs from me!
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:13 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Immmm baaaccckkkkkkkkkkk

What Is Forgiveness?

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. —Colossians 3:12-14

Forgiveness is a decision. It's an act of will to release a person from the obligation that resulted when they injured you.

Unforgiveness sounds like this: You owe me! I'm going to make you pay by hating you, by slandering you, by returning in kind, by recruiting other people to my bitterness. I'm holding this over you!

Here's forgiveness: You don't owe me. I'm not trying to get even. I'm not looking for a chance to pay you back. God didn't make me that way. I choose to forgive.
You say, “James, I can forgive today, but I know by Thursday I'll have that thing back on my back again.”
I understand that. Get this: forgiveness is a crisis and a process. The first thing you have to do is see your unforgiveness as sin. You have to acknowledge that God's not going to forgive you if you don't forgive others. You've got to have that crisis. You've got to stop explaining, defending, holding onto it, cherishing, and reviewing it. You've got to say, "I don't want this for my life."

The crisis means, "I choose to forgive. I'm letting it go." But the process means, when the painful matter comes into your mind again, you promise yourself to maintain the following process: "I won't bring it up to the person; I won't bring it up to other people;” and most hard by far, “I won't bring it up to myself anymore.”

Someone said to me, "James, I can't help myself. As soon as I see the person, Bam! My mind goes right to that thing." That's why forgiveness is a crisis and a process. In the crisis you decide, in the process you live it out.

Now, here's a key: When you fail in the process you have to return to the crisis. When you find yourself flashing back to unforgiveness, realize you failed in the process. You've got to return to the crisis. You've got to get before the Lord and say, “God, forgive me. I want to be a forgiving person and here I'm holding this again, Lord. Help me again. I commit afresh to let it go.”

Crisis/process. Over time you'll let it go and you'll be a lot happier because of it.

Journal:
How would I explain to someone the difference between crisis and process in forgiveness?

Where’s the weak point in my defenses: trying to convince offenders; trying to marshal sympathy from others; or trying to internally keep the offense alive?

Prayer:
Father in heaven, first bring to mind the specific people I need to forgive. Help me to experience, not a crisis of reliving the pain but the crisis of realizing I must forgive. And then I’m depending on You to walk me through the process of forgiveness every day. Thank You for the assurance of Your amazing forgiveness that keeps me going! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

James McDonald, Walk in the Word devotions
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:23 AM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
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Hey there Dgal! I was out of the loop for the same week you were!...I missed you anyway!!! Hope all is well...and you had a blast! And the babtism....so wonderful!!!...and a blessing for your Hub to take part!! VERY COOL!
WELCOME BACK!! and THANK YOU!!
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"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:00 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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thanks 1bird, the wedding was great. I posted pics on fb, guess I could/should post a few here too. the baptism was canceled. cold feet I guess, but that is ok, God's time is perfect.
now that we are home, now I need to save again so we can take a trip to yuma and take the grandkids w/us to see their dad - it has been a yr since he saw them.

hope you had a good time also wherever it was that you went.

hugs.
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