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  #2351  
Old 12-24-2011, 09:50 AM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
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I sure did need these very words today! I just got "locked out of " a visit with my son....(his prison went on Lockdown yesterday)....and I just KNOW that God will comfort and hold us tight!
THANK YOU....AND A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!
I LOVE YOU BIG!
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  #2352  
Old 12-25-2011, 09:06 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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bummer. sorry to hear that 1bird. how far away is the prison (how far do you travel). my sons prison is a bit over 4 hrs for a normal drive, but bc of my hubs health it takes us 6 hours or so and we have to spend nite.
hope it isnt far and that you will get to visit soon.
it'll be Feb b4 we get to go again, that is if we get new tires on car 1st!
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  #2353  
Old 12-25-2011, 09:08 AM
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Your Story, God's Story

Luke 1

Why is Christmas such a magical time of year? I think its because everyone is expecting a miracle at Christmas. Consider all the popular movies. Each one has a miracle as it's central plot. Whether it's a boy hoping his parents get back together, a shop-owner hoping he can keep his business running, or a town who needs a new hero to help "save Christmas."
You might be reading this and wishing for your own miracle this Christmas. It's probably much smaller than what makes a holiday movie. But it no less important to you.

Maybe you're hoping our prodigal comes home. Maybe you're wishing for a job. Some are yearning for a special someone to sit next to you by the fire.

2,000 years ago, there was a couple who hoped for their own miracle. But like many, they had long given up on this dream. Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a child, but year after year, that prayer went unfulfilled. So, they gave up on the dream.

But this couple didn't give up on God. They stayed faithful. Then, one ordinary day, the extraordinary happened. Zacharias, a priest in Israel, was chosen to give the incense at the altar. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, a rare honor for such a common man. Then, as he performed this sacred duty, an angel of God appeared, breaking God's 400-year silence with Israel.

The angel told Zacharias that he and his wife, Elisabeth would have a son after all. He would have a special purpose an would prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.

This all sounded impossible to Zacharias. Not the miracle itself—that Jesus would come, that John would be the forerunner. Zacharias, as a believing Jew, knew the Scriptures and believed this.

He just had a hard time thinking God could use silly old him. After all, he and his wife were well past the child-bearing age. But, true to His word, God performed this miracle in the lives of Zacharias and Elisabeth. You know the rest of the story. John the Baptist led revival in Israel and would later baptize Jesus Christ, the very son of God.

But let's focus on Zacharias and Elisabeth. They were faithful people in a time of unfaithfulness. And yet they had given up on the dream God had planted in their hearts—the dream of having a son. What's interesting is that Zacharias had no problem with the big miracle: God sending a Son to be born of a virgin and be the Savior. It was the little miracle he had trouble with, the miracle in his own life. Even though God had done a similar thing in Sarah and Hannah and Rebekah and Rachel, Zacharias refused to believe his wife, Elisabeth could bear a child.

He did something we often do. We believe in the big things of God—sending a son to be our Savior, Creation, Heaven—but when it comes to littler miracles, we limit Him. It's as if we say, Yes, God can create the earth in six days, be born of a baby, and send us to Heaven, but He can't possibly change me, fix a relationship, get me a job.

And God's answer is Yes I can. You see, the biggest miracle has already been done—Jesus. Everything else is small to God.

So maybe today, like Zacharias, you're letting God know that there is something too big for Him. Something even He can't fix.

And the story of Zacharias tells us that there is nothing too hard and that God is still in the business of doing miracles. Even in your own life.

daniel darling, then & now devotions
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  #2354  
Old 12-25-2011, 10:48 AM
1bird2 1bird2 is offline
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Default Merry Christmas to you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchgirl1 View Post
bummer. sorry to hear that 1bird. how far away is the prison (how far do you travel). my sons prison is a bit over 4 hrs for a normal drive, but bc of my hubs health it takes us 6 hours or so and we have to spend nite.
hope it isnt far and that you will get to visit soon.
it'll be Feb b4 we get to go again, that is if we get new tires on car 1st!
Yeah, it's a little bit of a bummer....but more so for the poor souls that will be turned away at the gate...after traveling across the country...and for the prisoners who only get a visit once a year or less. It is only 3-3 1/2 hrs from me...so I go every Sat....but so many of them don't hardly ever get visits!! Many times I am the only visitor there! Keep them in your prayers. I think my son's personal bummer will be that he won't be able to call and talk with the family today.....so, we'll do it another day!
I am hopeful for your visit in Feb....and will be praying for those new tires for you!!....gotta love new tires!
I hope you have a beautiful peace-filled Christmas!
Love and prayers,
XXOO
Sharon
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  #2355  
Old 12-27-2011, 01:08 PM
szcunane szcunane is offline
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sorry you didn't get your visit - - -hopefully you will see him this week!
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  #2356  
Old 12-28-2011, 06:49 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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What God Can Do

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. —Colossians 1:13

Our society doesn’t really have answers for all the problems we are facing in our country today. Ironically, our society seems to do everything it can to undermine the only one who can help us, and that is Jesus Christ.

There are people caught in our legal system as repeat offenders. There are judges who make the wrong decisions. There is the breakdown of the family. And all of these elements combined produce a society that can do very little to change a person’s heart, if anything at all. Rehabilitation efforts largely fail. In fact, the only real programs that seem to produce lasting change are faith-based, and more specifically, are being operated by Christians who are calling people to faith in Jesus Christ. Society doesn’t have the answers.

Jesus met two men whose lives had been controlled and ruined by Satan. Society didn’t have the answers. Enter the Savior, Jesus. What did He do? He sought them out in their graveyard and offered them hope. In fact, Luke’s account of the story tells us what happened to one of the men who was delivered: “Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid” (Luke 8:35). Why were people afraid? They didn’t know what to make of it. He was so transformed it frightened the people. They couldn’t even imagine a guy like him could be changed in such a dramatic way.

It is such a glorious thing when Christ so transforms someone that you can’t even imagine that person being what he or she used to be. You realize that it is the power of a changed life. And that is what God can do.

Summary sentence: Only God can transform a person!

Greg Laurie, Harvest Daily Devotions
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  #2357  
Old 12-29-2011, 08:24 AM
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putting in 2 today..................

Hope for Tomorrow


Today’s Truth

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control
(2 Timothy 1:7).

Friend to Friend
A cloud of terror hung over the Valley of Elah as snarling threats and vile promises spewed from his mouth. The intimidator strutted along grassy slopes swinging an enormous club, his mammoth, ironclad feet pawing the ground like an irate bull, ready to attack. The huge, ugly monster was Goliath, a nine foot giant, the pride of Philistia. He wore massive armor; a bronze coat weighing 200 pounds, a solid iron spear, a heavy bronze helmet. The target of his ranting and raving was a frightened, helpless group of Israelites, cowering in their tents. For forty agonizing days, Goliath had come, taunting them, promising certain destruction and doom. The Israelites, paralyzed with fear, had given up all hope of escape, resigned to their tortured fate at the hand of this Philistine monster.

Then came day forty-one! I am certain, as the sun inched its way over the mountains that morning, that neither Goliath nor the Israelites had any idea that this day would be different. A young handsome teenager stepped into the valley of fear, fresh from the presence of God. David, the youngest in a family of eight boys could not believe the scene before him. Tossing the giant’s threats and obvious advantage aside, David refused to accept what he saw. Instead, he chose to believe what he knew in his heart; this giant was going down. With simple but certain faith and unreserved confidence in God, David stepped through the fear, ushering in the mighty presence and power of God. Goliath not only met David that day, He met the Lord of Heaven and earth. And the giant fell! Giants always fall in the presence of God.

We stand on the threshold of a new year – a new beginning! If you are like me, you face 2012 with mixed emotions. Personally, I am thrilled that I survived 2011! There were certainly moments when I wondered if I would. I am so excited about a fresh start, a brand new set of days overflowing with new dreams and unmarked possibilities, but I also know this year is crammed full of the unknown as well as a giant or two. If I am brutally honest, I have to admit the unknown fashions a pocket of fear in my heart where questions and doubts thrive.

The good news is what lies ahead is no surprise to God. In fact, He has already been where we are going. That reason alone empowers us to face every tomorrow with hope, knowing whatever touches us passes through His hands, with His permission. It is not God’s plan for us to dwell in fear or for fear to rule our lives. He has already set in motion the defeat and fall of every giant we will ever face. Our responsibility is to step through our fear, facing every giant in God’s power and with His promises. The Holy Spirit will guide the path of His truth to its destined mark, taking down the giants lurking in each tomorrow.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever! The days ahead are saturated with the memory of Goliath’s fall and trust in Almighty God, the Giant Killer. So then, girlfriend, I ask you, what is there to fear? Happy New Year!

Let’s Pray
Father, I come to You by faith, laying every fear and worry at Your feet. I am not sure what this year holds for me but I do know You are with me every step of the way. When I am tempted to worry, please remind me to trust You. When fear attacks, I choose to pray instead of panic, knowing You are my Lord and my Shepherd. I praise You for Your faithfulness in my life, even when I don’t understand and can’t see the next step. I praise You, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Take time to review the past year. What giants have you faced? Was your response to these giants right or wrong? What changes do you need to make as you approach a new year?
Ask yourself the following questions:

How do I typically handle fear?

What giants will I face today?

What has been my natural response to giants of the past?

How do the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ affect those responses?

Read Luke 2:8-14. Examine your life in light of this passage.

More from the Girlfriends
Can you believe 2012 is just ahead, like a clean slate filled with new beginnings and fresh starts? However, what did we learn in 2011 that will make a difference in 2012? As the holiday season winds down, I pray your heart and mind will look ahead to all that this year holds. Guard your heart and mind against darkness. Stand firm in God’s power and presence. He is faithful and He is sufficient for whatever tomorrow brings.

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions.
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  #2358  
Old 12-29-2011, 08:26 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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Within Limits

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. —2 Corinthians 12:8–9

When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, a sign is effectively hung around your neck that says, “Under new management.” You now belong to Jesus Christ, and He does not operate on a timeshare program. Isn’t that nice to know? He doesn’t say, “Okay, now I have Greg for six months, and the devil can have him for the next six months.” That is not what happens. When we put our faith in Christ, He comes in and is the sole resident in our hearts and lives.

Although a Christian cannot be demon-possessed, the devil can affect a Christian outwardly. For instance, demons can tempt and oppress a Christian. The apostle Paul wrote, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7). The word “buffet” means to hit in the face. So Paul was essentially saying, “Yes, I have come under some demon attack. But here is the good news: God will never give you more than you can handle.”

The Bible tells us in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” Of course, just because you believe something is true doesn’t mean you have committed yourself to it. Obviously, demons are in rebellion against God.

Paul’s oppression was allowed by God and orchestrated by Satan. So God may allow the devil to tempt you or harass you in some way. But remember, He won’t give you more than you can take. The only thing that will stop the devil is the power of Jesus Christ. He is our only protection. He is the one we need.

Summary sentence: God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can withstand!

Greg Laurie, devotions.
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  #2359  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:03 AM
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like many magazines/tv things.... I am going to post some different things/sayings I have kept thru this yr.

*
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:7

James 1:13 says, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man."

Some people get confused between temptations and trials, and the difference between the two is this:
Trials are sent by God to cause us to stand.
Temptation to sin is sent by the devil to cause us to stumble.

One is meant for our maturity. The other is meant for our misery. James used this word interchangeably. While God does not cause both kinds, God allows both kinds, and He will use both to make us more like Jesus.

Are you in the furnace of affliction? Do you feel you’re being tempted? Trust in God to see you through.

*
We’ve all gotten to like this soft new god—this god that welcomes everybody, this god who comes in bubble-wrap and has no sharp edges to sort of needle or offend anybody, the god we can all take together. He has no heritage and of course we will never learn to pray in the name of Jesus if we serve this god. This is the great ‘mush god.’ He has been known to appear to millionaires on the golf course, politicians at ribbon cutting ceremonies and clergymen speaking the invocation on National Television. The great ‘mush god’ has no theology, he’s got ‘cream of wheat’ divinity, he has no particular credo. Because this god is not a jealous god, you can invoke this god to start any venture. He is the god of the Rotary, a god of the optimists; he is the protector of the buddy system. The ‘mush god’ is a serviceable god whose laws are not chiseled on stone but are written in sand—amenable to amendment, qualification or erasure. This god will make any agreement you wish and declare all alliances holy. I know of no other way to stand against such a little soft ‘g’ god but to get in touch with the God spelt with a big "G."
calvin miller

*
"But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6).
Intersecting Faith & Life: Are you avoiding a difficult prayer? What's your reason? Disbelief that God will really answer? Refusal to acknowledge God's imminence? Fear that God will upset your apple cart? Ask yourself what's holding you back. Let's pray for humility and understanding, and the rest will follow.

*
Got any relationships that are in need of restoration? Is there any anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness in your heart that might be gaining a stronghold in your life and keeping you from God’s best? The benefits of allowing the love of God to trump the anger in your heart are tremendous, but the application can be very challenging. We can’t overcome our natural, sinful tendencies to react, and overreact, in anger alone. We need God’s help. His strength will meet us at our need when we call on Him. The Holy Spirit will help us to respond in God’s strength, not our own.

*
God will make a way,
Where there seems to be no way;
He works in ways we cannot see,
He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide,
Hold me closely to His side;
With love and strength for each new day,
He will make a way. He will make a way!

*
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)

*
Intersecting Faith & Life:
In Jeremiah 29:11, God says simply, "I know the plans I have for you… plans to give you hope, and a future." That means God's plans for us don't include dead ends, but more opportunities. When we believe this, practical changes happen. We don't "shrink back," but step out in faith.

*
Partial obedience is actually disobedience. God is a stickler for details, and if He tells you to do something, then you need to do all of it—not just what you personally agree with or are comfortable with.
We need to do God’s will in God’s way and in God’s time

*
"Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."

*If we dwell on why God has allowed certain problems in our lives, we will transport ourselves into a state of insecurity and unhappiness as we stop trusting God.

*
Satan spends a lot of effort bricking up your view of God’s victory and grace. Therefore, keep walking and keep holding up God’s light of hope and grace

*
"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

*
Everything we go through in life is preparation for what will follow.

*
Alan Redpath wrote, "You can never lighten the load unless you have first felt the pressure in your own soul."


*
God is Faithful to those who call upon Him in their day of trouble.

*
His blood was of the new Covenant. He was the Passover Lamb. Unblemished and without sin having been tempted as every man had ever been tempted and without sin.

taken from various devotions and saved by me. (d'gal)
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  #2360  
Old 12-31-2011, 09:26 AM
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putting in 2 today. . . . . . . .

How to Waste Your Time This Year

With the dawning of a new year comes a deluge of resolutions, reminders, and exhortations. They all follow similar how-to themes - how to increase your efficiency, how to make every moment count, how to invest your time wisely and productively.

Well, just for some tongue-in-cheek fun, I'd like to take the opposite tack. I'm going to tell you how to waste your time. That's right, if you follow this advice, you will make absolutely no progress this year. Guaranteed!

First, worry a lot. Start worrying earlier in the morning and intensify your anxiety energy as the day passes. Short on a supply of things to worry about? Check the newspaper, television, or Internet. You'll have enough bad news, doomsday reports, human tragedies, and late-breaking calamities to keep your heart and mind churning all through the night.

Something I have found helpful in my own worry world is to do a lot of reflecting on my failures and mistakes. If you're a parent, think long and hard about what you should or could have done for your children. That will give guilt the green light it's been waiting for. To add a touch of variety, you might also call to mind some things you should not have done. Regret fuels worry in many creative ways.

Do you need a few other categories to camp on? The things you don't like about your marriage or your job. The possibility of a leaky roof, car trouble, and aging. Hanging around negative people is another secret you won't want to forget this new year. If you plan all this right, you'll be loaded with a full pack of worries long before February comes. Start now! Those potential ulcers need fresh acid.

Second, make hard-and-fast predictions. Why not? A whole new year is in front of you. Your date book is empty and ready to fill with detailed plans. Of course, you'll need to ignore that little throwaway line in the fourth chapter of James:


Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a
city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet
you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.
(13-14, emphasis added)
Forget this verse, and chisel your expectations in stone, convinced that things will turn out just like you plan.

Third, fix your attention on getting rich. With this mind-set, you'll fit right in with most of the hype that's pouring out of entrepreneurial seminars and upbeat sales meetings. Make certain to get your ideas about money from the secular bookshelves, and definitely don't pay attention to men like Solomon, who wrote:


Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
(Proverbs 23:4-5)

I mean, what does Solomon know about money and contentment and consequences?

Fourth, compare yourself with others. Here's another surefire time-waster. Not only will you ricochet between the extremes of arrogance and discouragement, you will spend another year not knowing who you are.

If external beauty happens to be your thing, comparing yourself to the latest Hollywood hulks ought to help you men . . . and those gorgeous models they plaster on the covers of Vogue will do nicely for you women. The next twelve months will be a humdinger so long as you keep your gaze on the horizontal. A quick tip - have the Valium ready.

Fifth, lengthen your list of enemies. Playing the Blame Game will keep your wheels spinning more than any other activity. Your skill at this game should improve with age because the longer you live the more ammunition you have. With a full arsenal of suspicion, paranoia, and resentment, you can waste endless evenings rehearsing your feelings of hate as you stew over those folks who have made your life miserable.

There you have it, five proven time-wasters. Put these suggestions into motion, and your new year could set records in wasting valuable time.

But on the other hand, who wants to do that? No one aims to run in circles - it just happens. So, let's get serious. Beware of the time-wasters! Instead, pray more than worry. Be flexible. Give more. Be content with the way God made you. And let the oil of forgiveness loosen your grip on those grudges. In other words, make this year your most productive ever.

Chuck Swindoll. devotions
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  #2361  
Old 12-31-2011, 09:28 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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If Only

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Revelation 21:5


I’ve never known anyone that claimed New Year’s was their favorite holiday. The media shows flashy images of jubilant crowds forgetting their cares as they count down until midnight. After the ball drops, lovers kiss, friends embrace, and the partying continues into the wee hours.

In various real-life conversations, the consensus seems to be: New Year’s isn’t quite as fun as the TV makes it look. Many note the anti-climactic nature of this holiday, and have foregone the party scene for quieter evenings that may or may not last until midnight.

I think New Year’s brings so many mixed emotions because New Year’s (and birthdays) remind us that we are creatures limited to time. With the passage of time we not only sense our mortality, but most of us have accumulated personal losses or regrets alongside our precious memories. And time's indifferent, methodical nature does not allow us to go back and have a redo.

In a conversation last winter, a friend shared a perspective on time and eternity that really changed my approach to New Year’s. A wise pastor once shared with her, “We struggle with time because ultimately our souls weren’t meant for time. Our souls were meant for eternity, in relationship with an Eternal God.”

Although I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the logistics of eternity (what is it like to have no beginning and no end?), my friend’s comment gives me hope. Our linear existence is not “it.” This, of course, doesn’t mean we can approach time in a careless manner.
Certainly God, the Creator of time, cares how we spend it. But our discomfort with the passage of another year points to a God who is bigger than the limitations of time and who loves us enough to prepare us for a day when we will no longer be bound to its limitations either.

But what of the regrets, the wrongs done, and the losses? These things seem set in stone, and like real stones they often weigh on us in our attempts to make fresh starts.

In the book of Revelation, we see that God, from His throne, continually makes all things new (21: 5). Once again, it’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around a God who is bigger than time, Who can bring good out of a past we no longer have access to. But our pasts and all the failings and imperfections contained in them don’t faze a God whose goodness knows no bounds. Although we are limited, God’s grace is not.
When I look at it this way, I have to ask myself: “Why would I, a creature powerless to change the past, want to hold on so tightly to it? Why not give it to the One who can actually do something about it?!”

Can you hand your past over to the Eternal One in the coming year? Are you willing to surrender your present and your future as well? I know this without a doubt – surrendering your life to God is something you’ll never regret.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Enjoy a peaceful New Year’s Eve knowing the future is in God’s Hands.

Further Reading
Psalm 96: 1-2
2 Corinthians 5: 17

by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk devotions
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  #2362  
Old 01-02-2012, 09:13 AM
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Longing for Change

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. —2 Corinthians 5:17-19

People in society all around us want to change. We elect politicians and buy products just because they promise us some kind of change. The assumption is that any change is good, but actual experience doesn’t bear that out at all! Change is inevitable: rusting, fading, aging, and other experiences in life are change, and they are not for the better! And change for change’s sake is seldom good.

Good change isn’t accidental. It has to be intentional. The best changes have God involved in a big way! But even so, there have been many faulty methods for change in and outside the church. They creep into the church. They come in direct contradiction to what God has said or instructed. Those changes may sound good but they turn out bad. But sadly, we end up thinking that God has failed us when we haven’t even really attempted to change to God’s way.

This month we’re going to visit six faulty methods for change. And I’m hoping you’re going to drop each of those change-in-the-wrong direction strategies in a big, green garbage bag and carry it to the street.
I hope as I go through these, you’re going to say, “Well, I’ve been doing that. That’s the way I’ve been going about trying to change. No wonder I’ve been struggling the way that I have.” In fact, let me just begin by trying to state our objective in a sentence: A true life change comes only through partnership with God and must begin with a rejection of all faulty, self-centered change methods.

Someone said, “If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve always gotten.” Others have added that “continuing to do what we’ve always done but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity!” So how about a new approach? How about the approach that God has told us works every time it’s tried! Before we can get to the new approach, we’ve got to label and bag and carry to the street the faulty methods for change.

Watch upcoming devotionals for these faulty plans and identify them for disposal from your life.

Journal
· In preparation for these upcoming thoughts on change this month, what is my basic plan of action when I realize something in my life has got to change?

· How is that plan working for me?

Prayer
Father, You are not only in the change business, but You promise to bring about change in me. The challenge is to be willing to have You change me rather than insisting on remaining in control and having the last word. Lord, teach me to trust You where it matters the most—the things about me that need to change. In Jesus’ name, Amen

james mcdonald, walk in the word devotions
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  #2363  
Old 01-02-2012, 01:06 PM
szcunane szcunane is offline
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looking forward to these devotions. have you heard of the picking "one word" to focus on throughout the year? well, i have been thinking "new" might be mine . .. .still haven't decided yet, but then i saw these devotions . . .
hmmm . ..still wondering . .should it be truth? or trust? or Emmanuel (to remind me that no matter what He is with me) ? . . .
are you thinking of a word?
I just know that this year i need to work harder at looking forward . . to hopefully release me of this overpowering grief . . .
thank you for the always thought provoking devotions! looking forward to growing together with you!
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  #2364  
Old 01-03-2012, 07:17 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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sz, pick a word? I wouldnt know where to begin.! although I love learning more about Faith and also - being a mom w/a child in prison, and other children not walking w/the Lord,,,,,, maybe Hope comes to mind. Hope that somehow, someway, the Lord makes a way for my sons false charges be brought forward and that his sentence time is diminished. Hope that my kids that arent walking with the Lord, that He put someone in their path and that they return to Him before He comes back.
I love Gods promises. He is faithful to keep every promise.

and He is so good about knowing which devotion is the one to put in. sometimes I read 3 or 4 and (to me) they dont seem to say anything needed. yet I will randomly grab this one or that one to put in and all along it was His Hand guiding me. isnt that just like our Lord.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:23 AM
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Go for the Gold Part 1

Today’s Truth
2 Corinthians 1:12 "Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace."

Friend to Friend
I always look forward to watching the Winter Olympics and am always amazed by the amount of training the athletes are willing to invest in order to win a gold, silver or bronze medal. If Christians were willing to make the same kind of investment in running the race of life, I believe the world would be a vastly different place. How important you consider a race to be influences how hard you will run it and determines the goals you set in order to win that race. I believe every believer should have clear life goals based on clear spiritual goals which should be the most important goals of all.
There is a close connection between spiritual goal-orientation and motivation and fulfillment in your Christian life. This is a big reason why so many Christians are unmotivated in their walks. If you want your relationship with God to be motivating, it has to be making progress, accomplishing something and steadily growing - which involves learning to set meaningful life goals.

In order to set meaningful life goals, it is important to remember that because we are children of God, we walk by faith - not by sight. The world's wisdom is often in direct opposition to the grace of God. In 2 Corinthians 1:12 the apostle Paul reminds us to keep our gaze on God, our glance on our circumstances and our path in His will. One of the most comforting thoughts about setting goals is that God is more concerned about my future than I am. When I stop to think about the fact that God has planned out every day of my life, setting goals becomes the daily quest of discovering that plan and choosing to follow it.
I find great hope in the knowledge that even though I do not know every detail concerning my future, God does, and He has already made every provision for that plan. In other words, where God guides - He provides - which is why I can face each day with a confident expectation that God is sufficient and will bless my life as I seek His plan and set my life goals accordingly.

Setting goals is the mark of a seeking heart that longs to please God and experience every blessing He has in store.

A friend once shared with me the idea of making life goals "S.M.A.R.T." Over the years, this idea has become a practical and powerful tool in learning how to set meaningful life goals. I hope it is helpful to you.

Specific. Psalm 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Life goals must be specific. Determine precisely what your goals are. What have you always wanted to do but have never had the time or money? What would you do if money and time were not an issue? What do you want to accomplish in the next five years? What do you wish you had done in the last five years? What do you think God wants you to do that you are not doing?

Break each goal down into a series of smaller accomplishments that, when completed, would result in achieving your primary goal. When you break your goals into bite-sized pieces they don’t seem to be quite as daunting.
By the way, celebrate each time you achieve one of your goals.

Sharon Jaynes is a good friend and awesome partner in ministry. I will never forget the day Sharon walked into the office where we both worked, holding what looked like a new baby wrapped in a blanket. Since Sharon's son was in college at the time, you can say I was a little surprised - until she unfolded the blanket and said, "I just gave birth." Her "bundle" was actually the first copy of her new book and she was celebrating. I joined her in praising God for the goal she had set and met! Praise and celebration can help motivate you to achieve the next goal on your list.

Measurable. Luke 11:28"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

Can you tangibly show you met the goal? Goals must be specific to have life-changing value and you must be able to tell whether or not you have reached each goal. What specifically do you want to accomplish, and within what time frame? It is so easy to set ambiguous life goals. "I want to get more involved in my church" instead of "I will attend the 10:30 worship service each week." I once set the goal of improving my prayer life but the first question that popped into my mind was, "How?" A better goal would have been to pray each morning for 10 minutes or recruit a prayer partner to pray with once a week.

Once a goal has been met, review the process of meeting that goal and determine what mistakes you could have avoided and what changes you should have made along the way. Ask God for wisdom as you plan and set specific goals. Involve Him every step of the way and be sure to chart your progress. Don't be afraid to make mid-course corrections as needed. We sometimes allow sin to influence the goals we set but if we submit each goal to God, He will guide us back onto the right path and lead us to re-evaluate each goal.

Join me Thursday for the “rest of the story” on setting goals.

Let’s Pray
I come to You today with a heart filled with praise and wonder. To think You created me in response to Your plan is an amazing thought, Lord. But I choose to believe it and celebrate it in my life today. Help me learn how to set life goals that will lead me in Your ways and help me fulfill the purpose for which I was created. Thank You, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read and memorize Jeremiah 29:11. With that promise in your heart, begin to evaluate your life goals.
Are they specific?
Are they measurable?
What changes do you need to make in order to set and meet the goals God has for your life?
Record those changes below.

Specific goals. Psalm 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." __________________________________________________ _____
__________________________________________________ __________________________
Measurable goals. Luke 11:28"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
__________________________________________________ __________________________
__________________________________________________ __________________________
More from the Girlfriends
Need help getting the Word of God into your life? Check out Mary’s Weekly Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. The current topic is When I Am Afraid. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email


Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions.
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  #2366  
Old 01-03-2012, 08:51 AM
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Wow, did I ever need this direction....I've been pondering over goals and the "how to" accomplish them!!!
Yes indeed, He does guide you in deciding which devotion to post.....and yes, that IS just like Him to do that!!!

SZ, I've not ever considered a "word to focus on for the year"....and that got me thinking too!!! I'm usually stuck in HOPE....not a bad place to be "stuck"!!...That might be my word for life!! Every word I've considered so far leads back to hope.... thank you for bringing that to thought!!
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"love all, trust few, do harm to none " william shakespear
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:16 AM
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this is one I definitely needed to 'hear'. thank you Lord.

The Glory Ache



Today’s Truth
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, (John 10:10 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Most of us come to Christ with a certain“inloveness”—a stirring of emotion mixed with an inexplicable knowing that we’ve discovered our reason for being. But some years into our spiritual journey, the wonder that swelled during the early years ebbs into routine religion laced with busyness. And we secretly question the point of it all. There has to be more than this, we muse. There has to be something more. What am I missing? What’s wrong with me? I’m doing all the right things, but God seems so far away. I’m trying as hard as I can, but it never seems to be enough. What does God really want from me anyway?

For decades, as I have had the privilege of ministering to women, I have heard the same heart-cry from those who desire to have a deep, intimate, exuberant relationship with Christ but don’t know how to find it.

Perhaps you can relate. You long to feel close to God but sense there’s just something lacking, that you’ve missed the mysterious formula to make it happen.
I call this a “glory ache” —a persistent longing to experience God’s presence on a daily basis. Perhaps like most women, you’ve tried desperately to balance the montage of mundane demands and somehow slip God into the white spaces that are few and far between. You long to spend time in the sacred with God, but find the desire crowded out by the responsibilities of the secular—the daily demands—that lay claim to your attention. You yearn to experience God’s presence, but feel far away from Him as you reach to click off the bedside lamp and collapse exhausted once again. Maybe tomorrow, you sigh.

Sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.

The travesty is that we allow the busyness of life to crowd out the Source of life. As the Psalmist wrote, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing” (Psalm 39:6 NLT). Ann Voskamp echoes that lament: “In a world addicted to speed, I blur the moments into one unholy smear.”

And in that unholy smear, that blur of the world passing quickly by, we know something’s not quite right. So we strike out to make it all better. And most of us are quick to think ‘something more’ means ‘doing more.’ We ramp it up and gun the engines—sign up for a new committee, volunteer for a new cause, bake one more casserole to feed the sick. We attempt to silence the hunger pains of the heart by feeding it the bread and water of duty. And at the end of the day, while we might feel a self-induced sense of well-being, the hollowness in our soul that can only be satisfied with God echoes with the grumblings of hunger still.

We long for a sense of closeness with God, but we have a hard time putting our finger on exactly what that closeness would look like. It’s just something more.

Something different. A flavor we have yet to taste. A country we have yet to visit. A sunset we have yet to experience. A lover we have yet to embrace. There has to be something more, we cry! And we are quite right. We are craving the closeness that comes with an intimate relationship with Jesus.

We try so harder. We go to Bible studies, attend church, say our prayers, and read our devotions. Check, check, check. And yet, we constantly feel that we are somehow letting God down. With the last amen of the day, we sigh, What more does God want from me?

I want to suggest that we’re asking the wrong question. It is not what God wants from you. It is what God wants for you. John 10:10 gives you a hint.

So today, ask God THAT question. You might be surprised.

Let’s Pray
God, I don’t know quite what to do with this longing for something more…with this glory ache that pulls at my heart. Will you give me glimpses of Your glory today? Help me to see You? To Hear You? I’m expectantly waiting!
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Have you ever felt that “glory ache” I mentioned?

How did the following describe their glory ache? Isaiah 26:9Psalm 42:12, 63:1, 84:2
How did Jeremiah describe anything we go to other than God to satisfy the glory ache? Jeremiah 2:11-13

What does Jesus invite us to do? John 7:37-38

Let’s talk about this…Have you tried to fill your ache for God with something on this earth, and came up hungry still? If so, what was it? What did you learn?

Sharon Jaynes, Girlfriends in God devotions.
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  #2368  
Old 01-04-2012, 10:04 PM
szcunane szcunane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1bird2 View Post
Wow, did I ever need this direction....I've been pondering over goals and the "how to" accomplish them!!!
Yes indeed, He does guide you in deciding which devotion to post.....and yes, that IS just like Him to do that!!!

SZ, I've not ever considered a "word to focus on for the year"....and that got me thinking too!!! I'm usually stuck in HOPE....not a bad place to be "stuck"!!...That might be my word for life!! Every word I've considered so far leads back to hope.... thank you for bringing that to thought!!

the one word idea has been floating around i guess for awhile, i heard about it last year on K-LOVE and than this year i've heard some talk about it . . .and I was thinking of HOPE, too . . . Debbie Macomber put out a book this week about it - -I'm hoping to read it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szcunane View Post
the one word idea has been floating around i guess for awhile, i heard about it last year on K-LOVE and than this year i've heard some talk about it . . .and I was thinking of HOPE, too . . . Debbie Macomber put out a book this week about it - -I'm hoping to read it.

whats the title of Debbie Macomber's book ? I have read some of hers.

and HOPE is something we all need - just like GRACE. without Hope, we feel lost and depression can get hold of us. we see no way out. but Hope.... gives us something to look ahead to. I think Hebrews 11:1 is a good scripture for Hope.
and Grace.... we are always needing to be under His Grace. Grace is the Cross, His Blood, His forgiveness....... Grace covers so many things.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:54 AM
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putting in 2 today.


Go for the Gold Part 2



Today’s Truth
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).

Friend to Friend
Someone once said that if God showed us every detail of our lives - all at one time - we would sit down and refuse to face another day. We were not created to be omniscient like God. He reveals our future to us in portions we can digest - like loving parents feeding their child only the type and amount of food that the child can handle.

Watching our daughter introduce solid foods to our six-month-old grandson was an intriguing process to watch. I'm not sure if it was the texture or taste that surprised Justus, but the faces he made when that new food was first placed in his little mouth were hilarious. When he liked the new food, his eyes got big and he grinned and made a big smacking sound as if to say, "Where have you been keeping this stuff?" However, a few foods elicited a very different reaction. He scrunched up his face, turned his head and promptly spat out the offending food. Danna quickly learned the art of mixing foods in a single bite and also learned the same food Justus refused to eat on Thursday was often consumed the next time she tried.

God only reveals what we can understand, perceive, apply and digest at the time.


Attainable. Proverbs 16:3 "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

If you have seen the movie, "Miss Congeniality," you will remember when each contestant was asked about life goals. "I want to achieve world peace" was the popular answer. World peace is a great goal but not attainable by one person. Perhaps a better individual goal would be to make peace with your neighbor. I sometimes think we set life goals that are lofty and unattainable because then we really can't do anything to reach that goal. Reaching a life goal requires action. We are called by God to not only hear His Word but then to put it into practice - to do something about it through setting goals.

A goal should not be set to authenticate what you have already been doing or want to do. God created us to mature, to grow and change, not to stand on the sidelines of life. God wants us in the game and on the field of life. Godly goals will push us beyond where we are and what we are capable of. If no effort is required to reach the desired outcome, then it really isn't a goal. When I was in college, I sensed God leading me to take organ lessons. I had played the piano for years but, for some reason, suddenly wanted to play the organ as well. After a few months of lessons, I was asked to play the organ for a countywide crusade to be held at the convention center of the small town where I grew up. Hundreds of people would attend the crusade, and the guest speakers were well-known across the state. I was terrified but began to practice the organ every spare minute of every day. By the time the crusade came, I was able to play each song that was handed to me. It was definitely "a God-thing."

Sidebar: Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable in each area where you want to improve, grow, or achieve. This should be a same-sexed friend from whom you can easily take criticism and who will feel comfortably pushing you a little when you aren't following through on your goals. When we involve others, we tend to feel a greater sense of responsibility and accountability. Run your plans and goals past other people. You don't want to do this with every goal and at every step along the way, but you should with big and important plans, especially if they impact other people.

Realistic. Hebrews 11:6 "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."

It is easy to establish a goal that is totally unrealistic. In doing so, we are setting ourselves up to fail. I once set a goal to read and memorize at least two chapters of the Bible each week. Yes, it was a great goal but unrealistic for that season of my life. I had two small children and was directing the women's ministry of the church where my husband was the lead pastor, teaching a community Bible study, teaching 20 voice and piano students each week and had begun traveling and speaking for women's events. When I did not reach that goal, I beat myself up with guilt and God was not honored. A more realistic goal would have been to memorize a few verses each week.

At this point, it is good to brutally examine motives. Are the goals we are setting from God or from our own selfish desires? Do I want my relationship with God to grow or do I want others to think I am Godly? Consciously decide in light of Scripture which goals you will prioritize, or you will most likely end up surrendering to the "tyranny of the urgent" or just doing the next and easiest thing.

Timely. Ephesians 5:15-16"Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

I have to have deadlines to achieve goals. When someone books me to speak for an event, I always ask them to give me a deadline for submitting handouts and slides, shipping resources, etc. I then record those deadlines on my personal calendar. If I don't, I often find myself scrambling to get books shipped in time for the event and end up paying extra postage or have to download slides onto a memory stick to take with me to the event. If you give yourself a deadline, you will get more done.

Write out a list of things that would need to change in your life in order for your goals to come true. Sometimes the only reason we don't accomplish our goals is that we don't have a written plan of what needs to be done. Without having the ability to review the goals regularly, we tend to lose our focus. Before we know it, a month or two has gone by, there is no progress, and we are frustrated that we are no closer to the realization of our goals.

Pray! Ask God to give you direction to create goals and help you to reach them. He has plans and purposes for our lives. Success and purpose come when we find out what they are and go after them wholeheartedly. Surround your goals and plans with prayer and ask the Lord to bless you as you work toward each one. We need to order our lives in a more conscious way. Set forward-focused, spiritually sound goals, and be delivered from the futility of a life with no purpose.

Let’s Pray
Father, I want to follow Your plan for my life. Please lead me and guide me in Your ways. Give me Your wisdom and truth and show me the purpose for which I was created. I will seek You first in my life. I will trust You with my whole heart and do whatever You ask me to do.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read and memorize Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Record these verses in your journal.
Circle each action word.
In your own words, define the action words you circled.
How can you apply each directive to your daily life?

Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God devotions
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  #2371  
Old 01-05-2012, 06:59 AM
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A Hopeful Future


"Then Job replied to the LORD: 'I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.' ...My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." Job 42:1-2, 5 (NIV 1984)

Sometimes I don't fully trust God has prepared good things. For me, for family, for friends, for others.

This past year was riddled with home foreclosures, loss of businesses, empty cupboards and gas tanks for those I love. They've faced suicide attempts, drug overdoses, passing of loved ones. Family and friends alike have endured marital affairs, children sentenced to jail, a second year of unemployment, cars breaking down, churches falling apart and the list goes on.

I'm not sure He can redeem the pain, recover what's lost, heal all that's broken. Can He truly fit the pieces of this past year into a hopeful future?

Right now, circumstances suggest otherwise. And if I rely on what circumstances currently imply, I'm apt to believe the answer is no, the Lord is not able.

But circumstances tell tales that are prone to change in a moment.

And the truth of the matter is: God never changes. His power to give a future and hope never change. His Word never changes. So when life weaves stories of doubt and hopelessness in God's authority over circumstances, I reread accounts of His faithfulness and redemption. I refer back to the Truth...

All the while Job's family, home, crops and health demolished...God was preparing to give him double of what was killed, stolen, lost and damaged.

The time Joseph was a slave and prisoner...God was planning for him to be second in command over Egypt.

When Ruth was a homeless, barren widow...God was creating a home in Boaz's heart for her to be a wife, and mother, and great, great, great-grandmother to His Son.

As Lazarus was bound in grave clothes...God was forming the breath that'd give him new life.

The moment David laid down in adultery...God was laying the groundwork for him to rise up in repentance.

Every time Saul crucified Christians...God saw Paul preaching the crucified Christ.

With each strike that Sarai beat Hagar with...God saw Sarah beating her jealousy, pride and doubt with the birth of Isaac.

When Esther was an orphaned girl shaking in fear for her life...God made a way for His daughter to shake a kingdom and save His people.
As Rahab welcomed men into the shelter of her bed...God saw her sheltering the spies on her roof.

When Peter lost faith and denied Christ...God saw him bringing many to faith as he proclaimed Christ.

As Moses killed an Egyptian with his hands...God saw him chiseling the Ten Commandments with those same hands.

At the time Mary saw Jesus die...God saw Jesus resurrected and seated on His heavenly throne!

No matter what the dire, dreary circumstances, God turned each into a hopeful future.

Our key verse assures us, none of His plans can be thwarted. Despite what is happening in life, these stories of redemption and hope speak the truth. God can and will reverse, restore, revive and renew. He sees beyond the present troubles and is sparking a fire to light up the future with hope.

As we begin this New Year, let's be on the lookout for His plans to come to pass. And trust Him that He can take any circumstance and use it for our good and His glory.

Dear Lord, I'm so grateful You not only see my future, but You've planned it. Thank You for Your faithfulness last year. And for recording these stories of lives You turned dreary pasts into hopeful futures. I ask that You do the same for my circumstances this New Year please. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Does pain from your past sometimes keep you from feeling hope for your future? Do you ever think: I can't do this. Things will never change. My life isn't going to get better. These are whispers of self-doubt that keep us from becoming the women God created us to be. Truth is, doubt and hope can't live in our hearts at the same time. We need to know that with God's help, change is possible, life can be different! If you're ready to find out how, join our online study of A Confident Heart, written by Renee Swope. It's a life-changing book! Find out more and sign up here.

Hop over to Samantha's blog for examples of prayers from Scripture that are related to your circumstances.

Application Steps:
Open the Word of God and search for truths of His power and good plans. Look up a similar circumstance to what you are going through. For example, if you've been treated unfairly, take heart with the story of Daniel thrown in the lion's den; struggling with infertility, find hope in Hannah's story; praying for family members to turn to the Lord, be encouraged through the prodigal son's redemption.


Click over to Samantha's blog for more examples of God's powerful truths in Scripture that can apply to your specific circumstances.

Reflections:
Despite what circumstances shout, God is always on my side and working on my behalf. Today, I'll take a moment to write out the many ways He was faithful to me last year.


Power Verses:
Genesis 50:19b-20a, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good." (NIV)


Psalm 40:5, "Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare." (NIV)

Samantha Reed, Encouragement for Today devotions.
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  #2372  
Old 01-06-2012, 09:22 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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The Outsiders



Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2


Have you ever felt like an outsider? I have. If you saw me sitting at my desk now, you'd see a conservative-looking, young woman. But rewind to high school, and you'd see an awkward, lonely kid wearing super baggy, ripped-to-shreds jeans. I actually skipped my junior year to get out as quickly as possible. College was a turning point, and I will never regret my decision to graduate high school early.

If you've experienced the pang of being the odd one out, you hold a special place in the heart of God. On January 6th, many churches celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. The Epiphany marks the arrival of the wise men after a lengthy journey guided by the star of Bethlehem.

As popular as these guys are in religious art, we don't know much about the Magi. There is no concrete evidence they were kings, no exact number of how many followed the star, no records of their countries of origin, and no official date of their arrival. Historical research indicates they were most likely members of a priestly caste from Persia who practiced a religion called Zoroastrianism.

So why set aside a special feast day to celebrate the arrival of some guys we don't know much about? Precisely because they were mysterious outsiders. Not only did their arrival catch King Herod by surprise and set into motion a series of prophetic events, but centuries later we see the wise men represented God's plan to save all who seek Him, regardless of their backgrounds.

Of course, God's saving plan for the Gentiles didn't go over well with everyone at first. Many of Jesus' early followers struggled with - even protested - this idea that Christ's kingdom would include outsiders.

All this forces me to slow down and think. Who are the outsiders today? And how do I treat them? Do I love everyone as God does? Do I entrust that God is working within others even if their lives don't take conventional paths?

Having had my own taste of being on the outside looking in, you would think I readily embrace all who come my way. Sadly, this isn't always the case. At church, I might see someone dressed unconventionally and make assumptions. Or perhaps I observe a peer that struggles to fit into my social group and put forth little effort to make them feel more accepted. I've failed outside of church, too. I'm ashamed to admit that I have, at times, caught myself embracing a judgmental "us vs. them" mentality when interacting with those who don't practice the Christian faith.

Imagine: What if Joseph and Mary had shut the doors on the Magi? I mean, these guys must have been a strange and unexpected sight to this young, Jewish couple when they arrived. What if they had been scandalized by their arrival, skeptical about their exotic gifts, and informed them they had no business paying homage to their son? Thankfully, they put their trust in God's unfolding plan, and welcomed them. But I'm learning that when I turn my back on those who don't fit into whatever mental requirements I've cooked up, I fail to love, and effectively turn my back on God's will.

Intersecting Faith & Life: One of my New Year's resolutions is to invest some time in those others might normally write off. Can you identify someone in your church or your life that in some way stands on "the outside?" Make an effort to get to know them a little better this week. You may be surprised at the blessings that flow from this new relationship.

Further Reading
Isaiah 60: 1-6
Ephesians 3: 2-3, 5-6

by Sarah Phillips, Crosswalk devotions
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:29 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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SZ & 1Bird.... here is another word to give thought to........ diligently.

.........and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6c (end of sentence).

Be diligent in your search. Be hungry in your quest, relentless in your pilgrimage.

God rewards those who seek him. Not those who seek doctrine or religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself.

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Old 01-09-2012, 09:09 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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continuing study "Change" by James McDonald..........

Faulty Change Plan #1

11And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.”Luke 15:11-13

We’re often told that we can change by changing our environment. Another term by which this is known is behaviorism, an approach made popular by B.F. Skinner. It stresses the importance of environment in controlling human behavior. The idea is that surroundings condition a person to behave certain ways. Alter the environment, change the behavior.

Now, there is some validity to this theory. Certainly behavior is influenced by environment. We do pick up cues and shape responses depending on surroundings.The problem is that there is no automatic or predictable cause/effect relationship between environment and behavior. For example, some mass murderers come from wealthy families and are very educated. Some Nobel Prize-winning scientists come from abject poverty.
If behaviorism was true, childhood conditioning would explain everything. But in fact, personal choice plays a huge role; people constantly violate their upbringing. One classic illustration is studies of identical twins. They share the same parents, family, school—as same as two people can get. And yet they grow up to become as different as different can be!

Environment matters, but environment is not determinative. If you have bought into the idea that you are the way you are because of your surroundings, it’s time to drop that explanation in a garbage bag and head for the curb.

The parable of the Prodigal Son nukes behaviorism. It begins, “There was a man who had two sons” (Luke 15:11).Take a moment and read the rest of the story, Luke 15:11-32. Here’s another classic example: the younger, brought up in the same family but so different.

The details vary, but prodigals usually follow the same script outline. They reject their environment, often with uncontrolled carelessness. The Prodigal went wild and “squandered his inheritance with reckless living” (v.13). Eventually, he got to the end of his rope and his resources. He “came to himself” (v.17). He couldn’t fix his past or his problems. His change of environment had only helped to reveal the real problem—him. He had a heart problem. He had to change!

If you think that running away from marriage, family, relationships—any external environment is going to fix what needs to change about you, you are just pursuing Faulty Change Plan #1, and it’s not going to work.

Journal
· What examples from my own life illustrate the point that environment influences but doesn’t determine who we are?

· As I think about Faulty Change Plan #1, who seems to be pursuing this strategy that I can pray for?

Prayer: Father, thank You that I’m not just a product of a mold. Thank You for all that You do to help me come to my senses. I realize that I am powerless to change just by altering my surroundings. Thank You for offering to me Your plan for change, the only one that really works! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

James McDonald, Walk in the Word devotions
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  #2375  
Old 01-10-2012, 08:38 AM
d'gal d'gal is offline
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just a side question.... the devotions of James McDonald on change.... they will appear once a week.... is that how you want them or I can save them back and put them all in (1 a day) in place of other devotions..... let me know
d'gal
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