Welcome to God's Lemonade Stand

It is my hope that by reading this daily you will grow in your walk with Christ and be set free from any struggles in your life that are weighing you down. Be blessed to be a blessing.

Friday, December 31, 2010

GOODBYE OLD YEAR, HELLO NEW YEAR

 Happy 2011 will soon be ringing out across our nation. The crystal ball will drop in New Yorks' Times Square and the Georgia Peach will drop in Atlanta signifying the start of another new year. It is time to take stock of your life and the things you may have done right or the things you want to change. A new year is a great time to attempt to change things. As mentioned in a previous devotion we make New Years' resolutions and try to keep them. The big one seems to be losing weight but this is also a time that we can chart our course for change in other areas too, purposing in your heart that you will do things differently in certain areas. I have started a list of several things which  include not letting junk mail pile up on counter, listening more and talking less, working on some new writing projects, trying to love like Jesus loves, and trying to not be nosy and think I need to know everything. These are just some of the ones. I have a total of about 10 altogether.
In God's word in Isaiah 43:19  it says 'behold I do a new thing'  and in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says "if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old is gone the new is here" referring to when a person has asked Jesus into their life and old things are passed away and behold all things far new. As a believer we are supposed to not want to do things that displease God. Starting 2011 out with ways you can get closer to God would be one excellent resolution. These things could include read the Bible daily, make church a priority, think of others first, not talking about people or saying you hate them, showing God's love to those around us,do not gossip, treating all people with respect, forgiving people even if you do not feel like it, trying to feed your mind with good things such as Christian music and teaching on TV and radio or reading a good Christian book or novel, and of course prayer.

Why not use tomorrow as the start of setting things straight? Our human nature wants to hold onto hurts but God says to forgive. January 1, 2011 can be a grand day where we can choose to say yes to Jesus and no to sin. It can be the start of a new relationship with a person you may have hurt or who has hurt you. Allow God to come into your heart and life and smooth the rough edges. Admit when you are wrong and ask for  his guidance and help. He loves you. Happy New Year!

PRAYER: Father I choose this day to start off a new year with a new attitude regardless of those around me. I have no idea what 2011 has in store but I know that I do not want to go into  the new year with 'old baggage' and problems. Convict the hearts of those reading of what they need to do to get closer to you Lord. Help us start 2011 out with a joyful spirit praising you and thanking you for another year you have given us to shine your light in this world. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

HUMILITY

What is exactly does it mean to be humble? Without going to a dictionary I would say basically not thinking you are wonderful in all that you do and 'Gods gift' to whatever it is you are involved in. No one likes to be around people that brag all the time, but it can be more subtle things too that we all can be guilty of. When you start to get complimented a good deal on something you do, unless you ask God to help you give Him the glory for your abilities,then your may fall into the trap of  thinking to yourself,"I am something aren't I?

 I know in writing letters to the editor, as I have done frequently since the early 90's, it is nice when folks comment on them,to include total strangers who seek you out to thank you, and you think to yourself, I am pretty fortunate to have that printed. But when you write and write and nothing gets put in then you step back and say,' wow, I guess there are other good writers too' and eat some humble pie. Not that I go around with a haughty attitude, because I try not to ,but one can get spoiled when people keep patting you on the back. You have to ask the Lord for a spirit of humility. Let others be the one to point out the good things. Resist the urge to tell others of your 'glory days'. As an Army boss I had back at Ft Campbell, Ky used to say, "Let your virtues speak for themselves."

There is a verse in the Bible that says " Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that in due time you might be exalted."(see 1 Peter 5:6). If you do something good realize your talents were given to you by God and without him you are nothing. Don't get too big for your britches, so to speak, or look out. Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth ; A stranger, and not your own lips.' 

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 says "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

It would be pretty tough, humanly speaking, to be a famous person and have everyone fawning all over you saying how wonderful you were. It could easily go to your head. National leaders, who are supposed to be servants of the people, can become tainted and arrogant under the hypnotic effects of power. People who the world think as having an 'important lofty position" could easily slip into the mode of thinking,"hey I am pretty great. Look where I am". I think of the song "New York New York" where it goes "If I can make it there I'll make it anywhere.." The words to that song are not exactly humble. Whatever you do in life and whatever you achieve realize if not for God's goodness and grace you would not be where you are. Kings are not more important in God's eyes than the bread baker for instance. The star of the movie could not be the star without the supporting cast and crew.

God is the only one who is to be exalted and praised. Isaiah 57:15 says, " For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'

PRAYER: Father it is my desire to stay humble in whatever I do. If people praise me help me remember to give the glory to you. Forgive me for times in my life where I have let my position in life go to my head. Help me stay focused on you and give you all the praise and glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

GOD LOVES OTHERS, DO YOU?

Going into a New Year here in a couple days is always a good time to take stock of your life. What have you done right and what have you messed up on. Weight loss seems to dominate New Years resolutions, but maybe loving others and mending relationships should be a top priority too.

Why is it so hard to forgive someone? Pride perhaps. We humans mess up a great deal yet no matter how bad we are God is there with open arms ready to take us back in and forgive and start over. When we reject God, spit in his face, hurt him by our words or actions he is still ready to forgive. God does not say,"He deserves this. I'll show him".  Also he does not say, "I will give him a taste of his own medicine. Just wait!"  He also does not say, "How could you do this? You are a stupid moron." No God is patient, forgiving, loving and kind and if he ever made a mistake, he would be ready to admit it and move on. By his example we are to love others regardless and reach out in love to them.

If you have been wronged, let it go. Why continue to let something fester? What good does it do? The only one celebrating is going to be Satan as he is the great divider. (Read John 10:10). A  hard heart is hard to win over. You have to be willing to move on, forgive others when they have hurt you and pray for God to heal the relationship. Getting back at someone is not the answer. Misunderstandings happen often in life due to miscommunication and that little tongue of ours can sure cause a lot of 'fires' to break out. Remember in James 3 it says "no one can tame the tongue.' It is a constant battle to watch what we say and think before we speak. Much trouble among people comes from saying the wrong thing. Be willing to hear both sides and be willing to allow God to come in and forgive and heal.

No thank goodness, Jesus is not like us. His love is not based on us being 'perfect'.  We often hear 1 Corinthians 13 called the 'love chapter' and associate it primarily at weddings,but if you read it there is much in there about love in general. For instance 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says ' Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.' If you are in the midst of something right now with a family member or friend due to a misunderstanding read those words in 1 Corinthians and think what they mean. This world would be a better place if we could just learn to move on and let things go and really let God have control. No matter how bad we are God gives second chances. Is there someone in life you need to give a second chance to and forgive?

Colossians 3:13 says "  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.'

PRAYER: Father it is often hard to humble ourselves and admit when we are wrong. Lord I pray if anyone is reading this and has issues with associates in their life, family members, loved ones, or friends that you will help them forgive and move on. Help us Lord each day to think before we speak. Give us the ability to watch what we say, this includes in email since we often 'speak' through emails these days. Father we want your love to permeate our lives. Help us let go of hurt and move on. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

THIS TOO SHALL MELT

Today we are recovering from a winter storm with remnants of snow on the grass,sidewalks,rooftops, and roads. It is a gorgeous sunny day,albeit cold, so I was in the mood to wash my car at one of the car washes that does it thoroughly. You know the kind with the brushes and free sweeper at the end?  Now I am trying to avoid melted dirty water in puddles. I thought of the snow melting and how life starts to get back to normal and thought that this "'too shall melt.' It melts and we start driving and going places again. We try to avoid the puddles on the journey that life may still throw at us.
In life we go through situations  that are pretty tough sometimes and we wonder when on earth things will end and get back to normal. Things will get better although when you are in the midst of junk in your life you feel it will last forever.  Isaiah 43:2 says 'when you pass through the rivers they will not overflow you.'  This too shall pass. God is with you in the storms of life.
PRAYER:  Lord God let those who are reading this who are in midst of a storm in life know that things will get better.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Monday, December 27, 2010

YOUR BODY, GODS' TEMPLE

(There was no devotion on Dec 26th,10)

As 2011 approaches the big thing to do is make a new years resolution. How many resolutions are made but broken? The biggest resolution made yearly is probably to lose weight. In the Bible it says "our bodies are God's temple" (read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Do you take care of your body? Do you abuse it with bad food you know is not good for you? Do you drink too much alcohol? How about smoking? The Bible does not say to not smoke but it certainly can't be healthy to turn our bodies into smoke stacks and we know it is linked to lung cancer. Do you mark your body up with tattoos?Those seem to be the in thing in todays' world but read Leviticus 19:28 for some insight there. Even sex outside of marriage is abusive to the body and not part of God's plan as it can lead to diseases and emotional problems. (See 1 Corinthians 6:15 and Hebrews 13:4).

It does not take a lot of effort to start a new healthy lifestyle. First think about God living inside of you. Does God want us to be lazy and lethargic? A lot of health issues today could be alleviated if we took care of the temple of God, our body. There may be those of us out there who justify their sedentary lifestyle by misquoting or misusing the verse in 1 Timothy that says 'bodily exercise profits little' (1 Timothy 4:8). Granted there are medical issues that may prevent a person from taking up running, for instance, but ask yourself as you look in the mirror if you are taking care of God's temple and if not what you plan to do about it.

Start today, do not wait til January 1st and decide what in your life needs to be changed and as Nike says, "Just do it!' The enemy does not want you to take care of your body. He would rather have you sick and tired and laying around doing nothing for the kingdom of God. Purpose in your heart today you will get on the right track, no pun intended, and wake up each day and seize the day. Do not allow yourself to lay around and be lazy. For starters go out for a walk. " But it's winter and it is cold' you may say. That is why stores sell gloves and hats. Bundle up and go out and enjoy God's kingdom no matter what season it is.

Basically take care of the body God gave you. You do not buy a new car and not put oil in it, wash it, and do maintenance. If you do not take care of your car it will fall apart and not last long. Our bodies belong to God so unlike your car you should want to take care of it for the glory of God. Ask God for discipline to not pick up cookies and to get out and walk. God can help you and he can give you the strength to do all things.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

PRAYER: Lord many may need discipline in their life. Give those reading this the discipline to wake up daily and get in your word and  to exercise  physically each day as well.We know our body is your temple. Forgive us when we have not taken care of it. Help me no longer make excuses and get going to take care of what you have blessed me with. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DISTRACTIONS

(Written on Christmas but sent late. No wi fi where I was.)


Last night, Christmas eve, here in Kentucky where I am visiting my mom, after the candlelight service at her church, which was wonderful by the way, we proceeded to do a family tradition. When we are able to make the trip to Kentucky to see my mom and brother on Christmas day we like to take in the light display at Central Park here in her town. (New York City is not the only place that has a Central Park.)

As we drove slowly through the park looking at the various light displays I commented, after we were nearly done, that sadly I had not seen the real reason for this 'holiday', that being Jesus's birth.  That is when my son Matthew said, 'no mom, we went past it. It is right over there,' as he pointed in that direction. What had occurred was we were so mesmerized by a home's light display which was across from the park that we were distracted and did not see the baby Jesus in the manger.

I was thinking of the spiritual parallel to this in today's world. Many of us are so caught up in day to day activities that we totally forget Jesus or do not see Him actively working in our life for our good because of the distractions of this world. What about you? Are you so caught up in the things of the world you do not see or have time for Jesus?

Hebrews 12:2 says, 'fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.'

Thursday, December 23, 2010

GOD CARES, LET HIM

There are times in life when we may feel like giving up and feeling like God could care less. He is this big 'thing' out there who some may believe in but He can not possibly care for me. God does care. God does have a plan. It is the enemy who is out there trying to distract you and put these type of thoughts in your mind. There are two forces in this world. The powers of darkness, Satan, and the power of light, God. There is either evil or good. Evil Satanic forces will always be there trying to throw us off course. And the enemy likes to mess with our minds. We have to get control of our thoughts to win this battle. Think on good things. How do you do this? Saturate yourself with the word of God. For instance google or 'bing' the words 'God's love' and you will come up with all kinds of Bible verses to read. I suggest starting in the Psalms and just begin reading. The word of God is alive, sharper than a two edged sword.(See Hebrews 4:12). "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. " (Philippians 4:8).

PRAYER: Dear Lord forgive me if I have ever blamed you for bad things in my life. I know you have a perfect plan with the ultimate goal being entering heaven to be with you. Teach us to number our days to make each and every day count. We do not know how long we have on this earth. No one is promised to live to age 100 so when I get up today Father help me to use the day wisely and to do something to share your love with those around me. Help me to trust you with each days' problems. In Jesus Name. Amen.
 





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcUnVYRRYzo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PUT OTHERS FIRST, NOT JUST AT CHRISTMAS

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (Philippians 2:3-4) Christmas is always a constant reminder of putting others first but this should not just be something we do at Christmas.Who have you put before yourself lately? I challenge you to look for ways to have JOY in your life. Joy meaning, "Jesus fist, others second, yourself last." At Christmas there are many opportunities to do this but why not look around and you are bound to see someone who needs help or a friendly smile.

Some good examples of helping would be giving up your seat to an elderly person, opening a door for someone, taking your grocery cart and someone elses' as well back at the store instead of leaving them in the parking lot to ding someones car. You get the idea. You can of course put money in the Salvation Army kettles this time of year. Donate a toy to "Toys for Tots" and things like that. All around there are people to help, you need not look far.

A couple weeks ago I was in the post office where a long line of customers were waiting to mail packages and buy stamps. A worn out looking man was walking in as I was leaving and had what appeared to be a bill in his hand. He looked frustrated as he saw the long line and started to walk away. I said to him, " Do you need a stamp?" and then reached over and took off one the self adhesive stamps I had just purchased and stuck it on his envelope and said "Merry Christmas." This small gesture may have made his day. It was only 44 cents but saved this man a big hassle. I give you this example not to make me look wonderful but to give you ideas of ways you can help. They are always out there if you just keep alert for them.

PRAYER: Father God keep us sensitive to the needs of those around us. Help us have open hearts and show love to those you put in our path not just at Christmas but the whole year through. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

IT IS WORTH REPEATING

 In my opinion when there is a lesson to be learned you need to teach it over and over and over again. We do not want to hear a sermon one time, for instance, on becoming Christlike. One time and one message or one devotion doesn't cement it in your mind. There are certain subjects which bear repeating. I write devotions most times to help myself and in doing this hope and pray they are also touching someone else out there. I receive both good comments and constructive criticism. Both are important. Today the subject worth repeating is being an 'imitator of God'. What does this mean exactly??
To imitate is to be like something. To imitate God is to try to be Christlike in what we say and do.  I love movies and often think of how we may think nothing of going to any old movie out there without checking it's content. The saying is 'garbage in, garbage out'. The way I see it God lives inside of us if we claim to believers and therefore we need to be careful what we think or take into our spirit so to speak.
Ephesians 5:1 says to be 'imitators' of God.  God is holy so you should try to be holy. God forgives so you should try to forgive. God loves unconditionally so  likewise we should attempt to love unconditionally.  You get  the picture. Whatever we do we are to try to be more like him.
PRAYER:  Dear Lord it is my desire to be more and more like you each and very day. Forgive me when I have not taken the time to study and meditate upon your word. I love you lord and want to be more like you. In Jesus name. Amen!

Monday, December 20, 2010

BEAUTY OF GOD'S CREATION

BEAUTY OF GOD'S CREATION

The earth is the Lord and everything in it.(See 1 Corinthians 10:26 and Psalm 24:1). Today I was flying home after being on a cruise. I was looking down through the puffy clouds and seeing the Appalachian Mountain chain thousands of feet beneath me and marveling at God's wonderful creation. He is truly the creator of the heavens and the earth. How some people think all this just 'happened' is beyond me. The heavens declare his name. In Genesis is the story of the creation of the earth. God spoke it into being. In Genesis 1:9 it says, "And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so." The mountains and the hills are his. He made it all. He placed man here on the earth to take care of it.

I am so thankful for mountains, blue skies, rivers, oceans, babbling brooks, green grass,stars,beautiful flowers, citrus groves and apple orchards and much more! He did it all. All his creation is too numerous for this short devotion. Psalm 95:4 says "In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. " In Isaiah 40:12 it says "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?"

As you travel over the Christmas season, some by plane or some by car, take a look out the window and thank the Lord for the wonderful creation He has made for us to enjoy.

PRAYER: Dear Lord we thank you for this wonderful world we live in. We thank you for the air we breathe, for the things we have to eat. We simply thank you for the miracle of creation. Help us never take it for granted. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0kpvHgwINM

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

UPDATE...On Leave for 5 days...see you Dec 21st!!

Wanted to give you a heads up..I am not sick but am going on a cruise so will not be doing my God's Lemonade Stand again til the evening of Dec 20 or morning of Dec 21. I realize from taking feedback that I have repeated several subjects a few times. Sometimes I was aware of it on things such as 'the tongue' and 'words' and 'freedom' which in my opinion are worth writing about more. I let the Holy Spirit lead me but I want to be sensitive to what folks would like to hear too. Give me some subject ideas that I can work on. Just to let  you know in 2011 I hope to make next step..a small booklet and maybe try to submit a devotion to get published. Pray ok. God is in control. Appreciate  you all.

BE HAPPY WHERE YOU ARE.... IT COULD BE WORSE

At times we can tend to complain about our 'lot' in life but always knowing there is somewhere here in the United States where a person would love to trade places with you. All towns have their needy people. We may think, 'oh I wish I had a bigger house' or 'I wish I could afford steak more often'. Or maybe the complaint is "I wish I could go on a trip to Disney World."  Look around you. There are poor folks everywhere. You do not have to look far. I see people out here where I live occasionally pushing a little cart collecting cans off the road. Their appearance is pretty down and out. Now these are not the people, I am sure we have all seen, standing on a corner with a sign 'will work for food.' Most times I feel that is a con, but then say, if you feel in your heart led to help one of those folks on the corner and they misuse the money for booze or are just shamming the public  out of their money, then that is between them and God. You did what you thought was right.

The people in the United States, even those on welfare, are pretty well off compared to most of the world. I have heard people say 'well I do not want to give them money, they are just lazy beggars. Let them go find a job!"  We really do not know their situation ,and regardless, it is not our place to judge and condemn. There is a verse in Hebrews that says you never know, the person might be an angel, so it might be a test. Something to think about.(See Hebrews 13:2).

Romans 12:3 says "For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think, rather to think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you." Do not look down on others. If you catch yourself doing this remind yourself it is only by God's grace you are where you are. Never think you did all you did by  yourself. Proverbs 16:17-18 says "The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." So you see God's word has much to say about not thinking you are better than others. Ecclesiastes 7:16 says "Do not be over righteous, neither be over wise--why destroy yourself?" So do not be all puffed up and arrogant.

Position and power is great but we are to remember those who are struggling and when we have the opportunity to share with others. Even a simple cup of water or a $5 bill might make someone elses' day.

PRAYER: Dear Lord help us keep our eyes open to those around us with needs. Some of these needs may also be emotional. Help us never be too busy or too self important to think we can not help. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'M BACK.....

I prematurely posted that I was not going to write daily anymore. I have prayed and heard from several people already who are blessed and want me to keep writing. I thank you for your input. I will still take 5 days off for my cruise but plan to begin again on Dec 21st. I will write one tomorrow. I have blogged about 72 days I think but have written a total of 140. So on I will march. Thanks to my faithful readers. Love you all..and thanks to the strangers who are reading who I do not know. I value the fact  you take the time to read these as I know life is busy.

NOTICE FROM WRITER.....

NOTICE TO ALL READERS:

First, tomorrow will be the first time I take a break in my devotions in 140 days. I will write one tomorrow but decided instead of trying to write 5 in a row would take a break while on my cruise on Dec 16-20. I am praying to try to decide whether to write these daily or write them twice a week. I would like input on this. I can receive constructive criticism so I thank you for good and bad. It is all part of the process. So let me hear from you. I will stop putting them on facebook altogether I think. I want feedback on that too. Hear ye hear ye the lines are open. Opinions wanted. Merry Christmas. Also trying to decide on next step to take but definitely want to write something daily, not necessarily to publish. I thank you for all the kind comments that I have received telling me what I wrote was just what you needed that day. Give me your feedback and I will decide from there. I know there have been punctuation or some spelling errors and I will work on that. Give me your input. Thanks for being willing to read these daily. I greatly appreciate it.

PEACE ON EARTH

As I reflect on the Christmas season and 'peace on earth good will to men' I was thinking of the word 'peace' and how I have had many 'peace tests'  in the past three years. In my spiritual journey or 'walk'  I have had to learn to develop peace. Situations arise which are out of my control where humanly speaking I could 'pop a cork' but I have to let go and give it to God. I have one right now. In two days we are supposed to go on a cruise. In going over the paperwork my travel agent gave me I  can not find anywhere the trip cancellation insurance I thought I had purchased. Yikes! There is going to be a ice storm here tomorrow so I may be needing this. To make matters worse on this 'peace journey' the travel agents' office on post is closed til December 17th!! Now who closes a travel agent office during Christmas travel season? I guess they do. So here I sit trying to decide whether to fret the rest of the day away or go work on my Christmas tree decorating and finish packing. Hmmm. I mean I will lose a lot of money if we can not go and my agent let this fall through the cracks. So I am praying first for there to be no ice storm and maybe thinking of a back up plan like perhaps stay at airport hotel tomorrow so we are not having to drive on this ice at 4 a.m. As I am  on my peace journey I go searching for Bible verses to make me rest in the Lord.

Now granted this type of peace is not the same as in the story of Jesus birth in the Bible where it mentions 'peace on earth good will to men' but I thought what better way to discuss the subject of peace.(See Luke 2:7-14 for the Christmas story.)  Christmas is when we are supposed to be celebrating this 'peace on earth" but so many people seem strung out and stressed. Too many activities and not enough time alone with God perhaps or trying to live up to someone else's expectations of what a 'perfect Christmas' is then going overboard and wearing yourself down and running up charge card bills. You could add my travel troubles to this or your travel troubles for that matter depending on where you may be spending Christmas and you can have a real mix of craziness to drive you bananas. One thing I have done to alleviate man-made Christmas stress is to send my cards out as New Years cards sometime in mid to late January. Yesterday I enjoyed a nice brisk hike in a local state park in 23 degree temperatures, warm by Iowa standards. This was an excellent way to break away from the hustle and bustle. I may do it again today if time permits although today it is only 14 degrees as I write so maybe not.

Isaiah 26:3 says," You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,  because they trust in you." This morning Joyce Meyer was discussing tests in life too. She mentioned a verse in 2 Corinthians 1:9 which says, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead." Now this might be out of context but what I got from it was that we can be all flustered worrying about things but really we are to totally trust in God, nothing more. And pray of course.In Luke 18:1 it says to "pray and never give up."  1 Peter 5:7 says, " Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you." So there  you have it. No matter what you may be going through God is there in the midst of it. Call on him. (See Jeremiah 33:3).

PRAYER: Father today we ask that you give us your perfect peace. Help us to rest in you and not to keep striving. Show us what is important to do and what can be left for later. Help us all to learn to let go and let God. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

PATIENCE UNDER TRIAL

There are times we do not like to wait. We are going through something and want to take matters into our own hands. I think of the story of Isaac and Jacob  in the book of Genesis. There are others.
Even in Bible times people had lessons to learn and we learn from them.  God is in charge and he does not want us to manipulate situations as they will backfire on you. He wants you to trust him for with each
days problems. One day, as the saying goes, you will look back and laugh. Sometimes things get hard and you just want to quit.   Not every job in life is going to be peachy, not even a job for a ministry. Things
happen because humans get in the way and there are personalities clashes. The key word for all problems is 'through'  meaning some day it will be behind you so hang on. James 1:12 says 'blessed is the man who stands steadfast under trial for When he has stood the test he will receive the crown of  life which God has promised to those who love him.'

How can pain be good or dealing with creepy people be for my good?  When we are tested it shows what is really in us. God is developing us and growing us to be like him, it is how you react in this trial that matters.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to endure and be strong during a trial?  Well it can happen it just takes tons of practice. When you are doing something for the Lord too the enemy will try to discourage you and step on your toes and  kill your dream. He, Satan,did a work on me yesterday. I was at the point I was going to stop writing my daily devotions. Even though I had received accolades from a group of seniors just the day prior I was ready to throw in the towel.  Then a cousin told me the enemy is the one coming against me. I knew that and I needed a reminder. All people go through things. My sis says look at the people in the world being attacked who keep on fighting and smiling. I think of Sarah Palin. That poor woman has endured more from the media than any normal person could take but she stands firm. God wants us to stand up and endure under pressure.

So my friend, what is it you are going through right now? God knows and he cares. When the waters overflow you they will not cause you to drown. Talk to Jesus. He cares and he is your best friend.

PRAYER:   Dear Lord this is the day you have made we shall rejoice and be glad in it. Anything  that comes our way today we can conquer with your power living in us. Help us  to resist the enemy and he will flee
from us.  Guard our hearts from believing the lies of the enemy and press on to the crown that awaits us. in Jesus name. Amen.

Disclaimer: writing on an IPAD I am just getting used to so forgive
gaps in punctuation. I will figure it out eventually. Have a blessed
day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WHEN WORDS HURT

 
Sometimes we can truly be hurt. Not physically but emotionally by friends or family through the wonderful little tongue in our mouth. If we do not think before we speak we can really damage someones' emotions. The tongue is dangerous. The Bible says with it we bless men or curse them and this should not be so. (See James 3:9).
 
In writing, especially on a journey like I am on trying to decide which path to take, I ask for constructive comments. I realize I am not going to get all praise and I don't. When you do get bad comments, even though the people mean well, the enemy can use that to burst your bubble. My writing bubble just about popped  today as I struggled what to write after being critiqued. Ouch, it hurts to get a bad review or comment. In life we are going to get both bad and good. We need to build upon the constructive criticism and pray for God's guidance. When I do start submitting things to publishers I will have some rejection so it is better to be prepared now even though we may not like what we hear about how we could improve.
 
As a writer,we may feel because we do not hear from people ,that our words are meaningless ,but then again when a positive comment does reach you it makes your day. I say, thanks Lord for using me and my words to help someone. Even when I regularly wrote letters to the editor I would occasionally get thanked. That brought a smile to my face.
 
Not all words in life are going to be good. People get fired, counseled, critiqued, put down, and yelled at. There are times when those kind of words are appropriate but in our normal day to day walk as a Christian we should try our best as believers to be 'positive and encouraging' ,as our local Christian radio station WAY FM says in their motto. The supposed negative constructive comments can be a trial of sorts. When we go through trials we get strengthened so look at trials as a way to grow and become better. (See James 1:3)
 
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth but only that which is helpful in building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. " Words have the power to crush and wound or heal and build up. Romans 14:19 says for us "to do whatever we can to do those things that lead to peace."  
 
PRAYER: Father there are times in life that call for constructive criticism. Give us gracious spirits if we have to be the one making the comments and give us grace if we are on the receiving end. Lord we ask that you soften our words so that they might be pleasing to you. Help us think before we speak. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

QUALITY TIME

 
 
I am typing with one  hand as I have my cat Moses to thank  for the idea to todays devotion. I was trying to work when he jumps up in my lap and is sitting cuddled up on my left arm. It reminded me as a young mom back in the late 80's when my children would want attention and mommy's time. Work could wait. You can always do laundry but you can not bring back those special moments of just sitting and cuddling. Maybe it  was getting on the floor and playing with Lego's or coloring, it doesn't matter. Quality time was what was needed.
 
 Today I am having a 'blast from the past ' too watching 'Gospel Bill ' and 'Adventures in Odyssey' on Christian TV. These were shows I watched with my sons ,who are now all grown up. It made me think of how some folks pop their children down to let TV babysit. It is so much better to watch limited TV and sit with them and make it something where they can grow in their spirit or learn. I am sad today when I see mom's in the store yacking on their cell phone telling their children to be quiet. Cell phones get in the way of so many things but they should not come between young moms and their kids, in my humble opinion. Sometimes cell phone interruptions are down right rude.
 
But back to my title 'Quality Time". God is kind of like that cat of mine. He sits and purrs and wants attention but too many of us are too busy to give Him any time. I heard an analogy once about tithing time with God similar to how we should tithe our income to ministries. Just like money really belonging to God and we are to be good stewards of it and give it cheerfully not because we have to(see 2 Corinthians 9:7), so too we should give time to God because we want to do it and not to check off some morning quiet time block and have it be meaningless and mundane. God sits and waits and is wanting to be with you and have you spend time with him.
 
If you do not know how to do this start with a Psalm. Or better yet whatever day of the week it is go to the book of Proverbs and read the corresponding chapter to what date is on calendar since there are 31 chapters in the psalms. As for praying, that is simply having a conversation with God. He is your friend, your Abba Father, daddy. You do not need to come to him with eloquent Kings James English. He just wants you to talk to Him.
 
Matthew 11:28 says,"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. " 1 John 5:14-15 says " This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. "

 
PRAYER: Dear Lord we thank you for who you are. We know you are wanting us to come to you in prayer and daily time. Forgive us  for letting the 'busy monster' squeeze you out of our day. Father we need you and the enemy, Satan, loves it when we rush through the day and forget  you. Without you we can not grow and know you. Lord help me to plan my day so there is time to spend with you. Help me to plan my day around you not the other way around. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WHAT ME, WORRY?

 
We all know worry is wrong. God does not want us to worry but there probably is not a soul alive who does not worry or stress to some extent. How do we stop it? How do we totally trust God and let Him have our concerns? It just takes discipline and practice like anything else to combat this worry monster. The opposite of worry is peace. This is what we need to be working towards.
 
1 Peter 5:7 tells us to ' cast all our care on him for he cares for us." So just do it. Cast that care on him. Ok? Colossians 3:2 says" Let heaven fill your thoughts, don't spend time worrying about things down here." Worrying can not change anything. We can not manipulate a situation by worrying needlessly over it .Matthew 6:27 says "Who of you by worrying can add one single hour to his life?" It is impossible. We can not do anything by worrying except  make ourselves sick, obsessed, and overly concerned over situations out of our hands.
 
We worry about children, losing a job, flying,friends who have hurt us, getting hurt in an accident or our children getting hurt,  driving in bad weather, dying, our future, bills, lack of money,where we will live,  war, and many other things. Stop worrying and start praying. When you feel like you can not help yourself turn to God. Ask him to take away your needless worry. Say " Lord I trust you to work this out. Help me cast my care on you. I need not carry this burden. " Philippians 4:6-7 says" Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." God has things under control. 
 
Colossians 2:6 says "And now just as you have trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day's problems."
 
PRAYER: It is so easy to worry Lord but I know it does not help but sometimes I can not seem to help myself. Lord help me today to trust you to work all the details of my life and that of my family members as well. You love them more than me and you will watch over them. Forgive me for stressing out over worrying about needless things I can do nothing about. I love you Lord and want to be healed of this problem and give you the authority to be Lord over every area of my life.I commit my life to you Lord and I trust you because you are in control.  In Jesus Name amen.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MY TO DO LIST

 
Today I had my 'to do' list on the passenger seat of my car and upon getting back into the car one time could not find it. I frantically was trying to recall what was on it when I found it underneath some papers. Whew, close call! There were several tasks on there I needed to get done. One of the things on my list was eating lunch with my Moms in Touch prayer group and that is where my friend Thea gave me the idea for this devotion.
 
Instead of telling ourselves what 'to do' all the time make a list of spiritual 'not to do's'. For instance, don't get angry, don't get even,don't lie, don't be jealous. You could go on and on. So here are a few more. Do not speak evil of people, do not seek to be rich, do not hold grudges, do not covet things you do not have, do not compare yourself to someone else, and do not wish you had a talent that you do not have. You get the point.  " Put on the full armor of God" the Bible says so we can resist the attacks of the enemy. ( See  Ephesians 6:11)
 
But we do not necessarily want a big list of no's but what God does want us to do. Be loving, be kind, be generous, be fruitful, be joyful in all things, be thankful, be ready to give an answer for anyone who asks about your hope in Jesus, be a good witness and so it goes. The Bible is full of this kind of wisdom and good stuff. It is exciting!  Be kind to one another, be merciful, be willing to share,  be non judgmental to others, be compassionate, and be loving at all times.
 
There are many scripture references for all the things mentioned above. You can do a google or bing search to find verses. But one important 'do not' is in Colossians 4:2 and it says, "Don't be weary in prayer, keep at it,watch for God's answers and remember to be thankful when they come." So of all the things to not do "do not grow tired of praying". Also do not grow weary in well doing because you will reap a harvest if you faint not. (see Galatians 6:6-10).
 
PRAYER: Father thank you that you do want us to be your hands and feet to those hurting people around us. Lord thank you that we can do your list of 'to do's" in order to help those in need around us. Show us opportunities and help us not grow weary. In Jesus Name. Amen.

(SUBMISSION FOR 9 DEC 10 SENT ONE DAY EARLY)

DON'T BE JONAH

In the book of Jonah in the Old Testament Jonah is told by God to go preach to Nineveh and let them know if they did not repent God was going to destroy them because of their wickedness. Well this is the last thing on earth Jonah wanted to do. He was afraid and ran way from
the Lord. Most of us know the story how he went and got on a ship to sail away from God, as I call it. There is no running  or sailing away from God. If he has a task for you to do He knows where you are.

In 1999 when I lived in Mesa, Arizona myself and a fairly new friend who I did not know that well were leaving ladies Bible study when this sort of worn out looking super suntan young man in cut off jeans came running up to us saying something like he figures we could help this
one lady since we were ' coming out of a church'.  My immediate reaction was to hold my purse closer to me. Before we followed the man to where this woman was seated on the grass we sort of looked at each other not knowing each other very well and I am thinking, 'I will let
my friend, lets call her Suzy Q, handle this. She can probably do better.' She may have been thinking the same about me not knowing me very well either.

Neither of us had knowledge at the time, but across the street from our church was a domestic abuse shelter. The woman who apparently needed help had issues with no money, messed up meds, boyfriend problems and the young man, who I now feel was an angel who appeared
then vanished, saw us and wanted us to come over and just offer prayer for her. He handed her a book of Mormon  (Mesa is 2nd largest Mormon population in U S) and disappeared down the street. I immediately asked her for the Book of Mormon back since it is a cult and false
teaching and told her we would get her a Bible inside the church. (Revelation 22:19 says 'And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.)

After praying with her on the grass in front of the shelter on our knees we asked if she could go inside the church with us and find her a Christian counselor to go further than we could. I am not sure why this happened but I laugh as after that day I said to my friend, 'I think I will park somewhere else next time.' LOL. If God has a task for you to do you can not run from him, just like Jonah tried to do, because he will find you. He is God.( Read the book of Jonah which is only 3 pages long.)
 
God will empower his followers to do the tasks he has called you to do. Ephesians 1:19 says "I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in heaven." So go in faith and know whatever God has called you to do he will help you through it.
 
PRAYER: Father God situations come into our lives where we may not be bold enough to take a leap of faith to do what it is you have called us to do. Help us Lord to trust you to direct our steps and empower us to complete the tasks you have called us to do. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE

We are blessed in the United States to live in a uniquely free nation.This country was set up by the founding fathers so we could live free from tyranny and under God. We have our men and women in uniform to thank for putting their lives on the line in many wars ,battles and even in peace time so that we are free to enjoy life as we know it. Many take this sacrifice for granted. There are those who mock the men and women in uniform and do not appreciate what they do. Same as with Jesus. Many turn their backs on Jesus as well and ignore Him. Even well meaning Christian followers at times only give him a few minutes a day, if that.

Today is Pearl Harbor Day when the Japanese back in 1941 had a surprise Air Strike on the US Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii leaving the USS Arizona sunken with its' crew entombed in the sea.This is now a permanent memorial of the men who gave up their lives for freedom on that day that will live in infamy. Many died on land that day too there in Hawaii to include female troops..

The Bible says,'Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friend'(John 15:13). Survivors of war know the
true meaning of this verse.There are stories of medal of honor winners who usually receive the war posthumously since their act of bravery took their own life but saved many others. 1 Thessaloinian 5:10 says about Jesus, "Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. " Christ died for all sinners. Mankind  may not take seriously or even daily give a thought to either Jesus death on the cross or the deaths of many military members who died for us to live free. (At the end of this devotion I have included a link to medal of honor recipients from Pearl Harbor.)

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we might live.1 Peter 1:9 says he was "a lamb without spot or wrinkle" yet he died for us so that we might live. He paid the penalty for our sins. Many people ignore him and ignore the fact that Jesus is Lord.  Most people are familiar with the Bible verse John 3:16 which says, "Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that every person that believes in him would not be lost, but have life forever"

Do you know God as your saviour? He died for you. Yes for you. He hung up on the cross and took punishment for our sins, past, present and future. You can ask him into your heart today.

Further reading:Isaiah Chapter 53

PRAYER: Lord God we thank you for your sacrifice so that we might live. We love you Lord. Forgive us for when we have put you 'up on a shelf' and gone our own way. In Jesus Name. Amen!

http://homeofheroes.com/pearlharbor/pearl_8moh.html

Monday, December 6, 2010

CHANGE YOUR WORLD

Where has God placed you in life? You may feel you are not in a very important position or no position at all and compare yourself to someone with a fancy title. You may feel you are too old to make a difference or life has passed you by. In Colossians 3:23 it says to work at everything like you were working for the Lord.  No matter if you are a ditch digger, be a ditch digger for the Lord. If you are a teacher,teach for the Lord. If you change lightbulbs on top of bridges or skyscrapers do it as if to the Lord. If you are a garbage collector do it for the Lord. In other words whoever you are and whatever you do,  you matter to the Lord. He does not say in his word that only the famous important people with high powered jobs in big cities are important to him. I know from personal experience that stay home moms often feel unappreciated but as I told a young mother I met at my husbands work place Christmas party on Friday night who stays home with her 3 and 13 year old, to say to those who ask what you do that you are raising leaders for the future. There is no need to apologize or compare or put yourself down. You are where you are for a reason and a season and God wants you to impact the world just where he has placed you.
Psalms 139:13-18 says " For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you  when I was made in the secret place,  when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;  all the days ordained for me were written in your book  before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,  they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you."

Each of us is here for a reason. No one person is more special to God.Stop wishing for someone else's life. Now this does not mean if you have a dream to try a new job to not do it .Just do not get down on yourself because you are not someone you think is more valuable to God. He loves you and wants you  to make an impact in the little corner of the world He has placed you in. You can do it. You matter to God.

PRAYER: Dear Lord help those reading this know they have immense value in your eyes and not to think they do not have a way to impact their world. Father encourage older persons to not give up and know they impact their corner of the world too. Somehow the world seems built on youth and makes those over 60 feel like second class citizens. We know you have a plan for all people as long as they are breathing on this earth. Encourage those who feel unimportant that they matter. In Jesus name,amen !

Sunday, December 5, 2010

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED

Conservative radio talk show host Sean Hannity ends his broadcasts each weekday by saying "Let not your hearts be troubled". In todays' world there is much to be troubled about in case you have been away or not paying attention. A government seemingly against the people, rising inflation, the fear of losing our precious God given freedoms, and much much more. But in John 14:1 it says" Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. " Behind the scenes God is at work and has a plan. But He does not want us to roll over and not care about the evil and sin around us. Men fought and died to get America where we are today and fought off tyranny throughout the years.Presently tyranny is at our doorsteps again if the men and women of God do not pray and speak out for freedom. (See 2 Chronicles 7:14).

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:17 "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. " America was founded on Christ and the word of God and the country has slowly slipped away as if in a coma almost taking for granted for years what we have had. We have allowed forces to dictate what is right and wrong apart from God's word. A nation that forgets God and compromises it's virtues away will cease to exist. (See John 15:15). Psalm 33:12 says "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."

In Luke Chapter 21 it mentions "mens' hearts failing them in the last days because of fear." We are not to have fear but to trust in God that he will protect us. Lean on Him, read His word, and get to know Him. Do not take the freedoms we have for granted. Be a active citizen to speak up for right and wrong. There is a saying that says "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."

PRAYER: Lord we thank you for this free country we live in. Forgive us for so often seeing evil around us and not speaking out. Help us Lord to not only pray but to speak up in love to save the God given freedoms we enjoy to include the freedom to worship you and read your Bible. We do not take that for granted. Help us to hide your word in our hearts so we will not sin against you. (See Psalm 119:11).In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS??? REALLY??

Why is it people tend to be thankful for good things but never the bad? When we are right in the middle of something we sure are not thinking and saying, "Boy God I really thank you for the test and trial I am undergoing. I know it is for my good." Instead the normal reaction is fear, overreaction, jumping to conclusions, anger, worry and a host of other emotions. Your 'human' side tends to react with "why is this happening to me?" Instead we need to develop the ability spiritually to remember that "All things work together for the good to those who love the Lord and are called according to his purposes." (Romans 8:28). We often can not visualize the purpose for something that is happening but later on, in most cases, can look back on it and laugh or thank Jesus or both. But agony and trials are sure not fun when you are going through them.

Yesterday I thought my military ID card had been stolen from my unlocked locker at one of the post gymansiums. I mean I looked everywhere and sometimes looked twice. I proceeded to do the wise thing by notifying credit bureaus since the ID contained not only my but my husbands social security numbers. Next I made a police report on post. I told the employees at the gym how to reach me if it showed up. I mean I thought I had looked everywhere.!!  Next I went to ID Card Section and had a new ID made to be picked up next week. All this and then today I was putting on my shoes after getting up and felt something inside of the shoe. You guessed it! My ID Card. Funny but embarrassing. But the thing I am thankful for is that it taught me to not have a false sense of security on military bases and to use a lock on my locker from here on out. Sometimes after something happens we learn a valuable lesson.

Trials and struggles at home or on the job or with friends or others are like that too. For whatever reason things we go through, note I said 'through' meaning we end up out of them, do not seem pleasant but can be used to help us and make us stronger. We have to have patience and strength to endure some things and stay in the word of God and in prayer. I know someone struggling at work right now and I have told this person to read Psalms, keep praying and to try to keep their cool. It is easier said than done. But it is a discipline.
"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 honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:7)."When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2) The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks "in all things". It takes both good and bad experiences to 'grow us up in Christ'. So when a situation arises that is not ideal try to remember to pause and say "Lord I do not know why this is happening but help me to learn what you want me to learn through this and be an example for you. Help me not complain and set my mind on things above and not my problems down here."
PRAYER: Father God if anyone reading this has a struggle today help them to learn to not get mad at you or blame you but to praise you in the storm. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

Friday, December 3, 2010

YOUR DASH

Recently the father in law of a good friend of mine passed away unexpectedly since he had been in very good health. She said he had lived a fulfilling life and was a Christian so she knew where he would spend eternity. I was talking to her about the fact that on tombstones or memorial markers the date of birth is listed, as well as the date of death. In between these dates is a small 'dash'. This dash represents all the years of the life of the deceased and everything they did. Think about it. One small little line encompasses a lifetime of experiences to include joys and sorrows. For everyone it is different.

When you die someday, and none of us knows when that day will come because death will come like a "thief in the night"(see 1 Thessalonians 5:2) will  you leave behind a fulfilling 'dash'? No one knows the hour or circumstances in which they will die.(See Matthew 24) So while you serve as an 'ambassador' on earth what things are you doing to fill in that dash? 2 Corinthians 5:20 says "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."It does not matter if you are important in the worlds' standards but are you impacting those around you for the good? Does your legacy include doing things for the kingdom of God? Something to think about.

PRAYER: Father help us to do all things as if working for you. Someday when we leave this earth and only a dash is on a memorial marker somewhere help that tiny dash be filled with things to build up your kingdom and be closer to Christ. In Jesus Name , Amen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

Christmas is upon us. Once again the battle rages of people afraid to say 'Merry Christmas' and instead say they say "Happy Holidays". I guess that is a way to cover all the events in one greeting but to some it shows that maybe they are afraid to acknowledge Christmas.Why not just say "Merry Christmas"! (http://www.operationjustsaymerrychristmas.com/). I intentionally try to remember to say Merry Christmas to the check out person at my local stores.  Christ seems to be taken out of everything ,but news flash, without Jesus birth there is no Christmas vacation, winter vacation, or holiday or whatever else the politically correct care to call December 25th. Isaiah 9:6 says "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Many who are offended by saying 'Merry Christmas' probably are not offended by the materialism which accompanies it. Christmas is about giving to others and most importantly saying "Happy Birthday to Jesus". Why it offends so many to not say it because the word "Christ' is in it is beyond me. But our world is trying to legislate Jesus away and just put him up on a shelf. Hear ye, hear ye, Jesus is here to stay and laws are not going to make him go away. Santa is sure put up on a throne of sorts and all his little elves and reindeer but forget talking about "away in a manger". As my oldest grown son said to a store clerk back when he was small when she asked him if he was looking forward to Santa's arrival he said, "It is not Santa's birthday,  it's Jesus birthday." From the mouth of babes.

This Christmas celebrate the spirit of Christ through giving to others. Salvation Army kettles are a good place to start. Even those are not allowed by some store chains like they used to be.

Church for some also only comes twice a year at Christmas and Easter as if these are some sacred day beyond all others where they better go or else. I am not trying to make fun of this but only saying that going to church is nice of course to celebrate these two Christian days but why not go the other 50 weeks as well? One chaplain in the Air Force I knew used to refer to these types of people who went to church twice a year as Holly and Lily Christians. Do not get me wrong. It is a great thing to do but why not get into the habit of celebrating Christ all throughout the year?

So this Christmas season enjoy the journey through this marvelous time of year but pause to remember what it is all about and celebrate by putting Jesus first because after all , it is His birthday.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for your birthday where we get to celebrate your birth and your life. We thankyou for living in a Christian land where we are free to say Merry Christmas to others. Forgive us if we have not made this day your day and instead maybe have made it more about candy canes and elves. Help us to show your love to others not just at Christmas but every day of the year. Lead us to someone Lord who needs to be shown your love not just on Christmas but the other 364 days as well. In Jesus Name. Amen.

HAVING A JOYFUL SPIRIT AND ATTITUDE

Sometimes we can wake up and start the day and for whatever reason do not feel very joyful. Maybe nothing really bad has even happened but for some unknown reason you feel like you are in a blahed out mood  of some sort. The enemy, Satan, does not want to have believers be joyful. After all in John 10:10 it says "he, the enemy , comes to steal, kill, and destroy." He wants to rob us of our joy and thus hurt our witness to others or our effectiveness as a Christian.Satan wants to destroy our happiness, our joyful attitude and to make us miserable.  You just have to get up and say out loud, "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!" (Psalm 118:24). Proverbs 15:15 (The Message version)says " A miserable heart means a miserable life;a cheerful heart fills the day with song. " It makes a lot of since. Wake up, get out of bed and face the day the good or the bad. Ask God to help and resist the enemy and he will flee from you. (See James 4:7).

PRAYER: Lord if anyone reading this is going through a sad day or pity party day I ask that you bring your joy into their hearts. Comfort them and help them know that you are only a prayer away. Keep them focused on good things on not the cares of the world. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIvDCV4e318