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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NEW BEGINNINGS

Life is a series of beginnings and endings, hellos and goodbyes, new jobs, births and deaths, new things and old things. Being a military wife I have had my share of new beginnings. It is hard to say goodbye to close friends you have made but God has always got new blessings in store in your new home. It is something to look forward to instead of dreading.

New beginnings are also a time to try new things. When my "nest' became empty when our sons headed off to college a few years ago I tried new things. It is  not only  the time for a possible new job that has been put on hold but also trying new hobbies and things you wanted to do.I tried violin lessons and also the Rocket City Rowing Club among other things. You can take classes or develop hidden talents.There are many things out there to do in a 'new beginning' world.

In God's word in Isaiah 43:19 it says "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Also for anyone who dreads change you know it is part of God's plan to mold you more into his character and for His purposes. Exodus 23:20 is a great verse for new beginnings and it reads "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Isaiah 41:10 says "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Change and new beginnings are part of life. Accept them and move on or fight them and have anguish and turmoil. God can help you adjust to whatever it is you face. Embrace change. When I was a single young woman living in California the poster I had up on my apartment wall was Ephesians 3:20 and it says "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us". I often think of Lot's wife and how she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt(See Genesis 19:26). I sure do not want to turn into salt, do you? God can do more than we think or imagine. Get out of the way and let Him! Enjoy the journey!

PRAYER: Lord I know you hold the future in your hands. Each day is a new fresh start. We are to look forward, not behind. Thank you for the new things you have in store for me. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Monday, May 30, 2011

LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE

Today in the United States we celebrate Memorial Day which is a day to remember those military members who gave their life for the cause of freedom. Back when I was in high school and in the marching band this day was special. We marched up to the town cemetery and had a special service of remembrance. Now it seems all you hear about are special Memorial Day sales in the mall. What better way to say thank you to a deceased vet than to buy a new sofa right? Pretty disgusting isn't it? If you have served in the military it is hurtful when this day is relegated to nothing more than a sales day for local merchants. No one seems to honor the war heroes who fought and died anymore. You might catch a service on C Span from Arlington National Cemetery or on Public TV as I did last night but otherwise it seems this day is celebrated as the opening of the city pool in many communities or a day to go to the beach. Thank goodness we can do those things because of the deaths of the servicemen who defended our nation.

We in the United States of America are blessed with special freedoms. This country is like no other. There will always be evil forces trying to take away freedoms. These freedoms were secured with the lives of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who fought and died to insure we could live in this democracy.  2 Corinthians 3:17 says "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Another verse about giving your life for others is John 15:13 which says "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Truly these brave men and women gave the ultimate gift, their life, so we might have the freedoms we enjoy today. Many others returned but without limbs or missing an eye or with severe mental conditions.

So stop what you are doing today. Do not take for granted your freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to peacefully assemble and many others. Little by little our current government has been chipping away at our personal freedoms. We have to be alert to the fact there will be evil forces who do not like this freedom we have and will try to control us and take it away. If that happens then what did these men and women die for? The enemy, Satan, does not like freedom. He wants us in bondage.

Thank the Lord daily for what he has blessed us with and where he has placed you. Furthermore think of the ultimate sacrifice of those who fought and died to keep the United States of America free. Do not take for granted these freedoms and stand firm to protect what the soldiers died for. Psalm 33:12 says "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance."

Our first President George Washington said it well and I will close with this. "It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible." And he further said "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." Thank you men and women of the US Armed Forces for your tremendous courage and sacrifice to keep us a free land.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the freedoms we enjoy in America and for those who gave their lives so we could enjoy this day and every day. In Jesus Name. Amen!

http://youtu.be/tNqUORIFV4I

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DON'T HOARD GOD'S BLESSINGS...INVEST YOUR LIFE!! BLESS OTHERS!!

With the recent tornado's both here in Alabama and now in Joplin, Missouri we hear things like "pray for the victims" or "give to this charity to help". No one is faulting that but when I pass signs here in Alabama that say "Pray for the tornado victims" that is nice but I want to add to that sign, "Go Help!" Sure some can not physically go help for either medical reasons or they have a job to go to so giving donations is superb! But if you are able to help and you just say "I will pray"
you need to try to do more. Money is vitally needed so be a giver if you can by all means, but get in the 'trenches' to if you feel God calling you there. Get out of your comfort zone.

Be salt and light. Be God's hand and feet. Go someplace you are not comfortable. Be His 'salt shaker'. Spread his love to others. It is sometimes easier to give a check than it is  to invest your time. When you get 'out in the field' you become God's worker. There is not a thing wrong with 'just praying' or 'just giving'. Believe me I am part of a major prayer organization and prayer is vitally important but what I am saying is beyond prayer, 'get your hands dirty' so to speak. Get out there and make a difference if you are able.

There are many people that have the gift of encouragement either directly or by sending cards. This is vitally important too. So maybe they can not be somewhere in person or are not financially able to help but you  can send a greeting to let someone know you care. Cheering people up is oh so very vital and important. So take the time to send a card if this is what you do best!

Matthew 5:13 says "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." In Luke 4:18 it says "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed." Isaiah 61:1-3 further carries this theme when it says "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."

If you stay under your 'bushel' and do not 'let your little light shine' how will you ever make a difference? Go into all the world the Bible says.(See Mark 16:15). This means the public arena, the movie theater, the classroom, the courtroom, the marketplace and all the areas God places you to shine for Him and make a difference in your world. Do not wait for a disaster to strike your town before you find a way to share God's love with someone.

Luke 18:1 tells us to "Pray and never give up!" Prayer does indeed change things but so does working for the Lord and being out there in your community being his witness and his co-laborer. Go now and change your world!

PRAYER: Lord today I want to make a difference where you place me. I want to pray hard but also be used  by you to make a difference in someones life. Help me not neglect helping when I see a need I can fill. In Jesus Name. Amen!

http://youtu.be/yiSix6Stilo

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CLOSER TO GOD??

Do the things you do daily bring you closer to God or further away from Him? If Jesus were standing in the room with you right now would you have to turn the channel on the TV, hide a magazine you are looking at,  or choose different reading material? Would you have to get up and change your clothes because they reveal too much? I am  not trying to get you to think you have to be sitting in church all the time but we need to ask ourselves if we claim to be believers if what we are doing glorifies God or shames Him. Are you a good ambassador for the Lord in your daily life or are you ashamed to identify with Him? (Read Mark 8:38).

When our sons were young we raised them watching a series of Christian's children's videos. One of the McGee and Me series from Focus on the Family and the video was "Do the Right Thing" and it was to point out to young people that what you expose your brain and mind to stays with you. In the movie a young boy had snuck into a horror movie against the wishes of his parents and exposed his mind to awful images a pre-teen should not see and maybe some adults should not see either. "Oh come on now it is only a movie!" Philippians 4:8 says " Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. "

What you are doing is either bringing you closer to God or away from him. You can be engaging in an activity that the enemy, Satan, has planted the thought in your mind that what you are doing is normal or not that bad. You start to believe a lie and you get drug into the pit of hell. Satan is the great deceiver. He comes as an 'angel of light'. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says "But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." How do you think he tricks so many people? He gets you to believe a lie and gets you to compromise your morals and values. Stand firm. Many trials will come. Know that the Lord will rescue the godly from temptation. 2 Peter 2:9 says "So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment."

PRAYER: I want to be closer to you Lord. Forgive me for the times I wake up in the morning and do my own thing and forget about reading the word of God. I know the Bible is my instruction manual.I have heard it called "Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth."Give me a desire to read it and follow it. Protect me from the snares of the enemy. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Friday, May 27, 2011

RESPECT

A few days ago I was waiting at a stop light as a funeral procession went down the road. The policemen were there and had traffic stopped but also people pulled off to the side and waited as the deceased passed by. This was the ultimate form of  respect before this individuals body went to its' final resting place. What an awesome show of respect by the general public. Some knew to stop and others had to be reminded by the police.

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield was known for his line "I don't get no respect." Comical but not funny in real life. Husbands want respect from their wives and wives want respect from their husbands and parents want respect from their children. Teachers deserve respect from their students and bosses need respect from their employees.

The definition of respect is an attitude of admiration,state of being admired or consideration or thoughtfulness. Some Bible verses on respect are Leviticus 19:3 which says "'Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God." All of us know how important it is to respect our parents. But what if they do not deserve it because they were mean and abusive? That is something you have to take to the Lord. 1 Peter 2:17 says "Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." It is important to show respect for the elderly and not be making fun of them and making jokes. Leviticus 19:32 says " 'Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD." In many places the elderly are considered second class citizens. These individuals have lived a long life and contributed much to our world and deserve love and respect. Proverbs 11:16 says "A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

In the military it is important to honor and respect the leaders for good order and discipline. Proverbs 13:13 tells us "He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded." Military members better respect and follow a command or they pay stiff consequences for their disrespect. There is a reason for good order and discipline within the Armed forces so having disrespectful soldiers will not work. It can get a soldier 20 more push ups or  perhaps a dishonorable discharge.

The Lord God Almighty is worthy of our admiration and respect as well. In Malachi 1:6 it says "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?'" People do not respect the Lord when they take his name in vain or when they do not keep his commandments found in Exodus 20. When they knowingly sin it breaks God's heart and is not respectful. If you know what to do and do otherwise that is breaking God's law and his heart.

Are you showing respect to those people God has placed in your life? And do you respect the Lord your God who gave you your life?

PRAYER: Lord God I want to be respectful of all those persons you have placed in my life. Help me to not be haughty or overbearing and help me show your love and respect to all people you put in my path each day. In Jesus Name,. Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

STUFF....GONE WITH THE WIND!!

 Last months' outbreak of F5 killer tornado's here in the South, particularly in Alabama, requires much long term cleanup in  the aftermath. The site in  homeowners yards was shocking and sad. Peoples files, papers,furniture, cars, pictures, and other memento's were either 'gone with the wind' to places unknown to be possibly found in yards 180 miles away in Knoxville, Tennessee or they were just a mess of wet, torn, destroyed paper ,crumpled metal, or smashed wood. Some things were salvageable,but not much.

 It got me to thinking about 'our stuff' and how we place great importance on our things, our earthly possessions.  All of us no doubt have a  paper pile somewhere in our home. No doubt the most convenient is the kitchen counter top when you first come through the door. These tornado victims lost a good deal of what we think we can not live without to include these piles of important bills and files. No one has ever seen a U Haul truck behind a funeral procession have they? Once we are gone from this earth it does not really matter anyway. Someone else is left to bother with your stuff and your clutter and things and trinkets you could not live without. It can all burn up in a fire anyway. The things we place so much value on can be gone in a heartbeat.

Do you place your hope and security in the things of this world? The things of this world will not matter when our time on earth is over. I heard somewhere that when you are dying  no one wants to say "Hey can you check the balance in my checking account?" Basically our 'stuff' does not matter in the big scheme of things.

1 Timothy 6:8 says "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." I spoke with several homeowners who lost it all on April 27th and the common theme was that their things did not matter. They were thankful their lives were spared. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Mark 8:35-36 says "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"The world and all its' stuff really can not keep you happy. 1 John 2:17 says "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." There you have it!

Could you lose it all and still be happy? These tornado victims had destroyed homes, smashed cars, broken up furniture, torn clothes, water logged pictures, broken electronics, and much more. All these things ,with the exception of personal photos, can be replaced. But do they matter? Do not wait to have to lose it all to realize you do not need things to make you happy.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for food, clothing, shelter and the gift of life. Help me never value things of this world so much that my very existence depends on things to be happy. Help my joy be in the Lord and not the things of this world. In Jesus Name. Amen!

http://youtu.be/cIvDCV4e318

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PRESS ON!! HOPE AND BELIEVE

Don't give up. What is your dream, your goal? Keep plugging away. Focus on that goal and not negative thinking. When things have you down and you feel discouraged do not lose hope. God is there and he cares for you. Keep believing and press on to higher calling. Call out to God. Do not think things are over for you just because you are what society says is 'older'. Keep pushing towards a goal for your life  no matter what your age. Everybody has a purpose and everyone can make a difference.

Jeremiah 31:16 says "This is what the LORD says:“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD. “They will return from the land of the enemy. "  John 11:40 says "Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 

Focus on helping others when you are feeling down. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in most communities. Perhaps a situation you are 'stuck in' has you with a case of the 'blues'. Know the Lord God has a plan and purpose for all things. Sometimes we tend to want to pity ourselves and say 'woe is me' but there is always someone else worse off.

Whatever we face in life  the Lord does care. He can get you 'to something' and 'through something'. You wake up one day and you just do not feel like much of anything. Start praising God. Do not allow the enemy to plant seeds of discontent in your mind.

Isaiah 58:14 says "Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!" Another verse of encouragement is Habakkuk 3:19 which says "The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights."

So make up your mind today to believe, dream, and hope. Do not get discouraged. The Lord God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 says " Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  Finally Philippians 4:13 says it well " I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me."

PRAYER: Thanks Lord for your everlasting love for me. When I feel hopeless or discouraged you are there for me to lift me up out of my pit. I refuse to believe the enemies lies and I will rise upon wings like an eagle. Thank You Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://youtu.be/_mX6Ez5wFJM

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PRAY FOR THOSE WHO MISTREAT YOU

This Bible verse referred to in the title above is found in Luke 6:27-36 dealing with praying for those who hate,misuse,or mistreat us. That is pretty tall order to try to pray for someone who is unkind to us or maybe does not like us. But we are not to seek revenge and we are not to stoop to their level and be ugly as well. Someone may be a victim of 'verbal abuse' yet you are supposed to just take it and keep quiet? According to this scripture, yes. This verse goes on to say not just to pray, but to LOVE them. Oh my gosh!! How do you do that to someone who is mean to you or says hurtful or cruel things? What about a friend who has shut you out of their life and behind your back has said hurtful things? You are to love them regardless. Some may not even be willing to forgive and forget but you have to simply forgive them or you will end up seething with bitterness and not be very effective for the kingdom of God. Hebrews 12:15 says "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."


The person mistreating you may be a friend, or worse yet, a family member or relative. For instance, if it is a spouse, it is very hard to take and very hurtful. Verbal tongue lashings by the person who took a vow to love til death do us part is hard to understand. But we need to keep our mouth closed and give it to God. We are according to the scripture above to 'turn the other cheek' and say nothing. Also we are to treat others the way we want to be treated. In Romans 12:21 it says "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." It does not say "You deserve to let them have it!"

You have to 'choose' to let things go or you will fuel the fire and arguments will never end. Be the bigger person by ignoring an offense. The more you do it the easier it becomes. Turn the person hurting you over to the Lord. Sunday our message in church dealt with this same thing. It is unnatural to not want to fight or get back at someone but we are to be 'supernatural' in the way we react to those around us whether they deserve to be treated nice or not. Proverbs 19:11 tells us to "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."

So do you love only those who love you? We are to do good to our enemies. Be merciful and be kind. God is watching and he knows it is painful to be hurt but in the end you will win the battle. Your assignment is to read the verses in Luke above and give any problems over to the Lord.

PRAYER: Dear Lord I need your help to react in a positive way to those in my life who are being ugly to me. I do not feel like it at times so I need your strength to react like you would react and that is to be kind and ignore the offense. Give me your power to do this. In Jesus Name, amen!

http://youtu.be/uor3TPX0of8

Monday, May 23, 2011

CUTTING THE UMBILICAL CORD aka LAUNCHING YOUR ADULT CHILD

On 16 May 11 it marked a huge a milestone in this writer's life. That was the day after launching both of my adult sons into their careers and adult lives and mommy can now back off and not orchestrate or suggest things. After years of college and school the youngest son is an ER Doc who will do his residency in Maine. The older son is an airline co pilot flying regional jets out of Chicago. Not saying this to brag but to attest to the work of the Lord in their lives and in mine along the way. It has been a journey. For moms it is hard to let go and 'launch'. It seems we always want to give advice or our 'two cents' as the saying goes. I tell my adult children I try to not suggest things but it is hard to break a pattern. But we have to move on and 'cut the cord' so to speak so they are launched into successful adult lives. If you are a mom, you did your part. Now it is time to let go and let God take control of their lives totally. Sure we will always be praying moms. That will never stop, but the relationship with adult children is different especially once they are married. I heard once the best thing for a young couple would be moving at least a days drive away from mom and dad after marriage so they could start their life out without interference from their families. Leave and cleave you know. Not to say families interfere because families are loving and caring but moms and dads need to learn when to step back and keep quiet and let their children sprout those wings. Oh so hard to do. Take it from one who knows.

In addition to the two new careers mentioned above the younger son also proposed to his sweet love of his life the day after graduation and she said yes! No dates are set yet but that is now going to be another truly 'letting go' and letting the 'other woman' be first in his life. I love my new daughter in law to be!! She is a special treasure and an answer to 26 years of praying. The perfect soul mate if there is such a thing. I am excited for both of them!

What does the Bible say about all this? First of all ,keep praying but don't keep prying. Trust God and keep communication lines open. It will not be the same and it is not supposed to be. They are not babies but adults with adult responsibilities. Proverbs 3:5-6 gives moms and dads a good verse to continue to pray.It says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths". You can do what we do in Moms in Touch and personalize the verse for your child. For instance say "and he will direct Matt's path" referring to my pilot son.

We can not keep letting our adult children be dependent upon us. Our government is trying to making health care for twenty six year olds a part of a family policy. At this age you are on your own and not supposed to be dependent on mommy and daddy. Each of us has to grow up and move on. Parents who cling too much make it hard on their children! Rejoice that you have done your part and step back now. No one wants to be spoon feeding an adult child. Each of us has to grow up and move on.

For those married leaving home or about to be married, an even a bigger challenge awaits some who are unable to let go. This is the leaving and cleaving part. Parents who get in the way of a childs' married life is  not a good thing. Ephesians 5:31 says "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." See that, leave meaning "bye for now mom and dad" and cleave meaning "hello my darling spouse. I look forward to being man and wife and spending til death do us part together."

So how are you doing in your letting go? Do you try to snoop too much or interfere? Not good. Step back and ask God to lead you now in your brand new journey in a new chapter of your life. Your life is not over. God has great new things in store for you. Look forward to them. Get involved in anothers life and try new hobbies. Cherish those times you will have together and look forward to them but remember your son or daughter is now grown up and we need to remember that. Go places with your spouse and enjoy your new found freedom. You have done good. Celebrate!

PRAYER: Father thank you for your help in raising my children. Where did the years go? I thank you for getting me through good times and not so good. Thank you for the lessons you taught me along the way. Help me now as I seek to let my children truly be led by you and be the adults you want them to be. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'M STILL HERE

Yesterday was the supposed day someone predicted the last day on Earth. Many take things like this seriously and make plans. I jokingly told the manager of the fitness center I go to at Redstone Arsenal that the roaring noise of the 13 year Cicada insects outside sounded like alien spaceships and was probably forming to beam us up on the 21st. I told him if I did not come back from my run they probably captured me. Of course we were joking and got a good laugh about it. I came back and told him the aliens wanted people younger than thirty so I was spared. Ha. Well it is Sunday the 22nd and we are all still here.

No one knows when the end of time will be. There are sure lots of signs leading up to Jesus coming back soon. But in the Bible it says in Matthew 24:36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

People have been speculating and fear mongering on this topic for years. It sells lots of gossip newspapers at the grocery checkout that is for sure. But as believers we know to not believe the nonsense and trust that God is going to come back when he is ready and we do not know when that time is. Another person is saying in 2012 that is the end. Go back to the scripture above. No one knows the day nor the hour.
Matthew 25:13 says "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."  Matthew 24:41 says "Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." Not everyone is going to be taken but only those who have trusted Jesus as their saviour. Are you ready if He should come back today? Have you asked Jesus to take the controls and be Lord of your life?

PRAYER: Father help me live each day as if you are coming back tomorrow. Help me to be careful what I do and what I say. Thank you for the promise of your heavenly kingdom which I look forward to entering when my time on this earth is over. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A HOUSE DIVIDED

Here in northern Alabama there is a bumper sticker for the two rival colleges in the state that has Auburn on one half and Alabama on the other and it reads, 'A House Divided' referring to the occupants of the family home can not agree upon which team to support. In life it is much more serious a matter than which football or basketball to cheer on.

If you have a family feud going on it is not a pretty thing. A friend of mine has two siblings going through a misunderstanding where these two grown adult siblings refuse to budge or compromise and they have not spoken in several months. I find that sad particularly when the siblings claim to be Christians. They should know who the real enemy is and fight against him and not each other. Satan is the enemy and he is a divider not a one who unites. Our flesh gets in the way and we humanly want to win the battle and get our way but we need to step back and say, "Ah ha, it is Satan I need to be mad at not this individual." John 10:10 says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." The thief is Satan and he wants to steal our joy, kill our spirit and destroy relationships. He is good at it but we have the power to not let him win. But if your human side thinks it has to be right and whine like a little baby then Satan is not going to be defeated. These fights make the enemy so happy as he sees pride get in the way and neither side wanting to admit fault or end it by just forgiving and forgetting it. Satan loves fighting.

Why do people keep arguing and wanting their own way particularly those who know the Lord? We are to be different than the world, not stoking the fires of argumentative spirits. In the scenario above,neither sibling chooses to admit wrong so the battle continues and the breakdown in this once close family is still there. One sibling needs to give in and confront the other and ask for prayer and forgiveness if they ever expect this to end or it will go on til they die.

Amos 3:3 says "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? " This simply means that the two people need to get together and seek forgiveness and walk with each other in harmony. In marriage it is good to never fight but if for some odd reason you find yourself getting into a heated conversation remember first to have a gentle and quiet spirit to try to defuse the person wanting to pick the fight but also remember it says in scripture in Ephesians 4:26 "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger". Some arguments are pretty stupid anyway. James 1:20 says "Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires." Finally Psalm 4:4 says "Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent."

Matthew 12:25 says "Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart." Bickering has to stop. If it doesn't there will never be family unity. Do your best with God's help in your own family to maintain a spirit of peace, joy and love. Do not allow the devil an opportunity to bring division. Nip it in the bud before it happens. If you are starting a new family make up your mind that you will not argue and will allow God to be in the center of your relationship and not give the enemy a foothold in causing division. Psalm 101:2 says "I will be careful to lead a blameless life--when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart."

PRAYER: Father God I want to walk in peace within my own home and I want to be an example for those around me. I know the enemy is out to kill, steal, destroy, and divide and I will not allow him to disrupt my life or that of my family. Help me realize when arguments occur the real enemy is our flesh and Satan. I want to maintain peace and a happy spirit. Help me do this Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

SIMMER DOWN NOW

Yesterday while shopping at the local Christian bookstore there was a mom not watching her two young children as they proceeded to turn this spinning display around and around eventually causing the contents to spill to the floor. The mother missed a teaching moment. Did she correct her children? No! She simply checked out grabbed their hands and proceeded out of the store. Not an 'I'm sorry" and no attempt to clean up the mess her children made. It was their responsibility to pick up something they had dropped yet the little girl started to, then stopped when her  mom grabbed her hand, seemingly not caring, and off they marched out of the store. I said to the clerk, "Now that mom missed a valuable teaching moment. She could have told her children it was them who caused the mess so pick it up " but instead this mom seemed immune to disciplinary action of any sort. I thought to myself how sad this was that these children apparently had no boundaries and probably did this in other stores, in school and in the home. The mom seems to not understand it is her job to correct them and train them and set limits on behavior. I told the clerk I would hate to see those children in high school or later in life after they have apparently gotten their way all the time. They were not taught personal responsibility. I wanted to say something to the mom so bad but kept my mouth shut. The mom would probably have defended her children and still left the store. This lady is going to have a bunch of brats on her hands some day and wonder why.

This reminded me of a Bible verse.Proverbs 29:15 says "The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother."  The trouble is, modern society says 'do not lay a finger on your child' but let me tell you if children do not associate a little pat on the behind with bad behaviour it is going to be hard to train them and keep them from hurting themselves and others later. The Bible is full of wisdom on disciplining your children. These two children in the store were obviously used to getting their own way. Who is in control I say?

Another very familiar Bible verse pertaining to the spiritual raising of children is Proverbs 22:6 which says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  It is a promise that even if they stray they will come back. A verse to go along with this one is 3 John 1:4 which says "I  have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

If you are a young parent hopefully you are training your little ones both spiritually as well as setting boundaries on what is appropriate behaviour. Children who do not understand clearly right and wrong and going to have a difficult life. And if they are not taught responsibility it will be hard to be a productive member of society.

God also disciplines us for our own good. If we do not understand right and wrong we have a hard life as well. Proverbs 3:11-12 says "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in."  Proverbs 15:5 says "A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence." Hebrews 12:9-11 says "Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." And finally 1 Corinthians 11:32 says "But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world."

Be thankful for the Lord's discipline as it is through this we grow to be more like Him.

PRAYER: Thanks for your love and mercy and thanks for the discipline I receive when I need it. I thank you Lord for giving me a standard for right and wrong and that is The Holy Bible. Give me the desire daily to read it and if I have young children to teach it to them as well. In Jesus Name. Amen.

(Note:Thanks to my friend Robin Turner for always affectionately saying "simmer down now" and thus giving me an idea for the title of this devotion.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

One of the things in relationships is sometimes we can not forget being wronged or we think we have to bring something up that nothing can be done about anymore. As I say it is 'water under the bridge' and will do no one any good. It just causes a break in a relationship and opens a wound, so to speak, and causes it to fester. Nothing good comes from it. You may be the recipient of someone who can not seem to let a fault or error go. You just have to turn them and the situation over to the Lord. That is all you can do. Nothing can change something that has already happened. Even if you know you are right you just have to move on or you will only keep stoking the fire of arguments. It is better to have a gentle and quiet spirit and let God be in charge.

Try to  let things go and not always try to prove you are right. Especially in a marriage relationship. If you go on and on and keep bickering it does not one bit of good and can cause the flame of love to die out. 1 Peter 3:4 is directed to wives mainly of unbelievers but we all could learn a lesson from it. It says "but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." Is your spirit gentle and quiet? Do you rush to prove your point?

Back to one of my all time favorite relationship verses and that is James 1:19 which says "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry". I feel this is a perfect Bible verse for a young couple about to be married to build their life together on. If you start to get angry stop right then and there and realize it is the enemy out to destroy your relationship and stop and pray. Proverbs 10:19 says "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise."

Let the past and its' mistakes go and learn from them. In 1 Corinthians 13:5 mentions love not keeping a 'record of wrongs'. Practice that and your life will be so much better. Staying focused on God and reading his word daily is so important to staying grounded and focused. Do not let your life get so busy you crowd out God.

Isaiah 43:18-19 says "Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,Rivers in the desert." Philippians 3:13 tells us " Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." So focus on what lies ahead and the things in the past are behind you. If others try to remind you just give them to God and do not respond back. To God Be The Glory!


PRAYER: Father right now in Jesus name I choose to let go of any hurts from the past that have burdened me and also I choose to not let others bother me who continually want to remind me of my mistakes. I know Satan is the accuser of the brethren(see Revelation 12:10) and by your love I am set free to live a new life in you. I thank you Lord for the wonderful life you have given me, in Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FOLLOW JESUS

Who do you follow? Do you follow the ways of the world and are conformed to the world? If you are a believer in Christ it says in scripture to not be conformed to this world. (see Romans 12:1-2). We are to be in  the world but not of the world. This world is not our real home. This is a temporary stop over until we reach the heavenly kingdom He has prepared for those who love him and follow him.

I feel too many Christians are what I have heard called 'secret service Christians' where they really do not want to get too serious about the whole thing and maybe do not want to do too many things that are too 'Christiany". In Mark 8:38 it says "to be not ashamed of Christ or He will be ashamed of you when he comes back." To live for the Lord we are to take up our cross daily and follow him. Luke 9:23 says " Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

Are you serving the Lord with gladness and sharing His love with those you come in contact with on a daily basis? This does not mean you have to witness to folks constantly but are you showing love and respect to people God places in your path daily? Let your lifestyle be a witness.

May I challenge each reader today to follow the ways of the Lord and seek to find ways to share the love of wherever you go. Remember Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

PRAYER: Lord today it is my desire to follow you and share your love with those I come in contact with. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES

I treasure my true friends. We are not all alike and at times we may not agree with things our friends do but unless it is dangerous or illegal we are to love the unconditionally and regardless.  The Bible says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother(See Proverbs 18:24).  Are you that kind of friend? Are you the kind that if your friend were to go to jail or a mental hospital would abandon them in their time of need? It may be tempting to not associate with 'damaged goods'. But we all have sinned  and fallen short  of Gods glory. (See Romans 3:23). 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.'(John 8:7).

The Bible says that 'a friend loves at all times'. (See Proverbs 17:17).You may not always see eye to eye or agree with everything they do but you still love them. Being quick to judge can harm friendships. Having a loose tongue and not thinking before you speak can also backfire and hurt friends. 'If you want to be a friend show yourself friendly', the saying goes. Do you stand by your friend through thick or thin? You may say 'they are acting foolish or I do not agree with what they are doing'. The point is to keep praying for your friend and showing nonjudgmental love. 1 Corinthians 6:11 is a verse that says 'and such were some of you' meaning that we all have 'been there' and need to show grace. None of us are perfect. When it comes to 'messing up' or making a bad choice we have all 'been there, got the tee shirt'. 

So your friend is not living up to your expectations? You think they are not using good judgment in some area. That is between them and God. All you can do is pray and love them. Just be a friend. Learn to love and learn to forgive.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the wonderful gift of friendship. I thank you for friends who are there for us no matter what and stick by us even if they do not agree with us. Thank you for being able to be a friend to others. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Monday, May 16, 2011

FEELING BLAH!! START PRAISING GOD!!

Are you having a bad day? Do you just feel down in the dumps? Feeling bad about something you have no control over? When things are not going well or you are feeling 'out of it" do not let your feelings control you. Feelings are only temporary. Start praising God and you will start feeling joyful. Sometimes humanly we have all the reason in the world to throw ourselves a gigantic pity party but instead try thanking the Lord for your many blessings and things he has given you. Try even thanking him for 'trying' situations as they help make you stronger in the long run.

Practice the power of praise to escape from your 'pit'. When you feed your spirit with negativity naturally it will stay negative but if you wake up feeling 'blah' and not looking forward to your day just say "Lord I thank you for another day of life. I thank you for my health. I thank you for friends and family. I thank you for money to spend to buy things I need." You get the point. Just try to stay positive. You have maybe heard the lyrics to the hymn that says "Count your many blessings name them one by one,then it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Job 1:21 say "and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
So today wake up and 'seize the day" not being grumpy and gloomy but be a morning person even if you do not feel like it. Say Lord "This is the day you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." (See Psalm 118:24).

PRAYER: Father I thank you for all situations in my life both good and not so good that help mold me and shape me. It is my desire Lord to stay positive and focused on things that build up and not tear down. Help my to keep my light shining so I can help draw others closer to you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

(note: Sorry this is coming out at end of the day. I have my sister in town and been out with her all day.)


http://youtu.be/Ji2rLXr3cEU

Sunday, May 15, 2011

EMPTY NEST, FOR SURE!!

An 8 year journey is about to end because today our youngest graduated from medical school at 1 pm today. I have kept an empty nest journal and documented things about both our sons and was reading it over in my hotel room last night. Reading this brought back a flood of memories. I journaled both high points and lows  and prayers for future.

Today I am giving praise and thanks to the Lord for what he has done in our sons lives. The good and the bad together help make up life. I recommend this as great therapy just writing down your random thoughts and prayers and then look back on it some day. You do not have to be a writer to do this.

My prayer for our sons is many things but in Ephesians 3:17-19 it says 'That Christ may dwell in your hearts being rooted and grounded in love. May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.' You can pray this for your children and personalize it by adding their name where it says 'your'. God does hear our prayers. He loves our children more than we do.

If you are not at the empty nest phase yet it is coming but just remember to keep praying and not give up.

PRAYER: Dear Lord you are good and your mercies endure forever and are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. In Jesus name, amen!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

WHERE IS YOUR PASSION

 
Did you once love the Lord with all your heart and greatly desire a quiet time with him? Did you spend time talking with him in prayer and writing down things you learned in his word? But something happened. You got too busy. The world took over. Other things became 'gods' in your life. Perhaps someone died and you maybe got mad at God. You became more religious than really desiring a relationship with the Lord. The desire to grow and seek things of the Lord began to take a back seat to worldly pursuits.
 
There may even be some 'men and women of God' who  do not really believe all the Bible says. 2 Timothy 3:5 says "treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."
 
Where your passion is that is where you will spend the most time. Are you passionate for sports events? Do you sit hours on end glued to the TV watching armchair sports? What about shopping? Maybe that is your thing. Does this take up hours in your day? Perhaps some other hobby consumes your waking moments. Pursuits other than the Lord are okay but the thing is are you overly consumed with something more than serving and loving the Lord? It is something each of us has to ask ourselves. Do you just give 'X' amount of time to God because it is the thing to do but get nothing from your quiet time? Do you really love Jesus? When you love your boyfriend or girlfriend you spent countless hours wanting to be with them and know them better. Do you desire to know God better or he is just something you know you should fit into your week so you can call yourself 'religious?' Is Christ the center of every relationship?
 
Have you lost your first love zeal for Jesus or did you never have it in the first place?  Revelation 2:4 says "But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me or each other as you did at first!"  We are not just here to be 'religious'.When someone asks you if you are a Christian you may answer 'I am a member of such and such church or denomination'. Being a church member is not the key to heavenly admission. Having  a relationship with Jesus is totally different.It is living for Him and desiring to know more about him by reading and studying the word.
 
Are you lukewarm for Christ? Revelation 3:16 says "So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Hot water is good and cold water refreshing but something lukewarm is never desired. Is that how you are with Jesus?
 
If you have lost your love and desire for Jesus you can have it back again. Maybe you never had excitement in the first place and simply punch a ticket each week as the right thing to do. Turn to Him right now and ask the Lord to re-light the flame of passion for Him that you once had or you never had it and want to give your heart to Jesus now!!
 
PRAYER: Thanks Lord for the Bible, your Holy word which guides me each and every day. I know bad things happen in life but I thank you for being a rock I can run to at all times no matter what. I want to keep my passion alive for you and your word. Forgive me when I have ignored you and pursued other things that did not matter. Relight the fire in me for Christian things. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

DO YOU HAVE A MOUTH PROBLEM?

There is a saying in the US Navy, 'loose lips sink ships.'  How many of us can not control our mouth? Oh we certainly try but it is so easy to slip up and say something you regret. Once a careless words 'out there' it can not be taken back. Words can destroy relationships. It is important to be aware of what the Bible says about speaking without considering who it will affect.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. It is so easy to mess up with our mouths. Try your best to think before you speak and keep out of trouble. Proverbs 10:14 says "Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster." Ouch, a babbling fool did you say? Geez. Proverbs 10:8 furthers says a 'chattering fool will come to ruin." I mean you can not just randomly keep talking and not have to suffer the consequences. In Proverbs 18:6-7 it says "The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives." In Proverbs 21:23 it says " Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity." I for one do not like calamity and will avoid it at all costs. Just got to keep the mouth from saying the wrong things.

Bad words are things like lying, gossip, slander,swearing, hate, rudeness, judgmental comments and the like. Be careful. Be a blessing and not a curse to those in your daily life. James 1:19 is a good verse to keep us all on track and would be good for new couples starting life together as man and wife and it says "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
Proverbs 13:3 says concerning the mouth "Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin." We just really need to be aware of what we are saying and how it is affecting those we say it to. Words can cause joy or the can cause hurt, confusion, misunderstanding and pain. In the end of life we are going to have to give account for every careless, idle word we have spoken. (See Matthew 12:36). Finally James 1:26 reminds us that no matter how much we say we love God and serve him it is pretty useless with a mouth that runs off constantly. It says "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." There you have it. Now go into the world and be a blessing to others with what you do and say.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the gift of speech. The ability to talk is wonderful but help me have control over what I say and think before I speak. In Jesus Name, amen.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

DON"T FREAK OUT!! PRAY INSTEAD

Isn't it odd how we can say we trust God with a situation and release it to Him but then start to 'freak out' and think we need to manage it and take control again? Sometimes we will pray for a child to say, help the needy, then when he cleans out his savings to do it we 'freak out'. We pray for our children to be generous and when they do we worry they have given all their money away. Another example would be praying for your son or daughter to be a missionary but when they say they want to go to Africa you 'freak out' and say "Lord that is not what I meant."  Perhaps your son or daughter has a brand new car, bike, camera or other  expensive item and someone wants to use it. They loan it out  but you may worry and think "why did they share something so expensive?" Freaking out again. After all ,do we not  teach our children to share and that it is all God's property anyway?

Pray about something and try to let it go. It is easy to want to micromanage things for God sometimes, but really, He does not need our help. We supposedly 'release' our concern to the Lord but then in many cases can not truly let it go.

The idea for the title of this devotion today came from a friend in my Moms in Touch prayer group, when she mentioned how we 'freak out' about something we already prayed would happen. When it does happen we are not prepared and can not trust God that everything in the end is part of the big plan.

A friend once told me 'Believe=Receive and Doubt=Do Without.' That is pretty profound if you think of it. Did you pray about it? Then let it go and let God do the rest. Do not take the controls yourself. God is perfectly capable of working things out and has a plan. James 1:6 says "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Don't be a doubter but be a believer.

Matthew 6:27 tells us "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" So really all that fretting and 'freaking out' does not do one bit of good and only causes you to lose your peace.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight."  Be blessed and trust God. He knows what He is doing.

PRAYER: Father I want to totally trust you and not second guess my prayers. When I pray for you to take charge help me learn to let go. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WHERE IS YOUR MIND DWELLING?

Are you in a rut? Do you obsess over things that do not matter? Do you let your thinking go wild and think on things that are not edifying but cause you pain and worry? It is time to control your  thinking and set your mind on things above but not on earthly things. Call on the Holy Spirit who gives you the ability to control your thoughts. Think on godly things and do not dwell on rumors, hearsay, lies and things of the flesh.Dwelling on bad stuff will only cause torment and God wants us to be at peace.  This takes mental discipline to do and it is possible to overcome. Isaiah 26:3 says "You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you."

Philippians 4:8 says "Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.". Do not worry, speculate, get hurt feelings and all the things of the flesh. We have all been there and it is not a fun place to be. Your confidence and boldness should be in Jesus Christ not the lies the enemy brings into your mind. Satan will try to plant lies in your head.He is a master at it. Listen to the truth and it will set you free.

Take it from one who has been there several times,  that I know it is easy to get hurt feelings or feel maybe someone does not like you. Whether they like you or not does not matter. You need to keep focused on good things. The enemy is a liar and wants you to focus on things to distract you from Christ. If you are distracted and worried all the time then you can not fulfill the purpose God has for you being stressed out. Give the person to the Lord who is causing you pain. Let the Lord deal with their heart and go on about life. Let it go.

As a believer we are to have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." The mind of Christ should not be weighed down with the 'what ifs' and cares and concerns of the world around us. We are to attempt to stay focused on things to build up and not tear down. Cast off bad thoughts and do not allow them to take up residence in your mind. Speculating about things, worrying about things you can do nothing about and simply fretting over day to day life will not get you closer to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to 'take every thought captive." Are you doing that?

So do you want to be strong for the Lord and be disciplined in what you allow to get into your thinking? With God's help you can achieve this. You can have the mind of Christ.

PRAYER: Father I know with your help I can keep focused on things of heaven and not be consumed by earthly troubles I can do nothing about. I want to be able to maintain peace and focus and not let the enemy cause me to worry and fear. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

GIVE GOD YOUR FIRST FRUITS

Do you give the best of yourself to God or save what is left over? For instance, when it comes to spending time with the Lord do you bother doing it all or squeeze it in as an afterthought? Do your days get so busy with the 'affairs of this world' that you forget to put the saviour on your schedule too?

Your first fruits can apply to your money as well. When we think of tithing in the Bible we think of money but as mentioned in the first paragraph, tithing and giving back to God is also in the form of the time we give him in our day. If you want to know a friend better you have to make an effort to call them up and set up time to spend with them. Same as God. You do not just read a couple verses and plop into bed. Resting on the word I call it. You will not absorb God's word by using the Bible as a pillow.

When it comes to giving money back to the Lord it sort of shows where your heart is. Matthew 6:21 says "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Do you tithe first then set aside money in savings and then spend or the opposite way around? The Bible talks about we will reap what we sow. Galatians 6:7-9 says "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." 1 Corinthians 16:2 says "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." Also in Luke 6:38 it tells us to " Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

But when you give to the Lord do not do it because you think you have to for God's word tells us that is not the way to give. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Are you a cheerful giver? If not ask God to change your heart in that area. I heard once that in the end of life you could sort of tell where a persons heart was by looking at their check book ledger. Where did they spend their money? What was important in their lives? Where do you spend your money? Do the things you spend it on bring glory to God?

Do you give God time in your day? And are you sharing what he has blessed you with with others? 1 Peter 4:10 says "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." After all it is God who gives the power to get wealth in the first place and we are only stewards of it.Deuteronomy 8:18 says "But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today." Don't hoard your blessings. Give to God and share with others. You will be blessed and a happier person.

Luke 12:17-21 sums it up when talking about the rich farmer and it says "He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

PRAYER: Lord I want to spend time with you in my day. Forgive me for when I get up and rush into my day not setting aside time alone with you in prayer and Bible study. Likewise Lord I want to be a faithful tither to where I am being fed the word of God. Help me to take care of God's servants you have teaching your word. Also Lord if there is a need and I can meet it help me to have the desire to do so. What I have is from you anyway and help me to never forget that. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, May 9, 2011

JOY TO THE WORLD IN BAD OR GOOD TIMES

What is joy? Does it mean you are all giddy and happy and falling all over yourself? James 1:2 was a verse highlighted in church yesterday in ministering to the residents of a community that has just had a F5 tornado destroy hundreds of homes and takes hundreds of lives statewide. Many have been deeply effected by this disaster in more ways than one.

First what is the definition of joy? The Christian definition would likely be to delight in something or a feeling of great happiness or delight. James 1:2 says "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." Say what? You must be kidding? How can I be joyful when suffering is around me, pain, heartache and grief? This is a supernatural joy the Bible is referring to.

Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 and it says "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness". Do you 'grow' these fruits in your life? It is through the trials of life that we do develop the Christian character God wants us to have. We need that strength for the journey and the road ahead.

So true joy is not based on what is going on around you but it is an inner sort of peace and contentment we have knowing God has a bigger plan and we are to trust him. He did not promise no pain in life. It is through trying times our patience and joy have time to mature and develop. The ultimate goal is trying to be more like Jesus and having the ability to 'get through' things so we may in fact minister God's love to those he puts in our path.

PRAYER: Father I trust that all things in life have a plan and purpose. I want to maintain that supernatural joy only you can produce. When things do not always go the way I think they should help me Lord trust you that you have a bigger plan and you are bigger than any trial that comes my way. In Jesus Name .Amen.

(It is time for a Christmas song in the middle of May. Enjoy while giving praise to God our saviour.Why wait til Christmas.)

http://youtu.be/yTPagZSqqRM

Sunday, May 8, 2011

MOM

We all have a mom. Some moms are still on earth and some have passed on. Each mom is special. God had a purpose for each of us here on this earth and our mom is part of that plan. Psalm 139:13 says "For you have knit me together in my mother's womb".

Moms raise to know what is right and wrong. They teach us how to eat healthy. Through them we learn discipline. Moms spend countless hours in the early years changing diapers and getting up early in the morning for hungry babies that are crying. Moms teach us about Jesus. Now some of you reading this may not have this kind of mom relationship. Maybe you don't have warm fuzzies about your mom or she did not treat you like this. If your mom did something to hurt you try to forgive her and move on. Do not hold something over her head and be bitter.

Other moms out there perhaps have lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome or later before it reached its' first birthday. Maybe your child was killed in the recent tornado or even lost their life in a accident or cancer of some sort. These are all quite painful to a mom on Mothers  Day so if you know someone in one of those categories perhaps pray for them today on this day.

1 Samuel 1:27-28 says " I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there." Your child is not yours. He is on loan from God. You are to raise this little blessing to serve the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 is a familiar parenting verse and it says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

On this Mothers' Day it is a time to celebrate all that your mom has done for you. The sacrifices made by her so you could have a good life. Many moms stay home and many work. It is a matter of personal choice or need. I know my husband got tired of me saying to others back in the early 90's when asked what I did and would say I was a stay home mom or that  "I am just a mom" . He got me my own stay home business card to boost my self esteem. You are not 'just' anything. Moms are world changers. If someone were to ask me what I did after I got that card I would proudly say " I am training leaders for the future!"

If your mom is still alive today be sure to thank her in person if you live in same area  and maybe go take her out to eat. If miles separate you pick up that phone and call. I know one of biggest challenges for me as a mom of an adult child is learning to back off and letting them take complete control of their life. And then later on when your son or daughter marries you have to remember the command to leave and cleave in order to not interfere in their new life together. Matthew 19:5 says "and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?
These are all stages of 'mommyhood'. Raising babies and spending five years together. Next  letting them go off to kindergarten all alone. Allowing them to go to a friends house overnight the first time is scary but necessary. Setting boundaries in their life for what is right and wrong so they know how to behave in society later. The time they get their drivers license gives us a few gray hairs. Going on a first date with the opposite sex too. Then off to college they go and the empty nest begins.Then marriage. But all these are stages to releasing them to be the men and women God created them to be.
So rejoice this moms day and think of all the things your mom did for you to help get you where you are in life today. And as mentioned before if you have painful memories give them over to the Lord who alone can heal and redeem.
Proverbs 31:28 "Her children rise up and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her".

PRAYER: We thank you for our moms this Mothers Day .Without our mom, and of course our dad, we would not be here. For those who are adopted we thank you for both our adoptive parents who 'chose' us and our biological parents who chose to give us life. We praise your name for all moms. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

STRENGTH IN HARD TIMES

Not everything in life is always going to go as we planned. Our area is recovering from a devastating F5 Tornado which struck 27 April   destroying homes, farms, businesses, cars and took many lives. It takes time to recover from something like this. Even not being personally affected by this but seeing the damage up close and personal as part of clean up crews is shocking. The power of this storm shredded trees, twisted steel billboards on the nearby interstate, turned farm combines on their side, threw cars in the air like tinker toys and flung people up in the air as well. When something like this happens you ask yourself what is really important in life.

Strength and comfort are needed in times like these. When things happen suddenly that rock our world we just have to hold onto Jesus and keep believing God will make a way and things will get better. Loved ones who pass on who accepted Jesus are with him now in paradise as are little babies and children. They are in a better place. It is we who are left behind who grieve as we miss them greatly. It is not God's fault but He is often blamed.

Psalm 116:15 says"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Friend are you grieving and sad today? Cry out to Jesus who can comfort and heal the broken soul.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

PRAYER: Father I ask today that even though the sun may be shining outside it may not be shining in some peoples hearts reading this. I ask you bring comfort as only you can. Give strength to those who feel they can not go on. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Listen to the following song to help restore your soul:

http://youtu.be/q1xNAZEkGj4

Thursday, May 5, 2011

RUN, WALK, REST, SHINE

As a Christian there are many things we are to do that require action.

First,run the race to win.We are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. I am a runner and I know in the past in the races I have run I do not turn around to see who is behind me but just keep looking forward to the finish line. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." Hebrews 12:1-2 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Next we are to walk the walk worthy of Christ. Colossians 2:6 says ""As you therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk with Him" . Deuteronomy 5:33 says "Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess."

We are to also enter into his rest. Wait just a minute. You want me to run? Next you tell me to walk. Then now I am to rest? Psalm 37:7 says "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass." Resting involves recharging your 'spiritual battery" so to speak. Allowing yourself to not rush, rush, rush all the time leaving no time for quiet time and renewal.

Finally we are to shine for Jesus. Matthew 5:16 says " in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Isaiah 60:1 says "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you."

There you have it. All those things combined give you an active life with Jesus. Run, Walk, Rest, Shine and do it with joy.

PRAYER: Thank you that I can let my light shine for you wherever my feet carry me today. I want to run, walk, rest in you and Shine for you wherever it is I am during my day. In Jesus Name. Amen.

PRAY FOR THE NATION

Today across this great land of ours we observe the National Day of Prayer (http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/). This almost did not happen. There was a lawsuit trying to get it stopped. But we won the battle and for now prayer is still safe, at least on this day. We know what happened when it was removed from the public school system. There will be forces of evil out there trying to remove God and prayer. Prayer is powerful and those who want to abolish this special day know that.
We in America have it so good. We are 'fat and happy' so to speak and often times forget God in the process of our prosperity. This past week in Alabama the horrendous outbreak of tornado's caused many victims and volunteers alike to understand first hand what was really important in life. Big houses, fancy cars, lots of stuff, prestigious jobs, wonderful hobbies all pale in comparison to having life and serving Jesus. I spoke to many storm victims this past weekend whose common theme seemed to be 'thanking the Lord for sparing them'. Their earthly homes were in shambles.
Psalm 91:2 is one of the verses used by the presidential prayer team today (http://www.presidentialprayerteam.org/) and it says " I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." With all that  is happening in our world today, not just the storms that ravaged this area, but other things like a government trying to take our freedoms away, we have to trust in the Lord. We need to continually be praying for the Lord God Almighty to work things out. He has a plan better than what we could imagine. We should pray every day and remember to lift up those who are supposed to be our representatives in Washington, who often dictate but do not 'represent'.
The National Day of Prayer has been happening since 1952. We come together on this day praying for our nation, its' military, and its' leaders. You may not be able, for whatever reason, to join in a formal group of those praying today but go to the websites above and take some time to pray for our country and its' leaders.
The Lord is our fortress. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." What is it going to take to get America to wake up and turn to God? Psalm 18:2 says "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  Is the Lord the strength of your life? Do you truly serve him and know him or is he some historical figure or distant in your life? Come to him today and humble yourselves and pray and seek his face, not just on National Day of Prayer but every day.

PRAYER: Father we thank you for freedom. We thank you for living in America where we can openly read our Bible. We thank you for abundant blessings. Father we ask that we stop this day to give you thanks and praise for the gift of life and the wondrous things you have given us. We pray for our leaders to have their hearts turned to you. We pray for more than just leaders to be 'church members' but to truly love God and serve him and pray  to Jesus daily before they attempt to lead this land. In Jesus Name. Amen.

http://youtu.be/SNdxdCK-wiA

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

STORMS OVER, FOR NOW

Take warnings seriously and don't be out running around town. Check. Get in storm shelter.Check. Buy transistor radio and extra batteries. Check. Remind friends to get battery powered cell phone chargers. Check. Get bottled water and some canned food for storm shelter. Check. Sign up to take Red Cross Disaster Assistance Class so I can help in next disaster easier than standing in a line to get wrist band. Check.Make sure weather radio has back up battery power. Check. Have faith in God. Check.

It has been one week from today that the historic record setting deadliest outbreak of tornado's in one day, 226 I heard at last count,having an F5 pass just miles from where I live, ravaged this area and the northern part of Alabama. I do not think I was ever really scared. I was concerned especially as I drove home to take shelter and prayed a tree would not fall on my car as I waited in traffic that was not moving in a wooded area. I think we feel we are never going to be hit or will escape danger. But about 250 souls lost their lives to these monster twisters and possibly the death toll could rise. These killed people of all ages, all races and all economic backgrounds. Children, husbands, wives, grandparents, babies and even the family pet. No one was spared. Miracles occurred too. Houses collapsed on top of people and they crawled out of the rubble alive and well. The residents of other homes took shelter in bathtubs and closets which were covered with debris yet the occupants got out alive. A paper cross remained taped to a family room window where F5 winds had blown through. There was lots of sadness too when a family of five was killed in one community sparing  two of the children and another family of four in another community.

Why do things like this happen? Why do some die and others live? There is not a good answer but God can turn bad things into good. He always does. People will be stronger. Families will rebuild and other families will process their grief and move on in life. Deaths are the hardest to deal with and will take the longest to recover from and you may never recover. But we have to move on in life no matter what happens.

Psalm 125:1 says "Those who trust in the Lord are steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstances."  How about you? Is your faith and trust solidly in the Lord Jesus Christ? If not ask him to be Lord of your life and take control today.

PRAYER: Thanks Jesus for another day of life. Thanks for the sunshine and thanks for the rain. Thanks for situations in my life that help make me stronger. Forgive me for ever blaming you for any bad thing. I praise your name Lord. Help me be a light in the dark world around me and a testimony for you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

JUST DON'T SIT THERE. GO DO SOMETHING!!

Day six after the April Fury of killer tornado's that swept through Alabama Wednesday, 27 April 11 and this tragedy has given me lots to write about to hopefully inspire others. Many of us become complacent when it comes to storm warnings perhaps. Especially if you are not affected by it then you see pictures but have no clue what it is like. Thankfully I did not receive the maximum winds at my home but I see the aftermath.

So let's say you were not in this storm do you get involved? If you live in the area there are many needs. Sometimes  we who call ourselves 'Christians' are quick to not get involved if it does not concern us. Oh we can go to our little 'holy huddles' and get 'fed' spiritually but what about going out into the highways and byways and help our fellow man? It is great to hear a good message on Sunday  but what about doing something after you are taught? Once we hear a message we should go forth and minister to others.

Here in Alabama and southern Tennessee there is no excuse for not being able to find and meet a need at the current time. Do you sit in your 'Sunday go to meeting clothes' so to speak but then go home and only think of yourself and your own life? What good is that? If you are physically able and do not have to go to work, go where there is a need and roll your sleeves up and be 'Jesus hands and feet'.
You do not need to know someone to help them . Some people may think, 'well no one in my family or church is involved so I have no need to go'. We should have a love for all of our fellow man whether they are our relatives or not. The Bible says for us to go unto all the world. Be Jesus witnesses and his ambassadors. Do not be afraid of different people groups you are not comfortable with. Be like Jesus and do his work.
Matthew 25:38-40 says "And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them,'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." James 2:16 says "If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" So in other words we need to act and not just talk. Luke 18:11 speaks to those who are 'religious' but that is about it. It says "The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don't cheat, I don't sin, and I don't commit adultery. I'm certainly not like that tax collector!"

Today we can lift up prayers for those who are hurting due to loss of lives or property and give thanks to God for the things we have and protection from tragedy. We never know when something like this will happen to us. Be willing to reach out and show God's love to a hurting world. But if nothing else pray.

PRAYER: Thanks Lord for the opportunities we have to show your love to those in need. Help us be open to what you put in our path and give us the ability to meet the needs of those who need comfort. In Jesus Name, Amen.

FIRM FOUNDATION

Is your life built on a firm foundation or a shaky one? These past four days devotions to help people dealing with the aftermath of a destructive killer tornado and today's deals with the shaky foundation we can find ourselves on if we do not follow Jesus.

This was not an earthquake we just experienced here in southeast that would in fact 'shake' the ground beneath our feet but it was unsettling never the less.

Are you on a firm foundation with the Lord? When things crumble around you can you stand strong and know that God is your refuge and your firm foundation and all other ground is sinking sand?

Isaiah 26:1-6 says "In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:"We have a strong city;he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city.He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor the steps of the needy."

We saw in this tornado that both the well to do and not so fortunate financially were affected. Those twisters did not zero in on one certain economic group. But one thing I heard over and over from people who lost their homes was how nothing else matters and they could rebuild. They were thankful to have their families and their life. One lady yesterday I spoke with was a pastors wife who had lost her home. She gave God the glory for sparing them as her house was in total shambles.

Luke 6:46-48 says " "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?  Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built."

So where do you stand?In times like what we have gone through in the Southeast you see what is really important.

PRAYER: Lord I trust you for everything I need. I thank you daily for providing for my needs. Even though times may be tough I know you are there and things will not be bad forever. Thank Lord for family and friends and for life! In Jesus Name.Amen.




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Sunday, May 1, 2011

RICHES ARE NOT EVERYTHING

This is day four of devotions related to the disaster in Alabama.  In helping volunteer yesterday I was in a very high end subdivision and a good deal of them lost everything. The main thing each of the residents said that I spoke with was that thank goodness they had their family and their life and they could rebuild.Many gave praise to God for sparing their life. Now these people had a lot of stuff and nice stuff. The whole thing was no doubt very overwhelming for them.Their possessions lay in a heap of torn, wet rubble and only a few things salvageable. I have not gone through anything like this but we sure do like our 'stuff ' and wonder sometimes if you were in a tragedy what would you grab and take with you. The thing is you grab your family and leave your things behind! No one I ran into today was really angry. Most made jokes about having a sun roof in their home or that they would just like to find their driver's license when in fact their cars were smashed underneath their home. Oh sure, I saw shock, stunned faces and some sadness. How can people not be grieving at a time like this? Any loss produces immense grief.

1 Timothy 6:8 says "  if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." We are blessed with an abundance of things in the United States, sometimes way too many things that we could probably do without. And when a fire, flood, tornado or other natural disasters occur it is sad to lose possessions, particularly photographs, but the sadder thing would be the loss of life. The Bible tells us to not trust in riches. Proverbs 23:5 says "Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."  These 'riches' of the people I was helping literally 'flew off' into the wind and maybe landed torn up miles away. This is not to say we should not have nice things if we want. But we should be careful to not let our things consume us and become idols in our life. One older widow I spoke with said she saw now she did not need the bigger home and all the things she thought she had to have and planned to downsize when it was time to rebuild. She was just thankful to be alive.

PRAYER: Dear Lord we do not know why disasters happen. Many people have lost lives and many others lost their home or their work since power is still not on in Huntsville where most of these people work. Father we just say thanks for life you have given us. Thank you for a warm bed to sleep in, for a house or apartment or a trailer to live in and thank you for friends, family and strangers who are there for us in a time of need.  We pray for those deeply affected by this tremendous tragedy and ask that you comfort them and give them peace as only you can. In Jesus Name. Amen.