Welcome to the Prison Talk Online Community! Take a Minute and Sign Up Today!






Go Back   Prison Talk > BREAK TIME > The Spiritual Connection
Register Entertainment FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #2226  
Old 09-08-2011, 08:04 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

I’m Believing God!


Today’s Truth
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV).

Friend to Friend
In Ephesians 1:13 we read: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him, with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” We believed - past tense - and were saved, sealed, delivered…we’re His! It was completed in the past, once and for all time.

Now let’s read a little further down in Ephesians 1:18. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
We received salvation when we believed (past tense). We have great power when we believe (present tense).

The Greek word for believe that is used in Ephesians 1:18 is a present active participle. That means it is a continuous action verb. Bible teacher Beth Moore explains: “In other words, the promise given in verses 19-20 is not applied to those ‘having believed’ as in verse 13 where they had believed to become Christians. Rather, it is applied to those who are presently, actively, and yes, continually believing God.”

Maybe you believed in Jesus and experienced salvation. But do you believe the Word of God by faith and understand that you have the same power working in your life that raised Jesus from the dead? It is available to you…if you believe.

A sapling planted in the ground does not become more of a tree as it grows, it just becomes stronger and more mature. Writer Neil Anderson compares our spiritual growth to a tree: “The growth stage cannot alter the organism; it can only ensure that the organism reaches its greatest potential.” As a tree’s roots grow deeper it produces a greater display of leaves, more shade and beauty for others to enjoy, and stronger branches for tire swings and bird’s nests, but it’s still a tree.

The moment you come to Christ, you are saved…you are a saint by calling with a whole new identity. There is nothing you can do to make your identity more true than at the very moment you accept Christ as your Savior, but there is much you can do to have more power in your life as you mature.

It begins by believing the truth. It is a step of faith. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). It is “acting like God tells the truth.”

Are you ready to start practicing present tense believing today? Are you ready to experience God’s power in your life! If you answered yes, then buckle up. God’s power is about to be demonstrated in your life in a mighty way!

Let’s Pray
Dear LORD, Thank You for giving me the gift of faith. Forgive me when I doubt You. Today, I am choosing to believe. Even if circumstances seem bleak, I know that You are who you say You are and You will do what You say You will do.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are you believing God for today?

sharon jaynes, girlfriends in God devotions
Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-08-2011), heavy (09-08-2011), mandymoo (09-10-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011), tinymom (09-08-2011)
Sponsored Links
  #2227  
Old 09-09-2011, 07:47 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

Where is God?


Today’s Truth
The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? The Lord protects my life. So why should I be afraid? Evil people may try to destroy my body. My enemies and those who hate me attack me, but they are overwhelmed and defeated. If an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid. If war breaks out, I will trust the Lord (Psalm 27:1-3, NCV).

Friend to Friend
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the phone rang and my husband said, “Honey, you need to turn on the television - right now.” It was the middle of the day and I was busy cleaning house, doing laundry and trying to cram in an hour of study time, but the sadness and dread in my husband’s voice stopped me in my tracks. Something was very wrong. Still, I was totally unprepared for the horrific scene that played out in vivid reality on the television screen before me. I stared in shock at the surreal images of two airplanes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both towers collapsed - killing thousands of innocent people – and forever changing life as we know it.

Why bad things happen to good people is a question we have been asking since time began. I have been a Christ follower for many years. I am a Christian author and speaker and the wife of a pastor. Over the years, God has brought me out of more pits than I can count and I have literally attended church since the day I was born. My faith in God should be unwavering and I should never doubt or question Him or His plan. But sometimes I do.

You may be offended at my next statement, but if I am brutally honest, my faulty human mind and sin-tainted heart can almost - almost come to grips with such horrendous circumstances happening to someone who is evil and has turned their back on God. Bad things should happen to bad people and good things should happen to good people. Sounds logical and fair - right?

You and I both know that life is not fair and that our human logic is a shallow substitute for God's sovereignty. We are broken people living in a broken world. Bad things do happen to good people while those who mock God seem to prosper, and it's been that way for a long time. Take Job for example.

Job 1:8-12 "The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’”

Don’t miss the important fact that God not only allowed Satan to test Job, but dictated how Satan could test him. Job went from having vast wealth to great poverty, losing everything he and his wife had, including their ten children. Job's wife urged her husband to turn away from and curse God and to forsake the very faith that had blessed her and Job for so long - but Job stood firm.

Job 1:20-21 "Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’"

Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain and despair was even more powerful.
Did Job doubt and question God? Absolutely! Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain? Yes, but he remained faithful to God, even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering and even when his heart and body was broken. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.

Job 42:11 "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."

Storms come in all shapes and sizes. The lab report comes back malignant. The school calls, demanding that you pick up your child who has just been expelled. Your husband informs you that he no longer wants to be married to you. Your boss calls you into his office to let you know that you are being fired. Financial disaster seems certain while dependable friends seem to vanish.

Yes, storms will come and bad things will happen – even to fully devoted followers of God. Where is God when the winds pick up and the churning waters pummel your rocking boat? God is where He has always been and always will be - in the midst of every stormy circumstance. Run into His waiting arms when you are afraid. Trust Him – even though you may not understand what is happening in your life. He is with you.

Let’s Pray
Father, we come to You today, celebrating the freedom that so many have given their lives to protect. I pray that we would remember and cherish their sacrifice. Lord, I am so sorry for doubting You when life is hard. Forgive me for questioning Your plan when it seems to make no sense. I want to be a woman of faith who trusts You no matter what happens. Help me cultivate the kind of faith Job had and strengthen me for every trial ahead. Take my heart and mind captive and make them Yours. Today, I choose faith over fear and trust over doubt.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Think back to a time when God allowed something to happen that you simply could not understand. His plan seemed illogical and undoable. You asked, "Why did this happen to me?"

Now look at where you are now. What good things have come out of that painful experience? What lessons did you learn from that difficult time? How have those lessons influenced your life today?

Read Isaiah 45:3. How does this powerful verse relate to the difficult times you are facing now or have faced in the past?

Read and memorize Psalm 40:1-3. God gave me that promise in the darkest days of my life and they are even more precious in the light.

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-09-2011), heavy (09-10-2011), mandymoo (09-10-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2228  
Old 09-12-2011, 08:18 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

I am putting in 2 devotions today. one is a continued message on forgiveness from james mcdonald, the other is another message on forgiveness that just seems to go with the others. forgiveness is important. if we harbor ill feelings toward ourselves or someone else, it can begin to fester and change us into unpleasant people to be around. I know because once I lived there. my changed personality even scared my hubs!. there is a scripture in Psalms that helps to clean us ... King David wrote, 'Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy our Your salvation. (Ps 51:10).

The Choice To Forgive

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. —Matthew 6:14-15

Let's start with this most obvious lesson in our verses today: we must choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision I'm making. In Matthew 6:14–15 Jesus said, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, (don’t miss this) if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Now, sometimes a passage of scripture seems complicated as soon as you read it. That's not the case when we realize what Matthew 6:14–15 says. Jesus’ words are stunningly clear. Read them again above.

Do you get it? I mean, those are pretty serious verses, right? Not hard to understand—just hard to undertake. You read them and think, that’s gonna leave a mark! I’m going to have to look again at how forgiving I am. That's nothing you want to be messing around about, or sort-of getting it right. The verses aren’t complicated—but they will definitely complicate your life if you are an un-forgiving person!

And it's not saying that you get saved by forgiving. It is saying that people who are really are saved are forgiving people, increasingly so. Not perfectly, not entirely, but increasingly we are more and more forgiving. As the love of Christ penetrates our hearts more and more deeply and more and more genuinely, we just become more forgiving people. Forgiveness is one of the expected bi-products of genuine salvation.

You ought to be the most forgiving person that you work with. Out of all the people, when they talk about you, they're like, "Man, he's not a guy who holds grudges. He's just not someone who finds fault." "She doesn't try to make people pay, she just lets it go. She just moves on. She's not petty." "He's not a scorekeeper. He's just not like that. He's forgiving, that's what he is." That's what people ought to be saying about you. The more you get to know Jesus, the more it ought to be true in your life that you choose forgiveness.

Journal:

How has Matthew 6:14-15 clarified or “complicated” my life when it comes to the issue of forgiveness?

Why is it important to realize I am not saved by forgiving?

Prayer:

Dear Father, You are forgiving in ways that go beyond my understanding. Thank You for showing me that we cant’ begin to appreciate Your forgiveness until I practice it in a much smaller way myself. It is Your forgiveness that makes mine possible! Show me today where I can practice forgiveness more fully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


James McDonald, Walk in the Word devotions
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-12-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2229  
Old 09-12-2011, 08:21 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

#2

Health Hazard

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you… forgive him.” —Luke 17:3 (NKJV)

Forgiveness isn’t optional in the Christian life. Regardless of what’s done to us, our responsibility is always to forgive.

Even as we read this, there’s something deep within our soul that wants to resist. “I understand God wants me to forgive people, and for the most part I do. But surely He doesn’t expect me to forgive so-and-so.”

If we’re completely honest, some things just seem too far over the line to be forgiven. And yet, God consistently calls us to forgive, no matter what. Why is that? Why doesn’t God categorize certain things as being unforgivable, the way we tend to?

Part of the reason is because He understands we do a lot of damage to ourselves when we don’t forgive. When we adopt an unforgiving attitude, it inevitably turns into bitterness and resentment. Someone once remarked, “Bitterness in the believer is like a bullet in the body.”

There’s a lot of truth to that. It becomes poisonous to our spiritual system, and forgiveness is the only way to flush it out and be free from it.

The Lord’s command to forgive is also a warning against not forgiving. He loves us dearly, and wants only what’s best for us. And what’s best for us is a heart that’s free and clear of the bitterness that corrodes our soul.

So if you haven’t forgiven someone for something he or she has done to you, forgive the person today. Regardless of the circumstances. Remember, if you fail to forgive, you’re hurting yourself. Anything short of forgiveness is hazardous to your spiritual health.

Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

THINK ABOUT IT...
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?

Bob Coy, Active Word devotions

*maybe along with the title Health Hazard, we could also say... Heart Hazard ?
d'gal
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-12-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2230  
Old 09-12-2011, 05:57 PM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
Registered User
Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1,902
Thanks: 16,673
Thanked 5,884 Times in 1,674 Posts
Default

Thank you Dgal....I love to read everything possible on forgiveness!!! I think I've read all the books written so far!!! It is without a doubt so freeing to forgive...even when it is difficult....it is so worth the journey!!! I had a hard time forgiving my Ex, but I am finally there....and I am thankful for that. ( I still make jokes, I know that I shouldn't!)....but I am honestly there! I remember well that my decision came long before the feelings caught up!!! Thank you so very much!....I love James McDonald's writings....I have quite a few from him on forgiveness!
Love and prayers, and much appreciation!
XXOO
__________________
"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to 1bird2 For This Useful Post:
heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2231  
Old 09-13-2011, 07:39 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

1bird... we should talk !!! sounds like we have a lot in common. yeah, I did the forgiveness thing... think I mentioned it here once when I had put on a devotion on forgiveness. I was filled w/so much hate for my ex I tried to think of 'legal' ways to kill him. I was deep in darkness. then I met Jesus, and He showed me about forgiveness. what a wonderful feeling to dump all that bad stuff!.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-14-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2232  
Old 09-13-2011, 07:41 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

I Would Have Made a Great Pharisee

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence." Matthew 23:25 (NIV)

Give me a list of rules to follow and I'm happy. I can follow rules like nobody's business. My left-brain dominated thinking likes order and routine, blanketed with no surprises. There's some comfort, I guess, in being able to assess my performance according to a set standard. If I'm obeying the rules, I must be doing okay. Right?
There's one big problem with that line of thinking. It tends to redirect my focus from what really matters: the condition of my heart. Jesus identified this problem with a group of religious people back in the day called the Pharisees, and it didn't make Him happy. In fact, He reserved His harshest comments for those people whose insides didn't look anything like their outsides.

I wonder if the Pharisees were well-intentioned. Did they really want to serve God and thought they were by following the rules? Or was it more of a power play to gain respect? Either way, Jesus split open their pretty packaging and revealed the ugliness of their hearts. Just like He does with me.

It seems God continually brings me to the end of my endurance, both emotionally and physically, to reveal the truth about my heart. What's revealed in those moments of pressure is usually something that needs addressing, like selfishness, insecurity, jealousy or bitterness. Getting split apart isn't pleasant. In fact, it's often painful and embarrassing. Yet, it's required if I want to become a true follower of Christ.

The reality is I would have made a great Pharisee. But the truth is I'd rather be a great disciple. I'd rather be sitting at the feet of Jesus than teaching in the temple. I'd rather share a simple meal of bread with Jesus than a fancy feast elsewhere. And if that requires the ugliness in my heart gets spilled out, then so be it.

Because at the end of the day, I'd much rather hang out with Jesus who loves me in spite of all that junk. The other option is pretending it isn't there, but that's not fooling anyone. So, I'll welcome God's holy intrusion in my life, submit my need to rank my performance and spend more time attending to my heart. That's what really matters.

Dear Lord, You are holy and righteous, and yet You love me just as I am. Thank You for calling me to a higher level of obedience, one that requires I submit my heart and my life. I long to follow You more than anything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Identify an area of your life where following the "rules" has taken priority over having a right heart. Submit that area of your life to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal anything in your heart that needs addressing.

Reflections:
How does a strict adherence to rule-following hinder us at times from obeying all of God's commands?
Read the key verse at the top of the devotion. Why is hypocrisy such a dangerous condition in our lives?

Power Verses:
Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)

Matthew 23:23, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (NIV)



Glynnis Whitwer, Encouragement for Today devotions.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-14-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2233  
Old 09-14-2011, 08:00 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

Faith is . . .

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


My favorite professor often quoted from Lewis Carroll's book entitled Through the Looking-Glass. He especially used the conversation between Alice and the White Queen:
"How old are you?" asked the queen.
"I'm seven and a half, exactly."
"You needn't say ‘exactly'; I can believe it without that. Now I'll give you something to believe: I'm just one hundred and one, five months, and a day."
Alice protested, "I can't believe that!"
"Can't you? Try again—draw a long breath, and shut your eyes," the queen urged.
Alice roared, "There's no use trying; one can't believe impossible things!"
To this the queen responded, "I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it half-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

The unregenerate man on Main Street, USA believes this is the meaning of faith: take a long breath, close your eyes, and begin to believe things that are impossible to believe.

What do you think? Maybe you have been afraid that this is its meaning. It is not!
We expect this kind of thinking outside the church, yet we are shocked when we find it inside the church. Faith is not an elusive, passive thing—it is alive and active.

The fruit of faith is substance and evidence—that which shows in our lives and proves what we believe.

So what is faith? Faith is the act of:

· considering Jesus Christ worthy of trust as to His character and motives;
· placing confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do;
· entrusting the salvation of our soul into the hands of Christ;
· committing the work of saving our soul to the care of the Lord.

This means taking ourselves out of our own keeping and entrusting ourselves into the keeping of Jesus Christ.

This means that we listen to what God is saying in His Word. Paul exhorted Timothy, his son in the faith, to "accurately handle the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15) because it is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

A friend once asked, "When was the last time God spoke to you and what did He say?" Then he held up his Bible and said, "This is where He is speaking. Are you hearing Him? Are you obeying Him?"

How about you—are you walking by faith? "Now, faith is . . ."

Prayer point: Take time in your prayer life and Bible reading, treating it like a conversation. Before reading the Scriptures, ask God to help you hear Him. After reading the text, ask God to help you obey Him. Pray as the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).

Extra Refreshment: Read in Hebrews 11 the instances of people hearing God and doing what He says.

Stephen Daley, A Wisdom Retreat devotion
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-15-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-14-2011)
  #2234  
Old 09-14-2011, 03:57 PM
szcunane szcunane is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: VA, USA
Posts: 1,049
Thanks: 6,964
Thanked 3,188 Times in 880 Posts
Default

i was attacked as a young adult and for a few months afterwards i really fought forgiveness . .. .after all my attackers didn't ask for forgiveness (they were never caught) . . .and you know i look back and see how my hatred and lack of forgiveness was ruining my life. those men hurt me badly and i was continuing to allow myself to be the victim . .but eventually i had to hand it over to God - -to ask Him to forgive what i was struggling to forgive . ..and to ask Him to forgive me of my hatred and anger. and finally i had peace. i realized not forgiving was hurting me . ..

sometimes forgiveness is hard, but living with a spirit of unforgiveness is harder.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to szcunane For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-15-2011), heavy (09-17-2011)
  #2235  
Old 09-15-2011, 06:47 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

hey sz. I am sorry about what you went thru and believe I do understand about that. you see one of my daughters was raped at 12. the next several yrs she struggled with guilt (bc she was a victim?) and then she also began drinking. she once tried suicide (just enough attempt to say HELP. she went to counseling, at times seemed better. but in recent yrs she has developed 'borderline personality disorder', still an alcoholic, sometimes suicidal. she carries everyone elses problems on top of her own. she is running from God - sad thing is, He gave her an awesome voice and a ministry. but if she continues to try to destroy herself, God will find someone else. She needs to forgive others, but mostly herself. most times my heart aches for her. she is far away and has only been home once in about 10 yrs. when her dad was ill back in Jan.
But we pray for her daily. We try to keep her covered under Gods Amazing Grace and Mercy. And - one day I KNOW she will return to Him and His love.

unforgiveness can turn a lighted life into a dark place. it eats away at our insides. changes us. I dont ever want to be in that place again.

thank you sz for your openness about this subject. May the Lord bless you and His light shine thru you for others to see.

d'gal
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-15-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-19-2011)
  #2236  
Old 09-15-2011, 06:56 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

When God Hurts Your Feelings

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV 1984)

Has God ever hurt your feelings? I'll be honest, sometimes I'll read those verses from Philippians listed above and think to myself, "This is a tough pill to swallow."
Content in any and every situation?
Really?
Several years ago my daughter was a state champion gymnast. To see her do gymnastics was like looking at God smile. She was beautiful, graceful, and captivating to watch.
One night while practicing for one of the largest tournaments she'd ever compete in, she fell. It was a move she'd done hundreds of times with the greatest of ease. But this time something went terribly wrong and that one mistake ended her gymnastic dreams.
We spent a year going from doctor to doctor only to be told she'd never be able to support the weight of her body on her injured shoulder again.
I'll be honest, this was heart wrenching. Watching a 14 year old girl wrestle with the fact her dreams were stripped from her doesn't exactly lend itself to feelings of contentment. Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, people face much worse situations. But in her world, this was huge.

It was so tempting to wallow in the "why" questions and tell God He'd hurt our feelings.
Why did this happen?
Why didn't You stop this God?
Why weren't my prayers answered?

Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big situation in your life where you just couldn't process why God would allow this to happen? Or maybe even a small annoyance like losing your keys or having a flat tire on a morning you really needed to be somewhere.

It's so tempting to wallow in the why.
Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn't unspiritual. However, if asking why pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question.

If asking why doesn't offer hope, what will?

The what question.

In other words: "Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?"
Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)

I like to call this verse "directions on where to park my mind."

And that's exactly what Ashley has had to do with her dashed gymnastics dreams. Instead of wallowing in why did this happen, I've had to help her say:
This is my reality, now what am I going to do with it?
What can I learn from this?
What part of this is for my protection?
What other opportunities could God be providing?
What maturity could God be building into me?

Switching from the why to the what question paves the road to parking our mind in a much better place.
Is it always easy? Nope.

But is it a way to find a perspective beyond situations where we feel God has allowed something in our lives we don't understand and we absolutely don't like? Yes.
I pray this helps you today.

Dear Lord, I want to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love. I know You love me. But sometimes it's just hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Thank You for this new way to look at things. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Mentally walk yourself through parking your mind in a better place by remembering an event that happened this week and looking for God's protection, provision and process of maturing you.

Reflections:
Am I afraid to have honest conversations with God about how I really feel about some of my circumstances?
How might it be helpful to really talk to God about things that hurt me?
Why is it helpful to ask what now, instead of wallowing in the why questions?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 55:8-9, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" (NIV 1984)

Lysa TerKeurst, Encouragement for Today devotions


* I have a friend who writes music and I want to share a song he wrote for one of
our church friends who is an older gent - when his wife died he asked God ''why'' and this is what Chris wrote.......................

DON'T ASK WHY

The pain is real, it's how I feel
No one else but Jesus knows
When I will be healed
I want to know why I hurt so
And then I heard His voice
And I remembered long ago..... He said

Don't ask why... one day you'll know
I've got a plan for you.... I'll never let you go
Stay close to me....then you will see
The days on earth are not worth
The glory that will be.... so don't ask why

Now I see God's plan for me
I'll take it one day at a time
Better yet before I forget
I'll take it one breath at a time.

Don't ask why... one day you'll know
I've got a plan for you.... I'll never let you go
Stay close to me....then you will see
The days on earth are not worth
The glory that will be.... so don't ask why

Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-15-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-19-2011)
  #2237  
Old 09-16-2011, 08:07 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

“When There Is Nothing There”


Today’s Truth

“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” (1 Kings 18:43-44, NIV)

Friend to Friend

I have a Christian girlfriend who is caught between faith and a hard place. Though she is a committed Christ-follower she struggles to believe God’s promises and feels helpless to the circumstances of her trial. She prays – but wonders if God no longer listens to her. She daily looks for the light at the end of the trial-tunnel, yet sees none.

Have you been there? Are you, or is someone you love, there now? God’s ways and timing are mysterious – no doubt. At times, His ways can even seem frustrating. But He is good. He graciously provides strength and hope when we call on Him... but waiting on God can be such a difficult spiritual discipline.

Time and time again in Scripture we are shown beautiful pictures of God’s faithfulness to those who wait on Him and call on Him. Snapshots of God’s faithfulness displayed in the life of Elijah are simply fascinating. (Pause to read chapters 17 and 18 of 1 Kings now.) Elijah was the most dramatic and famous of all Israel’s prophets. God worked in and through him powerfully and miraculously, but even Elijah went through seasons of waiting and wondering – just like my friend. Just like each of us.

For years, Ahab (king of Israel) and his wife, Jezebel, had done evil in the eyes of the Lord. They worshiped Baal – an idol – instead of the one true God, which provoked the Lord to anger. Then God called Elijah to the scene. Elijah told Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1) As you can imagine, Ahab wasn’t too happy about that ‘word’ and, in his fury, he wanted Elijah dead. God had other plans though. He directed and protected Elijah and provided for all his needs throughout the time of the drought.

In the third year, the Lord sent Elijah back to king Ahab, and a showdown of showdowns went down on Mount Carmel. Like a celestial boxing match with Baal and his false prophets in one corner and God and Elijah in the other, a battle began. The prophets of Baal took the first swing. They made a sacrifice to their god and cried out to him for hours to consume their offering with fire. Baal was silent and unresponsive because he was not real. Duh.

Elijah knew he served a powerful, living, and responsive God, so he advanced to the center of the ring and took his swings with confidence. He repaired the altar of God, prepared the sacrifice, and then prayed for God to reveal His deity by consuming the offering. God flexed His divine muscles and answered Elijah’s prayers instantly with an all-consuming fire. Knock out!

After the showdown was over, God told Elijah to deliver a new message to King Ahab. “And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there I the sound of a heavy rain.” (1 Kings 18:41) So Ahab went to eat and Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel to look for evidence of God’s rain-miracle.

Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” (1 Kings 18:43-44)

What struck me as I studied this passage is the fact that Elijah didn’t get his miracle right away this time. Could God have opened up the sky and poured out a storm immediately? You bet. Did He? No. Elijah had to wait. His servant had to look for the miracle...and look...and look...and look. Seven times.

Hallelujah! You and I aren’t the only ones who have to wait, friend!! God’s will is God’s will. It bends for no man. Yet ours can bend to His and, as a result, we will find strength and peace – even in the waiting.

“Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on...” (1 Kings 18:45a)

God moved. Once again, He was faithful. He can be no other way.

Now think about this. God used Elijah in really big ways. Elijah spoke on God’s behalf, was God’s front-line man in raising a dead child back to life in order to bless a widowed mother, and he was the lead character in a miraculous God-show that brought fire from heaven... consuming an offering and connecting the hearts of wandering people back to the heart of God. We’re talking big God-stuff! Yet even Elijah experienced difficult situations and was forced to wait on God.

When discouragement sets in and you feel unheard – when you are forced to wait on God – when you find yourself caught between faith and a hard place – when there is nothing there... no evidence of God’s miracle on the horizon – remember that God is faithful, powerful, and responsive. He has seen you through trials in the past and He will see you through trials in the future. Even in the challenges you face now, you are seen, you are heard, and He is able. “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4)

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, I worship You, the One, true God! You are mighty and powerful; full of never-ending compassion and love. Please help me to see you when I face trials and to trust Your heart when circumstances discourage me.”
In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Write this verse out: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4) Keep it handy. Read it out loud. Memorize it.

Is there someone in your life who is in a period of waiting? Do something to encourage them today. If she is in a financial bind, consider writing a note and sending it with a gift card. If she is struggling with a strained marriage, a complicated job frustration, or a difficult parenting situation, reach out to her. Pray for her. If you know a single mom, consider helping her with her children. Allow God to encourage someone through you today.

More from the Girlfriends
Girlfriend – God placed a burden on my heart to encourage you today. I know this was very personal and timely for some of you. Let's meet on my facebook page to talk about it and pray through it together. If this devotion resonated with you and if you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be reworked into a picture of God's beauty, don’t miss Gwen’s book Broken into Beautiful. Every step of transformation begins with the heart of God. Broken into Beautiful will take you there.

Gwen Smith, Girlfriends in God devotions.


* Elijah is one of my favorites. and the Bible storys mentioned here are among my favorites too.
like Elijah's servant, sometimes I know God has spoken a promise about something, but I am not seeing results.... waiting. that is hard when we get impatient and want something to happen right now. But I also know that God's timing is perfect. He is never late, and He is always Faithful to perform wonderfull things for His children who depend on Him, trust Him. "Be still and know that I am God"... wait and watch !
d'gal
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-22-2011), heavy (09-17-2011), mandymoo (09-17-2011), szcunane (09-19-2011)
  #2238  
Old 09-19-2011, 08:27 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

The Profile of an Apology

But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’” —Luke 15:17-19

The scary thing about an apology (and why we hesitate to say it) is that moment after we ask for forgiveness and feel the exposure that the other person might say, “No, I won’t forgive you!” If they say that, we could end up getting hurt just like we hurt them!

Here are a couple of tactics we use to minimize the exposure and thereby nullify an apology. First, we make it about us, not them. The worst example (and most common) is our habit of thinking that “I’m sorry” is an apology. It is not. It is merely a report of how we feel that doesn’t take into account what the other person feels, or our need to have them release us from the debt we incurred when we hurt them. We don’t even invite a response. Therefore “I’m sorry” is not a request for forgiveness.

Second, we undercut a confession by slipping in an excuse. “I know I hurt you, but I was having a really bad day.” “I realize I betrayed you, but I was tricked.” We can come up with these by the dozens. These statements deserve an answer: Yeah, I want to forgive you, BUT, it doesn’t sound like you really want forgiveness.”

Third, we try to spin the apology by adding a condition. “If I hurt you, I’m sorry.” “If I offended you, I apologize.” It makes the offense their problem rather than our responsibility.

Here’s a rule: an apology is a “no ‘buts’ or ‘ifs’ zone.” An authentic confession has three parts: admission of wrongdoing, request for forgiveness, and room for response. “I was wrong when I …; will you forgive me? (silence).” Acknowledge the debt; ask to be released; then wait. In the case of the prodigal son in Luke 15, the son got the admission of wrongdoing right but his father interrupted his confession because he was so eager to forgive—he had already forgiven his son. He was just waiting for him to return.

For many of us, “I was wrong” is the hardest phrase to speak. Yet they are the words that verbalize our need for forgiveness. If we can’t admit we were wrong, then we can’t ask for forgiveness.

Journal:
Who do I need to ask forgiveness of?
Who have I apologized to lately? Did I just say I was sorry, or truly ask for frogiveness?

Prayer:
Father, thank You for showing me Your way of apologizing. It’s true that I say “I’m sorry” without really taking into account how the other person feels. Help me to be humble, admit when I am wrong and then ask for forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

James McDonald, Walk in the Word devotion
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-22-2011), szcunane (09-19-2011)
  #2239  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:02 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

Back to Fishing

"'I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing."John 21:3 (NIV)

Have you ever found yourself in a place where all your hopes and dreams have fallen apart? What did you do?

Jesus' disciple Peter had betrayed his Lord, and watched Him die. Now Jesus was gone. So what did he do? In John 21, we see Peter going back to what he was doing before he met Him. I sometimes wonder what he must've been thinking as he sat aboard the fishing boat and scanned the horizon.

Did he wonder if it was all just a dream? Did he worry about the future? He had been at a spiritual pinnacle—walking with Jesus, hearing from Jesus, planning for a future that included Jesus. He walked on the water with Jesus! But in the blink of an eye, he and his comrades were back to their old pursuits as though nothing had happened at all.

God was still at work, but during this time He let Peter and the other disciples go back to fishing. He let them have those days of wondering and worrying. He allowed them to scan the horizon looking for Him—and find nothing. For a time He allowed them to feel alone and even forsaken.

When we feel that way, we tend to go back to what we knew before. We might go back to old habits or old friends who weren't necessarily the best for us. We might go back to old pursuits or old crutches that once propped us up. We might be like Peter and find ourselves sitting in a place we never thought we'd see again.

And yet, this time, something is different. This time there is that glimmer of hope that—while we might have gone back—we don't have to stay back.

I love that this story ends with Jesus on the beach waiting for Peter and his friends to stop fishing and come to Him. And, when Peter saw Jesus, he jumped out of the boat to get to Him.

Perhaps you've walked away from your own dreams and returned to what is familiar. Maybe disappointment or failure has left you wondering where God is. I hope you will cling to this story today. I hope that as you scan your horizon, you will see God waiting for you to return to Him. And when you do, you will run towards Him as fast as you can.

He may have let you go through an alone time. He may have allowed you to wonder if He was still there. But in that time, I pray that the flicker of hope did not die out for you. You may have gone back to "fishing," but He doesn't want you to stay there. He's got so much more for you to do. He is still at work. His plans involve going forward, not going back.

Dear Lord, I have felt alone and forgotten. I have wondered if any of my spiritual experiences were real. I've gone back to what's familiar because it was all I knew to do. But I know You don't want to leave me there. I want to see You when I scan the horizon. And when I do, help me to have the courage to run toward You as fast as I can. I trust that You still have a plan for me. And that plan involves going forward, not going back. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Read John 21 today and write down some of the verses that speak to you directly. Spend some time journaling what this passage has made you think about.

Reflections:
Am I in the boat like Peter was? Am I looking for Jesus to appear? Will I be ready to swim for Him when He does?

Power Verses:

John 21:4, "Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus." (NIV)

Luke 5:11, "So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him." (NIV)


Marybeth Whalen, Encouragement for Today devotions
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-22-2011)
  #2240  
Old 09-20-2011, 05:46 PM
PamF PamF is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: kentucky
Posts: 247
Thanks: 13
Thanked 9 Times in 4 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchgirl1 View Post
Back to Fishing

"'I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing."John 21:3 (NIV)

Have you ever found yourself in a place where all your hopes and dreams have fallen apart? What did you do?

Jesus' disciple Peter had betrayed his Lord, and watched Him die. Now Jesus was gone. So what did he do? In John 21, we see Peter going back to what he was doing before he met Him. I sometimes wonder what he must've been thinking as he sat aboard the fishing boat and scanned the horizon.

Did he wonder if it was all just a dream? Did he worry about the future? He had been at a spiritual pinnacle—walking with Jesus, hearing from Jesus, planning for a future that included Jesus. He walked on the water with Jesus! But in the blink of an eye, he and his comrades were back to their old pursuits as though nothing had happened at all.

God was still at work, but during this time He let Peter and the other disciples go back to fishing. He let them have those days of wondering and worrying. He allowed them to scan the horizon looking for Him—and find nothing. For a time He allowed them to feel alone and even forsaken.

When we feel that way, we tend to go back to what we knew before. We might go back to old habits or old friends who weren't necessarily the best for us. We might go back to old pursuits or old crutches that once propped us up. We might be like Peter and find ourselves sitting in a place we never thought we'd see again.

And yet, this time, something is different. This time there is that glimmer of hope that—while we might have gone back—we don't have to stay back.

I love that this story ends with Jesus on the beach waiting for Peter and his friends to stop fishing and come to Him. And, when Peter saw Jesus, he jumped out of the boat to get to Him.

Perhaps you've walked away from your own dreams and returned to what is familiar. Maybe disappointment or failure has left you wondering where God is. I hope you will cling to this story today. I hope that as you scan your horizon, you will see God waiting for you to return to Him. And when you do, you will run towards Him as fast as you can.

He may have let you go through an alone time. He may have allowed you to wonder if He was still there. But in that time, I pray that the flicker of hope did not die out for you. You may have gone back to "fishing," but He doesn't want you to stay there. He's got so much more for you to do. He is still at work. His plans involve going forward, not going back.

Dear Lord, I have felt alone and forgotten. I have wondered if any of my spiritual experiences were real. I've gone back to what's familiar because it was all I knew to do. But I know You don't want to leave me there. I want to see You when I scan the horizon. And when I do, help me to have the courage to run toward You as fast as I can. I trust that You still have a plan for me. And that plan involves going forward, not going back. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Read John 21 today and write down some of the verses that speak to you directly. Spend some time journaling what this passage has made you think about.

Reflections:
Am I in the boat like Peter was? Am I looking for Jesus to appear? Will I be ready to swim for Him when He does?

Power Verses:

John 21:4, "Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus." (NIV)

Luke 5:11, "So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him." (NIV)


Marybeth Whalen, Encouragement for Today devotions
Thanks so much for this much needed word! IT IS exactly where I am in my life right now! Lost, lonely and looking for a sign that I am going to make it past this season in my life and be where I need to be on the other side. I have sung "God will make this trial a blessing so much that I can't even seem to believe the words myself anymore. ALL of you that pray, please say one for me.
__________________
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to PamF For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-22-2011)
  #2241  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:53 PM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

hey Bri's........... been wondering where you disappeared to. good to see you. let me know if you need to talk. facebook - or pm me for my personal contact info.

hugs and prayers always.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-22-2011)
  #2242  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:55 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

Is God Looking for You?

"I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30 (NLT)

I loved her dearly. I prayed for her often, but I reasoned with myself as I kept silent. I didn't have all the facts. It wasn't my place. I didn't want her to think that I was judging her.

She was falling into sin while pushing aside the consequences for her and her loved ones. For a long time it was secret, but now it was not. Still I said nothing.

If a car sped through a red light, I would have warned her. But sin recklessly careened through her choices, and I didn't even wave a red flag.
Until one day God stopped me in my prayers with today's key verse from Ezekiel 22:30: "I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in th wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one." (NLT)

Are You looking for me, God? I wondered. Is she so heavy on Your heart that You are searching for someone to stand in the gap?

My conversation with her wasn't easy. But, it was bathed in prayer. Cloaked in words of love. And truth, sweet truth between two women.

I let her know that I loved her, and so did Jesus. In fact, He loved her so much that He had placed her on my heart for months. I told her my silence was not proof of my love, but evidence of my fears. I wanted her to know she mattered more than my fear of rejection or misunderstanding.

How many times do we watch a friend, a child, a loved one walk in the opposite direction of God and say nothing? How often do we fail to pray?

When God called Ezekiel to rebuild the wall of righteousness and stand in the gap, it was not an easy job. Ezekiel was called to speak the truth to the Israelites. God didn't promise that they would listen. Or that they would change their ways. Ezekiel was to tell them that God watched them, like a Father watches an errant child. He hated their sin but longed to lead them in a new direction, one marked with intention rather than indulgence.

My friend received my words well, and now it is up to her and God. I have promised to always be truthful with her, and in doing so, encourage, love and pray with her.
Is there someone you love, someone close to you, who has fallen into the trap of sin? Is God asking you to share the truth? Is God looking for you to stand in the gap?

Dear Father, You love this person even more than I do. You have a purpose for her life. Give me the words to say. In truth. But also in love. Help me to stand in the gap today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

If you feel God leading you to speak to a loved one:
• Pray. Ask for wisdom.
• Don't accuse, but speak the truth.
• Don't lecture, but encourage.
• Don't argue, but listen.
• Don't fail to remind them of God's love and mercy.

Reflections:
"Geography has little to do with the difference you make. What matters is that you are making the best use of your life by loving the people in it. This is the difference that endures." Dr. Leslie Parrot, You Matter More Than You Think (Zondervan)

Power Verses:

Isaiah 59:16, "He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him." (NLT)

Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take you your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." (NLT)


T. Suzanne Eller, Encouragement for Today
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-22-2011)
  #2243  
Old 09-23-2011, 08:42 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

Can't Please Everyone


"Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant." Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

I started texting four years ago when we hired Kortney, a 21-year-old, to help with our business. On the way to work one day, she texted me and asked if I wanted a coffee. I received her text, but labored to respond. Before I could finish typing my answer, she texted me a second and then a third time.

Finally I just gave up and called her. "Kortney," I said. "If you would stop texting me I could respond!" We laughed about it for weeks. Actually, I think she was laughing at me, but I enjoyed it too.

In our current culture, people expect us to respond to their requests with increasing speed and efficiency. Whether it's a call, text, email, instant message, or Facebook comment, there's an understanding ... no, an expectation ... that we will respond.

I'll admit I fall into this as well. It appeals to my need to be needed. Someone wants my opinion or my help. At the very least, they want to connect with me. If they are willing to share their lives with me, my desire is to respond. Promptly. With creativity. And a bit of humor, if you please. But honestly, it's exhausting.

Dealing with the expectations of others is especially hard for us as women. It's impossible to meet everyone's needs. There are no firm lines between our private and public lives, and it's turning some of us into people-pleasing maniacs. Sadly, this is self-sabotaging behavior.

Jesus identified a similar people-pleasing tendency in His disciples. They were torn between obligations to others and obedience to Him. They wanted to follow Jesus, but on their terms. Jesus challenged this line of thinking, and called them to a new level of obedience, one that forced them to choose what was most important. Here are some examples:

• "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.'" (Matthew 16:24-25, NIV)

• "Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:61-62, NIV)

When the demands of others threatened their immediate obedience, Jesus called them back to Himself. He challenged them with the same unspoken question He asks us: Who are you going to please first?

Without settling our hearts on the answer to this question, we end up with an over-whelmed and over-committed life. Our lives operate like a bumper car, crazily racing in one direction, only to crash into an obstacle and wildly turn another direction.

My life has felt that way at times. But my heart gained clarity and direction when I declared Jesus Christ to be my leader. Now, please know that even though I believed those words in my heart and spoke them with my mouth, it took years to bring every area of my life into alignment. It is still a process, and at times I have to check my reality against my intent.

Declaring Jesus as our leader breaks our bondage to the approval of others, and helps clarify our motives. Plus, it reduces stress as we accept the fact that we can't please everyone, and God never expects us to try.

Dear Lord, You alone are worthy of following. Please forgive the times I've chosen to follow others before You. I long to be a woman with an undivided heart. Help me overcome bondage to the approval of others. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Application Steps:
To bring some simplicity and sanity back into our minds, schedules and homes, we must address the root of the problem. It may take some time to think this through, but start by answering these questions:


1) Who is the master in your life?
2) Who is defining your priorities?

Reflections:
What are some of the negative side effects of people-pleasing? How does it impact my family, church service and work?

Women struggle with people-pleasing tendencies for many reasons. If I struggle with this, can I identify some of my reasons?

Power Verses:

James 4:4, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (NIV)

Matthew 6:1, "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (NIV)


Glynnis Whitwer, Encouragement for Today devotions.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-23-2011)
  #2244  
Old 09-26-2011, 08:09 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default



Life's Storms
"And there arose a great storm" (Mark 4:37).
Some of the storms of life come suddenly: a great sorrow, a bitter disappointment, a crushing defeat. Some come slowly. They appear upon the ragged edges of the horizon no larger than a man's hand, but, trouble that seems so insignificant spreads until it covers the sky and overwhelms us.

Yet it is in the storm that God equips us for service. When God wants an oak He plants it on the moor where the storms will shake it and the rains will beat down upon it, and it is in the midnight battle with elements that the oak wins its rugged fibre and becomes the king of the forest.

When God wants to make a man He puts him into some storm. The history of manhood is always rough and rugged. No man is made until he has been out into the surge of the storm and found the sublime fulfillment of the prayer: "O God, take me, break me, make me."

A Frenchman has painted a picture of universal genius. There stand orators, philosophers and martyrs, all who have achieved pre-eminence in any phase of life; the remarkable fact about the picture is this: Every man who is pre-eminent for his ability was first pre-eminent for suffering. In the foreground stands that figure of the man who was denied the promised land, Moses. Beside him is another, feeling his way -- blind Homer. Milton is there, blind and heart-broken. Now comes the form of one who towers above them all. What is His characteristic? His Face is marred more than any man's. The artist might have written under that great picture, "The Storm."

The beauties of nature come after the storm. The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm-swept and the battle-scarred.

You have been in the storms and swept by the blasts. Have they left you broken, weary, beaten in the valley, or have they lifted you to the sunlit summits of a richer, deeper, more abiding manhood and womanhood? Have they left you with more sympathy with the storm-swept and the battle-scarred? --Selected


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.

(written by my hubs/d'gal)
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-27-2011)
  #2245  
Old 09-27-2011, 07:04 AM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
Registered User
Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1,902
Thanks: 16,673
Thanked 5,884 Times in 1,674 Posts
Default

AMEN!!! The older I get, the more I try to see my storms as exciting....rather than dreading them...because it IS exciting anticiapating the good that emerges!
God bless you BIG TIME Dgal!!
I love you!
__________________
"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to 1bird2 For This Useful Post:
  #2246  
Old 09-27-2011, 07:56 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

* I chose this devotion because I think this is partly why many of us are here at PTO... not just to share our pains of having a child in prison w/others who may understand what we are going thru, but to share and help try to ease others pain by our sharing.* d'gal

I Feel Your Pain



Today’s Truth
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).

Friend to Friend
It was Easter Sunday, and I was sitting in the sanctuary waiting for the worship service to begin. Anticipating a large crowd, I arrived early to drop Jered off in the nursery, one of his favorite places to go since every nursery worker doted on him. As the choir filed in, a friend slipped into the pew beside me and said, “I think you need to go to the nursery. Something is wrong with Jered.” Jumping up, I leapt over legs, toes, and pews as I raced to the church nursery and my son.

I was not prepared for what I saw. In a far corner, lying on his favorite red mat was Jered, staring at the ceiling, silent and rigid. As I bent over him, searching those beautiful blue eyes, huge tears slid down his chubby cheeks as he flew into my arms, sobbing. You have to understand – as a baby, Jered cried only when he was hungry, wet, or sick. He always seemed to be smiling, happy, and contented. Something was obviously very wrong. I kissed his forehead. No fever. I checked his diaper. Dry and clean. The snack box I had packed for him earlier that morning was empty. I had no idea what had broken my son’s heart, but I certainly intended to find out.

Just then, Mrs. Giles, Jered’s favorite nursery worker, drew me aside and said, “Let me tell you what happened. We had a new little girl in the nursery today. It was her first time in a church nursery – ever. When her parents left, she immediately began screaming and wouldn’t stop. Jered came running and wrapped his arms around her, but she pushed him away. He then brought her his bottle, but she hurled it across the room and continued screaming. Desperate to help her, Jered then found his diaper bag and fished out Turtle.

Turtle was a small, green-and-blue stuffed turtle we had given Jered during a stay in the hospital when he was seriously ill with the croup. From the moment Jered saw Turtle, they were inseparable. He slept with Turtle clutched tightly in one hand, ate with Turtle sitting in his lap or on the table beside his plate, and carefully tucked Turtle in his diaper bag whenever we left the house. Turtle was his most precious possession and was an invaluable source of comfort to him.

Mrs. Giles continued, “I couldn’t believe Jered was willing to give Turtle to a stranger, but he tried.” The crying child took one look at Turtle and threw it in Jered’s face. Stunned, he picked up Turtle, dusted it off, and lay down on the mat, refusing to move, the stuffed animal clutched tightly in his arms. Then I knew. I knew Jered couldn’t stand to see the little girl in pain and was determined to help. When he couldn’t, he retreated, waiting for someone else to help. That’s compassion.

Compassion is not just sympathy. It is empathy. When it comes to dealing with difficult people, we mistakenly equate compassion with “fixing” them.
Genuine compassion is first able to feel their pain. I believe one of the reasons we encounter and are commanded to deal with sandpaper people is because the more pain we experience, the more compassionate we will be. We must learn to use our pain in the right way, not lashing out, but looking within to share the pain of others.

There is a choice in every pain, an opportunity in every trial. Pain makes us focus inward or outward. It makes us martyrs or merciful. The choice is ours.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Good Samaritan in the Bible.
The Samaritan chose to use his pain and help an injured man. He understood the man’s pain because of the pain in his own life. The Jews hated all Samaritans. The man lying on the road was a Jew. There was no logical reason for this Samaritan to rearrange his plans and spend his money to help this “enemy” or “sandpaper person” in need.
But compassion doesn’t look for reasons or search out limitations. It searches for opportunity. The Samaritan had a choice, just as we have a choice every time we are confronted with a need. We must adjust our thinking to understand that sandpaper people are needy people. We can either ignore the need, or we can meet the need by giving away part of the comfort God has given us when we have been in pain.

Galatians 6:2 (NLT) “Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

If we can’t prevent pain, we can at least lighten the load with compassion. Alan Redpath wrote, “You can never lighten the load unless you have first felt the pressure in your own soul.”
Compassion makes us willing to feel the pain of others, responding as if it were our own.

Let’s Pray
Father, forgive me when I respond in anger to the difficult people in my life. I really want Your love to flow through me to each sandpaper person with whom I come in contact. Give me Your heart of compassion to feel their pain and then teach me how to look for ways to help ease that pain.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:31-37. How can you apply the same truths in your life that the Samaritan applied when taking care of the wounded man?

Wherever today finds you, look around for someone in need – someone who needs a touch of compassion in their life. Are you willing to let God use you to be “God with skin on” to that person?

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-27-2011), mandymoo (09-27-2011)
  #2247  
Old 09-28-2011, 08:47 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

In the Sand Trap

“She’s a tough old bird,” my father often said about my mother. He was right. Not even seven surgeries sidelined this octogenarian. With her first knee replacement the doctor told her she’d never golf again. She was 74 and still determined to be a player, not a spectator. Five months later she stepped onto the tee and drove her first ball of the season at the local golf course. At the age of 81, she won a ladies golf championship for women 35 and older just six months after having a mastectomy of her right breast. I would do well to take a lesson from her—in life, not golf—for she is a woman of quiet perseverance.

When we step up to the tee to drive the ball down the fairway, we intend to hit the green, maybe even make a hole in one. But we all find ourselves in the sand trap now and then. Getting out of the sand takes perseverance.

"Consider it pure joy my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3 NIV)

It took intense therapy three times a day, seven days a week for my mother to gain back the mobility of her leg. She faced discouragement often and pain daily, but she kept at it.

To persevere doesn't mean you never feel discouraged or like giving up. It means to steadily reach for your goal despite how you feel, despite the obstacles that get in the way. The apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 1:6, admonishes us to diligently add perseverance to our faith. That is accomplished through fighting the battles with God's help, confident that He will do what He promises. (Hebrews 10:23)

When you find yourself in the sand trap, remember... God is with you through your troubles. Stand strong, trusting God, and He will bring you through each trial, one day at a time. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His strength to help is readily available. Ask, and He will provide. Keep your focus on God, persevere and you will reach the green.

God can change your life. He has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your life, and gives you the ability to grow thru your trials. Discover how you can find peace with God - even in the trials you may be facing.

Deb Butterfield, CBN devotions.


Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-28-2011)
  #2248  
Old 09-29-2011, 08:11 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

*again........putting in 2 devotions today. sometimes, when there are two that are just too good to pass by or decide on which is the one to use... I just do both.


In the Flow

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

This past summer my family and I were at a wonderful place called Camp-of-the-Woods tucked in the Adirondack mountains. It's an amazing get-away for families. Great chapel preaching every morning, no TV, beautiful lake, campfires, fishing, putt putt golf, shuffleboard, and more game playing than you can imagine.

Nature erupts with untarnished beauty and begs to be explored. So, when my exercise loving friends suggested we join them for a moderate family hike, we agreed.

Well, their definition of the word moderate and mine didn't come from the same dictionary. Actually, not from the same planet if I'm being completely honest. Honey, honey, honey...this was no moderate hike.

I pictured a path with a gentle, winding, upward slope.

What we actually hiked was a full on upward scaling of rocks and roots.
Not kidding.

In an altitude where the air seemed so thin the inside of my lungs felt like they were sticking together and refusing my chest full breaths. Lovely.

Up, up, up we went. And when another group passed us on their way down and cheerfully quipped, "You're almost halfway there," I wanted to quit. Halfway? How could we only be halfway!?!

I pushed. I pulled. I strained. I huffed and puffed. And I might have even spent a few minutes pouting.

But eventually, we reached the top. I bent over holding my sides wondering how a girl who runs almost every day of her life could be so stinkin' out of shape! Going up against the pull of gravity was hard. Really, really hard.

But coming down was a completely different experience. We navigated the same rocks and roots without feeling nearly as stressed. I enjoyed the journey. I noticed more of the beautiful surroundings and had enough breath to talk to those with me all the way down.

And about halfway down the trail, it occurred to me how similar this hike was to the Christian walk.

Starting at the top, working with the pull of gravity was so much easier than starting at the bottom and working against it.

Though we navigated the exact same path both directions, going in the flow of gravity made the journey so much better.

Just like when I face an issue in life, operating in the flow of God's power is so much better than working against the flow of God's power.

In other words, seeking to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance I'm facing will position me to work in the flow of God's power. I'll still have to navigate the realities of my situation but I won't be doing it with my strength.

My job is to be obedient to God. Apply His word. Walk according to His ways- not the world's suggestions. Participate in His divine nature rather than wallow in my own bad attitude and insecurities.

Then I won't have to huff and puff and pout while trying to figure everything out. I stay in the flow. God, in His way and timing, works it all out.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).

So, the question of the day... will we work in or out of the flow today? Go with the flow of God's power.

This divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. Wow, when I let that sink in, I'm so inspired to handle everything I face today the way God instructs. Every thing!

And if you're thinking of asking me on a hike, I require pictures of the path first. Okay?

Dear Lord, help me to operate in the flow of Your power today and not against it. Your divine power has given me everything I need for a godly life. I pray believing this truth today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Will we work in or out of the flow of God's power today? What are some ways that you can intentionally choose to do things God's way today?

Reflections:

When I face an issue in life, operating in the flow of God's power is so much better than working against the flow of God's power.

Power Verses:

Exodus 15:2, "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."

1 Chronicles 16:11, "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (NIV)

Lysa TerKeurst
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-29-2011)
  #2249  
Old 09-29-2011, 08:16 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Yavapai County, AZ
Posts: 6,235
Thanks: 349
Thanked 121 Times in 33 Posts
Default

Under the Juniper Tree

Today’s Truth
My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him (Psalm 62:5, ASB).

Friend to Friend
Elijah is a great example of a man in need of rest. One day he was the conquering hero, the next we find him sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity – and begging God to let him die. The poor man was simply exhausted. True, it was an exhaustion produced by victory, but it was still exhaustion.

Elijah called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying idols and idol worshippers. Big stuff! In fact, it is my personal opinion that he should have been celebrating. So why was he so discouraged? It was a woman, Jezebel, who was largely responsible for his discouragement.

Jezebel was the evil and influential wife of Ahab, King of Israel, and widely known as the real power behind her husband’s throne. Jezebel did not worship the one true God of Israel. Instead, she was fanatical in her worship of the pagan god, Baal, and tried to impose her beliefs on the people of Israel. One man stood in her way – Elijah.

When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel, God answered Elijah's prayer with a stream of fire from heaven. You would think that a miracle like that would have convinced Ahab and Jezebel to believe in God. It didn’t. In fact, Jezebel was furious. When she learned what had happened on Mt. Carmel with the fire and idols, she put a contract out on Elijah.
Now stop and think about that for a moment.

Elijah had been in the presence of God. God had heard and answered Elijah's prayer, putting on an impressive fiery display for all to see. Idols had fallen. The prophets of Baal had either fled or been destroyed. And Elijah is worried about one angry woman? Elijah was tired and needed to rest – big time. He found that rest while sitting under a Juniper tree, waiting in silence for God to show up. I know. God had showed up in big ways for Elijah, but this time, Elijah needed a personal, one-on-one encounter with his Father.
I’ve been there, haven’t you?

I’m not very good at waiting. I don’t like to wait on anyone or anything and often view the waiting rooms of life as missed opportunities and unproductive circumstances to be avoided whenever possible. And as far as silence goes, if there is a word to be spoken, I will gladly speak it. In fact, for much of my life, I have tried my best to avoid silence and solitude. However, I am learning that while the seasons of silence and the waiting rooms of life are different in nature and purpose, they are always for my ultimate good.

Silence sometimes falls like a sweet, gentle and refreshing rain. I don't have to do anything, be anything or seek anything. I am just with Him and He is with me. I crawl up into my Father’s lap and wrap my arms around Him and find healing and restoration.
I fall in love with Him all over again as He reminds me that His love for me is unchanging and unconditional. The Father gently reassures my frightened heart that He is not going anywhere and that I can count on Him to be with me – no matter what!

But there are also times when waiting in silence feels more like a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. The darkness is filled with fear and unanswered questions threaten my peace. I am lonely and don’t understand what God is doing. I am tired of being hurt and disappointed and quitting seems like the easiest way out. My energy is gone and no one seems to understand.

It doesn’t really matter what compels us to crave time under the Juniper tree. It only matters that we come. Clinical depression brought me to my knees and drove me to seek God as never before.
It was there that His truth pierced my heart and changed the course of my life with the promise found 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 feet 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 and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).

Oh, I had read the book of Psalms many times, but in the silence under my personal Juniper tree, it settled into my soul and really took root. I began to learn how to wait on God. I came to the precious place of desperation and cried out to Him. I made the deliberate choice to trust Him like the helpless child that I am. During those precious moments, we laughed, cried, and talked about the trials that brought me to the pit of darkness. For the first time in my life, I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.

I am learning to embrace the silent times of waiting as gifts from His hand to my life. So time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. How about you?

Let’s Pray
Thank You, Lord, for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I must stop and rest and sit at Your feet in quiet solitude. Thank You for the healing I find there. Thank You for the new truth and redefined purpose for my life. Help me apply the truths I find under the Juniper tree and then give me the strength and determination to share Your plan of deliverance with those who need your restoration.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Do you long for times of silence or avoid them whenever possible? Why? I encourage you to find a few minutes each day this week to spend in silence before God. Establish the habit of a silent retreat when possible. Read the Psalms daily and keep your gaze on God.

More from the Girlfriends
We will never be free from stress this side of heaven – so we had better figure out how to deal with it.
*Mary wrote a book that might help you out. It is called Escaping the Stress Trap, a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23. If you read Psalm 23 every day for a month, I promise you will see a difference in your stress level.*

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God Devotions
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to d'gal For This Useful Post:
1bird2 (09-29-2011), mandymoo (10-01-2011)
  #2250  
Old 09-29-2011, 08:31 PM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
Registered User
Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1,902
Thanks: 16,673
Thanked 5,884 Times in 1,674 Posts
Default

Oh how I needed these TODAY!!! Beautiful, perfect timing. Thank you for being such a beautiful, faithful servant! I sure did need to re-evaluate how I spend my time waiting!!! .... in perfect peace!
THANK YOU!!!
I love you big time!
__________________
"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to 1bird2 For This Useful Post:
mandymoo (10-01-2011)
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:36 AM.
Copyright © 2001- 2017 Prison Talk Online
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Website Design & Custom vBulletin Skins by: Relivo Media
Message Board Statistics