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, January 31, 2014

LOVER OR HATER?


Do you know that we are to love one another? Most reading this may have heard that before. Do you really love everyone? Really?

Do you find yourself talking bad about people? Do you make fun of people? The Bible is overflowing with verses about love, the kind only God can give us. In the book of 1 John 4 verse 20 it reads as follows 'Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.'

Have you been guilty of saying a certain person drove you crazy? Maybe you do not agree with opinions of others. Guess what? No two people are alike. Every individual is flawed in some way. If I act better than someone or too good, then I better look out. Only God is truly good. It is our job while on this Earth to love others with the love Jesus Christ gives us. A transforming love. The kind of love a mother of a murdered son displays to the killer of her child. The kind of love you have for someone who has spoken about you poorly. This is love only from God.

Do you want that kind of love today? It is only a prayer away. Ask God to transform you into a lover of the unlovable and watch Him work.

PRAYER: I cry out to you Lord. I am by no means perfect and have lots to learn about your perfect love. Occasionally I slip up and for that I ask for your forgiveness. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WHITE CAPS MAKING YOU SCARED?



The part of the country I live in is pretty close to the beaches of both Florida and Alabama relatively speaking. The seashore is a great place to visit. When a storm is brewing at sea the ocean waves can be very scary and often dangerous. Sailors out at sea can attest to the tremendous power of the waves that form massive white caps.

Once on a cruise, my husband and I were on the upper deck around midnight and the dark ocean waves were very large and frightening. I love the ocean but seeing it so black and fierce that night stirred up fear inside of me. I could not even imagine what it would be like to go down with the ship. Pretty scary thought.

Do you recall the story in the Bible about Jesus calming the storm? Mark 34:35-39 recalls the story.'That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.' What they lacked was faith He could save them.

What storm or white caps are you facing in life? God can still the storms of life if only you cry out to Him.

PRAYER: I need you every hour in my life Lord. I can not do anything on my own. Thank you for getting me through some storms in my life and the storms sure to come. You are my hope! Thanks! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NO FAIL


Many things in life can disappoint us. Things break. Relationships end. Plants die. Electricity goes out. Phones malfunction. One thing in life is a sure thing and that is love. "Then why didn't my marriage work" you might ask or "why does a friend mistreat me"? I really do not have a good answer only God knows. 
Back to 1 Corinthians 13 for some more wisdom. This time look at verse 8. 'Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.' Love is permanent or is supposed to be. The kind of love God has for us is like this. No matter how despicable we may become or how ugly we treat Him or others He still loves us. His love remains. 
Can you say the same? Is your love intact no matter what? Do you want it to be? God can renew and restore broken hearts and He  can transform hate into love. You have to want Him to. Are you ready to surrender to Him and ask for that transformation today? 

PRAYER:You love us so very much Lord. Just like the song "Jesus loves me" we sang as a child, you truly love us in a mighty and perfect way. I want to show  your love to those in my path daily. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

THE LOVE COMMANDMENTS


Most everyone is familiar with the Ten Commandments found in Exodus chapter 20 but are you aware there  are two more? The past few days have been focused on love leading up to the month of love, February. 
 Matthew 22:33-40(NIV)  says “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Herein lies the question? Can you love like that really? We're supposed to if we name Jesus as Lord of our life. Sometimes you may need to ask Him to help you love someone. 
If only we could master love. It is not the romantic notion of movies and fairy tales but is something much deeper and greater. It is loving when you do not feel like you can. It is thinking of others as better than yourself. It is the act of being a true disciple of Christ. Are you capable of this kind of love? Jesus can help you. Call on Him today? 

PRAYER: There is a popular older song that says "All you need is love" well I need you Lord to be able to display the character of you through love I show to others. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

BUILDING BLOCKS OF LOVE


I love to go to Christian weddings. Typically 1 Corinthians 13 is a chapter the man and woman have chosen to have the minister, priest, or judge read from. It is filled with so many good things. If only the couple will leave the wedding ceremony and make that chapter come alive in their lives on a daily basis. If both parties routinely did what it said, it may put divorce lawyers out of business.

Verse seven of this chapter says about love 'It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.' This is true love as God meant it to be. It is not trying to get your own way. It does not say "you can look out for yourself". This type of love is trustworthy which is a foundational building block in a solid marriage. Hope is always there. You do not give up. Remain hopeful no matter what! Finally it has a "can do" attitude. If a swimmer were in a race and decided to just quit he or she may just sink to the bottom of the pool. When something is hard you keep going. Good things come by hard work.

What about you? Does your "love life" display these traits? If not pray and ask God to help you show this kind of love to those you find hard to love.

PRAYER: The word love is often an overused or misused. I want to love with your love Jesus, no matter what. This means putting up with those who I do not agree with and trying to be merciful to all. Give me your strength. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

THE BLAME GAME


Ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, men and women have been blaming each other. It is so easy to not accept repsonsibilty for our failures and put it off on someone else. I affectionatley call this the "Adam syndrome".

Do you catch yourself blaming someone else on something maybe you did or something you do not want to assume responsibility for? Sometime "blamers" may not even realize they are doing it. The late comedian Flip Wilson used to say "the devil made me do it" in one of his comedy sketches. Funny yes, but we can say the devil made you do it and blame him, but you also need to take charge with God's help and become responsible and run from sin. Also if you routinely blame others why not step back and see who in fact is at fault.

Having this type of spirit is not really loving. I have been writing a good deal on the subject of love lately. If you are blamed for something you did not do, do not retaliate but respond with grace. Above all pray. Perhaps the "blamer" does not realize this habit in their life.

Proverbs 15:14(ESV) reminds us that 'The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.'

PRAYER: If I have been guilty of blaming others for something forgive me. I know it is not a loving trait. Also help me be gracious to those in my life that blame me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

BUT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DID!!



Do you find yourself rehashing problems or mistakes someone has made? Perhaps you refuse to truly forgive and forget and hold grudges against a friend or family member. This type of treatment does not fall within God's definition of love. It is painful and it is mean.

It has happened to me a couple of times and it hurts when you are shunned or treated poorly by someone. Also spouses need to be careful to truly forgive and forget mistakes or hurts. Harboring them can build up a wall of resentment and sure does not stir up feelings of love. This is exactly the kind of stuff Satan loves. He loves discord and anger among brothers and sisters in Christ and even better he loves splitting up marriages.

God's word once again 1 Corinthians 13 verse five touches on this area. When referring to love it says 'It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.' A recipe for a successful relationship would or should include the ingredients of honor, peace, forgiveness, sacrifice, and forgetting wrongs.

Try something if you will. If you can not forget something someone did to you ask God to help you. There is nothing gained by trying to throw up a wrong in someone else's face. Let the Holy Spirit convict. Your job is to pray.

PRAYER: Lord I want to be a representative of your type of love. Give me your strength to resist making lists of wrongs. Help me to remember to pray for those who may hurt me as your word tells me to. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, January 24, 2014

DO YOU REJOICE IN EVIL?


The world we live in is filled with both good and evil. Evil is typically in the category of Satan and demons whereas good reflects the presence of God and Jesus.  Things in life are either right or wrong, good or bad. Usually your conscience and the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart to convict one of sinful behavior. 
In continuing to discuss the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13,  verse six points out 'Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.'  When you are living for Jesus you do feel like rejoicing. Satan is on duty too trying to deceive you and put wrong thoughts into your head. Love, true Christian love, delights and rejoices with truth! What is truth? The Bible is the truth. It has been and always will be. It is not amended like the U.S. Constitution but is the same yesterday, today, and forever it tells us in Hebrews 13:8. it is not up to man or a court to decide what is considered good or right. Evil things are approved by governments and that does not make it right. God says what is evil and good.
When the love of Jesus is in your heart you will be delighted by good and truth. Where is your heart today? 

PRAYER: I love you Lord. I love your word. Your word is truth. Help me Lord be able to answer people in a kind fashion when they challenge me about the truth of the word of God. In Jesus' name. Amen, 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TRUE LOVE



Did you know we have learned since we were a small child that God so loved the world that He gave us His ONLY son. That is found in the Bible in John 3:16 and if you have never memorized scripture before I bet you know that one from memory! 

The New International Version reads 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'  Shall not perish. You go on to live with Him for ALL eternity. That is love. I mean giving up your ONLY son or only child. How many of us could do that? 

Do you think you could give it all for love? Many mothers have said they could. I know I would. Seek to have the kind of love in your life that really thinks of others first. 

PRAYER: I am thankful for the gift of love displayed by God giving us His only son so we could have eternal life. Then Jesus gave His life to save us from our sins. Wow! I am awed at your love for me. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

LOOK WHAT I DID!


Have you ever given those in need something be it a donation, food card, drink of water, a warm coat? Do you go out after you do this good deed and tell everyone about it? Tempting I know.

1 Corinthians 13:3(NIV) reminds us 'If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.' If your goal is to be like Christ when it comes to loving others then according to this verse that is a big “no no“. If you can not display love and kindness to those you come in contact with on a daily basis, all that "giving" is virtually worthless. We can be this wonderfully charitable person and even put ourselves in situations not in our comfort zone but afterwards if you can't resist telling everyone, then watch out. What is the motive for sharing and being kind anyway?

Do you have the kind of Christ like love to be able to give away those things dear to you? This verse above points out to the reader basically that if you do all these wonderful things but then go out and hurt a friend, are rude to a clerk or telemarketer, and basically treat others unkind then you really are not walking in the love of Christ. Christ can help you change if you call out to Him.

PRAYER: I really do want to have your love for ALL people. People may rub me the wrong way Lord but I know you want me to be kind and show your love regardless. Help me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

IDOL WORSHIP



What exactly is idol worship and do you feel you are exempt from it? When I think of idol worship often times I think of those persons who worship statues or animals. Whatever country you are in reading this there may be some sort of idol worshipping. Here in the United States where I am located idol worship can be as simple as putting something else above God. A hobby, a passion, a person. Whatever it is that takes the place of total worship in your life is an idol. For instance, do your thoughts constantly fall on some actor you think is super talented? Maybe a singer? The television show "American Idol" is just that . It is setting up a "star to be worshipped" or admired and followed by voting for a new winner each season. It is how you manage your life and passions that matters. Do you let following other things outweigh or take the place of devotion to God or wanting to be in his house to worship? Could it be Sunday golf, a running race, time on the lake or at the beach? Time to relax and kick back is more important than time alone with God or in His house of worship. Each person has to search his or her own heart on this issue.

Exodus 20:3(NIV) says 'You shall have no other gods before me.' What do you love more than God?

PRAYER: I love you Lord and I never want my love for other things or people to cause you to be ignored. Forgive me if I have done this. Create in me and my loved ones a heart sold out to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, January 20, 2014

PROBLEMS WITH THE MOUTH? AGAIN?



Who out there in my reading audience has mastered the art of controlling their tongue and what they say? I dare say anyone has. I know I have not so I continue to inspire you,I hope,with writings about what comes out of our mouth. 

If only we could use our brain more before engaging the mouth. Too quick to talk, oops!  Not thinking of what we say and how it impacts the listener. Oops again! Being too quick to respond to something. Oops oops and triple oops.

Mastering the art of conversation and the words we say is something to continually work on. Being too hasty, too impulsive, or too angry can do damage to our speech. Maybe you did not mean to say something but because you did not think those words just slid right out of your mouth. Someone once told me we should use the 24 hour rule before speaking if we were not sure what we were about to say was good. In other words,wait 24 hours. In many cases you probably will not say something once you have thought how it might impact the listener.

In the book of James 2:19 we are told 'My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.' Why not commit that verse to memory today to help you on your quest for perfect speaking?

PRAYER: It is my desire Lord to never be misinterpreted or never hurt anyone with the words I say. Nagging, meddling, hateful speech should have no part in my life. Guide me as I seek to speak to your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'M FATHOMING!


For just a while I am focusing on the "love chapter" 1 Corinthians 13 because who of us does not need to have the ability to love more in their life? I know I do. I am not perfect so I read on and learn more of what it means to love. Today the focus is on verse two of Chapter 13 the New International Version.
'If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. So let's imagine for a moment that I have written hundreds of books but yet I treat my fellow man with hatred and disdain. What good would my writing be if I could not practice what I wrote about? If I can not display true Christian love all the Bible degrees in the world or spiritual gifts a person has are worthless, or at least that is what I feel this is saying.
How about you? Are you able to love even those hard to love bosses? Maybe a person whose personality is just not like yours? Let's say someone who won't friend you back on Facebook? I am sure you can think of other examples. Today challenge yourself to make 2014 the year you purpose to truly "walk in love"!
PRAYER: Love is a word that gets thrown around lots. Love is important, very important. I choose this day to be a lover, not a hater. Help me to find ways to live those I would rather hate. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

PUT DOWN THAT CYMBAL!!


How many of you are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13? Affectionately referred to by many as the "love chapter" in the Bible it has a wealth of information that would save all sorts of relationships if only we could practice what is within its' 13 verses.

Today let's focus on verse one. The NIV version says 'If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.' For instance, if yours truly, the Christian writer, writes about love but then goes out and doesn't practice what I preach what good is that? Sure I may have a ways to go but I know what the word of God says and each and every day with God's help I seek to love like Jesus' would love. Sometimes it is very difficult.

If you are ultra religious and do the Sunday thing but the other six days treat people like garbage then what good did Sunday do for you. You can bang that Christian drum but do you show Christian love the rest of the week?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus I want more of you and your love in my life. I know that just do my "Sunday duty" is not enough especially if my actions the rest of the week make me no different than a non church goer. Help me Lord love and mean it. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, January 17, 2014

LEARNING AND GROWING


The other day I was testing my knowledge and skills on an new app on my IPAD. Typically when people start to get older they often do not want to embrace technology and stay stuck in a rut of sorts. In the ever changing world it is good to keep up with things so you can relate to the world and to future grandchildren you might have.

It is God who gifts us with the capacity to learn and think. He has given us a wonderful gift. That is our brain. Each person is gifted in different ways. Even those who some feel the world "short changed" due to mental deficiencies have a plan and purpose in God's kingdom.

God does not want us to fear things and that includes learning new things. Often in life those over 60 may feel their days of learning are over. To stay young keep reaching ahead and keep trying new things. Make positive thoughts a part of each day. Do not awaken and start "confessing" how sick you are or how old you are but instead get up and start the day by saying Philippians 4:13(NIV) which says 'I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."

PRAYER: The opportunity to learn and achieve and grow is never ending. I thank you that at any age there are many things to enjoy and try. I thank you Lord for those people you place in my path, both young and older, to teach me new things. I choose to be positive and seek to look to you for help in moving up and moving on. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

EARTHLY IMAGE OR GODLY IMAGE?


A few months ago as I was in Tulsa sitting at a store waiting for my sister to pick me up I was observing the shoppers going in and out of the store. Designer handbags, beautiful makeup and hairstyles, nice clothes. Basically the things of the outward appearance or the shell we live in. The real true man or woman lies underneath this facade.

When you go about your day are you more concerned about your earthly image or your godly one? In other words is it more important how you look or how you act? Of course we have to present a clean image especially if you have a job. But the outward man or woman is not what is the most important. You have heard someone say someone has a good personality and does not comment on anything else? Truly it is this inner person that is the most important.

1 Samuel 16:7(NIV) says 'But the Lord said to Samuel "do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."' 1 Peter 3:3-4(NASB) says 'Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair and wearing of gold jewelry, or putting on dresses, 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.'

Remember your heavenly image is much more important to the Lord.

PRAYER: I seek to be more like you and "clothe" myself in righteousness each day. Sometimes I am too concerned of others opinions. Help me be reminded only what I do for God counts. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!






Do you ever sit and be still and ponder all that the Lord has done for you? If not in this year of new beginnings why not try that.  Psalm 68:19(KJV) says 'Blessed be the Lord thy God who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.' The Lord is the creator of this magnificent world. He is still on the throne even when chaos or doom seems to be around us. He has given us food to eat, sunshine to stay warm and light the day. He has provided life and breath.

Psalm 103:1(KJV) reminds us to bless Him. 'Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me. Bless His Holy name.'  2 Corinthians 9:15(GNT) says 'Let us thank God for His priceless gift.'

Do you find yourself complaining instead of praising?  Are you ungrateful for the many blessings in your life? Do you always seem to want more and not content with what you are blessed with? Psalm 37:1(KJV) says 'I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.' Is God's praise continually in your mouth? Are you able to praise Him even in hard times?

Hebrews 13:5(NIV) is a good verse to conclude with. 'Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you not forsake you."'

What is keeping you from praising God today?

PRAYER:Thank you for the things you have done for me Lord, and blessed me with in my life. At times I have acted like a spoiled child so please forgive me. I choose to praise you and not give the enemy a foothold. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

WHATEVER!!

The title above is a one word reply often used showing sarcasm or disgust with what someone has said. It actually is rude and shows disrespect. I am sure we have all heard this comment or maybe uttered it ourselves. Ouch! 
Do you consider yourself a kind person? Do you often speak poorly of others when they are not in your presence or judge them? Words are so important whether you are using sarcasm to express disgust or saying something uplifting, it is critical to insure that whatever you utter would be exactly what you would say if Jesus were in your presence. 

Sometimes a person can speak nicer to a family pet than to a human. Do the words you say lift Jesus higher? Something to think about. 


  The following are some scripture verses to perhaps "hide in your heart" to help you get control of your mouth in 2014.

'A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.' Proverbs 14:3(NIV)

'Sin is not ended by multiplying words,but the prudent holds their tongues.' Proverbs 10:19(NIV) 

'The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even tempered.' Proverbs 17:27(NIV)

'A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.' Ecclesiastes 5:3(NIV)

'My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.' James 1:19(NIV).

Today why not read each of those verses aloud and ask God to direct the words you say and resist the urge to be hateful, rude, angry, gossipy, or unkind with your tongue.

PRAYER: Each and every day I need your help Lord to watch what comes out of my mouth. Words can build up or tear down and I want mine to glorify you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I CAN'T BUT GOD CAN, HE IS BIGGER!!!

What are you worried about today? What seemingly impossible situation are you facing? What hurts in your life are just weighing you down? So many things in life are way bigger than what we can humanly do but guess what? God is so much bigger and in fact HE CAN change things. He can give hope. He can give peace. These things won't happen if all we do is daily sit and wring our hands and cry. We have to have faith. We have to believe. 

Isaiah 40:31(NIV) is one of my favorite verses of hope. It says '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.' 

What are you facing today? Realize that God is supreme. Your problems may seem great but God is bigger. Just remember that! 

PRAYER: Forgive me Lord when I have lost hope and started to worry. Forgive me when I have been impatient in waiting for you to act. Forgive me Lord for not spending more time in your word. In 2014 I choose to have faith and trust you. In Jesus' name.

   

Sunday, January 12, 2014

SPARKLE FOR JESUS




Is 2014 the year you will do things differently? Maybe you have found yourself in some sort of rut. Your joy has been lost. A major pity party is being thrown with only you in attendance. You feel like giving up on something or quitting a project you know is important. 

This is where I found myself on 29 December 2013 in church in Madison, Alabama. I was having a major pity party. When you allow your mind to not be focused on God the enemy can really come in and try to defeat you. Wouldn't he love to defeat a devotion writer or a prayer group leader? It happens, but we can not let it happen. I looked down at the cushioned chair in front of me and there was a single sparkle. This "sparkle",  combined with a great message which spoke to my heart, snapped me right out of whatever it was I was going through. I was so grateful. I just raised my hands to Jesus and said "thank you"! 

Have you found yourself defeated or in some sort of slump? The enemy loves to take advantage of us when our thoughts are not focused on Jesus. When we are not saturated in God's word and allow "stinking thinking" as Bible teacher Joyce Meyer calls it, to get into our thinking then we an disable the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

If you get like this just get the Bible and start reading Psalms and praising God. Before you know it you will be on track with God again and out of your pit. 

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) reminds us 'For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Why not trust God today? 

PRAYER:Lord I thank you for your word which keeps me from being in a slump. I thank you for the answer to prayers and the promises in your word. Forgive me for allowing the enemy to get me unmotivated. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I AM A CHRISTIAN...HO HUM.

 

Has there been a time in life when you just did not feel excited about Jesus? Maybe you asked Jesus into your heart, were baptized, and gave your testimony but then something happened. Prayers were not answered. Someone died and you blamed God on "taking them". Friends hurt you and you wondered why God abandoned you. You lost your job and once again said "why did God allow this to happen to me"?  You file for bankruptcy and say "where is God in this?". Why do people always "dump" on God? 

Remember God is a good God. Hebrews 13:5(NIV) says 'Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you never will I forsake you.”  Now that is a promise we can hope in. Why not get angry at the devil instead? 
We are here on this earth for only a very short time. Things will happen and it is how we react that matters. You can let your trials make you grow or make you run to the devil and get mad at God. 

1 Peter 1:7 says '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.'  

What do you choose? Grow closer in trials and praise God continually or just forget about him and live for the enemy? A question only you can answer.

PRAYER: Today is another day you have blessed us with. In this world we do and will have tribulation but your word says "we have overcome  the world". Help me shine through trials and not glorify the enemy by forgetting about you and getting mad. Be with friends and family who are dealing with a ho hum relationship with Christ and bring them closer to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, January 10, 2014

SENSE OF PEACE






At Christmas we are always hearing "Peace on Earth". That is a wonderful thing to think about peace. Shortly after Christmas when New Year approaches  there is a sense of peace in getting to start a brand new year. New goals, new dreams, new hopes, new challenges. You can have true peace in your heart each day of the new year when you allow God to guide and direct your life. Nothing else gives this true peace other than our savior and Lord. 

Even when threatened with job loss, no health care, death, and a host of other things you can still experience God's perfect peace in the midst of these. John 14:27(NIV) says 'Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  This is only possible when you truly allow Jesus to control your life. Have you asked Him into your heart? If not why not start 2014 out by allowing Jesus to be Lord? 

PRAYER: It is easy to be caught in a trap of fear, worry, doubt, and concern. I know Lord you are bigger than any crisis in my life. Indeed only trust in you and continue to pray. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A NEW YEAR...A CLEAN SLATE!



Arizona friend Bettie Birch wrote a few days ago about a clean slate in the New Year. For those younger readers you may have no clue what a slate even is or a chalkboard. Every thing today is probably dry erase boards. Oh the days of beating erasers on the side of the school to get the chalk residue out. Todays' youth are missing an experience. 

On a slate or chalkboard, if you make a mistake you simply erase it and start over. Just like an Etch A Sketch, when done with your creation, you simply shake the screen to reveal a clean board with no squiggly marks.  A fresh start!

Every year at midnight on New Year's Eve we are given a new chance, or a "clean slate" to do things differently. This is a chance to roll back errors in your life and see what to do differently to change what needs to be changed. I love it when calendar switches over because it is a fresh beginning. 

Isaiah 43:19(KJV) says ' Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.' Another chance. A time to look forward and not back. What will you do differently in 2014? 

PRAYER: Today is part of a new week. I know aI need to change certain things in my life. Perhaps a bad attitude. A complaining spirit. A heart without love for others. Lord Jesus  show me what I need to change. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I LOOK TO THE HILLS

During the Christmas season, one of my all time favorite movies was on, not once, but twice. I am referring to "The Sound of Music" with Julie Andrews and the 2013 version with Carrie Underwood. I simply love the music and the story which is loosely based on the real Von Trapp family.
The message in the movie was the Von Trapps escaping over the Alps to get away from Nazi control. Maria Von Trapp was comforted by the nuns who gave her a verse of hope to cling to found in Psalm 121:1-2(KJV) which says 'I will lift mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' Continue reading this chapter. It brings real peace and comfort.
When you are facing difficulty of any kind you need to keep looking to Jesus. In other words, look up to the heavens. Psalm 91:3(KJV) says 'Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.' If you believe in the promises of God's word what is there to fear? You can either believe and have peace or not believe and walk in fear.
PRAYER: Today is the day that you have made. Another day to serve you. Another day to face whatever is out there with confidence and trust. Another day to proclaim your goodness. Forgive me when I have let problems around me overwhelm me. Help me trust in you and look to you always. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

REACH HIGHER

Do you begin the new year by reaching for new goals in your life? Called resolutions, as you resolve to do things differently. Turning the page on the calendar into a brand new year is a perfect time to start something new and make up your mind that this year will be different. You will "reach higher" towards God for help to achieve success in an area you want to see change in.
Many people refuse to make these resolutions as they say "I will just break them". Perhaps if God is in the mix of things it may be easier to achieve the goal. Do not give up, and refuse to back down. Just keep plugging away. Do not talk yourself out of a worthy goal. Take for instance, treating others with kindness and respect. This can be achieved if you allow God to control your thoughts and words. To do this you need to get into God's word to be transformed.
Whatever it is you need to do, pray and ask God to help you. In 2014 make Him a vital part of your life. Do more than church. With God's help you can in fact learn to "reach higher".
Philippians 4:13(NIV) 'I can do all this through him who gives me strength.'
PRAYER: This year Lord I want to do things differently. I do not want to just keep saying it but want to be different and act different. I know with you I have strength to do this.Guide my steps and thoughts to bring glory to you. In Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, January 6, 2014

LAST CHANCE

I received many emails towards the end of 2013 reminding me it was the "last chance " to donate for the year for tax purposes. Over and over these emails and snail mail reminders came. But really truly we always have a chance to make a difference in God's kingdom. Do not do it just in tax season. Every season is an opportunity to give in God's kingdom.
We give because we want to give or at least that is the way it should be. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7(NIV) we are told of the cheerful giver. It says in those verses 'Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.'
Hopefully you do "sow" financially into God's kingdom and not just for the tax benefit. Your heavenly benefits are much greater than anything our tax system will do for us. But remember to do it cheerfully and not be thinking "I hate having to give this". If you have trouble giving what is really God's blessing to you anyway, check your heart and see if He, in fact, really does have first place.
PRAYER: I thank you for all your blessings give us in abundance each and every day. It is easy to let money consume us and then to forget to give you any of what we have earned. Thank you that I know it all belongs to you anyway. Give me a generous heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

HIP HIP HOORAY!


 I do not know about you, but I love the New Year. It is a chance to start all over. New Year's helps us turn the clock on bad things and make up our mind that now is the time to let things go and start new good habits. Similar to how I feel in spring when plants and flowers are budding is the same way I feel in early January. It is a time on the calendar when fresh things can "bloom" in our lives.

I say "hip, hip, hooray" to 2014! Forget what things bothered you and "purpose" in your heart to do something new. Phillipians 3:13(NIV) says 'Brothers and sisters I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do, Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead.'

Are you able to forgive someone who has hurt you? Are you able to stop holding grudges? Can you let bitterness go? What a fantastic opportunity we have been given simply by a new year rolling around to get off to a right start. Change attitudes if necessary and commit to putting God first in 2014!

PRAYER: You have given me another day and another year to do things differently. Help me not look to the past but to look ahead. Guide me Lord to where you would have me be. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

TRY LOVE

 As I was driving one day I saw a unique vanity tag that simply said "Try Love". That is good advice for all of us. Looking for a good New Years resolution? Maybe "trying love" would be a great one.

Perhaps you need to love a friend better, a family member, a stranger, a boss or a co worker. Love is putting others first and ignoring their faults. It is unconditional. It is patient. It does not think of itself. It is able to forgive regardless. This entire description of God's kind of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Read it and meditate on what it says.

A prayer I pray for myself often and even my children is that they would love with the love of Jesus'. 1 John 4:20(NIV) says 'Whoever claims to loves God yet hates a brother or a sister is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen can not love God whom he has not seen.'

Do you need to "try love" in 2014 and beyond?

PRAYER: Lord I do love you and I strive with your help to show your love to others around me whether or not I know the or not. That is what you want your followers to do. Help me not stray from this path. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, January 3, 2014

CAUTION: WARFARE IN PROGRESS


 You do not have to be sent to the Middle East to be in a war. Our war here is not one of gunfire, bombs, and people being killed but it is a battle for our very souls. It is called "spiritual warfare".

Each and every day you wake up, the enemy, Satan, is there with his puny tricks trying to throw you off the course God had for you. His devices are subtle at times. If they weren't how else would people fall into his trap? 2 Corinthians 11:14(NIV) refers to him as an "angel of light masquerading". In other words he wears a "mask" to fool humans into falling for his schemes.

We do not have to be deceived. Get up each day and pray and read God's word and put on your spiritual armor which is discussed in Ephesians 6:10-18. Take a moment and read it. This describes this "war" going on and how we are to stand up and fight.

PRAYER:There is a battle of right and wrong and good and evil going on and has been since Adam and Eve. I choose to stand up and rebuke Satan and fight him every day with the word of God. According to Isaiah 55:17 "no weapon formed against me shall prosper" and I stand on that promise. In Jesus' name. Amen

Thursday, January 2, 2014

TURN IT AROUND


Start anew this year and make up your mind you are not going to let things fluster you or make you angry. I was waiting for a store to open one day and the girl who opened up was 15 minutes late. Another lady was waiting as well and said to me "I am going to tell her when she gets here how I feel and let her know I am angry." Hmm, I am thinking, what an excellent time to show Jesus' love and mercy to the late employee and set an example to the disgruntled patron. What good does it do to fume when this young woman had a legitimate reason for being behind schedule?

When you are around people who get this way use it as an opportunity to just let things go and move on and thus display kindness. Human nature says get back and get even. God's nature says to show love.

Are you able to turn an ugly situation around in your life? Think of things you may encounter on a daily basis at work or out and about in the marketplace. Even in your own home! Go the extra mile and be nice. Smile. Forgive. Love.

When my children were small, I would play this song over and over each morning while we were at the breakfast table. It was a sung by Richard Roberts and was called "Turn It Around". Basically the lyrics were " turn it around, turn it around,don't let the devil get you down." If you have a chance to turn a situation around, do it!

Romans 2:4(NIV) basically says 'Kindness leads to repentance' and that is true in most all scenarios. Why not try being kind today?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus use me in your kingdom to spread your love to others who are having a bad day or are angry. Help me learn to turn the other cheek so to speak and display your love to others. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

STARTING OVER



Happy New Year! A chance to start new things and make resolutions. A time of new beginnings often brings hope for things you wanted to accomplish but did not. At the end of the old year and ringing in the New Year it is nice to have that chance to say "this is what I plan to do" and why not add "with God's help". 

Have you added any spiritual things to your resolution list? Often a big one might be read through the entire Bible. If that is your goal make sure you pray and ask God to reveal himself to you as you read and do not do it to simply check a block. As you go along make it into a study. Perhaps ask God to fill you with a desire and hunger for the things of the Lord. 

Another spiritual goal could be something like go on a mission trip if you have never done that. It does not have to be overseas but can be right in your own back yard so to speak.  

Do you find yourself complaining or judging others wrongly or being unkind to people? Then a super resolution is to ask God to give you His love for all people. 

The most popular resolution is usually dieting. If this is yours and has been over and over and over again why not put God in the equation and ask Him to make you see your body as His Holy temple and to treat it properly. Pray for discipline and self control and the ability to make this area a true priority this time. 

A good verse to memorize this year is Philippians 4:13( NIV) 'can do all this through him who gives me strength.'

PRAYER: I thank you Lord that through you I have the power to do all things. I do not have to let the enemy drag me down and cause me to give up. Guide me as I seek to be faithful to the resolutions I have made. In Jesus' name. Amen.