Monday, May 23, 2011

Mercy for Monday!

Wow! When I started this blog, I knew He was merciful. But this past week, He has proven it again! He showed up! Yeah God! You are so awesome! And, believe me, this understanding of His mercy wasn't because things were going great. . .they weren't, but it was in that distress that He showed up again. So, imagine when I came across this scripture in a devotional that I was delighted! His mercies are new every morning! Praise Jesus!

Deu 1:30-31 NASB - 'The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.'

Wow! The Creator God, Elohiym, carried me to where I am now. . .all the places I've walked, just like I carried my daughter tonight who was scared of the storm. You are carrying me! I don't know what is to come, but I do trust that You will be there! I love you!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Devotion Day: The deliverance of the sons of Jacob

This week, I have no words of my own, but had to be reminded to go back to something God taught me this fall and the prior summer through a Beth Moore study, Patriarchs.
Gen 45:4-11 NASB "Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come closer to me." And they came closer. And he said, "I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God. . ."

These are the thoughts that Beth provoked in us following this scripture:

  • Joseph framed the entire picture in the sovereignity of God. It was their only hope of healing.

  • Feelings of distress and anger towards others sometimes can't rival those we have towards ourselves.

  • Our great pain can mean someone else's deliverance, even someone who helped imprison us.

  • If we refuse God's means of our deliverance, we could easily find ourselves destitute. It's a humbling deliverance to break our pride.

My thoughts. . .in the end God works all things together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). . .even when we are the one who cause the imprisonment. That sometimes in God's mercy He causes things to happen to draw us to Him to prevent us from making bigger mistakes. . .we just don't see what "might have been". That sometimes our pain is for someone else's gain. That sometimes I must shut my eyes so I can cling to what I know about Him.

The song, "Blessings", by Laura Story has made me think. I pray for healing, blessing, safety, shelter, forgiveness, but (I don't know about you) I don't normally pray for trials. I am sure that Joseph did not pray to be enslaved and stolen from his father for years at the hands of his brothers. And, he didn't know for a LONG time what God was doing. He didn't get to see the bigger picture of preparation for the exodus and God's bigger plan for the Jewish people. Sometimes, we never see His plan. I think this most excites me about heaven. . .seeing how God's hand swept over us to protect us from ourselves. . .to see our trials in a new "light". And, most of all, I will see how my trials were not just about me. That his plan is bigger than my "here and now", it's about His plan to bring all to Him. I can't wait to see through His eyes! And, as the song "Blessings" says, "What if the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are His mercies in disguise?" Although a cloudy day makes it difficult to see the sun, it's still there. . .it never goes away!

And so Joseph said to his brothers, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." (Genesis 50:20)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mercy for Monday

Matthew 5:43-46

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you maybe sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?"
So, why is this so hard? Jesus, who had most reason to feel betrayed, still prayed for His enemies even on the cross by asking His Father to forgive "them" for they did not know what they were doing.

Father God, please break my heart for my enemies! Show me how to pray for them. Help me to pray with the right spirit! Holy Spirit guide my words to the Father's ear that they be Your words and not mine.

You were even betrayed by Your closest confidants! Yet, You forgave! With Peter, maybe it's because You could see who he would become, and You knew the betrayal was short-lived. I think this is why we must pray 'Your will' because You are outside of time and You know what is to come! You know the true hearts of people; and therefore, You know how to intercede. Help me close my eyes and trust who You are. . .that when I don't understand I can be confident that You do! It takes nothing to love the loveable! Give me Your fruit of the spirit that I might have true kindness, goodness, and gentleness that only comes from You!

Thank you Lord for what You are going to do!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Devotion Day: Trust

Psalms 37:5 "Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it."
Psalms 118:8 "It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man."
Isaiah 26:4 "Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock."

Today I was thinking about my lack of trust, which is often a result of fear. For the past few years, my anxiety has increased riding with others in cars, particularly with my husband. Now, I'm not claiming to be a good driver myself. . .it's just that "in control" thing. When I'm riding, I have too much time to look around and see what we might hit "if" we ran off the road. The reason for my concern is that Tim prefers to look out at the land rather than the road. I've actually watched him look more to the side than out the front of the van, so I feel the need to watch the road. However, in my husband's defense, he has NEVER randomly swiped a mailbox because he is too close to the side although there are times when it's like I'm in a 3D movie and things are flying into me. This is what I think is going to happen sometimes. I blame my irrational fears on my active imagination! So that we don't end up in divorce court, I have had to create some accommodations for myself, which now include closing my eyes when I feel that we might hit something (not when I'm driving, just when I'm riding). And, guess what? My fears are relieved because I am no longer allowing the physical evidence to outweigh what I know about my husband. When I close my eyes, I trust that he will safely pass the "close to the road object" like he always has.

Just like in this "worldly" example, I was thinking that maybe when life gets rough and what I see physically causes me to worry about what's next in my life that maybe I just need to shut my eyes. By closing my eyes, I don't see the physical but am reminded of the spiritual. I can then soley focus on who God says that He is and who I know Him to be. . .from His word and from His work in my life. I don't have what I see in the moment competing with who He is in the everlasting. I can completely trust in Him. And, the funny thing is that when I close my eyes in the car that I feel instant peace. There is nothing in front of me to fear. And, I think that when I close my eyes because I have been focusing too much on what I can see in this world that I will feel true peace in Him. Because at that time, I will be resting in the God who has always been in control and has never steered me wrong!

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mercy for Monday

Psalm 25:1-7: "To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in You I trust (all others will fail me)
Do not let me be ashamed
(for You are most worthy of praise and You were not ashamed of me);
Do not let my enemies exult over me
(Instead, remind me to pray for my enemies that they would bow to You. If you are for me, then who could be against me?).
Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths

(I want to understand the depth of Your word).

Lead me in Your truth and teach me (Help me discern Truth),

For You are the God of my salvation;

For You I wait all the day (Whether You come today or a 1000 years from now, I will wait) . Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,

For they have been from of old

(From the beginning of time Your mercy, Your covenant love has been present).

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD

(I know that You haven't forgotten me. If Your eye is on the sparrow, I KNOW You watch me! Praise You!)."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Devotion Day: Are you Salty?

*used for seasoning or flavor
*"salt out": (verb phrase)To seperate a dissolved substance from a solution by adding more salt. In other words, by increasing the salt content of a solution, it will turn a dissolved substance back to a solid. (And, of course, my husband the science geek had to explain this one to me. And, don't worry, he is flattered by that title!)
*increases thirst
*melts ice
*awakens the senses (smelling salts)

Salt scripture:
Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
Mark 9:50 NASB - "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another
Luke 14:34 NASB - "Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?
Col 4:6 NASB - Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Being Salty:
*Are you lukewarm, something no one wants to partake of, or are you hot or cold? Seasoned per se? Who wouldn't rather have salty fries? Christ has called us to be set apart. Are you living in Him? Are you set apart, salty, not bland? Do you give people the desire to have what is living in you?
*Do you "salt out"?: I thought this was particularly interesting that if you add salt (not just one granule. . .so it takes a "group")to a substance dissolved in a liquid that the substance would solidify again. So, I was wondering. Do I bind with a group of other salty believers in order to "bring back" or "encourage" others to come back to the person the Lord made them to be? Do I help them separate from the world around them that they have "blended in" with? Do I assist when someone is depressed to bring them back to solid ground? No, I don't mean that I am the answer to everyone's problems, but didn't Jesus have the disciples. Yes, there were moments when He was abandoned, but didn't even He seek out others to be "set apart from the world". And, as a group did they not help others "solidify" into something separate from the world around them. I don't know about you, but this really made me think.
*Does my life and my words cause others to thirst? To thirst after Christ? To want more of Him? To want righteousness that is only obtained through Him? Or does my life cause others to run the other way? I hope you are feeling the need for a nice drink of refreshing water! Isn't it great to also make one another thirst to go deeper into His word?
*Do I melt ice or create a skating rink? I was thinking of this in terms of what I bring to work or my home. Am I salty enough to break the ice caused by gossip, misunderstanding, sleepless nights, hurt feelings. . .or do I just add to the ice chunks?
*Do I awaken the senses, like smelling salts? Do I glorify Christ, speak often enough about Him that it awakens the dead man in the unsaved? Do I love enough to "share" the best gift ever or do I keep the container closed while I walk through a sea of unconscious men?

Please do not misunderstand me. . .I do nothing to become salty. He makes me salty. But, I do plenty to contain my salt in the jar rather than spreading it around. I think in the world of the "church" we get confused sometimes. I by no means believe that I can do anything to be something other than the sinful person I was born to be. But, I do believe that there is power in the Holy Spirit. Because of that power, I am changed. I should live changed. Otherwise, I have denied the power. There is no goodness of my own, but because he has changed me, I have through His power to "do" as He calls me to do, to "live" as He calls me to live, and to "be" as He calls me to "be".

In reviewing scriptures on salt, I am learning that there is even more to this story. There was a covenant of salt in the OT, which makes the last part of Mark 9:50 even more interesting. Maybe I will share later, or maybe I have just made you thirsty.
Be salty today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Worthy of Praise!

A few years ago I was in a Bible study over the summer. During that time, I was really convicted to praise more. I feel that in my Christian walk, and maybe you can relate, that I spend too much time asking and not enough time praising, thanking, worshipping. If I counted the amount of things I ask for to the amount of things I thank Him for, I believe it would be pretty lopsided. That being said. . .

  • Thank you Lord for getting Melissa through her surgery successfully! You are the author of life!

  • You are the Healer! Thank you for sending Loren home today!

  • You hold us in the Palm of Your Hand. . .why should we fear!

Got some praising to do? Feel free to post some!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mercy for Monday! We need some!

So, I missed my first devotional post last week! My sincerest apologies! I honestly did not know if I was coming or going. I haven't been that busy in a long time, and I was exhausted!

There have been lots of prayer needs around here! Maybe the spiritual battle is what is wearing on me! But, if you are praying, please remember the following:

  • Gerald, continued healing from his stroke. His family for peace and rest

  • Dorothy, in the hospital after a fall. A faithful prayer warrior

  • Loren, my "daughter" in the spiritual realm, a young diabetic battling the flu and in the hospital trying to get better

  • Zach & Melissa, fighting hard to help their unborn child. . .surgery tomorrow

  • Linda, salvation

Psalm 121:1-8(NASB)
"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever."

Look up! He is there! We serve a personal God. . .not a statue that is unmoving nor a multitude of gods not powerful enough to do it all! He did it all, He does it all! He created all we see. Jehovah God, the Covenant God (YHWH) who is our keeper, who gives us shade when we are overheated, who is able to keep our souls (without our help!), our protector, our watch tower! Praise You Jesus! You are in all things!

Thank you that your mercies are new every morning!